She Says… Back in the Saddle

I used to ride my bike a lot. Last year I wrote about how it was one of the very few things I missed while I was pregnant. Benjamin and I have even done a few centruy rides together (100 miles in one day), including one in the White Mountains in New Hampshire… which is no joke for someone who’s not big on hills! Last weekend, after having not ridden my bike for nearly 2 years (since I stopped biking slightly before I got pregnant in an effort to slow down and help the babymaking process, and haven’t gotten on the bike since, mostly because we didn’t have a seat for Owen), I got back in the saddle again.

I’ll admit, I was pretty nervous. It took me a little while to get the hang of riding with clipless (aka clip-in… the name is deceiving) pedals, and I’m not always the most coordinated person in terms of balance. I may be relatively strong, but I’m a big dork when it comes to staying upright on the bike.

But I couldn’t resist. The sunny roads were calling my name. And Owen got one of these for his birthday:

So last weekend we took our first ride as a family.

It was awesome.

You know, for the first 5 minutes.

Then we heard a little whining. And I peeked in to see Owen’s helmet down over his eyes, and his poor little head was cocked to the side because the helmet was so heavy. And he was leaning over to one side so far that he was almost horizontal. We had the chest straps pulled as tightly as they would go, but he just wasn’t supported right. We stopped and readjusted.

Then he wailed when I put him back in.

Aha! I thought. I’ll just prop him up and he’ll be all comfy back there. So we tried this:

You can see by the look on his face what he thought of that. And after about 10 minutes of riding the pillows had fallen and he was slumped over again. Humph.

We tried a few other things (like moving him to the outside seat, even though the directions say that if you only have one child to put them in the center), but every time we stopped the bike, he fussed. So we made the first ride very, very short. Not exactly the glorious family bike ride we were hoping for, but I’m sure it’s just something he has to get used to.

Have you used one of these? Any tips for making it more comfortable for a little guy? Also, are there helmets out there that fit tiny heads better than the one we got? I won’t let him ride without a helmet, but the helmet seemed to be causing the most discomfort.

Since Benjamin and I still needed to get our biking fix, and he happened to have a day off of his busy work schedule, we decided to take yesterday off and still have Owen go to daycare. IT WAS AMAZING. We walked Owen (and Schnitzel) to daycare in the morning, and then went out for a long, baby-free bike ride. Man, that felt good. And for those who care, I had nothing to be nervous about. It’s like riding a bike. It all came back to me as soon as my feet hit those pedals.

After our ride we went to Dunkin’ Donuts for coffees (hot for him, iced for me), and did some shopping that we’ve been putting off. We finally found bar stools for our kitchen island! We’ve been standing there since we moved in nearly 2 months ago. We went out to a lovely lunch and even had a glass of wine. Then we did a Trader Joe’s run for all of our favorite things, including super cheap wine (!!!), and headed home. It was a relaxing, wonderful day. And I was doubly relaxed because we weren’t paying a babysitter for every minute (which is something that makes me kind of stressed out on the rare occasion we do a “date night”). All in all, a perfect way to spend the day.

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13 responses to “She Says… Back in the Saddle

  1. Man, I am SO glad the kid doesn’t have to wear a helmet in the jogging stroller. I’d never get anywhere if she had a helmet on, I can’t even get her to wear a sun hat!

    My jogging stroller key is one of those little containers full of cookies. It works wonders on keeping little hands and mouths busy. :)

  2. I would also suggest a snack or sippy if he can handle that. You can get little tethers to keep them from falling at Buy Buy Baby or Babies R Us.
    When our first was just under one, we bought her a toddler helmet from REI that fit great on her baby sized head. It fits an 18in head circumference. Hopefully this is smaller than what you have so that you have a better option to look into.
    I’ve also heard a lot of moms rave about the strollers that have the built in IPod speakers so their kids can listen to music. Can you rig something up so he can listen to some fun tunes??
    Good luck and congrats on getting back on the saddle!

