The Bike

 

My experience biking with Barney has shown me some important features a suitable bike should have.  When we looked at getting a bike to use with Barney we determined that the road bike that I was riding would not be a good choice.  Its carbon components and ride would have made it impossible to securely attach the cage platform, and the ride would have been too harsh for Barney.  Here is a list of bike attributes that we think are important.

  1. The quality of the bicycle should be such that you do not have to worry about the brakes working, the chain staying on when shifting, etc.  Since we did not want to spend a lot on a bike without knowing if Barney would enjoy riding, I looked around at a few stores for a bike.  I started out at our local bike shop, but they only had bikes north of $500 or so which was more than I wished to spend.  I then went to K-Mart and Walmart.  I did not find any bikes at these stores that I had confidence in.  I ended up spending about $300 on a Diamondback Edgewood ( http://www.diamondback.com/edgewood-pavement-casual-hybrid ) at a sporting goods store.
  2. The bike should have a front suspension fork to even out the bumps in the road and reduce vibration.
  3. I chose to drill a hole for the lower cage platform support rather than try and clamp it to the upper fork.  If that is the route that you go then you will need a steering tube that extends below the head tube by 2 inches or so and is strong enough so that drilling a 1/4 inch hole will not weaken it.
  4. The tires, especially the front tire should not need to be inflated beyond 75 PSI again to dampen vibrations.
  5. The gearing should allow you to comfortable pedal up hills you will encounter.  If a low enough gear is not available you will have a tendency to rock the handlebars back and forth when climbing which your bird will not enjoy!
  6. The bike should fit you properly, you will be getting on and off of it with a bird cage on the front so if the frame is too large you will end up having to tilt the bike to get on, again, your bird will not enjoy this.
  7. Equip yourself with an air pump and tool set.  The tool set should have a spare tube, tube patches, and tire tool set at minimum.  A multi tool with chain tool is a good thing as well.
  8. If the pedals are at all slippery get metal ones with aggressive grips, I ended up changing them.  For safety I end up stopping if there are too many obstructions and if the pavement is damp the stock pedals where slippery.  If your foot slips off the pedal when you start you could fall over and harm your bird.  Example of a good pedal is http://www.rei.com/product/752200/wellgo-atb-bmx-pedal  Do not use clip on types, you will need to be able to get your feet off if you have to stop suddenly and you cannot be jerking the bike around with a bird on it.

If you can find a bike with the above attributes it should be a good bicycle for mounting the cage platform and riding with your parrot.