July 9, 2010

So About These Crazy Taiwanese Family Bikes


DT reader and family bikespotter Simon reports from Irvine:

I live in family housing on a university campus, and I had seen this thing [like the white one up top] around the corner from my place for a while. I finally met the dad who owns it at the playground, and he said his father-in-law brought it back from Taiwan.
Holy smokes, people, look at this thing:


Oh, I forgot Simon's last sentence: "It folds up and everything!"

Here's a picture from a Yahoo.com.tw auction of a similar bike, folded to the size of a water bottle:


Or maybe I'm not translating it right. After a month of intermittent surfing through the Taiwanese web, I can't figure out much of anything beyond the jumbled Google Translation:

親子單車, qīnzǐ dānchē, is family bicycle [literally parent-child bike], but so is 子母單車, zǐ mǔ dānchē [child-mother bike, which Google hilariously translates as Dutch Lady, because it's also a brand of milk.] If you search just for 親子車, you see that though most don't fold, this style of family bike, with a kid seat low and in between you and the handlebars. And flickr shows that dads are just as likely as moms to ride them.

Ozo.com.tw is a bike sales platform, not a store. The seller of these bikes is in Kaohsiung.

I thought it would have been simply a matter of looking up the manufacturer, assuming that's what's painted half a dozen times on the bike frame itself. And sure enough, the same Kaohsiung seller is also operating a baby gear store on Pchome.com, a merchant site like Yahoo Stores or Rakuten, with Cheuan Yuh on their banner [google translate]. But it's called 淘氣寶貝, Táoqì Bǎobèi, Naughty Baby. OK.

If Ozo's $3200-4000 TWD, which is like $100-125 somehow, is too much for you, I guess you can get some friends together and order a 6-pack from Pchome for $2700 each. So not only are these bikes awesome and fit in your pocket--or at least your trunk--they are also practically free. What am I missing here?

1253-全新20吋親子單車~子母單車~2009新款示~單車可折疊~SHIMANO 7段變速~超亮麗款示~多種選擇, $3200 TWD [ozo.com.tw]
1253 - New 20-inch bicycle child bicycle ~ LASH new show ~ ~ 2009 ~ SHIMANO 7 folding bicycle variable transmission [google translate]
1222 全新20吋親子車~子母車~2009新款示~可折疊~變速~現貨熱賣 [pchome.com.tw/cheuanyuh, google translate]


These look highly uncomfortable to ride on. To allow enough room for the kid, you'd have to push your knees out quite a bit, which gets very uncomfortable very quickly. I actually bought a new, larger and longer bike to ride my son, so he was *further* away to the front, rather than as close as is pictured on these bikes.

I remember that there were child seats that looked old in the 1980ies, which were basically just a further saddle mounted on the horizontal tube of a men's bike. Seems simpler and less expensive than the above solution/abomination. But exactly as insecure.

There seem to be a number of solutions that put the kid between the adult rider and the handlebars. Where do the adult's knees go?

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