Friday, February 12, 2016

CETMA Afternoon

We got to borrow the Tandem Bike Cafe CETMA for an afternoon!

Our Yuba Mundo shifters have been giving us some trouble for a while now so we finally took them in to Clint at Tandem Bike Cafe to figure out what was going on. He thought the internal mechanism was broken or missing some teeth from a gear, so they need to be replaced. We'd brought Bronte to the shop on the Yuba & I rode my "pretty bike", which carries only one person. Bronte needed her afternoon nap & we also had to pick up Linnaeus from school, so Clint offered to loan us his CETMA cargo bike for the afternoon.

I was pretty excited, I have to admit. I've test ridden Clint's CETMA Margo before, but only a few blocks. This time I got to ride it a few km home & then up to Linny's school, then back to Tandem again. The bike is about the same length as our Yuba Mundo, but handles very differently.

It's hard to get a selfie with a 9-foot-long bike
The Yuba feels more or less like a regular bike, but the CETMA rides differently for a few reasons. It has a small front wheel, which makes steering a bit twitchy at slow speeds, particularly starting from a stop. Also, the front wheel isn't directly under the handlebars like on most bikes, it has a long bar that connects the head tube with the front wheel: linkage steering. This makes the steering feel very slightly slower somehow. You can't see your front wheel with the big box in front, though that's the same as with the Yuba, as the Bread Basket obscures my view of the front wheel too.

A big advantage to the CETMA is whatever you load it with--in this case, one five-year-old--rides low in the box, which means it's actually more stable under load. When I use the Yuba GoGetter bags, they're a little higher up on the bike & the kids sit up on the rack, so with passengers, the centre of gravity is a lot higher.

I managed the hill up to Linny's school--it's a 41m elevation gain over 4km, so not steep, but a long haul--without trouble. The CETMA empty felt about the same as our Yuba with Linny on it. The gear range of the internal 7 (or 8?) speed hub is comparable to the Yuba, but the bike weighs a good 30 pounds more, mainly because of the wooden box & rain cover.

It rained a little for the ride up there, but because of the Blaqpaq rain cover acting like a faring, my legs stayed dry. When I got into the schoolyard to pick Linny up, I was surrounded by parents looking at the bike & asking questions. Quite a few families bike to school there, but only a couple are cargo bikers & they have longtails or midtails, nobody has a bakfiets like the CETMA.

Once I picked up Linny & he climbed into the box, we zipped downhill back to Tandem to return the CETMA & pick up the Yuba. Having a box bike for an afternoon definitely makes me certain that I want one. We're going to have to find the money somewhere this year, I think. I got to test out Clint's newest bakfiets, a Metrofiets, a few days later--I'll write about that one soon too.

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  1. Looks like a great ride! I don't have a little one to fit in there but I'd love to try one of those out. Heck, I wish I could sit back and relax inside while someone peddled me around :)

    1. I've ridden on the back of our Yuba Mundo longtail a few times--we'll often take just that on date nights--& it's pretty sweet. I imagine it'd feel quite different being lower in the box like in a CETMA. A CETMA Largo with a pillow or two & you could probably curl up for a nap in there!

  2. And they are made in LA by the fantastic Lane Kagay. Coolest feature is that you can take a part the frame to fit it into a car if you need to take it in for repair. One of my favourites when looking at front loading cargo bikes.

    1. YES! This is why a CETMA is one of the top contenders for us too. We could potentially travel with it a lot easier. I need to write a full review sometime, & actually try taking one apart myself.


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