Thursday, October 27, 2011

Lots of biking miles

Yesterday, our family put a lot of miles on our bikes. Big kids: 3.5 miles. Jeremy: 20. Kimberly and little kids: 16. Jeremy rode extra because of another off-site work conference. I rode so far because it was just too beautiful a day to stay home and do nothing. So... I loaded up the little kids into the bakfiets and we went on an "adventure". I had as a general, possible, final destination Happy Hollow Park and Zoo, but instead we stopped at the Rosacrucian Egyptian Museum. It wasn't too kid-friendly, but we did get to walk through a replica of a tomb and I enjoyed an exhibit on giving birth in ancient Egypt. The boys liked best watching the lift that carried several elderly visitors down a set of stairs (oh, well-- a little young for the museum yet). Here are the boys as we left the museum-- next to the cool "open" sign:

And here is a picture of the front of the museum, inspired by an ancient temple:

On the way home, we cut through Santa Clara University and found a little environmental/green living sort-of fair going on. We bought a few baked goods (look closely at the kids' hands), the proceeds going to saving ocean life:

We also stopped at a park we've never been to (always a novelty):

I decided our visit was over when Jonah threw sand at a little girl. He's been doing things like this (always to girls just a little smaller than him) a lot lately-- no amount of talking about it (or time-outs, or leaving the park) seems to help.

The rest of the way home involved some poking, a lot of whining from Joseph, a fussy Nathaniel who eventually fell asleep and a potty break at another park. I guess life on a bike isn't always perfect :) I enjoyed the journey, though. I grew up in the SF bay area, but have no memory of ever visiting the museum and the surrounding neighborhood. I'm excited to go on more bike adventures in that direction.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Bakfiets to the rescue

Yesterday, I biked all of the kids to school. Jeremy usually gets this job and then continues on to work, but yesterday had a work conference he needed to leave extra-early for. I was planning on just jamming all six kids into the car and dropping the three school-age ones off at the curb, but the big kids really wanted to bike and were willing to get ready quickly to do it. I figured we needed to leave a little earlier than usual because Joshua and Daniella would be riding their own bikes instead of the triple. The three littles got to be in the bakfiets. About halfway to school, Joshua started getting way behind. I figured he was just tired, but then Gabriella informed me his tire was flat. I was thoughtlessly unprepared-- no tools or patch kit or even a pump. Quickly, I decided to just lock Joshua's bike to a signpost and have him ride on the bakfiets rack. He wasn't happy about leaving his bike, but the set-up worked great. I barely noticed the extra 50 or so pounds. We got to school on time. On the way home from drop-off, I picked up Joshua's bike, strapped it to the back of the bakfiets and rode home-- this time being careful not to snag it on bollards. After getting home, I looked carefully at the tire. It wasn't just flat, but the rubber was worn so thin that there was a hole in it. The bike adventures never end...
Joshua's well-worn back tire-- now with a hole. I really should have noticed this before!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Sticks and Spokes

Jonah and I were loafing around at a playground this morning. I took this photo after he set himself beside the front wheel of the bakfiets. He had a pile of sticks with him and began to spin the wheel (it is off the ground when the bike is parked) and to poke a nice fat stick between the spokes. I sat down with him to make sure he wouldn't get hurt or hurt the bike. I named the different parts on the front of the bike. He remembered "fender" and put together the nice phrase"hit fender!" as he whacked the fender with a stick. Just a fun parenting moment that happened to involve a bike... 

Monday, October 17, 2011

A "stupid me!" crash with the bakfiets

Last Saturday, I had a little crash with the bakfiets. No one was hurt (just a slightly skinned knee for me). The reason I crashed had to do with a screaming infant, the dark, bollards and a junky bike (not the bakfiets, but a different one)... but let me begin from the beginning.

About a year ago, I decided we had to have some sort of schedule for household chores and general pick-up. As part of that, Jeremy and I decided that every evening we would pick up toys, clothes, etc. for a set amount of time (at first it was 30 min., then later on 20 min.) and that if everything was reasonably well picked-up in that amount of time, we'd get a "Great America point". A "Great America point" was equal to one dollar toward the purchase of season passes for our family to California's Great America amusement park. The kids had been asking to go to Great America for a long time, the request seemed reasonable, but we also wanted to make it something special and hard-earned. So, we kept on chugging away at the "nightly clean-up" and began adding up points. After a while, the clean-up became somewhat routine and we didn't keep track of points as carefully, but by this fall it was clear we definitely had enough for the passes. We picked a day-- last Saturday-- for our visit to Great America and made the decision to bike the 8 or so miles there.

