Little brother's helping me steer.
The last two days have been fantastic. We've been celebrating 'Nama's birthday week and culminated her actual day on Thursday with a doughnut run and a 41 mile bike ride. Nothing like a dozen doughnuts to power through a long ride. I was surprised with how few stops we made along the way. It definitely helped to have 'Nama and G'ampa to help distract the babies. Little Brother wasn't feeling as well so he spend a good portion of the trip sleeping. I think that the windscreen would really help him be more comfortable and help protect him from dust and debris. One more step towards full Mundo-van-dom. Although I was a feeling the miles towards the end, I was quite happy to see that my body survived and felt pretty darn good the next day. The only thing I feel I need to be more careful of is the way I pedal around the Yepp. It is not a great situation for long rides and I am planning on taking it off for touring.
Doughnut fairy rides again!
Hagan's swings never get old.
Today was the first "group" ride, a 2-miler, just meant to help get people used to city riding and have a great excuse to drink some yummy Old Soul Coffee
. Sadly, many of my riders called in busy and on the way over, Jose's bike decided to call in broken (the rear wheel actually popped off while he was riding, luckily there was minimal damage to the bike and none to him). So when I got to Grant Park, my two faithful parents were there, waiting in their matching neon jackets with their matching Bike Fridays
. I love them. Since it was just us, we decided on a longer ride down the bike trail to Old Town and a stop in to Practical Cycle
to pick up a few things.
Lovely morning at the shop, it was fairly quiet and I got a chance to talk with Tim and his son, Cassidy. I mentioned to Tim that my brakes were a bit loose and he went straight to work, checking out this and that and somehow managed to do an almost-complete bike tune up right there in the middle of the shop. My brakes were frightfully loose, the crank arms were, too, the Yepp Mini was spinning on the spacers wildly, and my tires were a bit low. Whoops! I guess I had been a little too excited to get off and riding on my Mundo
and had let things stretch a bit too much. Thankfully, Tim was nice enough not to lecture me about proper bike maintenance and I had to promise him to bring the bike back in during the week to get my spokes tightened up. While I was there, Cassidy ordered some trailer tires for me (awesome white walls and great price!) which should be there before our camping trip. I also picked up an alternative trailer hitch clamp that we should be able to swap for the one that is on the Chariot arm and the we'll be able to move the trailer back and forth between any bike. The problem with the Yepp was that the hitch is not designed to fit on a threadless stem (as I had mentioned before). We had been able to get it to "fit" but as Tim found out, it was wobbling--not because it wasn't tight enough, but because it was clamped to the spacers on the headset and the spacers were spinning freely, taking the Yepp with it. One of the reviewers for the Yepp had mentioned that he solved the threadless headset problem by just taking the spacers out and clamping it directly onto the fork. I mentioned this to Tim and off he went to try it out. That's how it is now and it's working perfectly. Problem solved! So, the Mundo is feeling great with its mini tune-up and I'm feeling better about having working brakes and a solid baby seat.
Jose finally got his bike up and running and met up with us at my folks' house to fiddle with the bikes a bit more. We moved the Peanut Shell farther up the utility board, giving enough space for a third person on the back. Jose was my first victim...er...passenger. You can tell from his white knuckles in the photo that he wasn't quite comfortable with my riding. It was difficult to get used to because he would counteract my balancing and get us wiggling all over the place. I finally got him to put his feet on the lower bars and that helped him calm down and keep us steadier. I need a lot more practice with big people before I can get everyone on the bike at once.
'Nama's birthday was celebrated again this evening with delicious burritos and ice cream cake then we ditched Big Brother at their house for his slumber party and the hubby, Little Brother, and I rode home for a "quieter" evening.
My goal had been to rack up 300 miles for the month of March but looking at tomorrow's weather, I don't think that's going to happen. I'm at 268 now and I'm hoping to squeeze in a couple more tomorrow. Soggy or not, 268 is just too weird of a number to sign off on.
