Washington D.C. Bunch Ambassador Lelac Almagor gives a guided tour of her essential Bunch Biking accessories
Our Tricked-Out Bunch Bike
By: Lelac Almagor August 13th, 2020
One thing we’ve learned from our Bunch life so far is that a giant tricycle is definitely a conversation starter! We get lots of questions and comments, plus the occasional admiring whistle.
My standard response is, “Thanks, it’s our minivan!” In the context of American car culture, that’s the quickest way to explain that the Bunch is not just a fancy toy or funny-looking tech gizmo. It’s our home base. It’s our wheels. It’s how we get to school, get groceries, and get out of the house for a spin. It’s where we keep our diaper bag, plastic potty, extra wipes, change of clothes, soccer ball, water bottles, rain gear, and favorite sticks.
Because it’s central to our lifestyle, we’ve tricked it out with a bunch (!) of accessories that make it work even better for us. Here’s a guided tour of what we’ve got, organized from smallest to largest. (I did try at first to sort them in order of importance… but it was too hard, because at this point all of them seem indispensable!)
We tried three or four different drink-carrier configurations; this was the simplest, but also the most effective. It stays in place with no fuss and easily holds a big water bottle in the summer, a travel mug of hot tea in winter. Mounted where the handlebars meet the box, it’s at perfect “sip and ride” height for me. We’re thinking of adding a second bag on the other side for the kids’ water bottle.
I started with a $12 mount from Amazon. It worked… sort of… for two or three miles, then the bolt would come loose and the phone would start wobbling and spinning like a gyroscope. Not super helpful for the GPS directions that I personally can’t really live without. I would stop and tighten it and it would work great for a few more miles… then we’d go over a bump and the phone would whip up and down and pop halfway out of the elastic harness and I’d have to pull over and start again.
This one just works. It slides open, the phone pops in easily, and then it stays firmly in place. It’s simple but magical. Worth the price.
Plastic Hello Kitty purse
I don’t have a link for this one because it was purchased in Tokyo sometime in the early 1980s… but I’m pretty sure any handbag or purse you find at the thrift shop or in the back of your closet will work just as well. The strap is wrapped around the handlebars and then zip tied; I toss in my keys while I’m riding as well as odds and ends like lip balm or the extra mask I offered to drop off at a friend’s house. This is also where I keep the plastic bag, below.
A plastic bag and two binder clips
We own and love the full-scale rain cover, but I only use it when there’s serious weather in the forecast. If I need to leave the bike parked outside for the whole day, but I think there might be afternoon showers, I clip this plastic bag over the e-assist display just in case. That’s because I learned the hard way in my first few weeks of Bunching that if it gets unexpectedly soaked in a downpour, I may have to wait for it to dry before I can start up my bike and get back home!
Long enough to reach most rack configurations easily; strong enough to deter theft even in DC, also known as Bike Theft Central. Easy to loop through the kid’s bike as well. Comes with Kryptonite's reassuring bike-replacement guarantee if you can prove a thief did get through it, though we also added the Bunch to our home insurance in case of any other form of loss.
These are a must have. First of all, they turn the bike into an adorable covered wagon so that we can pretend we’re crossing the prairie and the oxen are our e-assist. (: Secondly, they’re what makes the Bunch our primary everyday all-weather transportation. The rain cover keeps the kids totally dry and comfortable even in seriously stormy weather; both of mine have come to love dreamily watching the rain slide down the clear sides. On very cold days, even if it’s dry, the tent traps heat and makes a cozy shelter from the wind.
We keep the rain cover folded up under the bench seat so it’s always available. We leave the poles at home in nice weather, but they stay on the bike if rain is in the forecast and also all the way through the fall and winter. When the tent is stowed, the poles do rattle a little, making the bike noisier than usual, but that’s a fair price to pay for riding around ready for any weather.
I know some families swear by the sunshade as well. I sewed one for our bike, but I personally never use it because it blocks my view of both the kids and the road more than I'd like. We just slather on the sunscreen instead. Our neighborhood also has decent tree cover; I might make a different call if we were out in full sun more often.
Of course, while the kids are snuggled up peacefully in the box on rainy days, I’m out there sweating and splashing. I already owned a raincoat, but I learned that on the bike, my legs are wayyyyy more exposed.
These decent, not-too-expensive rain pants are perfect. I snap them on over whatever I’m wearing to work -- including skirts and dresses, which I just bunch up ungracefully in the back -- pull on the rain shoes, toss my cute workplace shoes under the rain tent, and splash cheerfully through my commute. When I arrive, all the wet stuff gets peeled off and draped over a chair to dry and I look like a normal person… or at least a dry and normally dressed person… until it’s time to head home again.
We ordered this seat when we bought our Bunch, when our younger son was six months old. It fit him fine but wasn’t reclined enough for that age. That baby is now a very tall one-and-a-half-year-old, and the seat still fits him so comfortably that it’s by far his favorite nap location. If we ever have another baby, I’ll probably want to start with the infant seat, but for six months and up, the toddler seat is a solid long-term investment.
This keeps the entire bike, including electronic components, seats, and cargo, clean and dry in any weather. I also use it when I need to park for a long time in a less-secure location, to discourage curiosity. Easy on/off and fits in a small (included) tote bag that goes under the seat when it’s not in use.
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