A Downtown Bike Shop!

This weekend I walked downtown to see what I could discover.  My daughter and I both enjoyed ourselves.  The downtown area here has an "old school" feel to it.  Historic limestone and brick buildings from the late 1880s are still in place and vibrant.  Walking through the streets makes you feel as though you've just stepped onto the pages of a history book.  In a word, beautiful.

We ran across many shops that I didn't enter, mainly because I was afraid I'd spend a nice chunk of money, but I couldn't resist one store in particular.

I was unable to resist the temptation of walking into Milltown Cycles.  Even with a three year old saying, "No!  No going inside!!!" I couldn't stop myself.  I had already viewed their website online while searching for bike shops in the area, so when I was standing right next to it there was no question as to what my next action would be.  I had to take my first real-world step toward using a bike for my grocery trips. 

Walking is good, but biking is better!

I talked at length with Ben, an employee of the business.   He was loaded with useful information.  One thing I very much appreciated was that when we talked about extending a standard bike in order to turn it into a cargo bike, which is a cheaper option than buying a full cargo bike.  I had been thinking in terms of the $225 price tag.  He, on the other hand, pointed out the additional labor costs - it's a time intensive process, and not something I should try on my own. It should be left to a bike mechanic.  Unfortunately, this means that the cost could raise up to around $500.  This is still much cheaper than a full cargo bike, but more than I really want to pay considering that I'd have to buy the actual bike, as well.

I brought up the child seats that you could position at the front of the bike, rather than the rear.  This was something that I imagined my daughter would fall in love with.  Unfortunately, Ben brought up something that never occurred to me... even though it should have. 

Bike child seats are unsafe.

They're designed to strap a child in, naturally, which I thought of as a benefit.  I wouldn't have to worry about her leaning over too far and flying off the bike, after all.  That, however, is the reason why they're unsafe.  If the bike tips, so does the child... or should I say the trapped child?  A child would be strapped in, and therefore unable to extricate him or herself from the bike.  Not a good thing.

He suggested getting a trailer instead.  It holds more than standard cargo bags, after all, and would provide my daughter with the safety of being able to remove herself from the situation if the bike tipped and things went bad.

This makes good sense.  Trailers cost more, but the added benefit of more safety for my daughter is worth the cost, as any parent would agree.

I'm still planning on going to the nearby bike salvage to see what I can find there, but I think I'll end up buying a trailer at Milltown Cycles.  The employees are clearly knowledgeable, if Ben is an indicator, and going to a bike shop managed by employees that have a thorough understanding of their products is a plus.