Fellow Philadelphians we are in for a crappy week of weather. Luckily on the other side is Memorial Day Weekend and no planned rain. For me it will be a walking and public transportation week! Perhaps I should bring our cargo bike in for it's 60 day free check up this week.
So what did we do this past weekend via bike? We only spent one of our two days on bike the other we took the car out to Valley Forge to let the squid run around in the land of fields. Got to give the city kid some country! Saturday we woke up ate breakfast and planned to head to Rittenhouse Square via MLK (west river) Drive. Springtime makes using Kelly Drive impossible, to many regattas, not to mention MLK until noon is completely closed for recreation and then the upper part is kept closed until 5. So we get a 4 lane "highway" to bike openly on!
When I google it is a 6.9 mile ride one way to Rittenhouse, so fairly short. The ride there we didn't hit any snags, I did manage to break twice for families of geese crossing MLK. I will say this spring brings the most adorable feathery babies out. The other neat thing on MLK is a boat house that is dedicated to biking and rowing for those who are physically handicapped. There are some crazy bikes that come out of there for everyone to get exersice. It is great to see families enjoying an activity like biking together when someone may not usually get such bodily freedoms.
We swung into the the East River multi-use path. The path had "Art on Scene" project going on so it was cool to see art in progress right by the river as we were biking. This path can also get cluttered with all different types of people, I find it a bit tricky to navigate with 75 pounds of bike and baby. A lot of folks don't know how to respond to "on your left" or my bell. So I tend to ride extra slow, but of course those who are road biking getting annoyed because they are screeching past me! Can't please everyone.
We hopped off at the end of the path which is Locust Street, and road Locust up to the park. Right before we headed into the park, an older guy screamed across the street "WHERE DID YOU GET THAT BIKE MODIFIED?!?". I love the excitement of older men about our bike. I responded it came that way because I thought he was referring to the "truck" style of my cargo bike, turns out his excitement was over the baby seat. He screamed over we needed to take pictures and show the squid in the future and he had only seen a front seat like that in NYC. We laughed as there was bobike and ibert seat baby passengers on the river trail too.
auntie monk monk
We arrived at Rittenhouse Square and setup a spot to picnic and chill on the south west corner. Luckily we did, there was a huge festival on the north east end. Our friend and my old roommate, Monkey arrived to hang out with us, she was down from Boston for a visit. Now Monkey is a pretty awesome biker, she has biked across the country and many other places, so she was way more excited to see our bikes then us. That's okay we love her all the same. We did some lunch, let the squid play with the soccer ball and tennis ball we brought, seriously we never leave home without balls in the cargo basket of our bike! The other bonus about Rittenhouse, my kid is in love with buses at the moment, and every type of bus rounds the square, from the cities double deckers to the regular SEPTA fleet. His little mind was full of buses.
We loaded back up and headed out, we followed the path of sharrow (shared road arrow) down Spruce Street and we were promptly yelled out by an impatient driver to pull over and let her pass. My husband just yelled back "No" just matter of factly and that was that. The squid fell asleep less then a block after we pushed off (and he had no nap the whole day. Again I still hadn't purchased a sleeproll for the Yepp Mini, so we decided to pull over at the start of the trail to let him sleep. Of course I grew impatient and we tried to ride with him again and try to get him to fall asleep on my arm. He woke up and was like okay there are puppies on the trail it is cool that I am up.
west river drive
We hopped back on the west river, the lower part was open to car traffic but we stayed on the road there since it is a one bike path on the bridge and the shoulder which is perfect for bikes is easier to ride west. Only snag was when I came around the bridge my bike's front wheel spun out from me, some how I managed to stay in control of the bike, but both my husband and I had a poop the pants moment. The rest of the ride was smooth bikewise, the squid remembered he hadn't napped and was like WAIT A MINUTE, I am tired. So we pulled off at a parking area and we snacked and let him run around. And now here is my plea to those who use the river parking area. PICK UP YOUR TRASH. Because my child loves to pick up your water bottles, cigarette butts, papers etc. We put the squid back on the bike because taking trash out of his hands was getting gross, boy was he upset, which always sucks because being on a bike is awesome. He stopped once we got started biking and we sang to him and I squeezed him with my arms. Seriously best part of a front seat is it is constant hugs and kisses and songs from mama.
