Bullitt in my Pocket (Part 1)
Not long ago I was blessed with the opportunity to use the Bullitt bike I drool over online. Not only was it the bike I like but in the color I would prefer, although it would be cool to have a bike the color of pumpkin or slimy avocado green.
As I schlepped this wonder out of Mr. W's house I got to experience the obstacle course of small steps. Then as I got down the driveway I felt nervous because while inside Mrs. W and I had a lot of talk about how wonky the bike handles. So, naturally I started out wonky. I got off the bike and walked to the end of the street and said, "OK, get it out of your head because you can do this". I bravely made my way to Seward Park Ave (not my favorite bike route) and worked the gears. Now, I have had trigger gear shifters before but my bike has never had more than 9 gears so having more was a slight issue? Yes, I said, issue? So, I was dealing with having a bit of courage to man handle this bike and then figure out how to use these gears. Remember, I started out in Seattle with 3.
GETTING ON THE BIKE:
Okay, this is NOT so easy. Now as you can see, this has a large cargo area in front so their is a danger that you might just chicken out of the whole endeavor. Well, lucky for me, I got a few tips on how to handle this kind of bike when testing a Bakfiets at the Dutch Bike Co once. Basically, you get on and stare at the horizon. Don't bother with what is in front of you. You have to ignore the front part of the bike, look at the horizon and think ninja balancing thoughts. Okay, because this bike is WAY lighter than a Dutch bike my first scardie cat five seconds required that I did the obligatory fishtailing that is described by several other reviews of this bike (Lovely Bicycle and Totcycle). This lasted a total of five seconds during my three days of testing. Why did this last only five seconds? I am going to say lot of practice schlepping all sorts of junk on my bike. Mostly it's heavy junk, including a 3rd Grader. This beast was not going to scare me.
OUCH, this hurts my tush!
So, I am going to let you know a little secret! The seat hurt my BUTT. How anyone can sit on that thing is beyond me. I know, I am a sucker for comfort but Velo seat you are not for me. I did the only sensible thing and changed the seat to my trusty Brooks Saddle. Don't get mad Mr. W but you have to admit, the bike looks better. Wait until you get some pictures of this seat in action.
I am short, like a hobbit so the handle bars were WAY forward for me to handle decently and I had
to hold on for life. After about 1/2 and hour of practice I managed to bike almost with NO hands. Now this is a trick I love to master on any bike but have not been able to do so on my Dutch Bike. For safety sake I kept part of my hands on the handlebars. This is something that can be changed so not a bike flaw.
Once I figured a comfortable way to bike I raced to PCC and here is where my other paranoid dilemma starts.
Okie dokie. I am full out spoiled on my Dutch Bike. I have an Abus Framelock and can lock the bike to itself or use my chain and lock the bike around to something metal and grounded. This is easy peasy lemon squeeze I really don't worry about my wheels being stolen. I do worry about my saddle being taken so I kinda wrap the chain under and around the seat if I am in certain neighborhoods.
Now, my dilemma was how to lock this puppy. Their is a lot to steal since it was all on a quick release system: seat, wheels, stuff in the cargo area. This bike could potentially be stripped. Since I am paranoid I had a whole bunch of locks with me. I was outside of PCC so I was worried but not as worried had I biked to Capitol Hill or even the library in Columbia City. As you can see, I settled for locking the back wheel to the frame and locking the frame to the rack. Now the front wheel could be easily stolen so that would have to be something to think about. Also, I didn't lock the seat post to anything, but Thank G-d, nothing got taken.
GETTING IN THE HOUSE:
The true test of a cargo bike is if can get in my house. As a true Hobbit, I live in a tiny house. Despite our mini house we keep our bikes inside. We have our parking area where everything is parked. By now our regular Shabbos guest know this and are not bothered our bikes. This does keep them in nicer condition. As you can see, I was able to easily maneuver the bike into the house without ruining the doors as we already have from the Burley trailer.
PARKING IN THE HOUSE:
This thing takes up most of the downstairs. This is exactly in the middle of the room as you enter. The reason Mr. Peyos also had his bike in the middle was because I had three other bikes in the house, just to stir up controversy. In the end, we did have space to put the bike but I had to take my controversial other bikes out.
This is getting longer than I would like so I will offer Part DUH tomorrow.