Pas de Douche

August 11th, 2010  |  by  |  Published in Uncategorized

bikesNo, Theodore, you are not the only confirmed biking-douche among the DadWagoners. The picture here is of our family bike setup, on the bike rack of the Staten Island Ferry. In front is the wife’s aquamarine-and-rust beater ($75 used from Eddie’s Bikes), just behind it is my marginally less rusty 7-speed Schwinn Jaguar ($150 used from Master Bike Shop).

The key accessories–the one that make this a posse–are the kid get-ups attached to my bike. In between my bike seat and handlebars–that bit of cocoa-colored fabric you see there–is the WeeRide Kangaroo for the two-year-old. I love having the kid bike seat up front: it’s much more stable, and I can actually talk to the kid and vibe-check him. Plus, I can tell when he has blown out, so I can stop for a diaper change in time. The other piece is perhaps even better: The WeeRide Co-Pilot. This is for the four-year-old, and acts like an add-on tandem. She gets her own pedals and seat and handlebars, but it doesn’t matter if she pedals forward, backward, or (as often happens) doesn’t pedal at all. She’s learning to ride a bike on her own, but it’ll be years before she can actually go anywhere in a timely manner. So until then, she thinks she’s riding, but actually she’s being carted around. Genius.

Why give you all this (probably quite boring) detail? As Beta Dad astutely pointed out on Theodore’s post, the kid-cargo bike, the one Kate Winslet rides (according to its preening manufacturer in the NY Times video Theodore linked to), goes for “twenty-nine-fifty”, as in $2950. Good lord. For that kind of money, I would want to actually be able to make a baby with Kate Winslet, not just tote mine around the way she does hers.

Our system is quite a bit more economical. The Kangaroo for the little dude cost $59 from Walmart. The Co-Pilot was  disturbingly hard to find (it’s a relatively new product, but I suppose it was just out of stock) a month ago, so we found ours on Craigslist for $80. WalMart, once again keeping prices low by enslaving the children of Bangladesh, is now offering it for $59 on their website. So the whole getup costs $120 before taxes and shipping, letting you spend the extra $2800 you saved on things that really matter, like injectable Oxycontin.

The family and I are in California while I sponge off of fellowship money for a week, but before we left, we rode all the way from upper Manhattan to the Staten Island Ferry, took the boat there and back (we declined, yet again, the opportunity to explore Staten Island), and then rode our bikes back along the Hudson. In all, 15 miles of riding, with just one stop for lunch/playground and some time on the ferry. And our children, not usually of the hardiest stock, loved every minute of it. Pretty remarkable.

Another word to the mom in the video, who says proudly that lots of people smile and wave at her while she’s huffing her kid-trike around town. I, too, experience plenty of people waving and smiling when I’ve got both kids, plus my helmet, plus my glasses, in tow. And I would say a fair percentage of them are actually laughing at us, not with us. I am fine with that, because my kids freaking love being on the bike, and because it keeps me from being a shut-in when I have both wild ones in my charge. But I would just keep in mind that when New Yorkers wave and smile, it is sometimes because they think you look like an asshole.

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