We arrived home safe and sound. Little guy was ready for a nap and so were we.
P.S. later that night we dropped by REI and bought that sleeproll!
I have been obsessed with bike fashion blogs lately. I have seen some great mix of street clothes and bike gear. For me I mostly bike in "street clothes", but I can't help but adding wicking running shorts/tights to a lot of my outfits. I am sure that is common with most lady bikers.
I also love me some of the items specifically created for bikers with style in mind. Levi's is a big national (well worldwide) brand that came out with a "commuter" line of jeans made to bike in. To bad they forgot to make it for both sexes. Smaller brands Nona Varnado and Outlier have both come out with women's gear, plus both brands are made in the USA and specially in NYC. I love buying local, google my name and you will see me on abcnews talking about it!
My Wishlist from Nona Varando:
Want to look at some fashion on bikes? Check out my favorites!
Saturday, was absolutely wonderful here in Philly. It lives up to the always sunny title for sure. We woke up bright and early; ate a hardy breakfast and we were out the door on our bikes. Our original plan was take ride West River Drive to 30th Street Station for National Train Day, however little guy fell asleep on the bike so we decided to hang at the park on Locus and the river so he could grab a full nap.
We parked the bike nibble on snacks and let the little guy rest. I'm pretty sure we are going to pick up the sleep roll that yepp makes for times like this. But for now I just put my cardigan on the handle to pad him out. While lounging a couple with two kids walked into the garden we were parked in front of and I swear to god lost all manners and screamed "omg he is asleep, poor thing", luckily he didn't wake. Also saying "poor thing" makes this mama bear ready to scratch your eyes out. Just a tip people if a child is sleeping in anything he is comfy. So please don't be an asshole. I gritted my teeth and said he is comfy and yes asleep. (ps this women's kid was in a bike helmet in a stroller... Over protective or toddler dressing himself?!).
After the sprout woke up we let him down to stretch the limbs and eat crackers. What can I say the little guy bikes so hard he needs fuel. We changed our plans since A. The train say started an hour ago B. it was so nice we couldn't picture being indoors. So we decided to bike down to our favorite bike shop and then hit up the Art Star Craft Bazaar at Penn's Landing. We headed out down Pine Street since it has a bike lane, however most of the streets had cars parked in the lane which drives me batty. They eliminated a car lane to add the bike lane so no parking was even eliminated. The worst is when the drivers get mad when I ride by and yell at them. Around the gayborhood a women waved and milo and exclaimed to me "he's smiling" I laughed who wouldn't smile on a bike on an absolutely awesome day.
We dropped by Bicycle Revolutions and showed off the Halsted thy built for us with our new added Yepp mini seat. They loved it and also loved Milo's rash guard from PoP that he was sporting again. He looks like a hardcore biker in them. After a quick Drop by the store down the street for sunblock (I am the queen of forgetting it and baby natural sunblock is expensive!!!) we were off to Penn's Landing.
While parking we impressed onlookers with our setup we kept receiving "that is so awesome" and one older man was seriously impressed with the welding of our bike. A little girl around seven was concerned for the safety, haha not a little wild thing I guess.
The craft bazaar was great, lots of neat etsy vendors. Milo was obsessed with the water fountain that runs the length of plaza. And threw pretty little tantrums that he couldn't play in it. After the crafty explosion we headed to Fork Etc. to grab some lunch. I de to run a historic site in Old City and would eat here all the time. I still miss the tasty.
RIding in Old CIty on the weekend is always a pain. There are tons of out of towners not use to sharing the road or looking out of the door before opening it. There are also horses and carriage and I try hard not to spook them when passing. Being in a high volume area like OC reminds me why the yepp seats are way better for us then a trailer. I would loose my mind not having an eye on the little guy the whole time.
By the time we reached the path to ride back home along the river, milo wanted a second nap. We pulled over again since we were just enjoying the nice day. Lots of other bikey families and bikers on the path.
