My work commute consists of 10 steps through my house, to my home office. Plus, I do not have children. Still, I find myself jonesing for the Cascade Flyer, a bike that is a commuter-cargo-tandem-kid-carrying hybrid and the brainchild of Portland, Oregon-based bike builder Alistair Williamson.
There, I said it. If that makes me seem like a childless person inexplicably pining for a minivan, fine. If a minivan could fit on a bus bike rack, if it could easily be carried up the front stairs into my house, if it had a Brooks saddle and a highly functional rack, then I’d probably want a minivan.
For Williamson, who launched Kinn (a take on kin and kinetic) Bikes in 2012, the Cascade Flyer solves a perplexing problem. "I have grandkids and they’re only around a day or two a week," he says. "If someone called me at work and asked me to pick up Max at daycare, I would have had to ride home, get in my car, and then go get him. Now, I can go straight to him."
Purpose-built cargo or "longtail" bikes, such as those made by Xtracycle, are markedly longer than conventional bikes. This adds stability and strength and accommodates more cargo carrier options. The downside of a longtail is that it’s difficult to haul up stairs and impossible to stick in a conventional rack, such as those on city buses.