Thursday, June 23, 2011

how to take your kid out on a bike

Forget those child trailers, forget the tandem, forget dragging your kid behind your bike. You may feel good. You say to yourself, "hey I am saving the planet, I am a green parent teaching my kid how to be green, I feel great and really cool as I bike to my errands dragging little Johnny behind me in his trailer " or whatever gadget you have hooked up.

Today I had posted a ride to my bike club. Imagine my surprise when a dad showed up with his 11 yo son who was on a road bike and with clip pedals, helment and club jersery (man size small and still too big). At first I was annoyed to see the dad and his son. Dad said son has been on club rides before. OK I say. Come along. I am thinking, we will lose this pair within the first 5 miles.

Well this little kid not only stayed in front, he smoked the ride and left his dad eating his wake. We did 32 miles at a good pace, not race pace but decent enough for most of us who are 55+ adults. When we got back, only person still fresh as a daisy was the kid. His dad looked terrible, we lost a guy on the ride as well.

So for all you dummies out there dragging your kids in strollers, trailers, back packs or whatever. Put them down on the ground, get them walking and using their tricycles.

If you kid is past age 2, you do not NEED a stroller. Get the kiddo walking. Once my kids were past 18 months, we never put them in strollers, We went to Disney World with a 6 yo and a 3 yo and we had NO stroller. We walked and we walked. No child was carried.

The dad of the little guy above said when he picked up the children's bikes in Walmart he was shocked at how heavy they were. Instead he went straight to a large chain bike store and bought a decent road bike for his son. Kid was not big, rather small for an 11 yo but he could bike and never tired. I credit this dad for getting his kid into exercise in a fun way.

Hats off to this dad, keeping his son active in a fun way. No health club camps for this kid, just real actitivity.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Move out of the 19th century, LADIES

Today I was out biking by myself enjoying the sounds of birds chirping and the warm sunshine. Lo and behold, stranded on the side of the road is a fellow female cyclist with a flat tire. She had her husband on the phone and he was giving her directions on how to change a tire. Needless to say, this was futile and her tire and tube were tangled and a mess.

I stopped and pulled out my supplies and changed her tire and inflated it with my handy dandy CO2. She had a hand pump but I have yet to find any female who can manually inflate a tire past about 45lbs. Took me all of 10 seconds to inflate her tire.

She kept apologizing that she usually bikes with her husband and he changes the tires. I asked her when was the last time she updated her tubes. She did not know. Her bike chain was covered in grim and her cassette as well. Most times when these ladies tell me their boyfriends or husbands are maintaining and cleaning their bikes, I find dirty bikes with tons of issues.

My advice to you chicks of the 19th century, learn to take care of your bike and do not rely on your husband or boyfriend. There are some husbands or boyfriends who do a great job taking care of the chick's bike but most times, they do a piss poor job.

The lady above was very grateful. I hope she goes home and learns how to change a tire and cleans her bike HERSELF. I bike with ladies of all ages, rarely do I run across a woman who regularly cleans her bike and maintains her tires and tubes. COME ON LADIES, move out of the 19th century and take care of your bike.

ON A SIDE NOTE and very funny.......................

This lady kept her husband on the phone the entire time I was changing her tire. She still figured he had the best help available to her and I was probably not going to be able to change her tire.

3rd rant on Child Bike Trailers

The other day, I was driving on Airport Road in West Chester, PA and saw a dad with a child trailer. The road is very very busy and has a narrow shoulder. Google the road. Several industrial parks line the road. It is the main access road for a large UPS site and the only way to get to the West Chester Airport. Why in the world a dad would choose this road to take his two kids for a ride in a bike trailer is beyond my comprehension? Two kids were jammed in the trailer with no helmets or any safety features. Cars do 50 mph or more on this road.

If you feel this child bike trailer above provides safety for your precious cargo from a large UPS truck barreling by at 50 mph, you must need to have your head examined.

Adults are free to bike on any roads they choose. I support biking by adults as commuters or pleasure biking. But your child does not have this choice when you put him or her into a trailer and then bike on roads that are dangerous even for adults on bikes.

Roads that house large industrial parks tend to attract drivers rushing to and from work in their cars. Airport Road is a cut through road to access a large highway - RT 202.

It is not a safe biking road and if used by adults on bikes requires much diligence to remain safe.

Dads and Moms, please use your bike trailers on roads that are safe for pedestrians and cyclists. Choose roads with bike lanes or large wide shoulders. DO NOT choose roads where cars go over 50 pmh and have companies that use large delivery trucks.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

hats off to Centerville, Delaware


It's Just Chalk, But Oh What Chalk - 13th Street Bike Lane Chalked Today

We see lots of bike lanes being promoted in our cities. Philadelphia is quietly adding many bike lanes as you can see above. New York City and other cities are adding bike lanes and making city biking much easier for commuters.

But the suburbs lag way behind. I know of no suburban communities in Eastern PA with bike lanes on their major roads. My county of Chester is finally building a bike trail that has been almost 25 yrs in the making. The roads of Chester County have no bike lanes and many have no shoulders. When shoulders are available they are often littered with tree debris.

Imagine my surprise when biking on rt 52 in Centerville, Delaware. This town has spent the last year making a major highway into a bike and pedestrian friendly road. From Center Meeting Road to Burnt Mill Road is now an oasis for cyclists and walkers. This town has put beautiful sidewalks and bike lanes through its entire town. This town sits on a highway but now it is a friendly road with places for cars, bikes and joggers and walkers.

HATS OFF TO DELAWARE. This state is making its roads safer for cyclists and pedestrians. I wish my state of Pennsylvania had similar plans.