Some of you might have noticed my Zombie Apocalypse photo on various social media. Silly? Yes. Ridiculous? Yes. Distasteful and violent? Probably. Terribly fun? YES!!! A few weeks ago, I was riding with Jose (and probably the kids, too, since they're usually where ever we are...leeches *said with love*...) and we were having another brilliant "bike ride" conversation. You know the ones, they usually start as the blood pools in your legs and less makes it to your brain. They're usually the most profound thoughts you've ever had. This was mine: "You know, bike touring is really just training for the upcoming Zombie Apocalypse." Brilliance. And very true. When else will you be forced to ride mile after mile with everything you need on the back of your bike? Why else would any one subject themselves to this sort of torture if some crazy brain-eating monster wasn't right behind them? And you just thought we do this for fun.
happened to post an event in Portland, OR shortly after my stroke of genius. Pedalpalooza
is a natural disaster relief trial for cargo bikes. If the transportation infrastructure breaks down, who will be the ones delivering tons of aid/food/water to those in need? Cargo bikes! The Yuba Mundo
is rated to carry 440lbs in cargo alone. Amazing! That's a heck of a lotta rice that you'd be darn happy to see rolling down your way after a disaster.
Now, you might be asking yourself, what do Zombies have to do with any of this? Nothing! Probably. But if it comes down to it, I'm going to be on my Mundo and arming my kiddos with Zombie bashing equipment--rolling pins and shovels for example.
Luckily for us (especially since Little Brother can't quite aim his rolling pin), the Zombie Apocalypse is far in the future (hopefully). We'll be ready for them...
Zombies beware! Yes, we do have a chainsaw.
Big Brother laughs in the face of Zombie Daddy.
'Nama and the newest Mundo evolution.
My goal this morning was to go all out and try to hit 50 miles today. Obviously, that didn't happen. My legs are probably pretty happy that it didn't. I have to admit, I am sore now. The awesomest thing: biking=eating. I have just finished up a slice of Hobee's Blueberry coffee cake with almond butter and followed it up with an apple. A conservative estimate tells me that I probably burned 1,722 calories for the 3 hours I was riding. That doesn't include the added weight of the kiddos and the fact that they don't help pedal, at all. Lazy. I do believe this is the single-biggest inspiration I need to keep riding.
Back on track, the reason I was so far behind getting started this morning was because we swapped out the iBert for a Yepp Mini
front seat. The iBert is long gone and the Yepp installation was supposed to be a snap. I've seen it on many Yuba Mundos
so I assumed mine wouldn't be any different. Wrong! I should have paid attention to the reviews saying that the clamp isn't designed for mountain bikes. The v4 Yuba either comes with a threaded or a threadless headset. My Yuba has a fat (albeit, awesome) threadless headset. The clamp didn't fit. I called Yuba and spoke with Benjamin who did some research on his side and sent me the link to the Mini Yepp threadless adapter. Had to be ordered but we couldn't find a dealer. Bummer. My hopes for a long day of riding were dwindling down to dispair at this point (have I mentioned that I might have a bit of a biking addiction?). Then, a holler from the backyard, "Jose's got it!" Turns out, there are spacers in the Yepp's clamp and he took those out to get it to fit PERFECTLY on the stem. Amazing! That's why I keep him around. And now you know. If it doesn't fit, check for spacers.
So, finally we were off. Delicious picnic lunch (ala 'Nama) in the panniers. Little Brother chilling in the front seat and Big Brother in the back. Then, my bike computer wasn't working so I had to stop. Then, Big Brother had to pee so I had to stop. Then, Little Brother got cold so I had to stop. Then, Big Brother was cold so I had to stop. Then, Big Brother was hot so I had to stop. Then, he was hungry. Stopped. Then, we got to Hagan Park and we stopped. The boys needed to run around and get their "yayas" out as my grandma would say. We had a great picnic (thanks, 'Nama!) and played on the swings for about an hour. It was pretty great.
