4th of July Parade on the Madsen Cargo Bike with Bubble Machine

This summer we decided to be part of a 4th of July parade in Vermont.  This particular parade was rather artsy, so we really didn't know how to decorate ourselves.  There were so many options.  We decided to go as Uncle Sam transporting his two kids by bicycle, decorating the bike with flags and toting along a bubble machine.

Here is a photo and a couple of videos (below) of riding in the parade in the Madsen Kg271 Bucket Bike.  Uncle Sam riding a cargo bike ended up being a great effect! 

It was a blast!  We had a bubble machine in the bucket that the kids could play with.  The machine was a Gazillion Bubble Typhoon and produced a crazy amount of bubbles with the right bubble solution (their proprietary blend).  It literally made thousands of bubbles every minute, and the light breeze was perfect to take the bubbles high up into the air.  The entire parade route was around a mile long, so we would turn it on when we saw the crowds.   We ended up just leaving it on after a while.  It got a little much when we stopped, which was often being in a parade, so we had to keep moving to keep the bubbles away from us.

There were thousands of people cheering us on.  People of all ages thought the bike was cool, and the kids loved the attention.  Many had said they'd never seen anything like it.  Some people asked if it was a custom-built bike, but we kept saying we bought it this way directly from Madsen.  Often, people in the crowds were yelling how enthused they were about our choice of transportation.  We were too!  Our friends who live in Vermont told us we should ride in the parade every year since many of their friends and people in the crowds were talking about us.  We had no idea.

Here are a couple of video clips of riding in the parade:

In the video one can see that our front rack is now installed.   At first, installing the rack was a little more difficult than expected, but Jared Madsen gave me a call to talk me through the process.  Yes, Jared himself!  I was thrilled to have the owner of this great bike company walk me through this.  Once I knew how to do it, it wasn't as bad as it seemed.  What great customer service!

Although it may be hard to tell here, the larger 44 tooth front chain ring is also installed (the bicycle ships with 2 chain rings).  This larger chain ring provides a higher end speed, compromising on low end hauling power.  Most of our commuting is done on relatively flat roads with only a few hills, so the larger chain ring made sense.  It helps a lot on slight declines where we want to ride faster.  It was a simple installation.

To transport the bike up to the parade we put it up on the roof of our car with a Thule bike rack built for tandem bicycles.  It has a pivoting front end.  All we had to do was take the front wheel (and fender) off, tighten the front fork in the fastener, and then pivot the rear of the bike onto the rack.  All quite simple.  I did take the bucket off the back of the bike, which made it more aerodynamic for highway travel.  The bucket came off easily with three bolts, but I did have a little difficulty putting it back on.  The bolt used to connect the top part of the bucket was rather difficult to thread (one couldn't see the connection and had to do it by feel), so I just found another bolt and nut that fit.  It will make future transport quicker and easier.  I could have continued to use the original bolt, but it was simpler using a traditional bolt and nut combo.

Our Thule Tandem Pivoting bike rack itself is not the latest version (we luckily found a used one on Craigslist), but here is a link to a rack very similar to ours, the latest one made by Thule:

Thule Tandem Carrier 558p


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