The Companion Bike Seat: It's Better Than Riding on Handle Bars

Categories: bikes

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Finally, a place to stash your drunk friend after a night at the bar.

The Companion Bike Seat is a brand new, and pretty handy, extra gadget that hooks up to your bike, allowing you to cart around, at the very least, a 200-pound passenger -- or for parents a cache of kids. This week, the San Francisco-based company began its Kickstarter campaign, hoping to raise just enough money to produce 1,000 companion seats.

The Companion Bike Seat costs $125 in Kickstarter guise and includes a lockable stash box, pegs, a comfy padded vinyl seat, and the tubular steel frame. While the Companion isn't going to give you as much carrying capacity as an Xtracycle or a purpose built cargo bike, it gives you a lot more than you have now.

"It's a cheaper alternative to an Xtracycle or cargo bike and it will give you most of the functionality, and you don't have to do a massive overhaul to your bike or buy a complete new bike," said Paul O'Leary, CEO and Founder of Companion Bike Seats.

O'Leary worked with Rick Hunter, a local master frame builder, to develop some prototypes. The idea of mounting the Companion Bike Seat on pegs instead of directly onto the dropouts of a bike frame, came from Hunter. This provides a more stable, safer, and sturdier platform. Unfortunately, for those of you with a quick release axle in the back (most new non-BMX bikes), you will have to swap out the rear axle. This is a relatively inexpensive fix at a bike shop -- though it's probably not something that most people will want to tackle at home.

In any event, the 200-pound weight limit is conservative, and is mostly dictated by the strength of your wheel and frame -- the Companion can actually hold 4,000 pounds by itself.

O'Leary said he's a little surprised that it's been parents who are running out to purchase these new seats. Then again, "it allows them to take their 12-to-14 year olds with them on bike rides," he said. "They also are using the seat for utility purposes, like taking their kids with them to a store or to school."

Photos courtesy of Companion Bike Seat

But now O'Leary is trying to reach out to non-parent consumers. With that goal in mind, he'll be tooling around the Mission offering free rides this weekend. Check in with his Twitter account @Companionseats to grab a free ride to-and-from the bar this weekend. If you're headed to a BYOB party, no worries. O'Leary was quick to point out that the lockable stash box is perfectly sized to carry a six-pack of beer.

It still remains to be seen if the Companion will be a worthy enough ... companion. But if you are that multi-tasking type (picking up kids, hauling groceries, or bringing beer to the pot luck), then consider this the cyclist's equivalent of a station wagon.

Leif Haven is a writer and cyclist living in the Bay Area. He can be spotted dragging himself up a hill -- literally and metaphorically.

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The Dutch have been doing this for years and people can jump on anybody's bike for a ride too. Nice idea though.

Mark Ahumada
Mark Ahumada

Hey Santa are you listening I WANT ONE OF THESE FOR CHRISTMAS. HAHA


A simple answer to the  challenge of extending the use of bicycle inventory that is already in the hands of consumers. You know you're on to something when people react with "of course!". A stronger rack with pad and lock box. 

Way to go guys!

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