So multi use rec. path tips for those not carrying kids. I am on a heavy bike with cargo and kid I do not ride fast, I am fine with being passed. However if you see me going down hill the weight makes me go quicker. I hate when someone in the opposite lane cuts into you I'm jamming on the brakes and shooting you the look of death. Also if you are a walker or runner that bell/on your left call is asking you to remain single file on the narrow path so we can safely pass you!
Following the nap, we did a bit of breastfeeding in the park since he wasn't wanting snacks or water. And then we were off down West River Drive, about two miles from home we hopped off and stopped at the "comfort station" I laugh at that term. I let the little guy run around but man was this place sketchy. We did however see the cutest family of geese! And we caught a few minutes of the Dad Vail rowing competition in the river.
By the time we mounted and got home we received a few more excited bike riders complimenting us on the Halsted. We were a half block from home and were stopped by a neighbor asking us about the Yepp as they just bought one, yeah a bike family super close! Must stalk them.Once we were home we set up Milo's private water fountain and chilled out. All in all we crisscrossed the city and ride around 20 something miles. Not a bad day at all.
Sorry, we had a pretty busy weekend so no pictures of us biking. Womp womp.
But here are two questions I was recently asked:
Why did we start biking? -- Well we have been biking in Philadelphia for a long time. It is a great method of getting around. We enjoyed biking long before we had the little guy, but in actuality we rarely ever biked together as a couple until we had him. So why did we start, well to get to work and school mainly. It is a cheap quick way to travel about the city. Why did we start biking as a family? Mainly we want to promote a lifestyle of exercise for our son and model good environmental behavior. Also being stuck is the backseat can be boring, biking is always an adventure. Of course we also only own one car, so for me I need a bike to get us to point A and B. Wether that is storytime, play dates or the grocery store.
When can I start biking with my kid?-- This is a tricky question, I am honestly not qualified to answer. In the states they recommend 1 year. But it really depends what you are comfortable with. The seat we have suggests 9 months, if that wasn't the start of winter we might have went for biking with our guy then. Not long trips and only flat areas, but we started just after one year. Ultimately I am passing this question along to a great blog I found super helpful when first researching baby and bikes.
P.S. I love that Totcyle uses the wonderful Tall Cow's family bicycling print. They have a wonderful shop here in Philly; go visit, and then pickup a bagel at South Street Bagel across the way or check out the Headhouse farmer's market on Sundays. I have a feeling we will be there this weekend( on bike of course).
Our family is always amazed that we are always finding interesting stuff to do...we always respond we live in a city, there is LITERALLY always something fun to do. I find myself not posting about the mundane bike rides that are for transportation and find that our "adventures" are more fun to post about, mostly because we do them as a family. Having your child between your arms as you pedal is such an amazing feeling, I sing and talk to him, my husband whizzes by next to us and giggles surround us as a family. We do not have this same feeling in a car. Maybe we aren't going on a typical family adventure to an amusement park, but we are certainly having a family experience that is irreplaceable.
This past sunday we found ourselves packing up our bikes to go to a vintage baseball game near the Please Touch Museum in Fairmount Park. The vintage team plays and dresses according to 1865 rules. I rode the civia halsted the basket was packed to the brim, filled with soccer balls, baseballs for the little guy to play with and food for noshing while watching the game. I made the most amazing soft pretzels from a recipe I found on pintrest, I took them fresh off the grill and biked them in a brown paper bag which cooled them perfectly. We brought blanket to lay out for us too.
The bike ride to the field is about 4.8 miles according to google, since it was a weekend we biked along the closed MLK Blvd in Philly, which is awesome! Essentially a four lane highway is shut down so plenty of room to bike safely as a family, avoiding runners and other bicyclists. The little guy crashed out on the bike ride there. I am still trying to figure out the best approach to bike naps, and might invest in the yepp mini's sleeproll. He woke up promptly the moment we arrived. We met up with our friends and had a great time watching the "base ball clubs".
Our ride home was nice and peaceful, we got to the end of MLK right before it reopened. Overall excellent sunday adventure.