Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Urban Arrow One Year Later

I know this is coming a bit late but finally a one year review of the Urban Arrow (2013 model, rollar brakes, 250 Daum motor). First I have never found a bike so perfect for our family as the Urban Arrow it has moved our family over the past year with an infant, during heat, in a polar vortex and more. I am so grateful that we were able to own this bike and glad to see them spreading across the states and the world. It is a gold standard bike.

The Box:
The Foam of the box has been indestructible. I fell on ice this this past winter on it's left side and not a twinge of an impression was made on the box. The kids are tough on it and nothing. The pulling in and out of a carseat for several months no wear what so ever. The size of the box accommodates at least three kids but I muse I could stick a fourth if required. At this stage I love the kids facing each other and my younger facing me. (Biking With A Baby Post)

The Kickstand:
With the exception of the fall which rattled it out of place, a simple tightening fixed it, we have found it very stable.  I also scraped it up a bit from
use and it caused a bit of rusting, we just lightly sanded off ride and hit with flat back spray paint. 

The Lighting:
Unlike the eBakfiets the Urban Arrow has standing lights if you are stopped and all
Hub generated so no battery replacement. They are nice and bright too. 

The Gears:
The NuVinci N360 is seamless I love it. I never worry about clicking in and out of specific gear I just let it flow to feels comfortable. I love how it visual with the bike person on flat or hills. All cargo bikes need it and really is step up over the ebakfiets.

The Brakes:
Super sturdy rollar brakes have worked really well! I carry no small weight of
child passengers up and down hills. Although if you do splurge on the 2014 higher motor power go for the hydraulic brakes too. It's a nice upgrade together. 

The Wheels:
Bombproof. The schawalbe big apples are not joke.  Not a single complaint. I rode all weather in them with the exception of ice. I think in ice I'd like a studded front tire.

The Motor/E-assist:
It is just enough to get me slowly up big hills and plenty of speed on flats and stretches. It lasts about 50-60 miles per charge on medium/high setting. In winter the cold makes it 30-40 miles per charge. Charging takes a bit but no complaints. I did have an issue with the reader I still don't know why it happened by UA/RO replaced it for me. The assist is now a Bosch and you can upgrade it to a higher motor. I would if you have some bigger hills you are constantly riding or use to a BionX type system. But really the 250 is really just enough.

The Seat:
I still haven't upgraded and it has taken me the whole year of riding postpartum so I think that speaks well.

The Pedals:
Wide and grippy. Wouldn't even bother upgrading them.

The Rear Rack:
ORDER IT. It is a great add on.

The Fenders/Mudflaps:
Did I mention I took it through a mud pit recently? They work excellently. All winter long I had no complaints. They did need slight adjusting when within the first month to stop scrapping front tire.

The Rain Canopy/Flat Cover:
Worked great all winter. The only flaw is it is hard for the kids to see through the grey netting, but then again it is so nice to open the flap for air on certain days I don't want to say it was a total flaw. The flat cover looks great we use it right now to keep rain out.


I highly recommend ownership of this bike, I truly think it is a game changer. Aesthetically there is no two wheeler on the market as modernly beautiful it is winner. The 2014 Urban Arrow's retail for $5300, even at 1k more I'd pay it in a heart beat for this lovely bike.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

"Not the Children" or How Kidical Mass Rode in the Kenzo Kinetic & Had a BLAST!

Marni & I setup the schedule for Kidical Mass Spring rides somewhere in the middle of the snowiest winter we had seen in years. For May we thought about doing a Mother's Day ride but then we thought let's just ride to the Kensington Kinetic Sculpture Derby so we set the date May 17 at the time which seemed an eternity of snowy days away. But this weekend it finally came and it was an amazing time.

