Saturday, May 30, 2009

This ad makes me wonder

Although I'm not in the market for another bike, I still enjoy looking through the listings on the Philadelphia craigslist. A few days ago I came across this one:

20" Girls' Greenline Beach Cruiser - Baby Blue - $180 (West Chester, PA)

Reply to:xxxxxxxxxx
Date: 2009-05-26, 9:57AM EDT

Beautiful bike. Bought in March 2008. Used twice. Being sold because local traffic makes bike riding too dangerous.

• Location: West Chester, PA
• it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests

I wonder what traffic conditions make the owner's neighborhood too unsafe for their child to ride a bike? Most towns allow children under the age of 12 to ride on the sidewalk to keep them out of traffic. However, many of the housing developments built in this area over the past 25 years have no sidewalks, only curbs. People moved further away from the city to have more land, more distance from the neighbors, more privacy. Sidewalks weren't wanted or needed, since no one really walks anywhere, and the properties look larger without them. But where is a young child supposed to ride their bike? I wonder how many children growing up in developments like these will never really learn to ride a bike? More space does not always bring more freedom.

Friday, May 29, 2009

This ad brings tears to my eyes

It must be my allergies.

(Can anyone identify the bike?)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Crossing the Delaware

The Delaware River forms the entire border between Pennsylvania and New Jersey. George Washington made his famous crossing of the Delaware River on Christmas Day in 1776. This Memorial Day weekend, we crossed it six times:

Saturday – We drove from our home in the suburbs of Philadelphia to Ocean City, New Jersey, in the morning (1st crossing), then back to Philadelphia in the afternoon (2nd crossing) for a wedding at Citizens Bank Park, home of the Philadelphia Phillies.
I spotted some bike racks as we left the stadium to return to Ocean City (3rd crossing).

Sunday – Husband and I tiptoed out for an early morning bike ride.
We treated ourselves to breakfast after riding into the wind for 3 miles.
Afterward, a few more bikes (and dogs) began to appear.
This street mural is a traffic calming device on the bike route. (See its story on YouTube here.)
We headed home to Pennsylvania later in the day (4th crossing).

Monday (Memorial Day) – Daughter convinced us it was the perfect day to visit the Adventure Aquarium in Camden, New Jersey.
We decided to take the River Link ferry across the Delaware River (5th crossing) instead of getting stuck in the holiday traffic on the bridges.
I was happy to see two passengers bring their bikes aboard, and surprised when a crew member told me there is no extra charge to do so! (Adult fare is $6 roundtrip.)
Of course, you can always cross the Delaware for free by riding your bike across the walkway above the Benjamin Franklin Bridge. No thank you!
Inside the Adventure Aquarium:
This very large green sea turtle was Daughter’s favorite.
Piranhas! (Obviously not Daughter’s favorite.)
The Battleship New Jersey is docked next to the aquarium and would have been a fitting destination for Memorial Day, but Daughter ran out of energy due to the crutches, so we’ll have to return another day for a tour.
A father and child on bike watched our ferry return to Philadelphia (6th crossing). The warship Olympia from the Spanish-American War is behind them.
As we drove through downtown Philadelphia on our way home, we saw bikes in use and parked everywhere. Even as a passenger, it’s difficult to take photos from a moving car, but I managed to get this bit of a corner café scene:
And here’s a wonderful example of Philadelphia Cycle Chic – - that I just missed!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Growing Pains

It’s hard to take part in Bike to Work Week/Month when you’re a suburban stay-at-home-mom. (Yeah, I know, get a job!) Last year my daughter and I took part by riding our bikes to school, as we did most weeks. This year, however, we actually drove to and from school on each day of Bike to Work Week. How could I be so wasteful? Well, my daughter has been on crutches for the past three weeks. A heel injury caused by a growth spurt and running during track practice has put a stick in her spokes for an indefinite amount of time. She seems to be enjoying the crutches as her new mode of transport; meanwhile, I’ve transformed from Happy Bike Mom to Grumpy Car Mom. On these beautiful spring mornings and afternoons, it is torture for me to drive less than a mile to school, crossing the bike route twice each way. Of course, I am still able to ride my bike wherever I please while my daughter is in school all day, but it’s always more enjoyable to ride with a companion. Our rides to and from school each day gave me my bike fix even if I didn’t leave the house for the rest of the day.

Losing my bike buddy has made me quite jealous of my husband, who has been hitting the trails each weekend with two friends as they prepare for a 75-mile charity ride in October. One friend, B, is an experienced cyclist who is starting again after taking a few years off. The other friend, J, hadn’t ridden since his teenage years, but was inspired to join in after seeing my husband complete a 100-mile ride last spring with the same amount of experience and only three months of training. Despite the differences in their cycling abilities, the three men were enjoying their early morning rides together. This past weekend, however, their ride came to an abrupt halt when J’s pedal clipped a gatepost in passing, leaving him face down on the path with a broken nose and ribs. (Yes, he was wearing a helmet. Didn’t help much.) Doctor’s orders are no cycling for the next six weeks, but I hear J still plans to participate in the charity ride in October. Our friend J has always been a “Can Do” kinda guy. I’m not so sure I could be that brave after such a fall, and I’m hoping I never have to find out.

This weekend we will be making a quick trip to Ocean City, New Jersey, for the official opening (cleaning) of our family’s summer house. My husband and I will bring our bikes along to try to squeeze in a long overdue ride together to blow the dust out of our hair. Hopefully, I will be able to get a few photos of other people enjoying a leisurely bike ride, something that is nearly impossible here. Our daughter will be quite content watching everyone clean and giving her cousins lessons on the proper use of crutches.

Enjoy the weekend, and be sure to stop and smell the roses!

My fragrant trellis roses - no thorns, no pain!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Riding With Mom

One of my earliest memories is riding in the folding child seat on the back of my mother's bicycle, alongside my older sister on the back of my father's bicycle. My heart leapt when I saw this post by Henry of Bakfiets en Meer a few months ago. It seems we were born in the same year and share the same back-of-bike memory. Unfortunately, I didn't even own a bike at the time my daughter was small enough to ride on back, so my daughter missed out on that wonderful experience. Hopefully, she will have enough happy memories of riding next to her mother to make up for it.

Recently I discovered this nostalgic "home movie" on Vimeo, which looks to be about 10 years after my back seat days had ended (at that time I would have been riding my red-white-and-blue banana seat bike). I only wish they could have handed the movie camera to the child so I could really relive that unique feeling of motion from the back of the bike.

Bike Ride from Gobias Media on Vimeo.

Happy Mother's Day, Mom, and thanks for the memories!