Bundled babies at stop #4 (or so...)
Much needed "yaya" time.
After the park, I had to decide whether to go on or to turn back. I really wanted to keep going. The boys were in a good mood and it was only another 5 miles or so to the fish hatchery. I got about 100 feet and another stop was needed so I decided to turn back. It was a good thing, too, since the wind had picked up and we were now facing into it. Big Brother was hungry again (I think I need to get him a feed bag) and Little Brother got cold and tired again (maybe I need to get the windscreen
). Little Brother did some great screaming to remind everyone within earshot (for him, it's about a 2 mile radius) that I'm a horrible mother and am torturing them terribly. We stopped about three more times on the way back for various needs and about 5 miles from home, both boys fell fast asleep. It was a pretty cute sight. For a moment, life was quiet and peaceful, just Mundo and I, enjoying the ride.
Overall, lovely day was had by all. We saw jack rabbits, turkeys, deer, and more squirrels than we could count. We had some great conversations about trains. We got fresh air and beautiful Spring weather. The Yepp Mini held up fantastically. It supports Little Brother better and he doesn't slump as far over when he sleeps. He can, however, reach my computer and press the buttons so that is another issue to resolve. I'm hoping to get a couple more big rides in this week but the weather is iffy. Nothing ruins a ride quicker than cold, grumpy children. Note to self: more layers and a feed bag for the big kid. Speaking of feed bags, I might have a pre-bedtime snack to tide me over until morning.
Before. They sure are digging the new Big Rig.
The Mundo has made me actually want to get out of the house and make as many trips as possible. When I’m driving, it’s always “what is the least I can do?” I plan the shortest route and then still feel guilty about taking the car. Since the Mundo has been here, she’s been beckoning me to take the long way home and finish up that one last errand. She makes me want to ride. We did 18 miles on Wednesday and again on Thursday. Being on the bike gives me the freedom to do what I want to do. Sure, it takes a little longer but I’m getting exercise, fresh air, and I’m setting a great example for my kids.
The boys are loving the bike too. Big Brother has already figured out how to climb up the bike to get into his seat on his own. The Stand Alone is strong enough to hold the bike steady while his 35 lbs shimmies up the rack and into his Peanut Shell. The only issue is that he needs a better foot-hold so he’s not stepping onto the chain. This is exactly why Yuba makes the Foot Pegs, which I think will be one of our next purchases in the near future. It has also been quite easy to put Little Brother in the front seat while Big Brother is getting into the back seat and, once both are buckled in, the Mundo is still holding strong for me to finish up grabbing the locks, rolling up my pants leg, and strapping on my helmet. I can do all this without precariously balancing the boys and the bike and the load.
Once we get going (finally), I’ve really noticed the difference between this setup and the trailer rig. They are both slow to get going but the Mundo is considerably faster, averaging about 13 miles an hour in stop-and-go traffic. The trailer was lucky to get 10-11 mph. The weight is dispersed differently. I could always feel the trailer’s weight putting a strain on my back--nothing from the Yuba. Balancing is a bit harder on the Mundo but that’s mostly the handling from the extra bodies we’re carrying. I can feel Big Brother as he turns to look around and Little Brother likes to wave at nobody in particular. Even in just the few days I’ve ridden the Mundo, I’ve found my self loosening my grip and making tighter turns and faster maneuvers. I can get into smaller spaces and squeeze through gates without getting stuck as often. Except for starting from a dead stop, I feel pretty zippy.
The only thing that doesn’t feel like it’s working out is the iBert. He and I don’t get along very well. It was tolerable once I pushed my saddle back and pushed the ‘Bert as far forward as possible but it still didn’t leave much breathing space while straddling the top tube. Also, once Little Brother starts to fall asleep, his little head bobs around and eventually tries to rest against my arm. It’s not very comfortable for either of us. Our next plan is to give the Yepp Mini a shot and see how that works out. It seems to have a higher back and a sleeping bar. I’ll let you all know how it goes next week.