After Saturday morning chores (mopping, vacuuming, etc. that we also instituted about a year ago), Saturday morning donuts (the established reward for completing Saturday morning chores), and Joshua's gymnastics class, we headed to the park-- the girls on their own bikes; Jeremy, Joshua and Joseph on the triple pulling an empty trailer (for Jonah and/or Joseph if/when they wanted to sleep); and me, Jonah, and Nathaniel in the bakfiets. The ride there was quick (less than an hour I think?) and uneventful. It was mostly a slight downhill and there is a great bike-path that brings you right to the backside of Great America's parking lot. We rode past all the parked cars and right up to the entrance. We picnicked at some nicely shaded tables by the entrance and found a fence to lock our bikes on (no bike racks; we even asked). Here is our bike menagerie:
The left half of the bike line-up...
And the right half.
Jeremy got locking-up-the-bikes duty. Usually we just use a few cheap cable locks or the simple wheel-locks that some of our bikes have, but we figured theft might be more of a concern at the amusement park, so we brought along all the locks in our garage-- 3 U-locks and 4 (I think) cable locks. It took Jeremy a good few minutes to get everything to his liking.

After the big bike-lock-up, we got the photos for our season passes and entered the park. Here's two very happy girls right after entering:

We actually had a bit of a rough time in the park, however. The kids all wanted to go different ways and ride different things, and most rides had minimum or maximum height requirements that meant only some of the kids could ride. At one point-- a little frustrated-- we let the "big" 8 year-old and 10 year-old go off by themselves for a little bit because they were desperate to go on a few rides without waiting around for the littles. I was relieved when we shelled out way too much money for some funnel cake and then, around 5 p.m., left the park. (We decided that all return visits would involve just one or two kids.)

The return bike-ride took forever. We were tired, it was a little uphill and Nathaniel was fussing. The girls and I got ahead of Jeremy since he was pulling an almost-instantly-asleep Jonah and the two big boys weren't pedaling much. I was focused on trying to figure out what fussing Nathaniel needed. We stopped at some benches in front of a high school and I pulled out Nathaniel to try to nurse and calm him. Jeremy never caught up. He'd assumed we'd gone a different way. After a few cell-phone calls back and forth, and another stop to try to calm Nathaniel we met up at a park. It was almost dark by then, but a little time at the park gave everyone-- including Nathaniel-- the refresher we needed. We headed off in the dark-- all lit up with our collection of dynamos and blinkies.

The evening before, I'd been looking through Freecycle posts and noticed one for a 24" mountain bike. I didn't think anything of it. (Don't we have enough bikes and why would we want another junk one anyway?). Jeremy saw the post, however, liked it (he seems to be enjoying honing his fix-it-up skills) and sent an email off right away. We "got" the bike and agreed to pick up Saturday evening. The pick-up place was just a block off our route home from Great America, so we figured we'd head by there. We hadn't quite figured out if/how we would get the bike at that moment, but went anyway. The bike was in semi-rideable condition, but we had no one to ride it, so I strapped it to the back of the bakfiets. I rode very carefully the first few blocks and then, seeing the strapping job was fine, just headed happily along. The weight was no big deal. I just had to remember I had a really wide load. But I kind of stopped thinking about that when Nathaniel woke up from his nap and started screaming again. I stopped at a park to feed and calm him and Jeremy went ahead with the big boys to start cooking dinner. The girls wanted to stay with me. I thought that was sweet. We actually had some nice time to chat. Gabriella was super-excited about the roller coaster she'd gone on (a first for her) and Daniella had interesting things to say about the birds she'd seen in the creek that paralleled the bike trail. I honestly hadn't noticed the birds at all, but she gave some detailed descriptions-- including a little demonstration with her arms about how the "white birds" (herons, maybe?) flapped their wings slowly. After a bathroom break for the girls, we started off again... and Nathaniel began screaming again. We pushed on again and then stopped at the park close to home. I couldn't stand hearing poor Nathaniel crying again. After a little calming time, I put Nathaniel back in the bike and we headed through the park toward home with Nathaniel immediately beginning to scream again. I was focused on Nathaniel, rushing just a little bit to get home, and not thinking when we came to the row of bollards (several short poles spaced a few feet apart) on the edge of the park that are meant to keep cars out. I've become pretty comfortable maneuvering the bakfiets, so just picked two poles and aimed between them, and then-- bam!-- the bike stopped, fell to the right, and dumped me off. I realized then that-- oh,yeah-- there was that junky bike strapped to my rack; it had gotten caught on the poles. After the moment of surprise at the fall hit me, I focused immediately on Nathaniel. He was totally fine. He was crying in just the same tone as he had been before the crash (the hold-me-nurse-me-I'm-grumpy fuss). I tried to lift the bike upright, couldn't do it then, so removed the car seat (still well-secured to its base, which was still well-secured to the bakfiets), set the carseat on the ground and removed fussing Nathaniel. He stopped crying when I bounced him a bit and I handed him to Gabriella and then tried to get the bike in order. It was really dark and even with Daniella's blinkie focused on the little crash-site I had a bit of a time untangling the bike from the bungees and poles and strapping it back on the bakfiets. A guy walking his dog stopped to ask if we were fine. I'm not sure if he saw the crash or just a bunch of bikes and people stopped in a strange place, but either way I felt quite stupid and embarrassed, told him politely that we were okay, and he went on his way. I got the bike strapped on and baby back into his carseat, rode back home, scooped dear Nathaniel into my arms, and went into the house for an 8 pm dinner, getting the kids to bed, etc. Some time later, Jeremy and I went  into the garage to fully assess any damage to the bakfiets. I wrecked up the rack just a little bit and knocked loose the leads to the rear light:

