Thursday, June 28, 2012

Neighborhood Rides (Again)

I am going to try to write weekly about one of our local neighborhood rides. So get ready for trips to the post office, parks & story times! Aka the life of a stay at home biking mom.

This past Monday we had a gas leak in our home. We are all safe but I woke up smelled gas turned out we had an old connection to our vintage 1950s oven so my Monday was kind of high stress and busy making sure things got fixed. We were cooped up in the house the whole day. So by Tuesday we both were in need of a bike ride! Bike riding is the ultimate feel good activity for us after all.

With no specific destination we headed out and down towards the Wissahickon Creek. We rode down and checked out some curb flowers. M gets so excited to touch as we bike. This is truly a small pleasure of being on a bike not a car. If it is completely safe for me to pull over to a curb/sidewalk and let him explore from his seat I do. Just something not possible in a car or the bus for that matter.

I decided mid trip to check out a playground on the upper part of the park. I found out that a block over has a gentle hill that I could peddle on my road bike without gear access.

We pulled over for a few moments to check out a water company crew working. I was like boring. M is like omg STUFF.

We then proceeded to the park where we did tons of playing. We played hard for about an hour before the sky looked a bit crazy. It turned out to be just clouds but I was sure I was going to be out on my road bike in a downpour. My road bike needs new tires so I wouldn't be comfortable to bike down steepish hills home with it.

M, was pretty ready to go himself, nap time was imminent. I put him in the seat and took these three pictures within five seconds. Sleepy/Tree touching excitement/ omg I'm angry and want to go.

After that last picture we sped downhill home. Downhill always makes him smile so no cranky bike baby. We were home and napping before he knew it!

PS that gentle hill without gears. My thighs totally still feeling that.
PPS Oven fixed and hot water back on!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Bicycle Maintenance

Last week we took our Civia Halsted in for a tune up. We bought the bike 3 months ago and we were told no later then 3 months should we take it in for a free tune up. This just allows the bicycle mechanics to make sure that everything is still going well with the bike. Once you have "stretched" it out they may notice something that needs a little spruce up like loose brake cables etc.

To keep a bike in good shape especially if you are a commuter or hauling heavy cargo *cough*your 27 pound kid you should bring it in every couple of months. It isn't a bad idea to plan to take it at the start of every season. This is great if you are winter rider too so the bike can be set up for snow or in the spring for rain. For occasional riders once a year should be fine, if you are a warm weather rider before and at the end of your season would be best.

In the mean time follow these two rules keep your bicycle sparkly and running well. As recommended by our LBS aka check with your own shop as I am no mechanic!

1. Inflate tires to the psi stamped on their side at least once a week.

2. Lubricate your chain at least once a month. (not required if you have a closed chain)

PS: Give the bike a visual inspection. Just knowing what your bike looks like you are more likely to know if something is off.

My favorite guys making sure our bikes are ready to ride.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Neighborhood Rides

Somedays M and I have no errands to run so we just go on neighborhood bike rides. Luckily our neighborhood has lots of stuff to check out and parks nearby for some run around time. We also live by some shorter multi use trails which are fun and shady.

The past couple of days our cargo bike was in our local bike shop getting a 90 day tune up. No problem I hooked up the Yepp Mini to my pink road bike. I have to admit this isn't the comfiest ride for me with a baby seat but it works for short trips. My gears are inaccessible with the Yepp but the trade off is a lighter bike to pedal. Once again any bike is rideable with kids!

We rode down along the neighborhood that borders the Wissahickon portion of Fairmount Park. Then we rode up and around to our regional rail station. M was thrilled a train was there. So we waited to see the train ride off.

Finally, we rode up to the park a block away from our home to end the ride.

