Front Racks. Metal.

Amazing. Pic from the FANTASTIC tumblr blog Fuck Yeah Weird Bikes

I like cargo. I like racks. I like Porteur Racks. Those are those large-ish, flat racks one sees mounted on more and more handlebars and forks these days. I think a good porteur rack can turn almost any bike into a light cargo machine. A porteur rack, a tote bag and a bungee chord can be a pretty simple alternative to a full-on rear rack and panniers set-up for a commuter as well.

Really, 90% of what I have used my porteur rack for could have been done by a basket for a fraction of the cost in cash and weight. But that remaining 10% has been a blast! The flatbed profile of a porteur rack means that you are free to pick up a wider variety of cargo during your day. More spontaneous ground scores and yard sale finds can come home with you!

Sorry for the pic. I mean, the bike looks hot but the rack could be more conspicuously framed. I’ll get a better one soon!

I recently added a Velo Orange Porteur Rack, (shiny stainless steel, with rails!) to Wheelio and am super happy with it. Visually, it brings the whole bike together and it is such a relief to have somewhere to toss a layer at a red light or stash the speakers where I can get to them easily.

Who is that working on my bike?

Actually, Kellen installed it at Free Range. I’d tried to install the rack in the driveway of my apartment building sometime between midnight and one the previous morning and made a bit of a mess of the front brake before I had to give up. I hereby swear to no longer attempt substantial maintenance work on my kid hauling bikes away from proper tools and small parts bins. Part of Pedal Parenting is coming to terms with the fact that you can’t afford to have that bike out commission for even a day sometimes.

So I got to bring my bike to the shop and be a customer. It was fun! Even if it meant Little asking me again and again,

Is that man fixing Wheelio?

You gonna help him?

Can we help him fix it?

Free Range Cycles, in Fremont, is definitely one of my favorite shops in the city. The bikes and accessories are lovely and so abundant! Visiting Free Range always teaches me something or gives me a chance to drool over bikes and accessories I’d otherwise only fussed over online. Also, owner Kathleen is one of the most honest and kind folks I’ve met in bikes. Really a fine person to know.

Shop there.

Big box. Small Bungee. It went fine.

I also reinstalled the Cetma rack on Buddy, the Bridgestone RB-T. This time I used Nitto Promenade bars, rather than the Soma Sparrows I’d tried last month. What a difference! I prefer to ride fully swept back bars, with my wrists facing inward, like pushing a wheelbarrow. My favorite bars are still the Nitto Albatross, but the Promenades work great for the application, a little sportier and a little more squared off.

WHOA! That was nerdy! But handlebars are important! Have I mentioned that I love the cockpit? I love handlebars, levers, grips and bells. That stuff. Maybe that’s part of why I like front loads? By virtue of coming into reach from the saddle, the basket or rack becomes part of the pilot’s cockpit.

This brings up one of the comforting things about carrying a child in a front mounted seat.

Wheelio, Day One. That Cetma rack has gotten around.

When Little Oil sat between my arms it was like we were piloting the bike together. I liked that. Until she started actually manipulating the levers while we were riding. That wasn’t so good.

Anyway, I am happy to have Porteur racks back on those two bikes. And I’m happy to have you to tell about it. Thanks for reading, Nice People!