Biking topic 1: I should have a commission on these!

Last year, we got ourselves one of the best child-related products we have ever seen: a Chariot Carriers Corsaire XL bike carriers. This might sound like marketing hype from their marketing department, but it really is a brilliantly designed product (mostly). At core, it is a carrier with two wheels, seating two children, and which can be quickly turned from a bike carrier into a regular city stroller. For us, this really means freedom! In particular, the freedom to quickly pop down town using the bike, and then not have to carry our son but rather have a decent stroller to push him around in (and to load up with shopped stuff).

Why is this ability to bike and have a stroller with us liberating? The alternatives to getting down town are:

  • Walking with a stroller, which while nice on a summer’s day takes about half an hour each way. So it does not lend itself to casual and quick trips.
  • Taking the bus, which means keeping to a schedule.
  • Taking the car, which is infinite pain in having to getting the thing out of the garage, loading it up with stroller and child, parking it and paying the 10 SEK/2 USD/hour parking rates (or higher) we thankfully have here in Uppsala. No to mention feeling bad for the environment all the time.

Biking is the perfect mode of transportation in my opinion: fast enough to get you where you want to be, a bike is easy to park compared to everything else, and you get exercise as a free bonus!

So what are the best things about our carrier?

  • That it is both a stroller and a bike attachment
  • It keeps nice and cozy inside even in the worst cold rain or winter days
  • It can also be turned into a jogging stroller or even put on skis!
  • As a stroller, it turns on a dime
  • Attached to the bike, it rolls very easy, I actually think I am faster with the carrier than with a child seat thanks to the large wheels and good distribution of weight.

What are the worst parts?

  • It is a bit big, close to a meter wide, and there are some shops you cannot get inside since it is wider than standard doors (and that goes for the city library too). It does not fit in regular escalators.
  • It is pretty poor as a cargo trailer: classic simple trailers have a flat deck made from wood, which means you can just pile on the load. This thing puts all the load on the seat in the middle, so you have take heavy grocery bags and buckle them up in order to get them on the point that can reliably take 45kg of weight.
  • Their silly Americanized advertising that is just full of ridiculously fit beautiful young parents biking, jogging, or even going mountain biking with these trailers. That just feels dumb and probably does not correspond to how most of their actual customers look.
  • The color scheme could do some with some more interesting colors like grey, black, yellow, orange, anything. The blue/white/red scheme looks a bit old-fashioned (just look at what strollers do with their color schemes):

To get back why I should get a commission on these things: the Corsaire is a real talking piece as you move around town with it: almost every day someone asks we what it is, how good it is, where you can buy one, and how much they cost. I guess that’s why ideas like Amazon’s referral system might actually work on the Internet.

Seems that carriers are coming into vogue these days (along with Christiania bikes). Never saw one when I came to town in 1992. So we ended on a meaningless observation from Uppsala about the nature of the bike population of town.

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