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Jun 27

Family Ride: PJ’s First big Bicycle Adventure

PJ reflects on the ride!

PJ reflects on his first ride!

Health issues postponed the next cycling adventure after PJ’s first ride:

Shortly after PJ’s first ride on the bicycle, he started having an ear infection. Here in Texas, this spring has had its record breaking moments. I’m sure you heard about our floods in the news. The seasonal allergies are also at a 20 year high. So, I guess it’s biology at work that my son would get the same allergies as his Mommy and Daddy. For about 5 weeks, PJ was visiting the pediatrician once a week for ear infections, gooey eyes, congestion etc. The good news is nothing was serious, just a minor issue then a follow up a week later. I wish doctors offered a card that was one of those “every 10th visit is free” type of things.Needless to say, this sadly put a damper on our family cycling adventures. So after PJ’s first ride not much happened cycling wise until about a month and a half later when my parents came into town to visit.

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Getting back on Two Wheels:

They happened to bring along their Electra Townie 3i bicycles as they often do, so we decided to to make use of downtown and ride to the farmers market. We started at the San Antonio Zoo and rode through Breckenridge park and then down Broadway to the Pearl brewery.

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Since we live in the suburbs, we often commute part of the way into the heart of San Antonio with bicycles on the racks of our cars, then go cycling from there. I know it’s not the greenist approach to cycling, but San Antonio is so  centrally orientated when it comes to cycling infrastructure that it’s just not bicycle friendly enough to ride from our location near Bandera and Loop 1604 to downtown which is about 12 miles away.

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It took a little time to get the bikes ready and to get PJ’s helmet adjusted (his head grew since the first ride). . While stopped at the Zoo Train Depot, PJ was getting eyed by other kids passing by in their strollers. It was as if they where jealous.

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See the kids in the stroller are jealous!

After all the adults finished with our restroom business, we rode through the park. It was  a beautiful day to be out in the park. When looking back I could see that PJ was watching the ducks, birds and people in the park. It soon became clear by his laughter that he liked to see his Mommy ride next to him.
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Tina’s first time riding the Yuba Mundo V1:

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Speaking of Mommy, I forgot to mention that this was the first time that Tina rode the Yuba Mundo that we’ve owned for about two years. Now that we have 2 cargo bikes in the family, I had her take that one with the Go-Getter Bags will all of PJ’s accessories (food, diapers, etc). I’m not too sure she enjoyed it that much because well, it is a bit quirky. The grip shifters don’t shift that easy. They are old, so the rubber grippy stuff just spins on the shifter unless you grab it sternly. So that will need to be replaced soon. She also said that she wasn’t used to having to account for the space that the go getter bags take up. She would forget to take wider turns or try to squeeze past things she couldn’t fit through.

Here I am trying to get the front derailleur shifted.
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Overcoming Nervousness of cycling with a baby:

Before the ride, Tina was really nervous about it because it was the first lengthy (2 mile) ride that PJ was going to go on, and it was the first ride where PJ and I would be out in traffic on some fairly busy streets.She worried about him being in traffic, she worried about whether or not he’d be secure enough, she was just worried that it was just generally unsafe. The ride started in the park, so she felt better to see him safe and secure before we headed out onto the street.

I too must admit that I was a bit nervous because this was the first time that we’d as a new young family would be out with our son on the bike and it wasn’t going to be like we could just stop and go in the house if he got fussy like on the first rides around the block in our neighborhood.  However, once we got going it was all good.

Pj laughed at his mommy every time she rode next to us, and he could see her on her bike. His squeals of laughter calmed her fears as we rode on.

Back to the Family Ride:

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We had to navigate through some construction on Avenue A that caused us to take Broadway, a four lane busy street, but it was only for about 2 blocks. We handled that fine. On the way to the Pearl Brewery we took the riverwalk for a little bit and stopped at the water fountain.
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Then, we pedaled the short distance over to the Pearl Brewery Farmers market. Now, this is when things really got interesting! Although I’ve been used to people coming up to me to ask me about my cargo bike, now that I’m with PJ on the Yuba Mundo, I am learning that family bikes attract way more attention!

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Before I was off the bicycle, I was surrounded with 4-5 people wanting to ask me about the Yuba Mundo and the Yepp Maxi. One man and his wife talked to me for about 10 minutes. Even if people didn’t come up to me and PJ, I would hear comments from people like “Wow, look at that bicycle” …”That baby seat is cool“… “look, that is a great way to get around“.  I have to remember San Antonio  is only a Bronze level Bicycle Friendly city. I’m the catalyst for change, so answering these questions helps get people thinking about their mode of transportation. I want other families to join me in cycling with their families.

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We gathered food at the Farmers market, ate some lunch then we got ready to get back on the bicycles. While I placed PJ on the bicycle he started to cry.. I thought this was it… it would be nothing but crying all the way back. I soon learned that that cry was only because the bicycle was standing still. As a soon as I got on and we were off, PJ was squealing with laughter again.

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4 comments

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  1. Heather Sowder

    We ride in traffic anytime we go somewhere because in Killeen TX there are no bicycle lanes. I take the full lane because I read that is safer, plus, nobody could fit around us anyway because the tricycle is wider than a bicycle. I feel pretty safe, but every now and then when I hear a car approaching quickly from behind I feel like we may be in danger…but the car passes and I remember we are statistically safer than a pedestrian. I have been wanting a hair cut but I read something that said people with long hair are given more space when passing, so I haven’t cut it lol. I am now pulling a trailer with two kids and have two kids in the front of the tricycle. My kids range from almost 7 years to 3 months old. I remind myself of all the good reasons we are ridding and tell them to all the good people who stop to talk to us about our ride. I hope we can show other people it can be done and it is so much fun.

    1. Matthew

      Heather, my wife and I took the Bicycle Safety Course from the League of American Cyclists and it’s true that taking the lane is safter because it puts you in the drivers line of site. Thanks for writing in from Killeen.

  2. Kandis Constance

    Nice photographs. Loving kid!

    1. Matthew

      thanks for the complement.

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