Category Archives: planning and preparing

Daddy Daughter Date: A Vet Visit

Before I get to the daddy daughter date of today, I want to catch everyone up on a few experiences. I posted a Friday Comparison yesterday that showed us having driven 4 miles. I picked up the children and two friends after school in the van yesterday. Six children, one adult is a driving situation. 98 degrees at 3pm, could also reinforce the desire to drive. Three things happened during this short trip, the fuel light came on, there was construction traffic two blocks from school (5 minute wait), and the children had left their bikes at school in the morning and I had to get them home.

The fuel light coming on didn’t phase me as it was such a short trip, but I also needed to drive the van today, so I was going to need to fix that issue. Having to sit idol had me moderately concerned, with the fuel light on, but things cleared up quickly. The parking director at school laughed that I was driving and knew about the construction. He commented that I would have made better time on my bike. He’s probably right. Bringing the bikes home in the trunk worked well, until I drove the van this morning and forgot they were in there.

Today’s To Dos
We were invited to a birthday party today. It was in Lavalette, which is in our neighboring Wayne County (Out Wayne, aka OW, if you are local). I had called the Wayne Express transportation company earlier this week to find out exactly which of their buses went down that road and what times, as their website was very poorly constructed and the information was sparse, but there was a map with a bus line highlighted showing the street I needed. I spoke with a lady in transportation who informed me there is now only one bus that runs five times a day, weekdays only and it would be a $1 for every rider. This bus did not go where I needed. I called our TTA and asked if they provided service to Lavalette, nope. It’s not a bikeable road. So minivan it was. This was not a social engagement we wanted to miss, these were good family friends and having an able vehicle in the drive way, was our means.

Coinciding with the party we had a scheduled veterinarian check up for our two cats. This was a divide and conquer situation. Brent and London were going to go to the vet and I was going to take the boys to the party. Seeing that I was driving, Brent took the camera at my request, to document “taking cats to the vet by bike.” What I didn’t expect was them to turn it into a sight-seeing daddy daughter date.

I mentioned forgetting about the two bikes in the trunk of our van. We left before Brent and London and it never occurred to me they wouldn’t have their bikes in the garage. When they arrived home from the vet, Brent said London rode my bike better than she normally rides her Junior Viper. There were no complaints and they had a jolly good time. Glad that worked out well. The worst that could have happened is they missed the appointment, and that’s not a terrible thing.

The Date
In my mind’s eye, they were going to take the cats in the trailer. Brent decided on his own they would get more fresh air on the rack. He rigged up this cat transport with some ratcheting belts. He was very careful to get them tight and check them for shifting and falling.

Stopping in Ritter Park. Coco and Kit.

They turned the whole adventure into an opportunity to be a tourist. They stopped often for breaks and actually arrived late to the appointment. Our home thermometer read 104 degrees today, but I doubt it didn’t just say that because it was melting.

London and her cats at the Memorial Arch.
They arrived at the vet without issue.

London has been trying to learn to use the camera. She says she wants to have her photos in the newspaper some day. These next few are from her perspective.

Kit
Coco.

Everyone made it home, safe and hot. I looked up their route on Google maps and discovered they went about 10 miles round trip. I asked Brent what the vet had to say about his mode of transporting the cats and he reports she had no issues with it what so ever. She seemed to give the impression people usually bike their cats to appointments, but somehow we both doubt this.

Yeah, my garage is on my to-do list for the week. I have been collecting things from around the house all summer for a yard sale. Soon, I keep promising myself, soon.

I was laughing so hard when he rolled up I was sure PETA would be right behind him. It was something out of a comic book. I chuckled more when we looked up the route he took and compared it to the more direct route suggested by Google. He rode 3.6 extra miles because he couldn’t remember how far down 3rd Avenue the office was.

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London had quality time with her dad today. She seem to smile a lot more after they arrived home, I know I was. The boys and I had a great time too. It’s always refreshing to laugh with friends and family.

Miles Walked: 6 Biked: 82.9 Bused: 0 Drove: 22.3 This week
43.7 195.8 12.6 422.2 Since August 14, 2011
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What we carry when we ride a bike

In the trunk of our van you might find a collection of plastic bags from the grocer and a first aid kit. There is the usual spare tire and jack set up and sometimes we haul around a battery jump. These are staple car traveling ingredients. The glove box has our insurance info, car manual, some old maps and left over napkins. I think I spotted a couple coins and a CD that need to be brought in. From fender to fender there is a miryad of child stuff; car seats, plastic checker pieces, dried up raisins, eaten lolly pops (I guess that would make them sticks), action figures, shoes, books, empty drink bottles. Then when we get ready to drive somewhere we add to the mix; diaper bag, snacks, water bottles, wallets/purses, and more child stuff.

