Thursday, August 7, 2008

DIY Hip Child's Bicycle Seat and It's Even Better Than Bobike!

I'm sure all of you who have been with me from the beginning, or close to the beginning will remember my frustration at trying to find a Bobike seat in a particular color for my bicycle.  And for the kid, but who's counting?  For months I searched online and called bicycle shops in the US looking for a dealer that could supply me with the seat I was looking for.  All with no success.  I did have some very generous people offer to help me import the Bobike from Europe, but the cost was just too much in the end.  I know I may act like a diva sometimes, but I am learning to live on a very modest budget.  During my search I also became increasingly frustrated with the lack of attractive and stylish options of child bicycle seats offered in the US.  So, I got crazy... and took matters into my own hands.

Like I said before necessity is truly the MUTHA of invention.  My green experiment has been on hold for the most part as far as the cycling aspect goes because I had no seat to transport Ellie.  And frankly, I just couldn't justify spending over a hundred dollars for one of the ghastly seats that are available to me here.  So, I paid 30 for one of those ghastly seats.  You gotta love craigslist.

What I got for that amount was the Copilot Limo seat which retails for around $130.  Saved quite a bit there.  Which left me some room to purchase the items to personalize it.  I know, I know, those of you who may read this trying to figure out how to do it are like, GET ON WITH IT ALREADY!  So here's what I did.

First I took off the seat padding and any straps that were removable.  Then I taped off the remaining harness with duct tape.  The rack that comes with the seat was originally black and I couldn't have that on my pretty white bike, so I spray painted it a high gloss white.  The dentist in Jeremy came out and he was all you know the spectrum of white is huge so it may not match.  But to me, white next to pretty white is better than black on white.  So as that was drying I spray painted the body of the seat lime green.  I chose green for a couple of reasons. 1 I thought it would be highly visible in the event of our imminent death by truck squashing.  2.  If we ever have a son I can just change out the fabric on the seat cover and it will work for him also.

At first I left the handlebar red but after some time the contrast between the green really got to me and I spray painted it green too.  As all of that was drying I made a very basic pattern for the seat cover by tracing it onto a piece of scrap fabric I had left over from my bicycle basket liner.  When I cut the pattern out I left about a two inch margin.  Then I simply hot glued the fabric margin to the opposite side of the seat cushion.  It is important to note that if I had a sewing machine or a drop of patience I could have made a much better cushion cover that could be easily removed and washed as needed.  Well, that's the plan but for now I needed immediate gratification and there's nothing better than a glue gun for that.  

When that was finished I slipped the straps from the harness through it and attached it to the seat with the Velcro that came with it.  I also added a couple of self adhesive Velcro strips to the edges to make it a little more secure.  The I took some coordinating hot pink fabric and hot glued it around the arm rest and added a Velcro strip to it and I was done.  Jeremy had to file the rack down slightly for it to fit my bike, but when it was all said and done I had only spent a total of $41.
$30 Child seat
$8 two cans of spray paint
$3 one yard of hot pink fabric from the clearance rack.

So, now that it is all done and on my bike I can honestly say that I am happier with it than I would have been with the bobike seat of my dreams.  Because I created it.  It is one of a kind and I'm proud of myself.  For not accepting something that I wasn't happy with and being resourceful.  Now I just have to pray that I don't kill us both.


Charlotte said...

This is too awesome. I love it! I want to add it to the DIY section of my blog and give you full credit. Please? Pretty please???

Someday I'm going to want to do the very same thing. It looks GREAT!

Jillian said...

Please, DO IT! One of the main reasons I posted that here is because of the overwhelming positive feedback about the bike basket liner, so I thought others might also appreciate this little undertaking. Please feel free to share with ANYONE!

Charlotte said...

OK I'm gonna do it, thank you! I'm starting to get a fair DIY section, thanks to the generosity of folks like you.


Krista said...

That is so freakin cool!

amsterdamize said...

Jillian, you did very well, to say the least. Congrats!
Your ride will now be so 'present' in everyday traffic, I think you'll get the respect and attention you and cycling deserve (read: mind the mother and child, will ya!).

Happy riding!


Jillian said...

Thank you so much for your offer and support. Now let's just hope that we (me and the squirt) live to regale with tales of urban cycling. ;)

Freewheel said...

Kudos! Your bike has style. And you're better off without the bobike given the large front basket you have.

Vanessa Allen said...

that is my wet dream. I have a townie and I lust after an amsterdamn. I have two kids and am about to turn it into an xtracycle. BUT- I keep holding off b/c my fashionista voice wants me to have a bike that looks exactly like yours. Le sigh. however my 5 year old would have to travel on her own and she can;t and won't.

And I- am also all about form and function. It's my dad's fault too.

Ladybird said...

You managed to get a child seat onto an Electra Amsterdam? Thought it wasn't possible...hurray if you can! Please let me know how..

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