I will try to bend the metal back to shape, though it might require more strength than I have. The junk-bike that caused all the trouble ended up with a broken water bottle cage:

Of course, I don't wish we crashed, but there's a few things I'm glad I learned from the experience. I learned-- even before the crash-- that evening biking with Nathaniel right now just isn't a good idea. He's fussy at home at that time and, apparently, being out just doesn't change that pattern (he was fussy on Friday evening too on the shorter ride home from church). More importantly, I learned that our carseat-in-the-bike set-up seems to keep Nathaniel safe in relatively low-speed (i.e. the speed I always travel) crashes. When we originally set up the carseat, I did intentionally shake the bike up a bit, tip it sideways, etc. to try to figure out what might happen if it fell. I also knew from past experience that when an infant is securely buckled into an infant carseat and you (I mean, your toddler) turn(s) that carseat completely upside down, the baby isn't harmed. This is why I felt comfortable toting around such a precious little being in the bike the way we do. My biggest concern was actually the road vibrations, which we damped with a chunk of old crib mattress under the carseat base and which, as Nathaniel gets bigger, is becoming less of a concern. One thing I do wonder about is what would have happened to Jonah if he was sitting on the bench (he was with Jeremy in the trailer). None of the sweaters/kid books/snack wrappers, etc. in the box fell out when it tipped. Would Jonah have just stayed in too? Would the seemingly useless and annoying three-point harness (a post for another day) have helped? Would it have mattered whether Jonah was wearing a helmet or not? (He always does.) What if he was laying down on the bench to sleep like he sometimes does?

The little crash also made me reflect on bike crashes in general. When talking to people about biking, the concerns about safety always seem to be about traffic-- the ultimate concern being injured or killed by a car. Yet despite riding almost daily in traffic, all of the bike falls Jeremy and I have had did not involve cars (moving ones, at least). Jeremy has run into a parked car (looking at his messed-up kickstand instead of the road), slipped on loose gravel (while trying to set up a hands-free device on his cell-phone so he could listen to a conference call while commuting), and slipped on mud. He's also caught the bike trailer on a curb and tipped the towing bike. I've slipped on ice and wet leaves. None of these falls resulted in more than a few scrapes and bruises. Jeremy and Gabriella, if I remember correctly, were slightly tapped by a car on the trail-a-bike set-up a few years ago, but never even came close to falling. Thinking hard, I know of no one personally who has been hit by a car while biking (though I believe my sister was "doored"). Do most bike accidents not involve cars and do most bike accidents involve just minor injury? I definitely hear and read about tragic fatal bike/car crashes. How common are they, and when they happen are the often fatal? A little googling brings up some studies, but I think I'll leave analysis (it seems difficult) for some other time. If anyone (of my near-zero readers!) knows of a great summary of biking risks/types of accidents, I'd love the link!

And that's all for this post... I'm off to living my life of being "mommy".