Overall, I am thrilled with our new setup. I am really looking forward to testing out some longer rides and see how it handles then.
Ice cream and merry-go-rounds, perfect biking bribes. (Notice Big Brother's classic "Cheese!" face)
Comparison shot: Mega Mundo, Itty Bitty Bike Friday.
Picked up our iBert today and installed it in our backyard while 'Nama watched the kiddos. Finally got a chance to ride the Mundo with both seats attached. I was quite glad to be riding without the kids to get a feel for the bike. The iBert made the biggest riding difference. It was difficult to get off/on the bike because it doesn't leave any space for me to stand over the top tube, I actually have to turn the handlebars a bit to squeeze in. Do-able, but not great.
At 'Nama's house, along with my pit crew--Cousin Nate, Hubby Jose--we tweaked the bike a bit more by moving the Peanut Shell forward, raising and scooting the iBert forward, adding my tunes (the Acouztic light/mp3 player), rear light and attempted to install the computer (stil not working but I think it's the sensor). The Mundo is coming together nicely! Little Brother got a chance to test out his new seat and gave it quite high marks (as seen below). I thought he and Big Brother would have a harder time adjusting to the seats after being in the trailer but these guys are having just as much fun with their new rides as I am with mine.
When the time came for our inaugural ride back home, I will admit, I was pretty nervous. I've never ridden with the kids on the bike before. My biggest problem was mostly just getting on around the iBert. Next, I had an issue going down the driveway. I was walking down the slope, not ready judge the bike with the added weight and wobble of the kids immediately while turning onto the street, so with my dad holding the back of the bike, I headed down and when the front wheel started going up the street slope, my back wheel was still on the hill of the driveway and my legs were dangling in the middle, not able to reach the valley between. I must have looked pretty silly. Luckily, I was able to hop off and get the Mundo on even ground on the street and took off smoothly. We cruised home with Jose taking video of our maiden voyage (hopefully to be posted in the near future). Little Brother went from tired, sobbing mess at the house to joyful, squealing baby on the bike and Big Brother was pointing out all the buses and learning hand signals. We were also rocking out to the single Spanish guitar song that was preprogrammed into our Acouztic light. I still have that song stuck in my head. A great first ride--we stayed upright and heard one man exclaim "that's the biggest bike I've ever seen!"
More errands tomorrow and I'm really excited!
Little Brother says "Hey!"
Few tweaks from my pit crew before our first ride together.
And off we go!
The bike train!
She's here! Our newest addition to our bike-family, the Yuba Mundo
, has arrived! Tim from Practical Cycle
gave me the Stand Alone off another bike so I wouldn't have to wait another week for the shipment that was delayed. My pretty new bike has the Peanut Shell on the back for Big Brother, disc brakes, the deflopilator (yes, that's a real thing--keeps the front wheel from wobbling while carrying loads), the stand alone (amazing! I've never seen a kickstand so reliable and strong), rumble strap for passengers, and my tunes (the Acouztic
light/mp3 player. Big Brother loves his Greg and Steve!). We still need our iBert for Little Brother and to add a bike computer, bottle cage, rear light, and a few other odds and ends. I ended up not getting bags yet since it was funny fit with the Peanut Shell.
After the Mundo was rigged out at Practical Cycle, Tim and I managed to bungee my Oscar onto the back, since I had ridden in. I plan on moving Lennon's seat up towards the saddle to give more space on the rack. That should make towing bikes a bit easier and might make the bags fit better. It might also give enough space in the back for another person to sit, if needed. I can't believe how many options this rig has.
Speaking of unbelievable, the ride home was amazing. Once I got used to Oscar wobbling around in the back, the ride was smooth and comfortable. It's an upright position, kind of like riding a laz-e-boy, but I'd imagine it's easier. It's a heavy bike so walking it was the hardest to maneuver but on the bike, it rides like a dream. I kept forgetting I was riding a cargo bike. If it wasn't for the extra bike hanging off the back, I wouldn't have noticed the difference. Big Brother was super excited to check out his new seat. We took a spin around the neighborhood and he was thrilled, not scared at all. I was more nervous, having never ridden with him actually on the bike, always in the trailer. I can't wait to get out on longer rides with the rest of the family. I will definitely have more to say the more I ride. Yay!!!
