Got ITchair?

Parts five and beyond of the Beijing diaries are in editorial difficulties. Meanwhile, the Brompton goodness continues with the arrival of the ITchair kid seat for Bromptons. Speedily dispatched from Barcelona via the Spanish Postal Service, it arrived in just ten weeks! Now we can be out the door and on the road to friends, the park, store, school, train station or airport in seconds, without bothering with cumbersome trailers, big seats, straps, locks and all that, because the bike still folds up as handily as ever. checkoutThat’s right, a Brompton well equipped is a kid carrier, a shopping cart, a taxi, carry-on luggage, and a surprisingly decent ride besides.

Son’s initial skepticism dissipated over our first five-mile ride. It’s nice to be able to carry on a quiet conversation with your kid as you explore. He’s in charge of ringing the bell. You do need to ride with your knees somewhat splayed to clear your child’s hips, but it’s not too bad. There’s a video clip of us underway, shot by the estimable Patrick, who also moved recently to Portland from parts south to enjoy the bikey goodness and raise chillun’ and chickens. He also documented my discovery of the ITchair’s alternative, highly ergonimical seat-forward “triathlon training” stealth posture.

Continuing in the oxymoronic vein of conspicuous bicycle consumption, this is the household’s second Brompton. We can now travel anywhere together as a family of three-plus by bike primarily, switching to bus, train, plane, boat or even taxi as required, without missing a beat. Eat your hearts out, giant motorcage slob-slaves, gym memberships and all.
kerb
taborwikeNote dog in front carrier ahead of child. Some percentage of the readership will wonder about my helmetlessness and child’s lack of 5-point restraints, plastic shell, etc. Already in bike-friendly Portland we have been accosted with “you’re gonna get killed!” by a morbidly obese woman quivering her way across a parking lot, clutching a bag of chips.

Bromptons are also trailer-friendly for inclement weather, longer trips around naptime, extra cargo or offspring. Shown here is a Wike; note that the hitch permits the Brompton half-fold while still attached.

20 thoughts on “Got ITchair?”

  • patrick

    I am bursting with pride to have had a hand in such silliness.

    Reply
  • Mike C

    In furtherance of the “making-a-Brompton-even-more-insanely-useful” theme, if you have the chance, would you please post some close-ups of how you got the Reelights to a) work and b) co-exist with the folding & hub gear et al? Thanks…

    Reply
  • Todd

    Sure thing, Mike: Reelights on a Brompton. I got mine through Jim at Hiawatha Cyclery. For them what don’t know, these are quite bright LED blinkies that run without batteries or wires and truly negligible resistance — a hand-spun wheel continues to spin for over a minute, blinking away. My only little beef with them is that if you set the gap close for max brightness, the passing magnets can induce a little twanging noise in the light steel mount arms within certain speed ranges. It’s not bad, but silent would be better.

    Reply
  • spambait11

    Hi Todd,

    I contacted you before on BikeForums about attaching a Wike to a Brompton. Thanks for showing pictures of what it looks like with the rear wheel folded. Also, the ITchair looks great! Thanks for spreading the word.

    Reply
  • Mike C

    … and thanks for the Reelight pix. Now that you’ve shown how they can be made to work on a B, I gotta call Jim and order some. Thanks again!

    Reply
  • Carolyn

    Does Karl really like the itChair? Does it offer him much more space than the Bobike?

    I met you guys in SF a while ago, I have a pink cruiser and I’m still riding around with Cooper in the front Bobike, never thought it would last this long.

    I’m surprised we didn’t see you in Beijing, Cooper and I were there in April too.

    Reply
  • Martina

    Hi Carolyn,
    This Martina, Todd’s Wife… yes, Carl has an itChair and he loves it: he feels like a little pilot because he can see the street ahead of him and you can actually have a conversation with him while riding. I know that Todd loves to transport Carl this way — sometime he seems to prefer it over our big bikes. After some concerns and fiddling how to get Carl best on the seat, I am also comfortable with it.
    The only thing is that there is absolutely no snoozing on the itChair since there is no safety harness.

    Reply
  • fred

    Todd, seeing this set of posts made me ponder… Are you familiar with the method of teaching
    a youngster to ride on two wheels, without resorting to training wheels? I saw the information
    in a magazine literally decades ago and it just doesn’t seem to propagate, but it is very
    successful in my experience. There is one explanation at
    http://www.bikehash.freeservers.com/learn.html, although the site is loaded with pop-ups.
    A similar method is presented at http://www.ibike.org/education/teaching-kids.htm

    Perhaps your youngsters are beyond this stage, but others may benefit.

    Reply
  • Martina

    Hi… Martina again… to Fred’s point:
    We got Carl a like-a-bike — that’s is a little wooden bike without pedals.
    While Carl didn’t feel comfortable with it last year (he just turned 3) he is now coasting up and down the street balancing on 2 wheels or pushing himself with his feet. He prefers it his trike and the scooter.
    Hanging out with some parents in our neighborhood, we concluded that you could probably use a kid-size bike frame with removed pedals to teach your child to balance. Might be a cheaper alternative than the pricey original like-a-bikes, but the l-a-b has advantages when your kid crashes, since it’s all smooth wood. Another option are copy cat versions that are available in Germany — I saw some on my last visit in November!

