I’ve spent a week now with our Haul a Day, and it has proven to be a terrific cargo bike. It is noticeably more responsive to ride than my Xtracycle, and it is more rigid as well. The other thing that I notice is that the low single frame tube makes it much easier to mount than a regular bike. This fact is actually more significant for a cargo bike than a regular bike. I remember the one time that I almost kicked my daughter in the head when I mounted my Xtracycle with her already sitting on the back.
I’ve been tweaking the bike to fine tune it. Firstly, a set of YNOT pedal straps that I bought over a year ago at the Toronto Bike Show. They are made locally here in Toronto. Perhaps back then I had an inkling that I’d be buying an orange bike?
Next up, fixing my shifter. This is probably relevant to exactly zero% of fellow Haul a Day owners, but I don’t like twist shifters and at the same time I wanted the cargo bars (which are awesome, BTW). This is the shifter as delivered.
I had to move my hands to be able to shift, and it was bugging me, so I tried to move the shifter to the other section of the bar. However, the shape of the shifter housing prevented it from getting anywhere near the corner.
This is the final compromise. In this position, I can shift with my thumb while still having my right hand on the bar, which feels much better.
Next up, making a trip down to Urbane Cyclist to see if some Yuba accessories fit. The first thing I tried was their big bag, but as you can see from this picture, the height of the bag puts the hooks way above the frame rail if the bag is resting on the footrests.
This is how the bag hands if I remove the footrest.
The bag just happens to be orange, and the hooks are perfectly positioned for the bike. I’ll think about it if the cargo capacity of the bike seems too limited.
I didn’t leave empty handed, though. I picked up a soft spot seat pad.
The next thing was to transfer some things from the xtracycle. Before I did that, I discovered that an old pannier cover that I had fits the front basket perfectly.
Transferred over the rear view mirror.
and the taillight. I found on the Xtracycle that it was better not to mount the taillight rigidly as I kept bumping into it, or it would get knocked off.
A bungie cord, stowed around the rear deck.
Now the acid test: the weekly grocery trip. I knew that the Haul a Day would definitely carry less, and you can see here that I can fit two oversize grocery bags on each side. The bungie cord came in handy as well. I didn’t load anything in the front basket this time around.
Just to compare, I reloaded the same load on the Xtracycle, where the bags fit much more comfortably in the black slings. On the Xtracycle, it is easy to get two bags on a side, and it is possible to squeeze a smaller third bag as well.
If I use the front basket on the Haul a Day in addition to the bungie cord for light, bulky items, I should be able to carry about as much. However, I will note that the foot rests on the HaD are not very wide, and this made loading the groceries trickier than on the Xtracycle, where I was used to having the bag rest on the wideloader before having to tighten up the sling. On the other hand, it is just barely possible to get the Xtracycle through a standard door. My ideal would be if the foot rests were about 4″ wider in total width.
The other quirk that I’ve found is that the metal footrests are loud. There is a loud bang whenever I raise the kickstand. I thought I could fix this my putting some handlebar padding on the kickstand, but it still made a (less loud) bang. I never had this issue with the wideloaders since they have a fabric sling rather than a rigid metal deck. I’ll have to figure out a long term solution. The other issue with the rigid footrest deck was that I had my U lock in the rear for a couple of days when I noticed that the fabric of the sling was already showing some near perforations where the corner of the lock was banging through the fabric against the metal footrest. Since then, I’ve put the U lock in the front basket.
However, on balance, my experience with the Haul a Day has been very positive, and I’ll be putting the Xtracycle up for sale soon. Picking up a point from the previous post, with the single, low frame tube, the small diameter tubing on the rear part of the frame, and the frame mounted basket, I like to think of this bike as a Moulton F Frame for a new generation.
Update: a quick comment on Facebook about the kickstand banging on the frame rails gave me an idea, so I wrapped a bunch of inner tube around one of the legs (basically an entire 700C tube).
No more banging for the moment, and this method has the advantage that the padding doesn’t touch the ground when the kickstand is deployed. I’ll work out a more elegant solution at some point.