More family bikes of San Francisco

There is no shortage of "traditional" family bikes like this Xtracycle, though.

There is no shortage of “traditional” family bikes like this Xtracycle. This was the first Rolling Jackass center stand I’ve seen in San Francisco, though.

Riding a giant family bike around San Francisco can at times feel outlandish. I feel that way most often when I’m having trouble parking the Bullitt. There are also occasional moments when I have to stop on a hill and am unsure whether I’ll be able to successfully start again (this problem is not unique to the Bullitt but feels scarier with both kids on board). And then there is the general reaction when we’re out: it’s uniformly positive, but there’s no question that riding a bike like ours around is still unusual enough in San Francisco that we get a lot of attention. Fortunately we are not completely alone out there. In the last few weeks we’ve seen at least three other family bikes that are at least as interesting.

Stoked Metrofiets at Golden Gate Park

Stoked Metrofiets at Golden Gate Park

One family has been riding a Stokemonkeyed Metrofiets with a FollowMe tandem for far longer than we’ve had the Bullitt. With that Stokemonkey I don’t doubt they can climb tougher hills than we can. We saw them at the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition’s family day, and again at Golden Gate Park the other weekend. Their bike is even wider and longer than ours is, and it hauls more too.

This bike wins the "most modifications" award.

This bike wins the “most modifications” award.

Last night we saw this incredible Burley tandem with kid-back cranks on the stoker seat, a Burley Piccolo trailer-bike, and a BionX assist like ours. The bike itself looked very familiar, but the last time we saw the family we know riding it, it didn’t have the BionX. We’re still not sure whether it was their bike with a recent upgrade to electric assist or another family’s bike—meaning that there are two Burley tandems like this in San Francisco, which is possible although perhaps not likely—but it’s an impressive setup.

When riding back from school on the Bullitt recently back I saw another long john headed the other way with two kids on board. I was talking with a friend while we were riding and almost missed it, and I definitely didn’t get a photo, but it looked like a Cetma Largo? Unlike our bike, theirs lacked a weather cover, and the kids looked cold.

Outside nearly any family-friendly venue in San Francisco you'll find bikes like ours.

Outside nearly any family-friendly venue in San Francisco you’ll find bikes like ours.

Riding our smaller bikes around the city, though, we have plenty of company. I took my daughter to a friend’s birthday party last weekend, and the racks outside the playspace were all occupied; we weren’t even the only family to ride to the party. Trailer bikes, child seats: we see bikes rigged with these all over the city, sometimes so many that the places we ride don’t yet know how to handle them. We still often ride the smaller bikes to new destinations largely because we’re not always sure we’ll be able to find decent cargo bike parking on our first trip.

What is it?

What is it?

And then there are the bikes I can’t figure out. At school lately I’ve been seeing a motorized bike. It looks like a moped and it has a gas motor, but the pedals turn, so arguably it’s a bicycle. It looks as though it was designed to carry two passengers. Does something like this belong at a bike rack? I have no idea. But there’s no question that the city’s infrastructure lags far behind the people using it.

3 Comments

Filed under electric assist, family biking, San Francisco, trailer-bike, Xtracycle

3 responses to “More family bikes of San Francisco

  1. Shannon

    Oh, that’s TR’s Rolling Jackass-equipped Big Dummy in your first photo! He’s a teacher in an SFUSD high school (and we must have all been shopping yesterday morning at Rainbow because I had a bike-geek conversation with him in the very spot where your photo was taken…small world!). By the way, did you know that once all mopeds had pedals (hence the “ped” part of their name), but now only some do? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moped So that machine parked at the bike rack is most definitely a moped…and I would say it doesn’t belong there. It doesn’t bother me as much as an SUV parked in the bike lane, but then again I’m not (yet) trying to find parking for a cargo bike.

    • Oh, how funny! There was also a Hebb e-bike at Rainbow that morning. I’ll keep an eye out for you next time.

      I’ve never seen a moped with working pedals before, but what you say makes sense–I’d believe that it’s a really old model. The bike parking issue eh, it can be a hassle, but that particular school rack isn’t ever full so I haven’t complained yet.

  2. sho

    Looks like a moped from back in the day. A neighbor of mine growing up had one. Fun (at the time), but noisy and smelly. IIRC, they don’t require the rider to pedal. (I wonder how this influences decision-making on laws pertaining to bicycle assist.)

    Probably worse mileage and emissions than modern autos. (Think cross between gas-powered mower and bicycle.)

    I think mopeds are regulated by state gov’ts– some require driver’s license and registration.

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