Bike Love: Doug Gordon falls in love with a Fr8

We’re very excited for our second Bike Love story! This one is written by Doug Gordon. If you’re not familiar with Doug, he is the co-host for The War on Cars podcast and is a Brooklyn-based writer, television producer and safe streets advocate.

If you’re not familiar with Doug’s work or the podcast The War on Cars, you should settle down and get familiar (after you read his story about Bike Love, of course!) You can also find him online at @BrooklynSpoke.

“In just one short trip through the Jordaan neighborhood with my daughter sitting on a small seat right behind the handlebars, I knew instantly that I Had To Have This Bike.”

I fell in love in Amsterdam.

It was during a 2012 vacation with my wife and daughter, then nearly three years old, that I first met what would become my bike. After two weeks of riding around and exploring the Dutch cycling paradise as a family we returned our rental bicycles to WorkCycles, the bike shop owned by my friend Henry Cutler. Already a little depressed to be thinking about our final 24 hours in the city before we had to catch our flight back home to New York, we hung out in Henry’s shop admiring the full line of bikes — from classic Dutch omafiets to cargo- and kid-carrying bakfiets — wishing we could take them with us. Before we left, Henry encouraged me to take a test ride of a relatively new model he had designed, the WorkCycles Fr8. (Pronounced “freight.”) Engineered with a weight limit Henry described as “let me know if you find out,” it rode like a dream, gliding across canal bridges and narrow Amsterdam streets with ease. In just one short trip through the Jordaan neighborhood with my daughter sitting on a small seat right behind the handlebars, I knew instantly that I Had To Have This Bike. Still, with just one child I hardly had the need to spend any amount of money on a bicycle designed to carry at least three. (And I mean “at least.” Henry has piled five kids onto his Fr8, something that hardly turns heads in a city like Amsterdam.)

Cut to a year later. 

Kid number two, our son, had arrived and I was ready to pull the trigger on a bike that could carry him and my daughter. I instantly remembered the Fr8. A few emails with Henry and a credit card number later, my new bike was on its way. When it arrived, I fell in love all over again. After all, what is love if not connection? Connection with a spouse or partner, sure, but also connection with a special object or even a meaningful place. The Fr8 was both of those things: an object that connected me with a place. Many places, in fact. I used the bike to carry my children on adventures to places I love, from Prospect Park near my home in Brooklyn to Central Park in Manhattan and everywhere in between. Over the years with the bike, my kids fell in love with new playgrounds and the opportunity to meet friends no matter where they live. My wife and I fell in love with the convenience of not having to lug a stroller onto a bus or down a flight of stairs to the subway or the ability to get a week’s worth of groceries home with ease. As my kids got bigger, I fell in love with avoiding the almost inevitable middle-aged “dad bod” by getting some good exercise anytime I had to pedal my kids, their gear and myself up a big hill or over a bridge. To this day, every time I ride the Fr8 I recall my 2012 test ride in the Jordaan around Henry’s shop, our wonderful trip to the Netherlands, and the love I still feel for its abundant cycle paths, vibrant cities and friendly people. If one simple, well designed machine can do all that, what’s not to love?

— Doug Gordon

If you missed our first Bike Love story by Jillian Banfield, the Halifax Bike Mayor, read it here.