Sometime in the last few months I tweeted the KKSD and asked if we could just tag along at the end, they said sure why not so a ride originally planned to ride to KKSD was now putting KM into the parade.  
The bike ride between Manayunk and Kensington is about an hour, we rode the kids through the city and down to Norris Street just off the EL. Taking an hour long car ride is boring, going by bike we transversed our city in and out of nooks and neighborhoods. We interact with people on the streets, at one bus stop in Fishtown a women calls out to me how great the bike was and then goes you could put like 4 kids in there I turn and tell the stop please don't wish 4 kids on me, they erupt in laughter, that just doesn't happen if you are driving in a car.
By the time we got down there a couple other KM families had arrived and I signed us in and hunted about for a couple other families. 

While waiting we were told the Philadelphia Brewing Co. Sculpture would actually be behind us, but in the shuffle we somehow were put  between a school and Neighborhood Bike Works, which made us literally in a mass of kids, so fitting since it was #youthbikeride week! I am sure a lot of drunk Kinetic folks were shocked by all those kids. 

We rode the route which was about 3.3 miles which is the usual amount for KM rides however it was a parade and took about 2 hours to complete the whole route and there are obstacles! The first obstacle was new this year and it was a "Derby Wash", with foam and water spraying, it was great! M was asleep and was woken by foam poor kid was so confused but it was awesome. We rode down Frankford Avenue to cobblestone streets and since we were on regular bikes it was pretty easy peasy. We finally loop around and wait in line for the final challenge a mud pit. I SWORE I WOULD HAVE DIVED OUT BY THIS TIME. But before I knew it all of us parents were riding the kids through. I wound up hopping off and walking my bike through but it was so much fun. I think all the kids agreed mud pits at the end of every KM ride from now on. 

Word got back to me that someone screamed "NOT THE CHILDREN" before we went. YES the children :), mud is their favorite. Also word got back to me so I am making the following statement no we were perfectly safe and we are all pretty smart cookies who ride bikes with kids a lot but thanks for asking/judging. 

NOW next year KM will have to actually compete. I look forward to it. Thank you to KKSD for a wonderful event every year and for letting us participate. We are so grateful. 

PS Some GoPro clips of the event and YES my battery died literally ten seconds before the mud pit! BOO.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Mother's Day Ride

How would one spend a Mother's Day anywhere but on a bike? A quick photo recap of bicycling last weekend :)

We rode MLK down and came across a broken down tandem. My husband stopped to help them and the kids and I waited in some shade up a head. 

My husband caught up to is with my dirty hands helping with a busted chain. Poor couple it was their first ride on the tandem. 

We park-ed and picnic. And then rode home! 

On the way home we came across one of our favorite path regulars who traded in his inline skates for a bike he built together. He pulls two trailers behind him when he has his kids!

We made it home and decided one more bike trip for dinner. I rode my vanmoof and my husband he UA with kids. 

J's like uh you aren't running this thing is they okay?!

No kid hills for this mom on the way home :)

Hope you all had a wonderful Mother's Day! 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014


Update: after several sightings the bike was recovered 5/10/2014! 

A family out in Seattle whom likely have the ONLY Urban Arrow there had it stolen last night (5/6/2014). Please if you come across an ad or someone riding it out there or trying to sell you one that is not an authorized owner/dealer please call the  number below ASAP.

 [Just to clarify this is not my bike but google brings up my blog when you google Urban Arrow and I want to help get this family their beloved bike back]


PS: Just in case the thief googled my blog after stealing some family's bike you are dick, just wanted to personally let you know

Monday, May 5, 2014

ABCs of Family Biking a DC Adventure

Bikemamadelphia and crew were in DC this weekend to check out our southern Kidical Mass friend's ABCs of Family Biking event held at the Montessori School @Logan's parking lot. The location was adjacent to the Union Station area of DC but tucked in an adorable neighborhood and this school had a pretty killer parking lot for the event (although next year KMDC are likely to expand for more room!!) and playground.