Saturday, October 15, 2011

A wonderful morning bike adventure

This morning (oops, now yesterday morning... it's late), I was feeling like I needed to get out, the weather was beautiful and I had nothing planned. I suggested to my three non-school-age boys that we head out to Deer Hollow Farm in the Rancho San Antonio Open Space Preserve, and they were game. I decided right away to take the bakfiets. We can bike into the preserve a back-way through mostly pleasant residential streets and then ride inside the preserve right up to the farm. If we'd driven, we would have had to find parking (difficult in the morning) and then walk the mile to the farm. The walk is nice, but the idea of focusing our time at the farm was appealing too. When we walk the mile it can take a few hours-- there's a hollow tree and a creek (and bugs, mud, sticks, etc.) that we often stop at.

The 4.3 mile ride to the farm took us about half-an-hour. I felt rather wiped out when we got to the farm, but we were all happy. Nathaniel slept the whole trip and woke up right as we were parking. Here's our lovely bike parked in front of the farm (a little hard to see, I wanted the lovely tree in the photo too):

And here's my lovely children standing by some giant pumpkins:

We found a chatty man willing to take a picture of all of us by the Luna the cow:

We also enjoyed seeing goats, sheep, chickens, roosters, and two gigantic pigs. After looking at the animals we went to the nicely shaded hay barn-- decked out with picnic tables-- and had a snack. We then headed to the pit-potties, after which Nathaniel decided he needed to nurse, so we sat down on a few fallen logs. Behind one of them I noticed a blackish bag hiding. Here is what was on the outside of the bag (I only managed a blurry photo):

Here is what was on the inside:
Handmade pig stamp.

Handmade notebook.

Joseph and I both thought it was pretty cool. When I got home, I looked up the website mentioned on the bag and read up on letterboxing. It's kind of like geocaching, except there doesn't seem to be GPS coordinates involved (instead just written directions/clues) and instead of a treasure that you take and replace, you find a rubber stamp and logbook. You're supposed to sign the logbook and then stamp your personal notebook. You're not supposed to take the stamp and you're not supposed to put other things in the letterboxes. Joseph and I didn't get this... We didn't take the cool stamp, but we did leave a little plastic frog that happened to be in the diaper bag. We didn't sign the logbook either, since we had no pen. Oh, well.
After our fun letterbox find, we filled up our water bottle and headed toward home. It was mostly a wonderfully long gentle downhill. I realized then that I was so tired upon our arrival to the farm because I'd been pedaling a gentle, but definitely long uphill! On the way home, we stopped at Trader Joe's. This was Joseph's special request. He (and all the kids) love to find Joejoe the stuffed monkey hidden in the store. When you find Joejoe, the person at the customer service booth gives you a lollipop. The boys also had fun with these things (what are they called?):
One side had "Joe". Joseph thought it was pretty neat that it had his name written on it.
The other side had scarecrows.
Joseph and Jonah also liked the stickers the cashier handed out and the coloring pages at the coloring table. Trader Joe's is definitely one cool grocery store! Here we are about to leave:
Stickers and coloring page in hand, Jonah eating his lollipop.
It took a little while-- first because it just takes time to load kids and groceries, and second because we had two people come talk to us (as in more than the usual "cool bike" comment) about the bakfiets. One guy was considering buying one for his family, knew that he could get it from My Dutch Bike in San Francisco, and wanted to know how it did on hills (just fine for anything we have around here). The other was an older lady that asked if she could take a picture. I agreed and as we put on our best smiles, she took out her purple-clad iPhone and explained that she was going to send the photos to her son who was interested in bikes. Something about this older lady nonchalantly taking and sending photos with an iPhone was kind of sweet. We'd had a lot of questions about the bike while at the farm too-- including from a lady who also knew about the shop in San Francisco. I'm thinking more and more bakfiesten are going to appear on SF bay area streets in the next few years...

Anyway, we left Trader Joe's and arrived home to our messy house (riding to a farm is a lot more fun than cleaning up from breakfast) in time for lunch and a little (sort-of) quiet time.  My father brought the big kids home from school. The afternoon passed with the usual loudness, messiness, fighting, yelling, etc. The kids also played their "30 minutes of Wii" (we use a kitchen timer), but Joshua got quite upset about having the evil machine turned off, so I (perhaps too rashly?) confiscated it indefinitely. After a little cooldown time, the four boys and I had some nice reading time on the couch.

In the evening, the four big kids had a pizza party/performance practice at church. We ended up biking there as a family-- Jonah just wanted to go out with everyone, I wanted some time to actually talk to Jeremy, Jeremy had a few things to take care of at church anyway. The two little boys fell asleep in the bakfiets-- Nat in his carseat and Jonah curled up on the bench-- and I had a "great" idea that Jeremy and I could somehow have dinner together while the big kids were at church and the little kids were asleep in the bakfiets. I rode a little bit with the boys looking for Indian take-out (Jeremy's request) while Jeremy took care of his tasks at church. I ended up with Subway and the little boys ended up waking up, but we still had a nice little picnic before gathering up the big kids and riding home.

