Thursday, October 28, 2010

At long last

Yes, you can all breathe easier now knowing I'm not injured or incapacitated and unable to maintain this blog. I'm back behind the (figuratively speaking) helm of the keyboard ready to freely provide help to all those who suffer from insomnia by expounding over my own experience commuting by bicycle approximately five days a week, about 6 miles round trip and a total of around 20- 30 minutes daily.

I didn't realize it was nearly 10 days since I'd last updated the blog. I have a cause to celebrate, because I noticed I had my first comment left by someone I can only hope actually read one of the entries. My first comment, and presumably the first real, somewhat verifiable evidence that someone read it. It was the entry where I complained and whined about the rear flashing light being loose on the seat post and my bungee cord being used to hold it in place and how I forgot to reattach the bungee cord and it became tangled in my spokes causing a mess yada, yada, yada. The comment was apparently left by someone who identifies themselves as being from the UK and mentioned they didn't think flashing rear lights were legal in the UK; or maybe it was flashing front lights that weren't legal in the UK. I can't remember, but I thank you Dave from for being the official first visitor to what I foresee will be the premier powerhouse and authority on bicycle commuting in small towns in the mid-western United States.

Now, on to my recent riding: I had a pretty good weekend of riding with less than perfect weather. Saturday my wife informed me I needed to take our two sons out of the house for a while as she needed a break from us. I was told this Friday night and I immediately began forming a bicycle adventure for the three of us.

When transporting the boys (1 and 3 year olds) I use a Wee-Ride in the front for the youngest, and a Burley two seat trailer for the oldest boy, and for both boys together during some legs of journeys.

We loaded up on food for the day. I'm a big fan of taking along some home made biscuits which have had a generous dollop of real butter applied between the top and bottom half while they're still hot from the oven.String cheese is another good treat great for days out on the bike. A canteen of water and a squirt type water bottle which fits in a bottle cage goes along too. Cookies for three; granola bars for three; an apple; and a hunk of french bread and a half dozen slices of hard salami completed the kit.

I also decided it would be prudent to take along a 10' X 10' tarp and a couple lengths of rope; my rain gear; jackets for the three of us; an 8' X 10' blanket;  a spare diaper and a few wipes for the little one not yet potty trained; my wallet with my debit card; and the cellphone. The cover for the trailer stays in the trailer all the time, so I don't consider it to be something I packed along. I took the tarp and rope, because they are just so light to carry and don't take up much room at all and you just never know when an improvised shelter may be needed. Fortunately, we didn't need shelter, but we used the tarp to lay on the ground below the blanket to keep moisture off us.

So, with the three of us on the bicycle, and the trailer, and the Wee-Ride components, and the metal wire baskets; and the rear rack, and all the stuff we packed along with us; we made quite a sight and was quite a weighty expedition for us as well. I knew the approach for the day would be slow and steady, because it just so happened the wind was quite boisterous that day and was blowing directly against us for about half of the journey. Luckily it was the first half and we had it to look forward to help push us home.

It had rained some during the night before and to be honest it looked like it could rain at just about any time that day. The sun never did come out that much because of the blustery fast moving, low-lying clouds being pushed up from the south. It never rained, but the wind did not let up.

I wore regular denim pants, a long sleeve button up collared shirt, lace up loafers, my reflective band on my left ankle, and my reflective work vest for visibility. Of course I wore my sun glasses and helmet. I consider those nearly essential equipment for almost any bike outing. Glasses of some kind come highly recommended in my experience.

I pedaled for about an hour or more into the wind going south out of town. Then changed direction and pedaled due east toward the rural municipal airport where we stopped for close to two hours of play and rest and picnic. From there roughly another hour of pedaling eight or nine miles to a small town where again we took nearly two hours to play in the city park and rest. We then left for home going at an angle north and west along a rail trail back to Ottawa, Kansas. It was 10 or more miles and we stopped once and walked for a good half hour because the boys were getting weary of the ride and needed to burn some energy.

All in all it was close to 32 miles of pedaling all of us. I felt great and it was a lovely experience.I'm not a speed king, I'm the determined turtle. I don't have a cycle computer, I use google maps to tell me distances.

I hope you find this interesting or informative, or entertaining. I'm pressed for time to end this so end it I must.

p.s. I took the boys to church on the bike Sunday morning too.

Keep on commuting by bike!


  1. that sounds like a great day with the kids

  2. I started riding with my kids when they were those ages. Keep your eye out for used trail-a-bikes now so your oldest will have one for next spring and he can help pedal on your adventures. My oldest moved from one of those at 3 to his own bike and a bigger load than mine at 13 this past summer...The time goes fast. Keep it fun for them.



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