CARFREE TOKYO

- a collection of notes and reflections on urban living from the perspective of a family of five in Tokyo. My epiphany was many years ago, but being hit by a motorbike and seeing my life flash before my eyes caused a sudden change that slowly made me reflect on whether American style auto-centric urban transportation of the Roosevelt era really is a capital G "Good Idea" for civilized modern cities in the 21st Century. This blog explores the good and the bad in urban planning and design, here and elsewhere. The goal is simple - not "death to all cars," just more walkable communities, quiet tree-lined streets, good public transport, traffic calming, Velib style bicycle sharing and a bit of common sense. The bolg is mostly theraputic, so I don't go wanting to throttle every dangerous driver I come across, but partly also out of a real desire to see positive change. This blog explores how it can be done, the people who do it, and how, in many small ways, this very old idea may at last have found its zeitgeist. Comments and suggestions welcome.

Friday, May 25, 2007

New Double Trailer

Finally had a chance to upload a photo of our new Chariot trailer for the boys. This is a Chariot Cougar 2. Chariot Carriers are based in Canada, and are arguably the best child trailer makers in the world. From Japan, they can be bought from REI, and sent via Fedex. The shipping is fairly expensive however, so a very kind friend very kindly brought one back from the US for us.



The kids absolutely love it (and our friend for bringing it...). It is slightly wider and heavier than our old Burley Solo. When we unfolded it in our living room, our first reaction was "no way -it is too big". But it is surprisingly easy to manouver, as you can see in the photo of mum here, and the trailer really is only barely wider than the handlebars, so you really don't need any more clearance than you would otherwise anyhow. Her battery powered assist bike helps her on the uphills of course, but otherwise she switches it off and goes fully "human powered". I can pull both kids up the hills on a regular bike no problem, so we also bought an extra hitch so that I can attach it to my regular town bike.

Some of the great features of this trailer:
> a solid hitch that is strong and safe, but very easy to detatch trailer from bike

> fantastic suspension - incredibly, the battery on the assist bike lasts longer, probably because of the suspension. It also makes pulling easier, and of course bumps are less jolting for the boys.

> plenty of storage space in the back

> great air ventilation for summer, but proper rain cover for wet weather - keeps the boys completely dry in a downpour, but the cabin does not steam up like other models can when the cover is down

> fantastic fold, that enable it to be folded down flat, quickly and easily - you could take this sucker on the train (as long as you had someone else to look after the kids while you lug it).

3 comments:

Thomas in Tokyo said...

Wow, looks great for my twins relocating to Tokyo with Mum and dad. Can you remove the trailer and use it as a stroller right away or do you need to mount an additional wheel ? We also have a three year old daughter (PLUS the 1 year old twin girls), does the electric bike support an additional child in a basket in front of the bike ? Thanks and enjoy the weekend. Thomas

StompinRhino said...

Hi Thomas,

Yes - it would be wonderful for kids. And yes, you can use the trailer as an oversized stroller when not pulling behind the bike. Tell you what - a Phil & Ted's would be a very good buggy for twins in Tokyo. Very compact. You can't pull it behind a bicycle though of course. Yes, you can put a child seat on the back of your electric bike and have good mobility with three kids. There are many electric bicycles here that are designed to carry one or two kids and have seats already attached - many designed with low centre of gravity and other protections to avoid injury in the event of a spill.

Unfortunately I am told that REI no longer delivers oversized items overseas. You might be able to find someone that imports them, but if not, cheaper Chinese versions are sold in Japan via the internet.

thomas in tokyo said...

Hi and thanks for your advices.
On Amazon market place you'll find Backcountry selling WW: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0016IO7TA
I just bought it and look forward to riding my kinds around in Tokyo !