In Our Bags
How does this compare to what we drag around on our bikes? The first change I had to make was from diaper bag to back-pack. The options with a back pack exceeded those with a shoulder bag, and ours had shorter straps. I didn’t like giving up the handmade bag for the bottom of the closet bag, but it’s what worked best. Function over fashion. In this bag you find the usual diaper supplies, some sunscreen and my purse with cash, cards (ID, calling, credit, library, Kroger scrip, etc) and all the rest.

Cash was also a new addition to our travel entourage. We were pretty much a card carrying family. I wrote checks when I needed too, but carrying cash wasn’t needed. It is now. I haven’t made it downtown to get a bus pass card (which are not reloadable), so bus fare is exact change only. Having cash has been handy, but really difficult for us to track. Dollar bills are a big temptation for Brent, then he forgets where they went. I guess I am a bit guilty of the same, but I try to keep my receipts and come home and enter things into Mint.com.

Junk in the Trailer Trunk
In the trailer we carry a reusable bag with bike supplies; tire pump and gauge, manual, locks, allen wrench set, wrench, first aid kit, bug spray, misc tools, and extra helmet padding. When the whole family goes out we carry an old plastic ice cream bucket full of water bottles. Bottles also fit on the adult bike frames and sometimes we just stuff them on the sides of the diaper back-pack. The inside pockets of the trailer, where the boys sit, have small toys.

It took some time to get our “kits” together. We were constantly leaving without something, but soon developed a system to get out the door much quicker. There are of course variation to our load depending on our destination. School days, school bags. Grocery trip, grocery bags. Work commute, laptop back pack and lunch box. Parks and play dates, extra snacks.

We know that we should probably carry more things in our bike bag. We are working on a “must have” list and hoping to stock the bags soon. We are also working on having a small kit that Brent and I can carry when we don’t have the trailer. Here are a few lists and suggestions I have found on line:

  • HubPages: Best Things to Carry on a Bike/Bicycle Ride–This article recommend we carry a patch kit, tire lever and a torch. I agree with the patch kit, we probably won’t invest in the torch quite yet.
  • Bike198: 14 Must Have Items for Every Ride–It seems this is for more competitive or trail riding, but some things overlap. I like the note about always carrying your ID. I am not a huge safety hound in our family, but I always carry my ID (in my pocket if I have any). I think it’s a sense of morbidity that lingers in my mind.
  • Adult Bicycling: Biking with the Family–There is a small diddy about what to pack, especially when traveling with children. It mentions being prepared for weather changes. Light jackets and rain coats went in our trailer yesterday when I saw the potential for rain. This is the second article here that lists bringing a map or GPS device. We don’t have much of either, but we don’t go far and most of the city is on a grid.
  • Kids Can Travel: Family Cycling–More from above and the mention of sunglasses  and camera. Recently Brent was talking about his eyes hurting more after biking to work. We think this is because of the dust and air and also the sun light. There is no UV treated windshield on the bike.
  • Chicargobike: What’s in the family panniers for sweltering summer days?–Here’s a fun blog about a set of parents and their four(?) children in Chicago, living car free. This is specific to summer and includes the good stuff, like swim suits and towels.

Helmets and Child Seats
Least I not forget to mention how important our helmets and the child seats are to us. Everyone wears a helmet, no exceptions, even those in the trailer. We have been getting by on our thift store and freebie helmets from community events for the three older children, but we are saving for upgrades. Oliver currently sports a Specialized helmet with a flat back and adjustable straps and knob in the rear. I wish I knew the proper names for some of these things, but I am learning! We selected the flat back because he sits most often in a child seat or trailer where the pointier racer backs would cause his head to tip forward uncomfortably and awkward. We also choose a regular child’s helmet for longevity. They (the retail world) do sell a smaller toddler helmet, but our children have big heads and this wouldn’t have been worth our investment.

We wouldn’t be able to transport our children by bike without child seats. I currently use either the iBert or the Yakima trailer. The iBert has not be great for naps, but wonderful just carrying Oliver, as the center of gravity is better and he enjoys talking to me while we ride. Avery only travels in the trailer and Oliver rides with him often. There are over the shoulder harness straps in the trailer, as well mesh and rain covers. These are just a couple of the options available for carrying children on bikes, and the only ones available to us at this time.

Here are a couple links to other options  for family bike transport as described by people with a lot more experience than I:

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