Sunday, September 17, 2006

New childseat & kickstand for Thorny!

Thorn Raven Adventure Tour
Originally uploaded by ahconway.
With our move to Boston now imminent, we've started doing all those things and buying all those bits that we will want in the US but that aren't available there.

One of those things is a Bobike Maxi bike seat for Gemma. She's now too big for the front-mounted Mini, but it's worked so well that we've decided to try the rear-mounted version. There's a lot more choice in rear-mounted seats, but this one seems well-made, comfortable, and relatively unobtrusive. It can also be switched from one bike to the other reasonably easily.

It also appears that I should be able to attach panniers to the rear rack with the seat on, which will be really good for longer journeys.

This will allow me to zap out for a fast ride up the bike path or into town with Gemma much quicker than on the Christiania. We'll also be able to take both girls out in the Spring, when Elsa is old enough for the Mini on Kim's bike.

I also took this opportunity to have a kickstand fitted by my friends at Velorution. Again, this one is relatively low-profile, and I already love being able to leave the bike standing on its own without looking for a suitable leaning place!

As ever, Andrea at Velorution was very helpful with these two purchases; I can only hope that I'll be able to find as friendly and interesting a shop where we're moving.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Family bike ride to Kensington Gardens

Last Sunday, we did a lovely ride from Regents Park to the playground in Kensington Gardens for a picnic. I put up flyers at the nursery and had three takers, but one had to duck out at the last minute. But the ones who turned up made up for it in enthusiasm! Kim & Elsa met us there with Lebanese delights, and another mom turned up too.

It was a beautiful, perfect day for a bike ride. We met at the Inner Circle in Regents Park, and rode down Marylebone High Street, then across Oxford Street and through Grosvenor Square. We followed the London Cycle Network to the Mall, then up Constitution Hill, which are both traffic-free on Sundays. We used the cycle (and horse!) crossing at Hyde Park Corner, then through the park to the Broad Walk in Kensington Gardens and up to the playground on the north side.

All the kids were perfect angels on the ride, and they all also enjoyed the playground and picnic.

Not too long after leaving the park after our picnic, Gem started to doze, and then she went right to sleep in the Christiania and slept all the way home!

Monday, September 04, 2006

The ultimate test

Gemma sleeping in Christiania
Originally uploaded by ahconway.
The ultimate test of the Christiania: Gemma fell asleep as we approached Oxford Street on our way home from the Bikefest yesterday! She more or less dozed off sitting up with Baby in one hand and her cheese sandwich in the other, and I just pulled over and eased her down onto the bench.

Then I managed to keep it slow and virtually bump-free all the way to Regents Park, where she woke up for some reason but remained content to lounge in there for quite a while.

Tour of Britain & Bikefest

Gem is a T-mobile supporter
Originally uploaded by ahconway.
We all went to the Bikefest on the Mall Sunday, preceding the final stage of this year's Tour of Britain. What fun! Gem and I rode in the Christiania and Kim & Elsa met us there.

There was lots of varied cycling excitement going on, plus good kids' stuff too. Gem did some crafts and got a glittery rainbow painted on her face. And we all enjoyed nabbing free goodies from Transport for London and others, and being plied by the propaganda for the London start of the Tour de France next year (could we possibly return for it???)

We also watched a bunch of the amateur racing, which we also all enjoyed. The most serious of the lot turned out to be a bit of a disappointment for Gemma, though. It was sponsored by Bob Chicken's company, one of the UK's leading distributors of racing kit... so Kim was referring to it as the Chicken Race... and Gem couldn't understand where all the chickens were.

We had a very nice picnic lunch from Inn the Park (hate the name, love the pork belly sandwiches!), then headed back up to Regents Park to see the pros come through. We stationed ourselves where Avenue Road enters the park, figuring that the sharp turn into the outer circle would provide some excitement.

In the end, though, the most exciting bit was the flotilla of 30+ police on motorbikes that came screaming through before the peloton. The racers were good too, as was the convoy of support cars, but it all went by in a flash. We dashed home later to see the BBC coverage but were disappointed to find that it skipped all the London riding and went right to the circuits around the Mall! Okay, it turned out that the only real competition during the road race was for the sprints and hills, but it was still fun to see.