Big Brother didn't ride quite as far today. He rode about 6 miles to a friend's house where we spent almost the entire day. About a mile into our way home, he was ready to hitch a ride. Here goes our first Haul-a-Day towing test:
The bike tracked perfectly and despite the Little falling asleep and wobbling the bike around, we still managed to ride home. Big Brother sat side saddle because Little Brother's Strider bars took up a lot of the deck. Both kiddos were really tired on the way home and it was nice to have them well contained in the Hooptie.
As we got ready to head out on the Crazy Train this morning, I was surprised when Little Brother announced that he wanted to ride "his" bike, the little 12" loaner that I picked up from friends a couple weeks ago with the idea that it's time for Little Brother to learn how to pedal. He's gotten on it a couple of times, usually makes me hold him up for a few tries around the yard as he pedals forward a couple times then sends me jerking to a halt as he hits the coaster brake. It hasn't ended very prettily, me with a backache and him announcing that "his" bike (the Strider) was better. So today, although we were in a hurry, I wanted to encourage his enthusiasm for pedaling. I held onto him as he set his feet on the pedals and instead of running along side, I just let go. Off he went, about 30 feet before he crashed into the shed. We were all so excited that I forgot we had someplace to be and turned him around again. Another 30 feet of pedaling and then another! It wasn't a fluke! He was riding on his own!
I didn't get any video of his first couple attempts but after we got home, Little Brother gave it another go. By golly, we've got a house full of pedalers now! There is no fear in this kid at all and he's riding a full year earlier than Big Brother's first tries. There's still much work to be done--power pedal starts, braking, proper lane positioning, etc. but I am so excited!
Here is a short compilation of his afternoon progression. Forgive the crappy editing (by which I mean total lack of editing) and out-of-focus video. My kid can ride a bike!
We're fine! The crash did no lasting damage and I wasn't even very sore the next day. I haven't replaced the cover on the Bullitt, yet, but it's been 70 degrees this week and there's been no need. I still get a knot in my stomach each time I ride next to a parallel crack but I'm hoping that will dissipate over time.
Since nothing else of note happened this week, here are some photos to catch you up.
Big Brother's transitional kindergarten class has tricycles. I hate tricycles almost as much as I hate training wheels, especially for five-year-olds. Little Brother has found the joys of pedaling and has been trying to master the giant, horrible trikes though.
However, he has also figured out a much more appropriate use for these things. We call it "triking." (Not really, I just thought of that right now)
In other news, last time I changed the Mundo's rear flat, I learned that that Mundo multi-tool, made by Mike Cobb of Antload, was the wrong size. I contacted Mike who immediately got back to me and confirmed that I wasn't crazy, there have been some v.4 Mundos that have a 19mm rear axel nut instead of the standard 18mm. Mine happened to be one of those. Unfortunately, Mike had been away from his shop and wouldn't be back until January. It's January and guess what's on it's way! He's also sending one to our friend, Lamaia, who rocks an orange Mundo in town--she had had the same recent discovery.
Finally, in my preparation for our Whine & Chocolate Epic Bike Adventure, I've been gathering up our gear. I picked up a couple of the few things we need to add to our collection from Campmor at a heavy discount--a new Thermarest for me and a cookset. After much searching, I found this GSI "cook system." I had read the specifications as saying you could cook in the mugs. When it showed up, it was obvious that you can't, they're plastic. It's a really great set: large pot with straining lid, two insulated mugs with sippy lids, two bowls, two foldable sporks, and a carry-all bag that doubles as a sink. I am hoping to get a set that has at least one pot and frying pan. Since Campmor doesn't have free returns, I'm hoping to sell it. If you're interested, let me know. It's brand new with the box, super light and compact.
On to a three-day weekend with few plans!
See this gorgeous baby above? Don't let those sweet-doe eyes fool you, this kid is pure maniacal genius. Never before have I known a child as sure of himself as Little Brother. He amazes me every day, especially with his jaw-dropping Strider bike talent. However, I'm pretty sure that every time we go out, he gives me about 20 new grey hairs. I can see why some people would hang up the towel and prefer to keep their child indoors.
This afternoon, the boys woke up pretty crabby from their nap so I suggested that we go out for a little bike ride before papa came home. I clipped a light to Little Brother's jacket and hooked up Big Brother's to his bike. I only got one photo of our short walk because the majority of the time, I was chasing after the little one at full tilt because he so fast. Big Brother knows to stop at corners and to look out for nearby cars, Little Brother doesn't. I was especially on guard because it was just about dusk and people were coming home from work. At one point, Big Brother crashed when he slid onto the grass and got his wheel stuck in the gap next to the sidewalk. As I screamed for Little Brother to stop, I began to panic as he got farther and farther away while Big Brother was still on the ground trying to pick himself up. I almost had to make the decision whether to leave BB and run after LB or risk having LB cross the street or turn a corner. I scarcely got BB up before I had to take off at full speed to barely catch the little monster (which I say with love) who cackled the whole time. The kid had gotten almost an entire block away from me. It was terrifying. We had a good 2-year-old appropriate talk about stopping when I say stop and why he can't get too far ahead of me. Luckily, Big Brother hadn't been hurt and had ridden along with my frantic chase.
Shortly after the talk, LB somehow got in front of Big Brother and me again and as he neared a curb, he very lazily started to skid to a stop but kept getting closer and closer to the edge as a truck sped up to the cross street's stop sign. I screamed again and my heart stopped for a second. This time, I scooped up my biker boy along with his Strider (thank goodness it's a light bike!) and carried him the rest of the .5 mile home as he screamed and kicked. Trying to explain that his freedom to ride hinges on his ability to listen to directions is difficult. He understands but I don't know how to get him to follow through. I think we're going to be doing a lot of red-light, green-light practice bike rides in the near future. I would love some advice from others who have taught their free-spirited children about bike safety. Big Brother tends to follow instructions better and it probably helped that when he was a crazy 2-year-old, we only had to focus on him. Now that my attention is split between the two kids, it's a lot more nerve-wracking.
One more bummer of the short ride, Big Brother's new Planet Bike 1-watt light was broken in the fall. Considering how minimal the fall was--a slow skid down, how short the distance that it fell was, and the fact that the mount/light didn't even hit the ground, it's pretty disappointing. The two thin strips of plastic that slide into the mount sheered right off. I've sent an email in to Planet Bike and am hopeful because they are into refurbishing and replacing worn out parts instead of creating a product that needs to be thrown away entirely.
This is us. We're fun.