We see Fujis in the US pretty often, since they have been (or were) sold here. They were more commonly imported to the Northeast than to Schwinn headquarters, Chicago. Working Bikes has an odd one now, an Avalon Sport — Japanese market? Not sure. Looks like it.
There was a good 3-speed Panasonic too. The picture didn't come out. You'll have to imagine it.
When was the last time you saw a With? Or is it a Pets With Kids? Not sure of the manufacturer’s identity. Some common ones for bikes like this are Maruishi/Frackers, Bridgestone, Sogo. Look at the link at the end for more. If you know what this one is and when it dates from please let us know. It’s a (1990-ish?) Japanese Mamachari - a mom chariot. Here are a few pics:
The Pets With Kids is a low,
| The little smoked orange colored plastic |
footrest is down for a child to sit.
You can strap one kid into the front seat and one into the back, or use both baskets for carrying things. The back cushions on this one are a little old and messy (they need new upholstery or replacing) but everything still works fine. The plastic OGK basket on the handlebars sports a fold-down section for little feet to stick out the front when it's not full of groceries. See how the seats fold to turn into baskets?
|This person raced to the store to|
get the mama bicycle when she
heard about it!
The front fork can be locked in position so the bike doesn’t get knocked over by wriggling children (or wriggling groceries). There is a generator light — but only on the front wheel. The back has only a fender reflector. Look at the Japanese domestic market generator with a plastic guard to prevent splashing muck and to keep fingers clean! Modern mamachari bikes link the kickstand and the front fork lock automatically, but good luck finding one in Chicago. There are apparently one or two more of these bikes in town. Are they yours?
The back wheel has a cheesy ring lock, nearly enough to keep a bike safe in Japan except from the bicycle cleanup crews that toss them in the backs of trucks if they're illegally parked... Always a good idea to lock your bike TO something, even there. This one even still has its key and keychain!
I love Japanese bicycle names - I once had a one speed "Fantastic Milk" with odd leaping monsters shaped like the word for mountain on the chainguard. Do you know of any other fun bicycle model names?
Here's a domestic Japanese market Bridgestone that someone donated or found:
The Bridgestone Starlight is not intended for carrying kids, but it has many similar features to the Mamachari. It has a 3- speed Nexus hub and a Bridgestone rear band brake. The sign says "this will give you a smooth trip for a long time".
There is an older Nexus generator hub, the front lamp has a green blinking standlight-type thing, and the rims are stainless steel.
Look at the, um, are those pressure indicators on the rims? This bike has some quality features I haven’t seen before.
(Other Japanese related stuff in Chicago, if you are looking, includes the Midwest Buddhist Temple in Old Town, Mitsuwa marketplace on Algonquin Rd in Arlington Heights (from kotatsu tables to Japanese thick bread to the only delicious ramen in Chicagoland I think), Kawaii housewares on Halsted and Maxwell, Toguri on Clark and Belmont, Sunshine Cafe on Clark and Catalpa, and JASC, the Japanese-American Service Committee, also on Clark, a cultural institution with many families that moved to Chicago after the US government displaced them from their land to nasty camps in the second World War. Now we need Muji and Uniqlo like New York already has. And a ママチャリ bike store!)
There are really good city and utility bikes in Japan. People use them every day in all kinds of weather. Just look at pictures of a Japanese train station to see the ocean of cycles waiting for their owners to return and ride back. There are also several interesting sites about mama-chari out there, including mama bicycle. Here's Charikichi (nuts about bikes?) more of a general bike blog from Japan in incomprehensible googletranslation. Best of all, though, this excellent post, full of great pictures, on Katesensei, a Japanese language learning site, gives you an idea of how great the infrastructure and bike options are in Japan - really, they don't have half this stuff in Copenhagen or Amsterdam. (Anyone interested in starting an Osakaize blog?) There's a bike storage option for train stations you won't believe. Look at the link and drool!
|oops - one followed us home...|
what on earth will we feed it?
Looks like it'll be a kids bike. Maybe.
You can still find more good bikes there...
|... like a lugged frame double-butted cr-mo|
Schwinn superior for only $210, and a
triple butted Miyata mixte, too!