November 3, 2009
We did it!
Let me start out by saying, for the record, that Don and I are in no way advocating or instructing anybody else to copy what we did with carrying Dexter in our Madsen. For liability reasons I won't go into the details of our retrofit, but I'm happy to speak about it in general terms.
The Madsen comes with two benches that are affixed to the tub with velcro. We took these benches out and used them to make a template for a plywood platform. The platform sits in the rim of the tub and is lashed down using the Madsen's built-in seatbelts. The base for the car seat is also strapped firmly to the plywood. Then the car seat clicks in and out of the base just as it would in a car.
When I need to put cargo in underneath I can release the belts and just lift the platform and place my shopping below in the tub. I've been putting my purse and other small items on top around the car seat base and nothing has fallen off... yet. I think you can see a bag of dog food sitting on the platform in some of the pictures.
There are advantages and disadvantages to any system. The main drawback I see is that we can only carry one infant. If I have an infant in addition to Dexter later on, we might have to come up with something more like what Julian did over at Totcycle. Since Dexter's seat is sitting up high the bike is more top heavy. Some people might find it strange to ride this way, but I get accustomed to things very quickly and it's different, but not difficult.
It was hovering around freezing, weather-wise, so we wrapped his car seat with this cover that my mom bought. She was so excited about this purchase since she is highly concerned about Dexter being warm and limiting his exposure to the elements. I'm sure she'd be appalled to know her thoughtful gift has helped me in transporting Dexter by bike. Egads!
He looks pretty happy to me!
We went on a neighbourhood grocery run, about a 15 minute ride one way. I rode there with Don trailing with the Dahon so he could see how everything was working out with his handiwork. On the way back we switched. No problems. Just adjusted the saddle height with the quick release and we were ready to go!
I wish I could be looking more chic, but we did this Saturday afternoon on a whim. I was wearing my Halloween costume and just threw over this glorified sweatshirt jacket. It's not stylish and it's also stretched out because I wore it throughout my pregnancy. Oh, glorious domesticity.
It's too bad that our family cycling has begun just as the weather is turning, but better late than not at all. The Madsen does need a few extra touches like good lights, since it gets dark so quickly now. And I need to get more accustomed to rolling it back up onto its stand while looking graceful. Right now I attack that move like a woman clearing tree stumps from the earth in the 1800s.