We had held prior smaller scale ABCs here in Phily but neither seem to have a really good flow to me, so in the original's third year we went to check it out in person. We drove down in two hours hitting no traffic and found parking easily. We parked in front of the school which was a one way street with a contraflow bike lane! My crew found their way to the really beautiful playground ASAP. As kids who always ride in cargo bikes, a big bike gathering is less then amusing, they see it as nothing but normal so having a really nice playground keeps them going!

The events/demonstrations of the day were divided into a few sections of the parking lot.  When you come into the parking lot on either side there is a sign in station.  The "show-and-tell" area is the main stage if you will where families/bike shops park their bikes for other families to see. Each owner was given a questionnaire with a few questions and names, the owner of the bike is also given a name tag to match. If they feel comfortable allowing their bike to be test rode or to ask questions you just find the matching person.

Two bike shops were there, The Daily Rider & Bicycle Space and a ton of parent owned bikes lined up.

Bicycle Space, also set up a parent's obstacle course that you could use their edgerunners on or your own bike. The Daily Rider, who showed up on a red bullitt choke full of tiny striders for an adorable balance bike race they supported with the help of those shiny striders.

Safe Routes to School the co-organizer of the event is set up at the front as well handing out lots of good biking/walking to school information. Finally, WABA set up a bicycle rodeo for kids on pedal bikes to learn safety skills while biking. They had bikes ready to loan and helmets as well.

Also Kidical Mass DC is fancy and had a documentary in a day crew following her as well as photographers wandering about. SO FANCY.

The day was full of families and I will say edgerunners and bullitts and their ability to be assisted made them the dominating models of family transport in DC. KMDC called it and said she thinks this year is the explosion for DC area families and I believe it. Overall fantastic event.

PS. I got to try a Christiana Trike!! I totally stuck Juniper in it unstrapped at first but she was crawling around to much so I handed her off to my husband and took the bike for a quick spin then my husband rode it the rest of the way for his own try. I would love one if we didn't live on a such a big hill, such a big box space and fun to ride!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Locking Up a Cargo Bike With the Kidical Mass Philly Moms

Marni, my Kidical Mass co-organizer and I created a video for other parents about locking up a cargo bike at your destination. This may seem simple to some but we felt like it can take a while to get use to locking up with kids in tow and a very large bike in the city. This particular video focuses on locking up to a pole, but we plan to do more including how to lock overnight at your own home.

If you have any other ideas for videos we would love to hear them!

The locks used are all ABUS and available from Firth & Wilson (who kindly loaned them to us!)
 in order of use:
  3. ABUS Wheel Lock and Chain


*PS Shout out to Grad School for teaching me basic editing and use of camera

Thursday, May 1, 2014

#OCCUPYStrava & Cycle Philly

All the data APPs!! I find most biking apps are created to put me in constant competition with others or so I know my calorie lost. But that's not why I ride or use apps. I started using Strava recently to map my ride because I felt like my guesses were inaccurate on mileage, average speed and elevation changes. So it is nice to see accurate counts. However the heart rate and health benefits and compeition listings are kind if whatever.  Especially since most people riding are riding bikes lighter then my kids seem silly to compete with. There are no options for adding the weight of cargo/kids etc or why you are riding. So while I will never be KOM (king of the moutain) I bet I'm beating these other local people on weight I'm carrying!! 

Here's the other thing Strava released a map saying hey this is where bicycles are moving so we should look at more infrastructure in these locations. Huh? The app isn't meant for transportation so this is impractical in my opinion. But in an effort to get more data not just moutain bikers or roadies some of us on twitter are occupying Strava! Please join us let Starva know where  people are moving at normal speeds with large cargo loads:

Cycle Philly, is a new app in town sponsored by the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Comminsiom who regularly do bike counts and have permanent counters but wanted to add another layer of data submitted from the users. The app records cyclist biking habits such as route and time traveled, as well as the purpose of the trip. The purpose is my favorite that means us non-work commuters can say "grocery run" or preschool! This data isn't meant to replace Strava or any of the other competition /fitness apps. 

So all you parent bikers get on this App and occupy it as well. ;) 

Free download at