All in all, I calculated I rode about 17 miles in the bakfiets (loaded with either two or three kids)-- not bad. Tomorrow (now, today) we have another long bike adventure planned. But that's a post for another day...

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

What the kids have to say about bikes

My kids have been yelling, "I hate cars! I love bikes!" lately. I asked my kids why they like bikes. Here's what they had to say:

Gabriella, age 10:
I love bikes. Not cars. Bikes can take you everywhere. Even to China. You just have to rent a pedal boat, and go across the ocean. These are close enough to bikes because you pedal. Bikes can also take you over secret bikeways that cars can't go over. I bike to school every day on my own bike. My brother and sister ride on a triple bike with my dad to school. I ride my own bike mostly. I like riding my own bike, not the triple, because you can steer yourself and you do not have to pedal with our dad. I LOVE BIKES!!!!!

Here's a picture of the crew headed off to school:

Daniella, age 8:
I love bikes. They're awesome. You can ride bikes everywhere where cars can't go. I bike more than Mommy. Mommy never rides the triple. She hasn't ridden it for billions of months. Before, I rode 20 miles without planning. We went around this block billions of times. We were trying to find a good spot to go. We should have ended up in Taiwan so we could have biked more in the ocean in a pedal boat. Bikes are cool!!!!!

It's true that I haven't ridden the triple for a while-- not since March or so when I was about 5 months pregnant. The geometry of the Bike Friday Triple doesn't provide for a very upright ride-- something I found necessary for me to bike comfortably in my last trimester.  After the baby was born, I didn't ride for about a month-and-a-half (until our bakfiets came). Right now, I probably ride about the same distance as Daniella. About the 20 mile ride... yes, on Labor Day we went for a big unplanned bike ride without map or GPS. We did have a general idea of where we were though; we were just looking for a pleasant ride and fun places to go, like these playgrounds we'd never been to:
A railroad-themed park.

A climbing structure that's great for big kids!
Joshua, age 6:
I like bikes because they don't pollute. I ride my bike to school everyday. Bikes are awesome and cool.

Joseph, age 4:
I hate bikes. I love cars. I love blue. Return the bikes and put the polices in jail. And then never ever let the polices come out. Get the front of the police's walkie talkies. Put Nathaniel in jail. Then take the police's motorcycles. Unlock the polices. Everyone is safe. Bazooka! Bad guy! All done.

(I guess not quite everyone in our family likes bikes, at least on the day this post was written.)

Jonah (with prompts from Joseph), age 2:
I love Like-a-bikes. I love stickers. I love bazookas. I love bazooka stickers. I love superheroes.

Nathaniel, age 3 months:
[smile, drool, coo, cry, burp]

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Typical biking day

Most weekdays for us involve lots of bike-riding. Here's a schedule of yesterday's bike adventures. It's pretty normal distance-wise, but has a few more destinations than some days:

7:50 am: Biking to school. Jeremy took Joshua and Daniella on the triple, Gabriella rode her bike. Distance: 3.5 miles.

8:20 am: Jeremy backtracked to the YMCA and then biked to work (all alone on the triple). Jeremy also admits to making a stop at the grocery store for a donut. 2.5 miles.

10:30 am: Kimberly took the bakfiets to run errands while Grandpa watched the little boys. Distance: 2 miles roundtrip.

12:45 pm: Jeremy went to pick up the kids from school. They got out early because of parent/teacher conferences. 1.5 miles.

1:00 pm: Jeremy, Gabriella, Daniella, and Joshua rode home from school. 3.5 miles.

2:10 pm: Jeremy and Joshua (on the Trail-a-bike) rode back to school for Joshua's wushu class. 3.5 miles.

3:20 pm: Jeremy and Joshua rode to a bike shop to pick up some 22" tubes for the Japanese bike and then continued on to the YMCA. 1.5 miles.

3:45 pm: Kimberly, Gabriella, Daniella, Joseph, Jonah, and Nathaniel rode to the YMCA-- the girls on their own bikes, and the three boys in the bakfiets. 2 miles.

6:00 pm: After some fun kid-classes, snacks, and some time on the playground, we rode home as a family. At the kids' request, we took a slightly longer route to travel on a pedestrian bridge over the freeway. I think everyone just really likes going fast on the long hill on the home-side of the bridge. Distance: 2.5 miles.

