I'm excited to welcome back Gernot to our blog with some more detailed information about how he chose to set up his family's HaulaDay. I love learning about how people use their bikes and seeing the very individual ways they make their vehicle fit their unique needs. Gernot and his family live in Thailand and have been car-free since 2008. They have two young boys to shuttle around and recently purchased a Bike Friday HaulaDay to fit their family's transportation needs.
Here you go:
Secondary considerations were bringing home larger purchases, and delivering sometimes large packages to the post office (one of my wife’s side gigs is fulfillment for a friend’s museum store’s mail-order business).
The third consideration was for me to be able to ride the bike occasionally on longer family rides with the kids on the back and my wife on her Rivendell Betty Foy, as I am the stronger rider, usually.
We got the bike “fully loaded” with all the carrying accessories that Bike Friday offers (passenger handrail, deck cushion, running boards, cargo bags, front rack, front basket, kickstand). Because of sometimes torrential rains here in Thailand, I also ordered a pair of Ortlieb BackRoller panniers which mount easily to the rear portion of the cargo deck to swallow the boys’ school backpacks. Installed as far back as possible they still allow the boys’ legs to hang comfortably in front of the panniers.
Drivetrain and cockpit:
We opted for the 24 speed option and disk brakes. I am not a huge fan of disk brakes, but on this bike it seemed like a good option. For a while we thought we’d get the 8 speed setup with the large range rear cassette, because my wife likes to have a European style full length chain guard, which Americans believe is incompatible with a triple chain ring and front derailer. However, we were in Germany when we finalized the order, and I noticed numerous local city bikes with full chain guards AND front detailers. So I sought out the bike store shown on a sticker of one of the bikes I saw parked on the street, and purchased one of these nifty chain guards hoping I could make it work. It was 20 Euros, so if not, it wasn’t much of a gamble. So we went with the triple chainring, but forgot to swap the super wide range cassette for the normal one. No big deal, though I don’t think we’ll ever use the lowest gear. :) I haven’t installed the full chain guard yet because I have to remove the bottom bracket mounting ring, and don’t have my bottom bracket tool with me here in Thailand, so I’ll have to supply an update on that later.
I already had a pair of handlebars very similar to the BF cargo bars, so I used those. I also hate grip shifters (and rapid fire shifters), so I decided to install one of my pairs of Suntour XC Pro thumb shifters from the early 90s. We stuck with the basic derailer, but rear shifting has been not as positive as on our other bikes outfitted with friction thumb shifters. Our other bikes all have 9 speed cassettes, so in theory at least the 8 speed cassette on the HaD should work better with the friction thumb shifters, but in practice this is not so. The main differences seems to be that the HaD has continuous cable housing, which introduces additional friction into the system, and a much cheaper rear derailer than on our other bikes. I may try a more expensive derailer, but am suspecting that the housing is the more likely culprit. It’s been a couple of weeks now, and the shifting seems to have improved, so I’ll leave it alone for the time being. I got locking mtn bike grips which stop the annoying tendency of plain rubber grips to creep, especially in hot weather.
Another upgrade I ordered separately was 2.0” Schwalbe Big Apple tires. With the small wheels, having a bit more cush seemed like a good idea for passenger comfort, and I am a fan of relatively supple big tires in general. Note that the fit under the stock fenders is a bit tight, but can be made to work with a bit of fiddling.
Lastly, I mounted a Brooks Finesse ladies’ saddle with a shorter nose (easier to ride on in a skirt) and cheap plastic platform pedals patterned on grippy BMX pedals, but with the advantage of front and rear reflectors. I may swap in the MKS Grip King pedals from my wife’s other bike, but so far she likes these just fine.
Lights and safety:
I ordered a generator front hub, but purchased and installed the generator headlight (the amazing B+M Eyc) myself. I managed to attach the light to the fork crown, modifying the mounting bracket so the light could clear the front basket. See my separate post on detailed installation instructions: http://www.tinyhelmetsbigbikes.com/blog-we-ride/guest-post-gernots-hauladay-generator-light-installation
The tail light I installed is a fender-mounted LED light powered by 2 AAA batteries, because running cables to the rear light seemed like a bad idea given the telescoping frame. The best of these is probably the Spanninga Pixeo XB (or Xba, with auto on/off), but I had another one lying around and used that. The nice thing is that it is fully protected inside the “roll cage” of the rear rack, while most cargo will not block the view of the light from the rear. The not so nice thing is that the cargo bags do block the view from the side. I may install a second battery powered taillight on the seat post just for side visibility. Using a zip-tie, I also installed a second red reflector under the cargo deck. This reflector sways gently as the bike moves, which may increase visibility further. I wish I had ordered a flag from BF, which is very reasonably priced, but didn’t see that that was an ordering option.
I also installed, at my wife’s request, two rearview mirrors. (She argues, quite sensibly, that one needs to merge left and right, and that all motorcycles therefore have two, so why not bikes?) My preferred mirror is a German one that Rivendell sells: http://www.rivbike.com/product-p/m5.htm. I tried installing them below the handlebars so that one’s arms don’t block the view, and really liked that placement, but it didn’t work for my wife, so I placed them above the bars.
Because of the tropical rains, I also installed a mud flap on the front fender. I’ll have to add one to the front of the rear fender as well, but haven’t done that yet (BF installs the rear fender backwards, so the front portion doesn’t extend far enough down for full coverage). I also purchased a pair of Ortlieb Backroller Classic panniers to put the kids’ backpacks in during the rainy season. clamped onto the rear half of the load deck, they still allow both kids to sit comfortably and to climb up by themselves.
Here you can see the Ortlieb panniers, the fender mounted tail light, and the extra reflector under the deck.