Thursday, April 05, 2012

Marla's First Bike Ride

A few months back, we bought a fancy convertible baby trailer type thing that would allow Amber to take Marla with her when she went jogging, or me to take Marla with me when I went bicycling. (Or, if the trail is suitable, hiking, too!)

Amber has taken her jogging before, but we've waited to debut the baby trailer's bicycling capability until two things happened: 1) Marla got at least eight months old; and 2) the weather got warmer. Well, guess what? It's time!

The trailer has a detachable front wheel that you leave on for jogging purposes, or take off for bicycling purposes, replaced by a rod that connects with a socket that you fasten onto the bicycle's rear axle. Put it all together, attach the trailer's MANY safeties, and there you have it!

For Marla's first bike ride, we didn't even think about public streets. Instead, we just went to the American Tobacco Trail (ATT), a 6.5-mile paved, mixed use trail in Durham. And Amber came along, too! Hooray family bike ride!

So...I think it went pretty well! We did about 5.5 of the 6.5 miles in each direction before Marla decided it was time to turn around, resulting in a total of 11 miles. I think that's pretty good, especially considering how much extra work it is to pedal with all that additional weight. I estimate that I have to work 33% harder, maybe more, when riding with Marla and the trailer attached than I do when it's just me.

We had thought that just using the "bug screen" on the trailer would be enough, but...nope. A lot of dirt was being kicked up from my tires and onto Marla, and Marla no likey that, so, lesson learned. (Well, not a lot of dirt, but we think this is why she started fussing around mile 5.) On the return trip, we used the full plastic screen rather than the bug screen, and she subsequently fell asleep. (Our initial concern with the full screen was ventilation, but there is sufficient ventilation along the sides and in back.)

So, now I'm that guy on the ATT with the baby trailer. Yay! I almost always see at least one kid in a bike trailer every time I ride the ATT, at least on weekends. I mean, there aren't many better places around here to take your baby on a bike ride. Orange flag or not, the idea of taking this out on a public street is kind of scary. So, I'm certainly not ready to try that yet, at least on roads other than slow residential streets. But I think it would be fun to pick up Marla from day care via bicycle at some point.

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