Friday, February 17, 2012

Return of the B.O.B.!

That's right, the bike is back! It turns out that the true culprit in the flat tire may have been a crooked wire no thicker than a staple. The staff told me that the cut—which could have been made glass, though I still suspect a knife—didn’t go all the way through the tire. So we trundled down to BicycleSPACE in the stroller, paid for the new tube, and biked back home with the stroller bungeed to the back of the bike.

Have I mentioned that I love this bike? Folding up our ginormous jogging stroller and attaching it to the rack was predictably awkward, but having that big thing strapped to the back of the bike didn’t make any difference at all to how the bike handled.

Even though this wasn't a round trip and won't be an official Utilitaire-qualifying ride, I'm still putting it on my personal list for the sheer awesome factor. And I made it an honorary #TransportationTurducken.

February 15: Underdressed Baby

I underdressed Alex today. The temperature was in the 40’s when we left this morning, but we had a strong 15 – 20 mph headwind for the whole trip. At one point early in the trip I cupped my hand around his cheek to keep the wind off his face, and he insisted on keeping it there for the rest of the trip. Even his new Bogs boots – so highly recommended by other cycling parents – were no match for the wind. I should have either put on his long underwear, tucked a blanket around his legs, or braved the snowsuit again.

We hit the jackpot on the ride home. The weather warmed up so that I wasn’t running another risk of giving my poor kid hypothermia. Then, as we rolled past the fenced-in meadow at which I say every day to Alex, “Deer? Deer? Ohh, no deer,” we finally saw deer—a whole herd of them! I slammed on the brakes and we parked at the side of the road, watching the deer graze as car after car rolled past. Sudden stops for little wonders. Yet another reason to love biking with your kid.

Date: 2/15/2012

Destination(s): Daycare, West Hyattsville Metro Station

Total Mileage: 10.66 mi

Morning Temperature: 40°F, 15 mph winds made it feel like 35 or less

Clothing Notes: Baby A wore his mittens today! Unfortunately, they weren’t enough to make up for his chilly legs in thin knitted pants. Should have thrown a blanket or something on top of his legs. The wind was not kind to him.

Friday, February 10, 2012

And then this happened...

The other day I stayed home from work in order to attend a work event on the Mall. When it came time to leave, I hopped on the bike, delighted at the chance to pedal to this event and—hey!—cross off Item #7 on the Utilitaire challenge.

Except that the pedals barely moved when I pushed on them and I nearly crashed into a street sign. I jumped off the bike to find that the rear wheel was completely flat. I’d biked home the day before just fine… and these tires are reinforced with Kevlar to prevent punctures. I went over the tire inch by inch and sure enough, there it was:

Short, deep, and sharp. No glass or anything embedded in the cut. It sure looks like someone took a knife to one of my brand-new Schwalbes overnight.

I don’t have the right size wrench to get the bolts off to change the tire, and my attempt with an adjustable wrench just shaved a bunch of metal off the outer edges of the bolt. I'm going to drive or walk the bike into the shop in the next day or two; they already have a new tire on order. I guess they can just do the one-month tuneup while they're waiting for the tire to ship.

We were already starting the Utilitaire a week behind, so I guess this means we won’t get our two rides a week in before the deadline. C’est la vie, as the randonneurs might say. When I get the bike back, I’ll continue ticking items off of our control card as a way of pushing myself to bike to new places.

What are you gonna do? I don’t want to trot out the standard “This is why we can’t have nice things, DC!”, but this is why it’s hard to have nice things. Especially in DC.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Feb 7: Commute with Baby

Of course I would decide to stop the full-on home-to-daycare-to-work bike trip just before entering the Utilitaire 12 contest; c’est la vie. That nine-mile trip was fun, invigorating and a great workout, with the added bonus that it meant my bike would be right at work where I could keep an eye on it and have access to it for lunchtime errands. The killing downside, however, was that the full trip took over an hour and a half to complete. On days when I made that trip,I was always late for work in the morning and picking Baby A up from daycare in the afternoon. My boss and my husband are both supportive of my bike commuting with Alex, but I think they’d have to draw the line at 3 – 5 hours of missed work and $20+ dollars in late fees every week.

So this morning, I went back to the old routine of biking from Bloomingdale to daycare, then from daycare to the West Hyattsville metro station. When I parked at the metro station, I put the cover on BOB in the hopes that it would keep people from messing with it. The train came to the platform just as I finished my post-ride stretches, I sipped my café au lait while reading a novel on my Kindle, and got to work at 9:15, needing minimal cleanup after my cool-down time on the train. Bliss!

On days when we bike commute, I like to fix a breakfast that’s nutritionally dense and quick to eat. That way I have enough calories and protein to keep me going during the ride and keep me from becoming ravenous during the day, and I can also shovel the food into my mouth fast enough to get us out the door in time. Eggs usually fit the bill. Today’s breakfast was salsa frittata with blueberry muffins. I prepped the frittata last night in a gratin dish, then put it in a cold oven this morning and let it cook for 30 minutes (including oven heating time) while I walked the dog and got the rest of breakfast ready. The frittata was delicious, but Alex—who would eat his own weight in eggs if they were scrambled—wouldn’t touch it. The little ingrate.

Although today’s temperature was still unseasonably mild, A’s continued refusal to wear mittens inspired me to bundle the rest of him up a little more heavily than I might otherwise have. I went with the snowsuit—which he haaaaates to put on—and his snow boots.

Date: 2/7/2012

Destination(s): Daycare, West Hyattsville Metro Station

Total Mileage: 10.66 mi round-trip

Morning Temperature: 46°F

Baby A Wore: Shirt, overalls, regular socks, snowsuit, snow boots, Bern helmet with winter insert

I Wore: sport top, T-shirt, work shirt, sweater coat, stretchy pants, wool socks & casual shoes, scarf (wrapped around my head to substitute for forgotten balaclava), thrummed mittens

Clothing Notes: Baby A: hands were cold but not freezing; legs were warm. Me: the scarf-as-balaclava is a neat trick and a great example of how many functions a simple rectangle of cloth can fulfill.