  3. I really, REALLY miss riding my bike.

    We live in Philly and prior to becoming pregnant I would ride my bike EVERYWHERE.. errands, hair appointments, lunches, dinners with friends, etc. It is really hard to have to rely on our building’s shuttle plus taxis now. It’s just not the same experience. I know I won’t ride my bike with one of those baby seats either so we will have to wait until our kid is Owen’s age and can fit in one of those wheely things before getting back on the road.

  4. We have a helmet that dials in to fit their noggin, and then grows with them…it is actually an adults helmet but get small enough for a wee noggin. I think it is a Giro? I’ll have to check.
    I find the only way to do bike rides with a wee one in a trailer is with food. I have a few of those tupperware-type containers with the flexible plastic tops that they can reach their hand into (but keep massive spills from happening). I load them up with some cereal, and they happily munch away. For at most 6 miles. But it is something!
    We just bought a “kangaroo” seat that will let Wes sit in front of me while I ride. I’ve heard great things about those – perhaps Owen would be more comfortable if he was out front, sitting in a supported seat, and could see?

  5. Oh gosh, the picture with the pillows is too cute!

  6. Hi Kate! We just spent a week in Amsterdam, and I tried to get a helmet on Helen so we could take her in the trailer we rented, but that was a huge joke! So, we did it the Dutch way, and went helmet-less for a few spins around the park, and that was it. It actually took me a few days to find a helmet for her since no one anywhere sells them. Then she would scream and rip it off. Also, she hated the trailer, but it was so late in the day she didn’t have the energy to protest too loudly. Not a solution, I know. But I so wish we could use bikes like the Dutch do, with their dedicated bike lanes and no hills anywhere…this bike, the Bakfiets is known as the soccer mom-mobile in Holland: http://babyccinokids.com/amsterdam/2010/02/02/do-as-the-dutch-do-bike-on-a-bakfiets/

  7. We have the same problem with the helmet being pushed into our 13 month olds face. Our friends suggested that we prop him up from behind (by putting a folded up towel behind his back) so that the back of the helmet had some space instead of butting up against the back of the bike carrier. While it took a few adjustments this did make a big difference and our little guy was a lot happier on the ride.

  8. We don’t have a pull behind wagon, but we have two bike seats; one that goes in front (WeeRide) and one that goes behind (more traditional). Blaine loves biking but only if he’s in the right mood! I have a friend who stufffed two diapers in the helment that was a smidge too big for her daughter.

  9. Aw, I’m sorry Owen isn’t enjoying his trailer. We don’t have a trailer so I don’t have any suggestions for that, unfortunately. Like others, we also have a WeeRide Kangaroo seat, and it’s really great. Admittedly, we only bought it recently and our son is almost 2, so I can’t personally vouch for how good they are for younger kids, but I do wish we had had ours when Devin was younger. It also has a shorter life of use than a trailer, I think – recommended from 1 year up to 18kg/40lbs (though even at 13kg Devin is almost too tall for it). And they don’t fit every bike. It might be something to look into until Owen is a little bigger, though…
    Our helmet is adjustable with a little dial at the back, too, so it fits snugly and is sturdy but fairly lightweight – a far cry from the huge pink stack hat that I had to wear on my first bike ride as a toddler!

  10. We put a hat under the helmet and it seemed to help also we put a “yummie time pillow” behind her and she fell asleep on the last ride. First one was about 10 mins. Last one was about 30 mins. So much fun!

  11. opps! tummy not yummy!! hehe

  12. we just tried the trailer while on vacation at the beach for a week. The helmet just wasn’t going to work. She was MIZ and we stopped halfway thru our first ride to take off the helmet. granted, we were riding on a bike path that went throughout the beach area we were in but I rode behind my husband and she was so much better off w/o that helmet on. I know, I know, it’s not “safe”, but I swear that thing was going to fall and it would have been hard for her to breathe if it had! BUT, if we had a trailer at home, I would have been more worried to go w/o a helmet. Maybe try breaking him in slowly and do short rides.

  13. Owen looks so cute in there!

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