Dexter in the Madsen.

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.


Trisha said...

Love it! the picture of Dexter peeking out from his carseat cover is adorable...and yes, he looks very happy. Glad you've got your two-wheeled transport worked out.

tricotmiss said...

Yay! I'm so glad you've got this sorted and everything is working well.

Charlotte said...

Just darling!!!

miss sarah said...

Girls - Yes, I love that little porthole for Dexter. Imagine riding backwards and staring at the sky through that little circle? Who needs expensive educational toys and TV when he can look at clouds?

Sorry, I know that sounds so much like a hippie, but it's true! I love staring at clouds.

Will be sure to continue overloading the blog with Dexter cuteness. Thanks for ogling!

stylocycle said...

Oh his happy face reminds me of shuttling my son around in our Norco trailer in *Montreal* in the 1995-96 year when the ploughs were on strike all winter.
Bundled up in his snow-suit, helmet and blanket he'd be in the enclosed trailer, and we would stop to get groceries or some such, and all the chasiers would walk to the window to watch us bike away. "O, qu'il est trés trés mignon" they'd all say as he picked up one of the grocery bags himself to help his momma carry it out to put in the 'trunk' of the trailer.

May you enjoy many many such days!

And Dexter est trés trés mignon aussi!

ps: my cousin in the edmonton area reads your blog and just thinks you are THE BEST!!! Keep on writing and riding, Miss Sarah. People are paying attention!

BikeBike said...

what a great setup sarah! i'm sure your 'lil man just loves it.


sara said...

Oh, I have been so excited to see you out on your bike with Dexter. YAY!!!! He does look so darn happy. And frickin' cute as well.

sara said...

Saw this & thought it may be of interest-- a very clever homemade rain cover for the cargo box made of PVC pipe & recycled chicken feed bags...

Christa said...

Adorable! What a cute kid.

You're such an inspiration for cycling mothers in North America.

Julian said...

Right on! You're going to love being able to click him in & out, if he's anything as narcoleptic as ours on the bike. That plywood'll keep your groceries dry too ...

If his head seems bobbly in the car seat, you might try out one of those head snuggler pads they make, to limit side-to-side flopping (you may already have one - he's so cozied up under that cover I can't tell!). Love the weatherproofing you've got going on.

I hope they release the rain top soon, otherwise we might have to DIY those too! Anyway, congrats!

Shane said...

Very nice!
Came here via a Totcycle tweet and then look... it's a link to my prototype rain cover on Flickr! Nice small webby world of family biking!

Angie said...

Adorable!! We have a Madsen and love it! Our girls are older (2 & 5) and they love being out by bicycle. It's quite amazing how much stuff you can fit in there!

Great job!

Bikejuju said...

Lovely bike hack, lovely blog, mignon petit fils (and some quality commenters to boot - Hi Julian!)

miss sarah said...

stylocycle - You are HARD CORE! I hope I do you proud!

BikeBike - So far so good. He cried this one time, but I think he was just tired? Feel asleep shortly after.

Sara - Being out with my baby and on a bike - nothing better.

Christa - Thanks! I hope more stylish mommies will think biking is rad.

Julian - Yay! Now I can be like you guys and fit right in in Portland! Will keep reading over at Totcycle about rain covers. I was thinking of just using my bugaboo one and draping it over the car seat. It's not a prefect fit, but will do the job in the pinch. When Dexter is older... he can hold an umbrella?

Shane - Yay!

Angie - Glad to hear your girls are down with the Madsen. I'm hoping to use it for a long time:)

Bikejuju - Thank you, I'm honoured you've joined the ranks of quality commenters;)

Danielle said...

Came for a visit via simply bike (hi!!!).

I have two little ones (2 years and 4 months) and a Christiania trike. Haven't really been out riding with the two of them yet.

Just curious, how old was your little guy when you started taking him out in the Madsen? How did you feel about it? How did he react to it?

We are car-free and I'm starting to feel the bike twitch. I want to be out on three wheels again!

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