Madsen Cycles Our Story On a Bike & Review

by farrah on March 14, 2013 · 13 comments

Way back before we moved I learned about Madsen Cycles and cargo bikes through an email I received from a Madsen customer. We both had commented on a review blog about a different bike- and the passionate owner of a Madsen wanted to let me know just how awesome HER bike was since I was obviously shopping around for something similar.

Madsen Cycles bike with kids

As soon as I read her email I knew I was onto something good. This person didn’t know me, didn’t work for Madsen- but was simply another owner and loved her ride. If I was looking for a bike to tote around the kidlets in the mother of all bicycling cultures- then a Madsen was most certainly what I needed.

I learned about the company. I learned about the bikes. I researched their website, Facebook page and even called Jared the creator of the company himself. I had to have this bike. For starters, they are gorgeous bikes- but not in a flamboyant way. The pure function of the bike is what gets all of the attention- and let me tell you, riding the Madsen around our little village in the Netherlands has proven to be the ultimate test track.

As you know, I have 3 boys ages 2, 2, and 4. We have gone down to 1 car (not a minivan) and during the winter my husband is the one that takes that most days which leaves me to get the boys to school on our own. The school itself isn’t far- in fact it’s only about six blocks or so- but on the rare occasion that I do get time to myself (2 days a week) I drop them off and head to the city center for some shopping. It isn’t far, but walking back and forth sure would cut into my ‘free’ time- thus I like to bike them to school and then head straight downtown.

Madsen Cycles cargo bike

The 40 gallon cargo bucket has two cushioned benches and four sets of belt straps. I put the twins on one side and typically B on the bench at my back. Once the helmets are on, we are ready to ride. I’ll be honest- the kids are heavy. B just got a sweet ride of his own for his birthday last month- so once he is 100% on that I just have the twins to cart around. I am looking forward to losing the 45lbs or so once he’s out of the bucket.

I am not such a seasoned rider that I ride to school in the snow and ice. Unfortunately we do not have the heated bike paths that the neighboring city has- and people don’t all shovel their walks nor does the city plow very well. I cannot wait for the spring days that I am free to ride without the encumbrance of these temps! I have taken it out a few times though- sans kids, and feel pretty comfortable. I’ve been riding it now for about 4 months so although I am comfortable myself, I still don’t feel safe enough to bring the kids along when it’s icy. Thankfully though- there have been a few sunny and dry days to cruise around our (very flat) area- so they sit back and enjoy!

Madsen Cycles cargo bike with kids

Besides making you the coolest mom on the block, it’s also going to make you the most IN SHAPE mom in the neighborhood. I was never one to enjoy paying a gym membership fee- so this lifestyle is perfect for me. In Europe so many things are accessible by bike- so it might be difficult to head to the market on your Madsen if you aren’t a city dweller… but that shouldn’t stop you from biking around the park or anywhere else. Heck- if you’re close enough to Target I say go for it. The bucket is big enough for all of the treasures you can find there!

Biking in The Netherlands is serious business- in essence it’s a way of life and part of the Dutch culture. I am so taken with this lifestyle that I would love to think that upon our return to the states we remain a biking family. It’s something we can always do together and enjoy the outdoors as well. I’m so glad that we went with a Madsen- I rely upon it every day and absolutely love cruising around town in this vs. a minivan!

Do I recommend this bike? Are you kidding?! I love it and wish everyone had the chance to own one. I envision a healthier country if more of us rode bikes from point A to point B more often.

Things you should know:

Jared has a video here to explain the bike himself.

The seat has great cushion for my tush, but from reading some other reviews I learned that the gears and breaks aren’t the highest-end accessories out there. There are fantastic close up photos here for you to check everything out.

It comes equipped with a front wheel lock and two keys for theft prevention (although I suggest a quality chain lock in addition to that).

This bike is heavy and unwieldy until you get used to it. It weighs about 100lbs which if you have to lift it in and over to store- is something to think about. It’s not an off road, mountain bike either. I think that should be pretty obvious- but just in case– I’m throwing it out there.

