Dinky double up, double the fun

Did you used to dinky?

This weekend we finally went fully Dinky Dutch, doubling up with the two of us on the one bicycle around town. I can’t help but think the Dutch might laugh at our very functional approach to dinkying–the ‘companion bike seat’, which we review in this post–compared to their freestyle methods of doubling up. Then again, maybe they’d say good on us for trying.

But first, what is this ‘dinky’ business you ask? Its good old fashioned Aussie slang of course. The Macquarie Dictionary defines it:

dinky
verb (t) (dinkied; dinkying)
1. to convey as a second person on a horse, bicycle, or motorcycle.
noun 2. a ride obtained from being dinkied.

Of course, so common is the practice of giving someone a lift on a bicycle there are a plethora of terms to describe it–at least, in places where biking for transport is an everyday thing… or used to be (*cough* Australia): bar, dink, dinky-double, donkey, double, dub, pug, saddling, backie, croggy and no doubt many others.

And then of course, there are the many ways in which one can carry another on said bicycle (indeed, some of the words above describe specific methods). The Flying Dutchman has a great pictorial guide, but they rightly point out the ambiguities of British law regarding the act. And if its illegal in the UK you can sure bet Australia has regulated the hell out of it.

Some boring stuff quickly, Part 15 of the NSW Road Rules 2014, Clause 246, Carrying people on a bicycle, says:

(1) The ride of a bicycle must not carry more persons on the bicycle than the bicycle is designed to carry. Example: A single-seat bicycle with a child’s seat attached is designed to carry 2 people, 1 on the bicycle and 1 on the attached child’s seat.

(2) A passenger on a bicycle that is moving, or is stationary but not parked, must sit in the seat designed for the passenger.

(3) The ride of a bicycle must not ride with a passenger unless the passenger complies with subrule (2).

Before writing this post I was completely unaware this was the case and freely admit to ‘chucking a Boris Johnson‘ and carting Angela home from the train station, albeit to Angela’s discomfort. Fortunately, unlike the Mayor of London, we did not get caught out by the local papers.

After moving to the fringe of the City, we often find ourselves in situations when meeting up after work where only I have my bike.

Excited by the convenience of saddling in comfort and the fact that we could chat to one another with ease, I searched for an out of the box back bicycle seat for an adult. We could have gone DIY, but we found the  companion bike seat by Companion, a San Francisco based start up. The seat looked simple, comfortable and it could store stuff inside–bonus! Having to order it from the US, we gambled, hoping it would fit. The good news it did! Even better, its completely legal in the state of NSW taking the example definition above, because it converts your bicycle into a two-seater, complete with foot pegs.

IMG_3400

According to Companion, the seat should fit most bikes, though they recommend replacing a rear quick release axle with a fixed axle, which I did. Unfortunately,  I also had to remove my rear fender, but this is just temporary until I find a workaround. It took a bit of fiddling to get it all together, so if all else fails, take it to your local bicycle shop.

Verdict: Good buy

He says: The Dutch can laugh all they want at our lack of improv skills, but, truth be told–this thing is awesome! We had so much fun cruising around town together, enjoying the look of surprise and joy on everybody’s faces, we’d definitely recommend this form of saddling.

Fairly easy to install if you (mostly) know what you’re doing (put it this way, this was the first time I have replaced a rear axle). A little bit pricey, but the designers have put some thought in how it comes together. For example, the back rest is removable, but when on, also doubles up as a rack for panniers. A good buy if you’re going to use it regularly, otherwise for the odd hop you could probably get away with breaking the law on a shared path – but you didn’t hear that from us…

She says: Rear saddling on a rack is not overly comfortable. It puts you quite low to the ground, so you have to lift your legs to avoid dragging, and its difficult to see, which is a hazard when you have to hide your legs from oncoming obstacles. The seat solved all that. With the cushioning of the seat bumps no longer hurt, I could see everything, I had foot pegs and I didn’t have to twist my body.

Doubling up may be lazy, but sometimes its nice to just cruise around town and enjoy the scenery and nice weather whilst having a chat. I felt very stable and didn’t even need to hold on to Tom (as you can see from my filming using the “selfinator” aka selfie-stick). Overall, I definitely recommend giving this a go.

IMG_3468
Companion Bike Seat with keys to open storage compartment

Note: If you watched our video and thought goodness gracious where are their helmets??! At times we are conscientious objectors to laws that mandate helmet wearing in safe, low speed environments separated from traffic for comfort and sun protection reasons (this is Australia after all).

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