    Reply
  • fred

    martina, that’s a great product. I think I might have seen photos of it in my “travels”.
    least two of my neighbors have used the “remove pedals, lower seat” method with great success.
    One child was seven years old and it took him three days, another was only three and she
    managed in about an hour.

    Reply
  • Carolyn

    Hi Martina, Cooper’s in a front Bobike so we don’t gain anything that way. Unfortunately, he still falls asleep, so I guess itChair won’t work right now. I’d hate to have him topple onto the street. How much bigger do you think Carl can be and still like the itChair? And are the small wheels of Brompton a problem for longer commutes, hills, or other things?

    Reply
  • Todd

    Hi Carolyn! I think Carl will be OK with the itChair until he’s 5 at least — hard to say. There are photos of some much larger kids on it at the itChair site: http://itchair.info/ , all in Flash regrettably. See the ”fotos” section. I think the lack of obvious support for snoozing tends to keep the kid awake, and in the worst case you’ll feel any slumping into your arms as it happens.

    The only place the Brompton is at a clear disadvantage versus big-wheel bikes is on irregular pavement, potholes, rails, pavement seams, etc. — it just doesn’t track well over them. Forget offroad. Comes in models with decently wide-range gearing, adequate for San Francisco even. Many people find the handing squirrelly; it does take some getting used to, but long ago I learned to like it, and would now describe the handling as quick and precise, great for interacting with traffic as the small wheels make acceleration quick.

    I’m working on a ”flying dismount” whereby I hop off the thing as I’m operating the front brake only and tip it, so the rear wheel tucks under from the residual momentum, and we continue pushing it half-folded without any break.

    Reply
  • Martina

    I am using the Brompton for 1.5 years now and I agree with about the handling and all… I use it for errants and short to medium long trips. I like the “foldability” whick allows me to drag it everywhere although I am a little bit more hesitant to take in shops and restaurants than Todd is.
    There are a few things I like/hate that have a very female perspective:
    Love: You can ride a Brommy in nearly every skirt… you just have to adjust the seat hight
    Love: You can ride it in flip-flops, heels etc. without feeling ridiculous
    Hate: Carrying it, I often ram a pedal in my calf — wish there would be a designated “handle”
    Hate: Sometimes you can look downrght pitiful when you make an error in the folding/unfolding sequence and your bike looks like it was hit by a truck…you will get some comments on that one…but then you zoom by those nay-sayers a few seconds later!
    But overall, I love my little clown bike!

    Reply
  • natan

    hi Todd,

    in search for a sollution to my brompton-kid-transporting-problem, I found my way on to your blog.
    I recently ordered me a brompton for commuting reasons and was wondering if I could use the
    ITchair in combo with the sport option (straight bars). as you have one, what do you think
    about this? if not, maybe I could still change the order… as I always ride a mtb,
    it just feels more natural for me. what do they charge for the ITchair?

    Reply
  • Carolyn

    Did you buy the itchair from bike-tech in Barcelona, or one of the other dealers? Did you have to call or was email sufficient? No hablo espanol, will that be a problem?

    I got a Brompton today…woo-hoo!

    Reply
  • Todd

    Natan, I think it could work; not sure, I don’t think it would be as comfortable, though. Note that the M bars orient your wrists the same as straight bars; height is the only difference. itchair cost was something like $200. i figure it paid for itself in the first week.

    Carolyn, I emailed in English to the (Dutch) guy in Barcelona. Spanish? Don’t let any Catalan nationalists hear you! Congrats on Brommie.

    Reply
  • [...] Remember ITchair? It’s been wonderful, but son wants to pedal. He’s not big enough yet for a trail-a-bike, and can’t keep up on a bike of his own. So how about I remove the footpegs and hook up some stoker cranks? I wasn’t sure it would work when I ordered the parts, but I had to try. It was a snap! [...]

    Reply
  • [...] Via: Cleverchimp blog Remember ITchair? Itââ?¬â?¢s been wonderful, but son wants to pedal. Heââ?¬â?¢s not big enough yet for a trail-a-bike/tag-along, and canââ?¬â?¢t keep up on a bike of his own. So how about I remove the footpegs and hook up some stoker cranks? I wasnââ?¬â?¢t sure it would work when I ordered the parts, but I had to try. It was a snap! It works pretty much like Stokemonkey, only children are much more expensive, much noisier, and nowhere near as powerful: [...]

    Reply
  • Bruce A. Wilson
    Bruce A. Wilson January 23, 2008 at 2:45 am

    My folder is a Montague Paratrooper, which is a full-sized mountain bike that folds up. Not nearly as neat as your Brompton, but it gets fewer funny looks when I'm out riding. And it will go offroad if necessary.

    Reply
  • Olha

    Hi, this is now a year past your discussion. Found it in search of an Itchair, seems like the company making them went out of business. Do you happen to sell yours used by any chance?

    Reply
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