Clipping my helmet. Jose wouldn't come outside to take a proper photo.
A week of rain and flat trailer tires have kept the boys and me inside more than any of us would have liked. Having not ridden since the six miles to and from 'Nama's house on Monday, I was certainly feeling a bit stir-crazy. Luckily, I had a couple of errands to run and with Jose home to watch the kiddos, I took advantage of the situation and hopped on the Linus for a quick ride. Of course, the second I stepped outside, the rain started up again so back inside I went for my rain pants and jacket. Sometimes it's nice to stay dry. The ride was fantastic, just what I needed. The Linus's sturdy tires, fenders, and upright riding position, not to mention the fact that I didn't have to worry about loading/unloading the kids or dealing with the trailer. This all made for a joyful, carefree trip, despite the rain.
The Mundo is set to arrive in any day now and I can't wait! The Mundo has a similar riding style and I won't be dealing with extra trailer tires and multiple locks. I'll just be able to hop on the bike and go!
Our bikes are tucked in for the afternoon. Although we didn't ever get the rain, it certainly looks like we're about to. Of course, our much needed rain has to fall the week my new Monster is set to arrive. Oh well, that's why rain pants were invented.
A wonderful, beautiful day for a ride! Twelve miles from our house, 9 miles along the American River Bike Trail, you'll find my new favorite place, Hagan Park in Rancho Cordova. Not only is it the perfect amount of time in the saddle (about an hour), but then you end up at a great park with a couple of playgrounds, a petting zoo, and a miniature train you can ride on (depending on the schedule). We were celebrating a friend's 3rd birthday party and to our delight, it turned out to be a perfect adventure. I think this might be our go-to ride for family-time. I look forward to sharing it with my friends and other families.
Cake, park, mini train? Yep! Saturday complete!
Not enough groceries to cover the week and I had to get ReddiEgg because I wasn't ready to try carrying a dozen of the real thing...
While we're waiting patiently for our new Big Rig (the Mundo
), we've still been out and about this week. Six miles on Tuesday, 5 on Wednesday, 13 on Thursday, and today was 5 more. This week was horribly windy, blowing the trailer all over the place. Not fun at all! At least with rain and cold you can dress accordingly and manage. With wind, you're left to struggle on even the flattest roads and work twice as hard without the gain. My rides took longer and I fought with the trailer with each pedal stroke. Wind is easily my least favorite weather for biking.One of my stops this week included my weekly shopping at Trader Joe's. I hadn't ever biked there with the kids and the trailer and I hope to NEVER have to do it again! The TJ parking lot is horrible on it's own. Their bike rack is right in the middle of the lot, separated from the entrance by a brick wall and up on a curb. The space isn't big enough to pull the bike and trailer up together (it's hard enough to pull the trailer up the curb anyway). I had to take apart the rig, lock the bike, and bring the kids in the trailer-turned-stroller.
Not the worst thing in the world but combined with the kid's gear, the trailer didn't have much spare room. Our measly shopping load is pictured above (or it will be soon). On our way out, we had to repeat the process of putting the rig back together. The Chariot was heavy with the boys and our larger load and I still had to unlock the bike, all while trying to keep the trailer from rolling back into the parking lot. Didn't work! The wind+the weight+the teeny, tiny space given=a strained back from catching the Chariot as it tumbled backwards off the curb. Ouch! Not a fun experience. I will now lock the whole rig together either at the shops next door or out on the sidewalk, lesson learned. Hopefully, however, this will most likely be one of the last load-bearing errands I have to take with the Chariot as our Mundo will be here soon!! I am looking forward to comparing the two set-ups for different purposes.