We didn't drive the car yesterday. Sometimes driving is mixed into our adventures-- either I'll drive or, lately, my parents will pick up the kids from school. I haven't driven for about two weeks, though, and Jeremy hasn't driven since the beginning of September when we drove to a friend's wedding. It's a fun game to see how long we can go without driving. We need to be careful not to become bike-snobs, though. When my father drove the kids home from school on Thursday, they apparently spent the trip home saying, "I hate cars!" repeatedly. How about just "I like bikes!" instead?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

"New" bike and old memories

This weekend we cleaned up a dusty, slightly rusty bicycle from my parents' garage. Twenty years ago, as a child, I lived in Tokyo for a few years. When we moved back to the U.S., my parents brought back a couple of the simple, everyday Japanese bikes we were riding. This is one of them:

Gabriella  fits on it  (as does my 5'1'' mother, who used to ride it in Japan). It is a single-speed with 22" tires, a rear drum brake, and front side pull caliper brake. (Thanks Google, for teaching me about bicycle brakes!) It also has several wonderfully practical things: fenders, bell, chainguard, skirtguard, and... 

Front basket and generator light. Notice how the basket is attached to the front fork and how the support bends around the light. 

Bike lock-- not engaged.

Bike lock-- engaged. It prevents the wheel from moving. I remember these dinky locks on every bike.

Kickstand that keeps the bike super stable.

As we played with the bike, I enjoyed the memories of Japan that it brought back. Bike-related memories include watching my mother learn how to ride a bike on a BMX-type bike pilfered from the garbage heap and my being very embarrassed about it. I also remember the huge bike parking lot near our local train station and the attendant whose job it was to smash all the bikes close together and then, when you needed your bike back, to help you weasel it out. I remember too a park designed as a mini-city with traffic lights, road signs, etc. that you rode your bike around in. (Perhaps this was to teach bicycling safety? I just remember it being fun!) I also remember getting lost on a bike ride, thinking I was very far from home, but after asking for directions finding myself near our local train station. And lastly-- I didn't witness it, but my parents tell the story of the rolling turkey. One weekend, they rode their bikes to a foreign grocery store that sold American food and bought a turkey for Thanksgiving dinner. My father put the turkey in his front bike basket. As they were leaving the parking lot, the basket came loose (heavy turkey) and the turkey fell out and began rolling down a hill. With the help of the parking attendant, my father chased down the turkey and, I believe, we did eat it for Thanksgiving dinner.

Our weekend bike adventures weren't quite so exciting as rolling turkeys. We mostly stayed home and listened to a semiannual church broadcast, but I did  let Gabriella and Daniella enjoy a little freedom on their "new" bikes. (Daniella's "new" bike is Gabriella's old 20-incher.) They rode to the local drugstore to look at Halloween costumes. Gabriella wants to be a witch, but absolutely does NOT want me to sew a costume because--says she-- the things I sew look "weird". Oh well, at least the younger kids are still happy with the "weird" things I sometimes make:

Joseph wearing dress-up clothes, including a skirt and cape I sewed.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Cool bikes, etc. that we don't own

All the time I've spent bouncing and feeding baby the past two months has given me a lot of (perhaps too much) time to surf the web for interesting family bikes. Here's a few things I've never owned or tried, but look like fun:

Onderwater Family Tandem. There's also a model with one more seat and set of pedals in the front. The site says the bikes are good for children ages 4-8 (I think; it's in Dutch).

Weehoo Bicycle Trailer. It's a like a Trail-a-bike, but recumbent.

Tyke Toter. A kid (suggested age: 2-5 years) can sit on a bike in front of the adult. Interestingly, some time ago I saw the DIY version of this at our local park. A Chinese grandfather had an old cushion of some sort wrapped around and tied to his top tube for his grandson to ride on. (We live in an area with a large Chinese population and see elderly Chinese men and women-- often here to care for grandchildren-- riding around all the time.)

This is a mamachari ("mama bicycle") from Japan. The child sits in a special seat between the handle bars.  Shuichi at Mama Bicycle blogs exclusively about these-- pretty cool.

Tanjor trailer (seats 3). This company no longer exists  (the photo is from a cycling forum), but this just looks really cool. After our third was born, we wanted to buy one, but couldn't find one for sale. I believe it is the only trailer that seats three.

And thinking about next week's predicted first storm of the season (it only rains October through April here)...

Veltop bicycle rain cover. I have no idea if this actually would work.