There isn’t a rain cover just yet for the kidlets. I am really sad about this- as there are times when that could have come in very useful!

This bike is pricey. But when you think of it in relation to the cost of a car? Not so much and you’re never paying for gas!

You can choose your color from black, yellow or blue. I would have gone with blue but I didn’t want to be TOO much of a spectacle in our new home country.

House Hunters update:

hhi3

Our Madsen plays a starring role in our House Hunters International episode which I think will be airing in the coming weeks (still haven’t heard a date yet). We filmed riding it in our old neighborhood in South Carolina as well as our new home here in Oisterwijk. I was recently contacted by post production and they asked for some more photos so that has to mean it’s getting close! Stay tuned- when I know I’ll be sure to update.

CONNECT with Madsen on Facebook and Twitter

Click HERE to see all of the bike specs.

Click HERE to shop Madsen now!

 

UPDATE 12/30/13: I see that this post is getting a lot of traffic due to their holiday bike sale and people are interested in hearing about the bike. Well, here we are- over a year later and still digging our Madsen. My kids are now (almost) 5, 3 & 3 and we ride daily. There have not been any issues with the bike- and the seat is still in perfect condition. I’m never sore and I have really gotten a hang of the balance and the bike. I still think this is the greatest thing we’ve ever done for our family- switching to a bike vs. a car- and can’t say enough how much I love it. Madsen doesn’t pay me or ask me to tout their bikes- I do it because I believe in them, their company and their bikes. Not that many products I can say that about these days. Feel free to email me if you have any questions.

 

 Disclosure-I purchased our Madsen at a discount. All thoughts, words and opinions are my own. Thanks to Jared again! We love our bike!

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Danielle March 14, 2013 at 10:22 am

I love it and might have to contemplate getting one myself. We live close to the village and I’m always walking the girls in, but biking seems like it’d be more fun. I was speaking with a couple from Berlin recently and they said they got their kids everywhere on a bike with a basket. I wonder if it was a Madsen? Great review and post. Thanks for sharing. Love the pics! Can’t wait for HHI 🙂

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2 farrah March 14, 2013 at 10:25 am

The Madsen is a US bike- they’re made in Utah and don’t ship overseas (well, we shipped ours, but you know what I mean 🙂 ) Over here, there are 2 very prominent brands that Jared actually used as models for his bike. I wonder if it’s either of those? You see them all over Amsterdam and everywhere else!

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3 CK March 14, 2013 at 11:58 am

Nice ride! We were car-less (also bike-less) while living in Switzerland, so the bike and bucket would have come in handy… if it wasn’t so vertical where we lived! ;-). Although I did see people with something similar and amazed by those who could pedal up the steep hills.

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4 farrah March 14, 2013 at 2:33 pm

I give major props to the people that ride up the hills! No wonder people here are so skinny!!!

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5 Leighann March 19, 2013 at 1:18 pm

THAT BIKE IS INCREDIBLE!
It looks very heavy but what a way to travel!

Keep us posted on the episode!

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6 Jen March 23, 2013 at 4:25 am

If only. One day I’ll live somewhere that is suitable for a bakfiets!

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7 Laura August 16, 2013 at 10:54 am

I love that you brought a Madsen over here. We are stationed in Germany and I ride an Xtracycle. Wish I could get a Madsen since we are expecting another baby. I love The Netherlands, and Europe 🙂

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8 farrah August 19, 2013 at 7:07 am

Me too Laura! We totally brought it- I kept making sure our air freight would have enough weight left 🙂 They have bakfiets there too- yes? I die when I see a mom biking with her child + infant car seat in the bakfiets- it’s just so awesome 🙂

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9 Laura August 19, 2013 at 8:11 am

We do have bakfietsen here, although it is hillier so we don’t see them often. I’m thinking that is what we will get with electric assist. I can’t wait to ride around with a baby in the box.

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