P.S. How cute is M's new Evel Knievel style Nutcase helmet.
P.P.S. Have a Great Weekend, Check out my bike pins on Pinterest & Philly bike new at BCGP

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Recycled Baby Gear For Biking

When you are pregnant you some how wind up with 2930482309482 purchases and gifts. The few days following my baby shower our old home resembled a baby box store. There are tons of things that  still get tons of use and others that I scratch my head out for even wanting. Bumbo seat I am looking at you. Here are a couple of products we use while biking, some of which you may have laying around.

Stroller/Infant Car seat Rain Covers:
We purchased an infant car seat rain cover that worked on the car seat and our travel stroller. Since M is over a year the infant car seat has been retired but we still have the cover. Basically it is plastic cover with mesh sides for breathability when I googled around for bike seat covers it was the same thing! This is a great quick fix for rainy/cold days to cover a front mounted seat and can go over a windscreen if you have one. You can monitor the little one but keep the wind and rain off of them. The cover we have is by Maxi Cosi and they run about $30.

Wet Bags:
Now not everyone may have used wet bags or know what a wet bag is but they are pretty common in the cloth diapering world. The bags are reusable and washable, they hold all the dirties without leaking out poop/pee and keep the smell all zippered in. We own two wet bags, one we still use for diapers, but it is also great for putting items like the wet clothes M soaked at the fountain this pass weekend. Our other wet bag is smaller and is delaminated aka no longer holds water. This little pouch is my go to when I am riding around the neighborhood with M on my pink bike. No pockets or basket is no issue I just clip it onto the Yepp and store cash and iphone right in it. Wet bags range is price, but you can find them all over Etsy and cloth diapering companies websites.

Skip Hop Stroller Bag:
This was a random eBay purchase when M was a newborn, it held all kinds of go to items I needed in hands reach on the stroller. Perfect for the times I couldn't be bothered to dig through the diaper bag. Today we use this bag on our bikes for extra storage. Sometimes it holds a diaper and wipes, other times snacks and water bottles. There is even a pouch on the side for water bottles. I use the velcro straps and put it on my handle bars when my husband uses he uses it on the frame of the bike. We both agree that this is something we will keep use on the bike future. I paid around $10 but that was eBay you can check out Skip Hop for pricing.

Diaper Bag/Backpack:
Now our diaper bag is actually a backpack we purchased from our local bike shop. We had a couple of diaper bags, but I realized a backpack was easier for me when M was tiny. I often carried him in a baby carrier on the front and then the bag went on the back. Let's be honest I still do this when I ride public transportation with him. I originally had a small baby messenger style bag but wanted a backpack that was large enough to in the future hold enough stuff for two kids. I scoured baby stores and websites, but couldn't find something both pleasing to the eye and functional. I turned to some local bike shops and bam, a local company, ReLoad had a bag that fit my needs. But I highly recommend any backpack for biking and babies. They are classic and comfy!  For me I am glad this bag will be a lifetime of use beyond babies.

P.S. In no way was I compensated for loving on these products
P.P.S. I have a list of some other baby stuff that we use for biking, I hope to expand this post in the future

Monday, June 18, 2012

Father's Day Ride

Hope you had a good weekend! Did you ride your bikes? We sure did. I caught plenty of pictures from our Father's Day ride to the Rodin Museum Gardens and Sister Cities Park located on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

This trip I rode my pink bike and my husband rode the cargo bike. I mean it's father's day he should drive the minivan in honor. We rode MLK out and we just made it to the upper drive before it reopened to car traffic at noon. Meaning we had four car lanes of recreation use all the way to the art museum. Literally the cop was closing the park gate as we zoomed through. We would have made it quicker, but I had to adjust my skirt and M wanted a drink!

We usually switch from MLK to the Schuykill River Trail into the Center City bike lanes but today we hopped onto the Ben Franklin Parkway (BFP) lanes. And when I say parkway it is literally a multi lane drive along the museums along the park. BFP bike lanes are painted green to show separation. I know a couple months back there was talk about making them actual separated lanes I assume the green is a trial. In general I like the green as the white lines and bike symbols in the city wear very quickly. Dislike was the potholes also painted green, it could be tricky to see them. I'd also like to see the lanes a tad wider.

