Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Riding with Two Kids

I'm out of the blogging stride, with nearly a month since last posting. But now that Jasper is temporarily transfixed by his new fish mobile, I'm going to jump right in and see about managing some of the backlog of bike fun that I'd like to share with you!


My sister-in-law, her husband, and their little boy came to visit us over Presidents' Day weekend so that they all could meet the baby. They live in Roy, UT, home of wide streets and big cars. But they know we don't have a car, and wanted to know if they needed to rent one when they visited. We said no, and then set to figuring out how we would all get around without one.

The grown-ups were no problem, of course-- they are both able-bodied and terrifically good sports, so they borrowed a few bikes to get around. Our local shop very sweetly loaned us a couple of helmets for them to use, and we were good to go!

But their son, Forrest, is two-and-a-half, and while he walks and runs with more agility every time I see him, he's certainly not big enough to get himself around on a bike.


Dave's sister and I had talked about her wanting to get Forrest around by bike before this, so I took the risk that she would be pleased by our surprise for them: a seat for Forrest in the Yuba box! Dave and I set to work on design, and then Dave took over the construction: a small, plywood shelf, firmly but temporarily affixed to permanently installed cleats inside the box. We put two holes in the shelf to pass an NRS strap through for a seatbelt, and voila! Kid seat. We picked up a kid-size helmet at Clever Cycles, and were good to go.

We got to take three rides on the Yuba with both kids. First, to brunch-- Forrest was a bit stunned on the way out, but was cheerful on the way home. Later that afternoon, we mentioned taking the bikes out for bagels, and when we were too slow to get moving on that, Forrest wandered away and came back with his helmet on his head, holding his parents' helmets for them: "Come ON guys, it's time to get back on the bikes!" So off we went, into the drizzly twilight, for a mid-afternoon bagel snack.



The next day we first set to wrestling with carseats and zipcars to get to a lovely suburban Valentine's brunch with friends. We loved the brunch, but found the whole carseat/driving ordeal a bit draining. On the other hand, I did get to make and give out bikey valentines!


After that, we took a cleansing, longer ride to Trader Joe's, where Forrest's folks wanted to pick up some things. It was five miles round trip, long enough for Forrest to compose and sing me a song about bumps, to soothe the crying baby beside him, and to wave at lots of dogs and kids we passed along the way.


In each case I was struck by how little Forrest cared where we were going: the point was to get on the bike and go. Even in the rain--put on a raincoat! Even in the dark-- turn on some lights!

His mom tells me that the bike rides, and his helmet, were his favorite parts of the trip, and that he talked about them on the plane all the way home.


It will be a while yet before Jasper can tell me what he thinks about riding on the bike. But I hope he loves it that much. And though I know he'll sometimes be grouchy about it, I hope he can share with me some of that childish enthusiasm about getting on the bike. No matter where we're going. No matter if it's dark. No matter if it's raining.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Busy Bikey Life

We've had the baby bike up and running for three weeks, and I think I've put about 80 miles on it, maybe a bit more. We've been out every day, sometimes just heading to adjacent neighborhoods, but often going all the way to north Portland for visits, or down to Sellwood to see Jasper's pediatrician, or all over town on last weekend's Tweed Ride. Jasper's naps happen most easily on the bike or in the wrap, and so I find myself out at least once a day, on foot or in the saddle, making laps of the neighborhood trying to get the boy some sleep. It's been awesome for my waistline, exhausting for my muscles, and dreadful for my writing habit. But man, are we having fun.