Father & Son Bike Diary – Part Four

We went out on the Xtracycle Edgerunner this weekend for a small exploratory ride. I wasn’t feeling very good after a big allergy attack. But getting out of the house and not riding too hard made a difference. When we got home I felt better.

We went north west with the goal of checking out Westover Park. While there we discovered an entrance to the West Ellerbee Creek Trail. We stopped and got a better look. Then went on down this short stretch of the trail. The boy remarked about the sun shining through the trees making cool shadows on the ground. At the end of this part of the trail we found a small field. Got to take the Edgerunner “off road”. The big knobby tires did well. Even with the boy on the back. He likes the bumps. 🙂

Then we turned around and went south back uphill ending up at Oval Park. The boy eagerly spent an hour looking for bugs to put in his mason jar.

Check out the rest of my Father & Son Bike Diary posts.

Father & Son Bike Diary – Part Three

I licked; she bit right in.

Another fun outing last week was the first father and son bike ride where we both had our own bikes. A big milestone! On previous rides we’d been together on the cargo bike or he rode his bike with training wheels and I walked.

I love taking him to ride his own bike. I usually feel safer being on foot so I can help him cross busy streets, deal with intersections, and cary the bike when we need to hustle or he gets tired. Slowly we’re extending the distance he’ll we’ll ride and walk. But this time he insisted that I ride my own bike. A silver commuter bike I’ve had for years.

Our ride motivation this time was going to Loco Pops. It’s our awesome local paleta store. They’re latin america style ice and cream popsicles made with fresh ingredients. These pops are special to me because Loco Pops helped cater my wedding & the boy LOVES them. We have a long father and son tradition of eating them together. Going on bikes to get them was the new part. It’s a desert that has taken over Triangle and our hearts in a big way. I love it so much I’m the Mayor of Loco Pops in Durham! (A silly but fun Foursquare thing.)

The boy did great on the ride! I was super impressed with his skill. But he’s still learning to bike in a straight line for a long stretch. The only thing I kept harping on was staying on the right side of the road. It’s so fun to just wander all over the small back streets in the neighborhood. There are few cars and lots of pedestrians and bicyclists. But I know how irresponsible some drivers are.

Not long after I told him not to ride on the sidewalk we were forced to. Loco Pops is on Hillsborough Road. The part we had to go down is long and straight where cars go way faster than 35 miles an hour. So as we got off the neighborhood street I advised my son to ride up onto the sidewalk and keep an eye out for people walking. This time of day the sun is low and we were headed due west. But it all worked out fine. It’s sad that there isn’t more room for bikes on this street. Even if there was a big lane I’m not sure I’d take my son on it until he’s done with training wheels and very confident on a bigger bicycle.

Father & Son Bike Diary – Part Two

Penny Farthing
A cool post card I got on my trip. No we didn’t ride a penny-farthing this weekend. Cargo farthing?

For the past few weeks I’ve been ill and super busy. This included a rather long weekend trip to buy a new used efficient gas car. The Mercedes Benz 240D finally died. Well it blew a gasket making it too expensive for me to repair. I’m pretty sad about it. Especially sad about the end of my biodiesel mission to stop buying gasoline. It really sucks how expensive it is to be environmentally responsible in a culture that requires you to drive for work.

After I finally finished the antibiotics and had my son for a weekend we got on our cargo bike named Wilson. Our rather short trip was to a park playdate with his friends from daycare. It was fun. We’re fortunate to live in a City with a grid. So we could take one road east up and down some good hills to get to our park destination and return home for lunch.

Again we received many compliments and questions about the Xtracycle Edgerunner. I discussed the pros and cons of other solutions with another dad. I find the enclosed little trailers for kids really cool. Other travelers on the road can see them. But as this dad pointed out these kid trailers are just nylon and a bit of aluminum. To some extent I feel safer having my son right behind me on the same frame. The Xtracycle certainly does handle really well. Especially with a little extra weight. I give credit to the wheel length. As the boy says, “This is a LONG bicycle.”

Father & Son Bike Diary – Part One

2014-04-27 11.07.27
Xtracycle Edgerunner

This is the first post in what I hope to be a series. All about the adventures my son and I have together riding bicycles. Hopefully an illustration of how we can be healthy together now and into the future. First a little background information.

Recently I moved to Durham, NC. Previously I lived in Chapel Hill. While we loved our bike centric Towns, both Chapel Hill and Carrboro, we lived down in a valley. Combine this with two very steep and busy streets as the sole arteries to get into downtown Chapel Hill and downtown Carrboro. We biked and walked in occasionally. But not often. It was so bad we kept our son’s bike in the car so we could take him to a safe place to ride.

Now that we’re in Durham we live in a city street grid system with lots of ways to get places. Yes, there are hill. But they are on more narrow roads with somewhat slower traffic. Maybe even less congested in places. Plus there is more cool stuff nearby to motivate us to ride. Like the grocery, bars, the bus station, school, etc.

So I resolved to use the disruptive energy of moving to make a change in my life. I bought a Xtracycle Edgerunner 27D cargo bike and pledged to haul my son and lots more around Durham. Basically I started living a lifestyle I had only dreamed about and watched from afar in Carrboro.

Our five year old son has had his own bicycle for a few years. Recently when I upgraded his helmet I got him flashing light to go on back. I think it’s one of his favorite things about riding bikes. All the cool flashing lights that he controls. He has one and the Xtracycle has two.

This past week we took the Xtracycle out for a first ride together. It took awhile to get to this point. First I had to get a stoker tandem bike stem and handlebars.

Stoker Stem

This was an idea I had seen a few other Xtracycle riders use to help passengers hang on. As this isn’t a standard part sold by Xtracycle it required a bit of work. I hope to have a how-to blog post about this soon. Something I had a hard time finding online.

I took the Xtracycle with the tandem bike stem attached to Bullseye Bicycle for some advice, handlebars, and grips. Thanks to Tyler Kober for the help and encouragement.

Once I had the handlebars for my son to hold on to we took a ride. This first one turned out to be pick up at school. That day my car broke down on the highway. I got home in time to arrive on my bike by pickup time.

This weekend we took some more rides. Sunday we hauled a bunch of laundry, detergent, and lunch. First we stopped at a local park then went to get the laundry done. Fun and very practical first adventures.