We hit up Rodin where I made the boys take a picture out front, see below. We locked up our bikes at the bike rack nearby (about ten or so spots for bike parking) and went to explore. The Rodin is currently being renovated so we checked out the four statues outside, walked around the lovely gardens and checked out signage about the reopening next month. Next stop Sister Cities Park.

We hopped back on the bikes to bike a whole four blocks to the park. We got there and were surprised by the lack of bike racks. Four u shaped racks on the backside of the building was all I saw, maybe there was more on the North side? We treated our bikes like a stroller and left them on the grass while the little guy played in the sprinkle fountain.

It was overcast and barely mid 70s but the this did not stop M. He loves water. When I first encouraged him to play he played shy and hid between the bikes. I removed my shoes and walked to the outskirts with him. And bam! my hand was dropped and in he went. Overall the way they redid the park was great. In addition to the sprinkle fountain there was a sailboat pool but kids were splashing in it too. As well as climbing rocks. Such a great nook for city kids right along the parkway near tons of great museums.

By the time he was freezing we had to force him away from the water, dry him up and change his clothes. We set up a picnic blanket on the lawn and bought sandwiches from milk and honey subcafe located at the park. M warmed up and ran around. He was so excited to spot buses hustling around the parkway and Logan Circle.

Before long we decided to hit the bike path and head home. We rode down the parkway and decided to take the east side of the river, Kelly Drive back. My husband always thinks this is a 2 mile ride because there is no stopping and it is so peaceful especially on a Sunday afternoon when it's less busy. We love our "country" ride back to our home at the other base of the trail. The river and tree lines are beautiful. In all honesty the ride is about 7.5 miles but does feel  quick and peaceful.

M napped the ride home. The sleep roll for the yepp didn't really work. He snuggled up on my h's arm instead. Overall I think that a bike ride sleep is the best way to say happy father's day.

Happy Father's Day to all the bike families! 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Amsterdam through the eyes of 2 year old on a bike!

Came across this in my bike blog reading yesterday a mother gave her old digital camera to her daughter while they were visiting amsterdam. Such great photos, check it out on Brooklyn Spoke.

My husband and I visited Amsterdam in 2010 and loved the bike culture there. We felt like it would be a great place to visit with children, although I am sure a lot of people think of it as an adult only place, but far from it! Above is a bike made by De Fietsfabriek . My favorite bike shop was by far Work Cycles, I really would love a Fr8 bike (and while I am dreaming I'd like a Secret Service model too) in the future, we gawked at their shop the last day we were there.

Picture from our 2010 trip of the bike parking garage outside the train station

Monday, June 11, 2012

New floors.

Another weekend sans a big biking adventure. We laid new floors in our kitchen. Our bikes live in our kitchen, check out the new floors and our civia.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Bike Race!

Our home is right off the route. Hearing the cheers from the house for the amateur race was a great thrill. We went down to our neighbors to snack, drink and cheer on the bicyclists.

The speed going down ridge avenue is unreal. I clench my brakes riding down this same hill while they pedal to Go faster. Unreal.

Overall great event. Next year I want to walk the route and see the differences.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Stomach Virus & Manayunk Bike Race!

A stomach virus has kept me off my bike this week. But those pesky viruses will keep you out of a car, train or anywhere that isn't your home! But let's not dwell on that because this weekend is bike race weekend!!

This weekend is the Philadelphia International Championship otherwise known as the Manayunk Bike Race, as new kids to the 'yunk we are excited for the bike race.

Here is the map of the course, we live right where Manayunk Ave meets Ridge, so this is the downhill section where bikes on their trailing team cars go ZOOM!
So excited!

In other Philly bike news check out the new trail kickoff, "Connect the Circuit":

I'll have pictures of the bike race on Monday, have a good weekend you all.