Wednesday, 23 December 2009

So not posting really

I've not been posting (obviously) mainly due to 1) being busy at work and 2) having a 2nd child!

I'm looking forward to the weather warming up and deciding how i;m going to transport them both!

I've had a couple of changes in my life as well. Ive been doing the nursery run with Mike while my wife has been on maternity leave and i'm getting a new job. I want to dump some posts down about the nursery runs , but i also need to mention the new job.

My new job is 17 miles away. Its not commutable by train or bike. So we'll become a 2 car family. Oh the shame! Mikes also not going to be going to nursery for much longer but instead will go to the pre school in our village, so i wont even be child transporting. I wonder if i should change the name of the blog to 'driverparent who sees his children at weekends'. Still i have some things i'd like to share before i adopt my new lifestyle so i want to get those posts out.

Monday, 27 April 2009

Mikes Riding!

Mike and i have developed a new game, which is racing round the patio on our bikes. I have the edge on the straights but he wins most of the time because he can turn on a sixpence. Its great for filling 15 minutes while dinner is being prepped. Only trouble is it tends to be 30 minutes, 45 minutes etc. particularly with pit stops!  

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Coffee, Scones and Bakfiets

We have friends over from New Zealand and we're having little day trips out with the kids. Three kids in the house for a week is an interesting lesson in parenting. 

We had a day trip out where we stopped at the Orchard in Grantchester for coffee and scones. After our refreshment, i persuaded the others to go for a walk through the cute village. Imagine our supirse when, after 5 minutes we stumbled upon a bakfiets  (which i had spotted earlier). It was clearly set up as a display model, with an advertising hoarding on the side.

We prodded and poked the bike for about 10 minutes before a very nice man came out and said the magic words, 'Would you like a ride?' . 'Yes please!' says i, and on i hopped! Michael promptly bursts into tears when daddy rides off without him. 'Me bike! Me bike!' he shouts.

It had a nexus 7 gear, so i put it in a low gear to get it going thinking the ride would be heavy and slow. Instead, it twitched out into the road and within 30 seconds i'd worked out how to go straight. Slipping the gears to something  a little higher i found it absolutely flew! I'd thought it would be 
a lump and heavy and hard to steer, instead it was more like a flighty stallion. For anyone who's ever ridden a brompton, the ride is very similar. The steering is light and twitchy, but perfectly safe. At high speeds the bike just goes and feels like your not riding it. Very impressive for something that looks like a tank!

So back to base and we picked up the Mike. Off we went...... Straight away we got that magic ride and talk experience. 'Hows it going Mike? Do you like the bike?' 'Yes, Yes' etc right to 'Ok, time to go home', 'No no' followed by tears and screaming. 

I have to say i was very very impressed by the bike. The cons were light steering and bumpy ride in the front. The pros are i loved it and so did Mike!

The nice man from Dutchbike UK will do short term loans for interested parties.........Like me...hmm damn recession....

Saturday, 25 April 2009

More Bikes!

In a bid to ensure my wife starts to cycle again, maybe and also just for the convenience of it, i'm planning to get a new bike to live at the station near my work and my wifes. We want a bike that can take the hamax rack on the back and a bobike mini on the front. Its also going to be used by 6 foot me and 5.5 feet wife.  It also needs to be very suitable to ride in long coats, skirts, trousers, heels etc  So dutch stylee but a bit cheaper :-)

After a test ride i've settled on the new Dawes Graduate which i tried at Station Cycles in Cambridge. Its the only step-thru steel town bike with a 7 speed hub and non back pedal brakes that i've come across.  Also i think it will handle a bobike mini front seat and a hamax plus on the back. Plus its a dawes frame so i'll feel confident that it'll handle me and mike and stuff.

I'm waiting for my voucher from cyclescheme, so once it arrives i can get the bike and i'll let you know how we get on.

The Hamax Plus System Revisited ..... Again!

Theres been a little debate about the hamax panniers running on my blog. I'm pulling together some things for a new fuller post on the pros and cons of the new system, plus some info on the new version of the pannier.

This post is just a placeholder, but just so folks know i'm still very happy with mine. 

Thursday, 5 March 2009

I'm back and isnt it great!

Hi all, i'm back after a long break from cycling, due to a really bad cycling accident. Well i say cycling, but actually i was carrying my folder from the shed, i dropped the bike lock, slipped on it and went flying. I landed badly and tore all the muscles in my right shoulder! They do say accidents happen at home!

On top of that my wifes been ill (flu) and i've had to ferry my son around by taxi (yuck). Today was my first day back on the bike for about 4 weeks. I found it was daylight! That was nice! It also appears to be spring! As soon as i left the village, I saw red deer (i havent seem them all winter), 3 hares playing in the next field and a fox loping across the next field. Ah its great to be back!

Sunday, 18 January 2009

Winter Warmer Piccies

Mike in bike Muff. In Five more minutes his eyes will be closing.....

A rear view:

And the whole thing open on the bike. Notice how the straps go through really easily and how it zips up at the front:

Friday, 16 January 2009

Winter warmers

I'd been wondering what to do about moving Mike around in the winter and I'd been reviewing his winter gear. I'm now fairly settled on what it is:
  • His Benetton coat. Its like wearing a duvet! Thanks random Italian relative! He's worn it since he was born and now at nearly 2 yrs old he's going to need a new one. Time to start saving!
  • A helmet chube from (£12 from muddypuddles), its a thick fleece neck muff, with a thin balaclava top. Designed for helmet use!
  • A pushchair warmer/muff/sleeping bag/blanket thing (£19.99 from Tchibo)

The pushchair muff thing is genius! Its a small sleeping bag with slots in the rear to take straps that suit pushchairs. The same slots will work for a bike seat. I cut a slit thru the bottom half of the back of mine and blanket stitched the edges , so that it splits either side of the seat.

It fits directly onto the bike seat and has a front mounted zip\velcro. This means that i can put Mike on bike as normal, strap him in and then fold the 'pushchair muff thing' over him and zip and\or velcro it. Mike hates being constrained, but he can get his arms out so he's ok with it. Also it stops him kicking me in the back so bonus!

The nice thing about the muff vs a big winter warmer suit. Is that it can be left on the bike and theres no complex dressing\undressing when we stop.

My next plan is to make a rain\sun cover. I have one for my vaude backpack child carrier that i plan to re-use.

Thanks to longwalkonthegreen for the inspiration to customise the bike seat. Will some bike manufacturer please sack their design teams and just employ this guy?