Thursday, July 8, 2010

The last few days I haven't noticed I am carfree very much because we have stuck very closely to our neighbourhood. It has been extremely hot, 31-33ish but with a high humidex, so 'feels like 38-40' kinds of temperatures. Today is another extremely hot day, and I've kind of worn out the swimming/local library combination. 6 year old is with her dad, and I'm considering going downtown to an air conditioned playcentre with the 2 year old. Trying to decide whether to bicycle in this heat or take the bus, which might mean standing in the heat waiting for a transfer for a pretty short distance, but also would permit me to take the stroller, which will be useful if the 2 year old falls asleep, which she well may. With the car I would have let her fall asleep in the carseat and then transferred her to the stroller, which I would keep in the trunk (if I remembered it). So, figuring out new routines.

I am having an Xtracycle built (, and am super excited about it, but the whole ordeal has taken forever. I started looking for parts in May, eventually found an instock Free Radical and longtail kit at a cycle shop in Toronto, and had a friend pick it up for me when she was there. Then it has been about getting a bazillion parts and taking them to the bicycle mechanic who is building the bike. He is using an old Panasonic frame, giving me upright cruiser style bars, and building me a very strong back wheel. It is going to be an awesome bike, it is going to be comfy and (relatively) fast. The other, biggest, glitch has been trying to get my hands on a Pea Pod LT seat, the baby seat that is compatible with Xtracycle, and has been on backorder and then had to be ordered from the States because nobody in Canada could tell me when it would become available here. It is currently being Fed Ex'ed, and should be here within a few days? Maybe a week.

Then I will have my Xtracycle! Which will be amazing for us. Currently I have a bike and trailer, a Chariot trailer which is great and a Trek women's hybrid stepthru bicycle that I found on kijiji and which I love. But there are two problems with this set up:

One, I live in an apartment building and the trailer is too unwieldy to bring in the elevator along with the bike and children. I tried that once and was dripping with sweat by the time I got the rig set up, and it was a relief to get on the bike and ride to have a break from the exertion. Ha! I briefly rented a storage locker in the basement, but it was still about unlocking the trailer and locker, hauling it thru two doors and up a flight of stairs, with the children. Still not fun. Once I knew the Xtracycle was happening I grew more fearless about having the trailer stolen, so have taken to locking it up outside on the bicycle rack. So far so good, it's not stolen and using it is doable, but still a bit of a pain because I bring the bicycle downstairs, must go thru the basement thru 3 doors, down a long hallway and up that flight of stairs to access the trailer locked up at the rear of the building. With the Xtracycle I can just wheel it out my door, into the elevator (it should just fit, especially with a wheel turned, I have measured and now I will pray), out the front door, and go.

Second issue with the trailer is that I have a 6 year old who is good at riding her own bicycle, but obviously I am not comfortable having her ride on busier roads. We are relegated to sidewalks and quiet areas which limits where we can go a lot, in terms of riding for actual transportation and not just for fun. She also loves riding with her little sister so right now I am pulling both in the trailer. The 6 year old barely fits and it's a fair amount of weight (about 80 lbs total) to be lugging. The Xtracycle will permit a spot for her to sit behind me on the bench, which she will prefer I think, and which I think will make for easier hauling with the weight up on the bike instead of lagging behind it.

I will post pictures of our ride when we have it!

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