Maintenance, Quirks and Dogging*

By: Imogen Church

Published: January 23, 2017 (Updated: January 23, 2017)

Maintenance, Quirks and Dogging*

Now that we are a few months into our 8Freight adventure, I thought we would check in with you on how our beautiful bicycle baby is running! In terms of maintenance at home, we are at the stage where the bike is really bedded in and we need to work on maintaining it. I’m not gonna lie, we have been a bit lazy on pumping the tyres up, and when I say a ‘bit lazy’ I mean TURBO LAZY. When I started on the school run again after christmas I noticed it was really reeeeeally hard work and when Stephen checked the pressure it had dropped from 70 to 20… TWENTY! Yes, we had not pumped them AT ALL since it arrived in October! You must remember that a cargo bike is just that, a bike for cargo. Cargo is heavy, cargo bikes are like family cars and all that grunt work is going to pound your tyres. After pumping the tyres back up, the ride was as smooth as before so I think the lesson we have learnt is to pump up those tyres on a regular basis, probably every fortnight, don’t leave it until you can feel every bump, blister and badger on the road. The chain was also starting to get a bit clicky and tired so Stephen gave it some attention this weekend. He placed a large cardboard box on the garage floor, lay down on it kwikfit-style, cleaned the whole chain (and it is a loooooong chain) with some Muck Off and an old toothbrush, cleaned all around the cogs and all that jazz and then oiled the chain to make it feel super smashing again. Needless to say, the next day it felt even more spectacular! So these are some good regular maintenance tips from our so-far experience. And with the amount of use a cargo bike in a carless family gets, we will put it in for a proper service every six months. Hopefully, like us, you are lucky enough to live a five minute walk away from a brilliant indie bike shop (Borwells, I’m lookin’ at you!) but if not, I would advise investigating the best candidate and ringing ahead as, obviously, a bike like the 8Freight is big and I know bike shops often struggle for space. If you're in Norwich, then, natch, our recomendation is Borwells on Spencer Street.

In terms of quirks, I did mention before that you can’t bunny hop off a curb on it (more’s the pity) and the turning circle takes a bit of getting used to (not much though), I am also finding that whilst the adjustable seat makes it really easy for Stephen and I to share the 8Freight (I mark the height of my booty requirements with some coloured tape) the ease of movement currently also makes it a fraction loose, so occasionally the seat twists with me! We will therefore tighten up the catch that allows you to vary the height, slightly harder to close but more secure, because I don’t need my bike seat to do the full Exorcist 360. I still have movement in my neck. For now. Stephen has a degenerative neck disorder so he probably only has a week left....

The most important thing so far though, is that we both still LOVE riding it and all the kids wave at our son as we cycle him to school because the 8Freight gives him about as many awesome points as if he arrived in a DeLorean or a disco ball helicopter piloted by a very clever ferret.

Now. Dogging. If you (like me) have a mum with a dog who regularly walks with another woman of a similar age and her dog, then maybe you get to hear them refer to their ‘dogging’ trips (followed by a knowing snigger). No? You are missing out. It occurred to me that whilst we do not have a woof ourselves, the 8Freight would be great for Dogging. If you have an older woof, who maybe doesn’t have the mobility or energy to get to a scenic place AND engage in a walk, then chain/tie them in to the cargo bay and cycle them to that lovely park where they can pootle and butt-sniff and scent the trees with their woof-water to their heart’s content. Or if you are keen to vary their walking destinations, pop them in (maybe even with a pair of goggles, a la motorcycle side-car circa 1936), pedal them to a new adventure and they can tongue-loll to their heart’s content! Heck, don’t limit it to Dogging, it could be taking your cat to the vet (in a cat box methinks, cats not being known for their staying power), or your tortoise, your goldfish, your friendly kitchen mould. pop them in the back and off you go! I won’t recommend using the 8Freight for actual dogging but hey, who am I to judge…

So far, so good on the 8Freight, still soaring round Norwich with the wind in our hair and a maniacally laughing child, still getting thighs of steel and kudos on the school run, still bombing up to Aldi every weekend and fitting a shop for a family of four in the cargo bay.

Give it a punt, I honestly think it could change your life!


*Dogging, within the questionable world of this article, refers to dog walking. But I am not above a sensationalised blog title…

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