Sunday, 28 December 2008

Mike on a bike!

About 4th go out and he's cracked,  scooting, steering and braking! 

And thats on a steep hill!


Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Santas Little Helper

Mike took a trip our on his new Puky to help me post the xmas cards to folks in our village. On a little downhill slope he started to move quicker and quicker until his little legs couldnt keep up, so ...... he lifted his legs!

He kept the bike straight all the way down until he rolled to a stop when he hit the grass at the end of the path!

What a magic xmas present! The boys a natural!

Monday, 22 December 2008

Mike on a Bike!

Mikes Nana has bought Mike his first bike! Its not quite a bike its the Puky Wutsch, horrible name for a great product!

When he got it he wasnt remotely interested. When we suggested going outside on his bike he ran to the door and sat on it with the bike pressed to the front door! In Mikes world bikes are for outside!

Its a smart product. Its sold as a "pre-bike" for 18months+ 80cm+ (~£50) Two key points:

  • The seat is very low to the ground so great for shorties like my boy.

  • It steers like a bike. ie it goes where you look. This really works because Mike was fine until he looked around and then he'd veer into whatever he was looking at.

Mike was dog tired when we went out (we went out to keep him awake), and he didnt smile at all. We knew he liked it because if we tried to take him off the bike he screamed blue murder! I'm waiting for my brother in law to send us the video!

Note the cunning use of my trouser belt to keep him from flying down the hill!

Best Family Cycling Website in the World

Here it is:


Keep an eye on this one family guys and gals!

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Dumb Statistics!

I have to be very careful with this post. As i've usually only want to post positive stories about cycling (lets face it we hear enough negative ones!) but on a recent ecovelo post about cycling and health, someone posted a great rebuttal to the classic cycling is dangerous statistics.

All cycling is dangerous statistics compare accidents or deaths on a distance travelled basis eg per million or billion miles travelled.

Trains are safest, then cars and bikes are usually 10-20 times more dangerous than cars. Of course its nonsense for a variety of complex reasons. Which i have often explained at a dinner table till i've started to bore myself...
1) Individual routes make a huge difference eg Cars are safe on motorways but not A roads
2) Bike mileage is not comparable to car mileage, journey durations or trip nos would be more useful
3) Cyclists live longer than car drivers because they have protection against cardiovascular disease so its a truly dumb stat. Its dangerous not to cycle. If your family has a history of heart disease its suicidal not to cycle.

Back to that ecovelo response to the dumb stat....

"How any astronauts have died? But they travel a really long way, so that means space travel is statistically safer, right? Uh, no."


Cycling with 2 young children Part 3: Trailers

I'll start off and proclaim my bias here. I don't like trailers. I think they are useful for cargo and out of rush hour leisure rides, but i really don't like them when your in town or crossing busy junctions.

My son agrees and still resolutely refuses to go in the trailer. He wants to be on the bike with daddy. In fact he wants to ride the bike and have daddy sit on the back. He's pretty convinced he knows how to do it :-)

That said they have a lot of benefits:
-Weather proof
-Can carry a lot of 'stuff'
-Gives the kids some freedom to do things
-Safe in a crash that doesn't involve cars
-Can carry infants from 3months with suspension and inserts
-Easy to load

The disadvantages are:
-They 'feel' vulnerable in traffic
-Increased width on the road (suddenly i feel like I'm holding everyone up)
-Awkward to park
-Restricted view compared to bike seat.

I often read\hear people assure me that drivers behave very nicely round trailers and in my experience they do, but i feel that I'm holding up the traffic (its harder to pass on our narrow roads). In rush hour i cant imagine drivers would tolerate being held up like this.

I do recommend having a trailer. Its a nice add-on to a child seat combo and increases luggage capacity for days out (I can fit my birdy in mine!). I'm really hope that in the summer on long leisure rides in country roads i can persuade Mike to use it , just to get him out of the sun for a bit.

Monday, 8 December 2008

Cycling with 2 young children Part 2 and a bit: Trikes

Well i missed one! In my obsession to praise and flatter longbikes i missed an old fashioned classic. The tricycle!

A recent story caught my eye on a new product called the Trikidoo . Its an interesting story as its a modern take on the tricycle designed by someone who wanted something green to do this but didnt like what she found in bike shops.

For the price and for the right job i can see this working really well. It certainly appears to be the in thing for Notting Hill mums on the nursery run! I particularly like the stability when stationary aspect of this design.

Thursday, 4 December 2008

UK School Cycling: Listen to the kids!

I try to avoid any story which mentions 'fear' or 'road danger', but i felt moved to share this.

There is a story running in the Uk about a 10 year old child Sam who wants to cycle to school, but has been banned by the school as its too dangerous.

I first saw it appear on the CTC forum, where his dad asked for help on the issue. It got picked up by the local news (near Portsmouth UK) and then the National Press.

Its just appeared on Newsround , which is a very respected BBC News programme for children. Often the news on here is more objective than adult news as they cant easily get away with pushing agendas.

The best bit is the comments. Just lots of kids saying quite succintly and maturely, 'this is silly we cycle to school, so do my mates.' It puts a lot of adults to shame.

Good luck Sam and anyone like him!