Thorn Me'n'U2 update

I’ve changed the handlebars to a cheap copy of the Jones loop bar:

On-One Geoff Handlebar,

Definitely much more comfortable for me. Also there are lots of alternative places to put my hands:

  • Near the ends for an upright position
  • Crossbar near the stem
  • On the loop at the front for a lower position

The friction brake control won’t go on as its bracket is designed to slide on over the end of the bars. I’ll work out a way round that once I’ve decided exactly where it needs to go.

Still love the bike, and so do the kids!

Thorn Me’n’U2 tandem triplet review

I’ve had the Me’n’U2 for a few weeks now, so time for a review.

As I’ve mentioned before one key reason for buying the bike was Robin Thorn’s huge enthusiasm for it. Another key reason was the first rule of boat owning – you’ve got to like the look of the thing regardless of how practical it is.

Overall the bike does the job very well. The kids love it – they feel secure and enjoy riding it. At this time of year (late November in the UK) it is hard to get opportunities to get the kids outside and exercised; this bike makes it easier. It can also replace car travel to some extent.

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Arkana tulip table repair

We’ve got an Arkana tulip table. Nice thing – very second hand and a bit battered but practical and nice to look at.

However there isn’t much structure in it – the skin is the only thing holding it together and that is just plastic – no fibreglass reinforcement. This obviously works – the table has lasted around 50 years – but in the summer the base cracked. When this happens it isn’t obvious – there is a loud noise but the table remains mostly stable and it was a while before we found the crack.

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Oar repair

The oars supplied with the Wanderer (Custard) are 6′ long. Much too short for good rowing but easy to stow and thus fast to access. As described elsewhere fast access turns out to be the most important requirement for oars – for fendering off and close manoeuvering when things go wrong.

I have another set of oars supplied with the green boat (Owl). These are 6′ 6″ but I haven’t used them much:

  • They are too long for the low gunnels and high thwart of Owl – it is hard to get the blades out of the water.
  • The handle of one is damaged.

However they are a very good fit into Custard and the extra 6″ will help with rowing. So a bit of tidying up was in order.

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Kids to school by bike

We’re all aware of the climate emergency and the need for things to change. One thing I’d like to do is use bikes more. The round trip to school twice a day uses a gallon of petrol a day, plus the short journey isn’t great for the car.

My car is on 90,000 miles now so will need to be replaced sometime. With a bit of luck it will go on for a long time yet. Hopefully it will be replaced by an electric car. However:

  • I can’t afford an electric car
  • The range is ok, but charging away from home is a problem
  • Very few electric cars can legally tow a trailer
  • It seems very inefficient to carry around over a tonne of stuff to transport 150kgs of people a short distance.

EBikes sound like a much more optimal design and would be a huge help on the hills round here. But I’m getting ahead of myself – let’s start on the bike.

School is around 8 miles away and it is uphill most of the way there. That’s actually ok – getting the kids out of the house an hour earlier to cycle to school isn’t going to happen, so we’re only looking at cycling home from school which is mostly downhill. Much easier.

I’ve got two kids and not much money so what are the options for moving them around?

The requirements are:

  • Low cost
  • Kids should be pedalling – I don’t want a cargo bike or trailer – as otherwise they’ll get bored
  • Able to climb steep hills (they are really steep round here)
  • Safe coming down the hills (ditto)
  • Fun!
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