Bikes are on our mind this month as we have finally and reluctantly decided to let some of our old steeds rust gracefully in pieces. We have replaced the deckhands bikes with new-to-them ones that are the right size for boys that keep growing like weeds. They've been whizzing around on them at every opportunity, especially as we've had the Easter holidays, lighter evenings and now another bank holiday weekend.
We took our bikes with us when we set sail to cruise in Europe. They were not new bikes or special bikes but we knew that we wanted to at least try and take them with us. The question of bikes also comes up on sailing forums quite frequently.
|Two children and an adult looking over a bridge|
|City centre bike rack with pile of our bikes, Northern Spain|
Getting the bikes onto the boat proved tricky and involved a certain amount of dismantling in order to stow them. Taking the wheels off meant that they could be stored in a passageway, bungied to the wall to stop them moving. The fact that taking them apart and carefully arranging all the bits like a circular jenga meant that they were also not easy to get out which was a definite draw back. This meant that if we were stopping somewhere for a short while it was not worth the effort of getting them out but for longer stops - over wintering for example - we could and the children would ask us on most stops if this was one where the bikes could come out. Obviously folding bikes would make this easier and is an option many people go for.
|Child sat on deck with bike in pieces|
We had an Adventure AT2 bike trailer too. I started writing about it then realised that Marks advert when we sold it on is a far better description so...
Aluminium framed child trailer, carries one or two children securely with a five point harness. Pockets for a favourite cuddly toy next to the seat and a luggage area to the rear.
The aluminium frame is light weight and extends outside the wheels, giving them protection and support - it is a strong and practical design. The trailer folds flat and the wheels are on quick release spindles for easy storage.
This trailer has provided excellent service through three sons and has been pressed into use regularly carrying an astonishing amount of family shopping. The maximum load is 45kg, I may have exceeded this at times, I've never taken scales to the supermarket. There has never been any sign of instability or tipping with either a heavy or light load.
The trailer has seen use in four countries including northern Spain and as a result the black fabric sides have faded, but there are no signs of brittleness to the fabric and I would expect years of service yet from them.
I did a lot of research before buying this trailer new and while there are more expensive brands available they did not seem to offer twice the value. I have now effectively long term tested the trailer and am happy to say I made a good decision, and now I can pass it on to you.
|3 very small children with bike trailer (Somerset, England)|
We also had a trailgator (known in the family as the alligator) for the littlest deckhands bike. A mount on the smaller bike acts as a bracket for the pole that attaches onto the seat post of the bigger bike. It gives a fixed connection between the two bikes. The front wheel is lifted preventing steering but the back wheel remains on the ground. This piece of kit was used on all the bikes one after the other and helped keep them safe alongside roads and travel further distances. They could be 'released' and set free in some places where they could pedal to their hearts content before being reattached. For us this was an advantage over other tag alongs.
|Adult bike with 'alligator' attached to small bike|
|Same small bike without the 'alligator'|
We used the bikes right from the start when we were in Topsham, England where there were good cycle tracks along the river to Exeter. In other places the boys found areas where they could cycle round in circles and in Spain we were really impressed with the segregated cycle paths complete with their own traffic lights.
|Family, looking at zoo animals and pushing the bikes|
|Separated cycle lanes, clearly marked with signage (Asturias, Spain)|
So is it worth it? They took up a lot of space and it was not easy getting them set up and packed away. Bikes rust badly in salt air and need a lot of looking after to keep them in working order. We enjoyed some good rides and were able to explore lots of interesting places. It also meant that the boys got to play around on bikes. We probably wouldn't have missed them though. As always the question is would we take them again? For the shopping, getting around and general pleasure of cycling, yes we would.
|3 children with cycle helmets drinking from water fountain|
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Show us your photos of crazy bikes on boats storage! We've seen some good ones around.