It's spring time and the weather is warming up. That means it's time to get my fat ass out of the house and back onto the bike. One the many challenges that comes with parenthood is finding the time to exercise and keep in shape. Most of the time we are so busy with our work and taking care of the kids, that we just either do not have the time or the energy. Slowly but steadily this lack of exercise and poor eating habits leads to what I like to refer to as middle age bulge. What started out as "cute lovehandles" has rounded out to a full on belly that jiggles. Oh the horror. FYI, some of the follow pics were taken by my buddy Danny Dedeaux.
I love cycling. There was a time when I actually cycled 100 miles per week. Well, that was before the kids came. After having our 2nd child, I figured out a solution which worked very well. The Quick 'n EZ Bike Trailer. On the days I was watching the kids, I would strap them into it, hook it up to my road bike and off we went. The kids had fun looking at the scenery passing by on the bike trail and daddy got some much need exercise and fresh air. In the last 2 years, I have put over 800 miles on that bike trailer. Not too shabby considering I bought it at Target for $80. It has developed a couple of tears here and there, but the trailer has held up very well considering the extreme mileage I have put on it. I did end up adding a piece of blue fabric over the top so that it would shade the kids better.
The challenge this cycling season was the addition of Noah, our 3rd child. The bike trailer was already maxed out. I didn't want to get another trailer and have Sandy pull that one. She has a tough time as it is just pedaling her own bike by herself. Hahahah. I came up with an idea after seeing some cyclists down on the boardwalk at Huntington Beach. I needed to get a baby seat that fits behind the handle bars. I searched on amazon and came up with the iBert. I also decided it was time to invest in a 2nd bike. I really love my speedy road bike and abhorred the idea of putting an ugly green plastic infant seat on it. It's like putting a baby seat in a Porsche. I needed another dedicated bike to haul the kids around town in.
I contacted a friend of mine named Will who is the general manager of a bike shop in Costa Mesa called Two Wheels One Planet. It's an awesome bike shop. They have a great selection of bikes. Their staff is super friendly and knowledgeable. If any of you guys are looking to get back into fitness, I highly recommend getting a bike and checking out Two Wheels One Planet in Costa Mesa. Will hooked me up with a great deal on a hybrid bike. Now a hybrid bike is something in between a road bike and a mountain bike. It is designed for riding on pavement but is much more comfortable than a road bike due to its higher front stem and handlebar position. It also has skinnier tiers and a lighter frame than a mountain bike which makes it lighter and faster on the road. For hauling the kids around time and getting exercise, it was perfect for my needs. I installed the iBert infant seat behind the handlebars and attached the Quick n' Easy bike trailer behind my bike. Now I had the ability to fit all 3 kids on a bike trip. The iBert was surprisingly easy and fast to install. It seriously only took 15 minutes to put on and I didn't have to take anything apart on my bike. I have taken Ethan out on 2 rides with it and he LOVES it. He gets a great view of the world around him and we are constantly chatting. "I see an airplane...I see a rabbit!" He is very outgoing and will say hello to pretty much everybody that we cross paths with which is a lot of fun. I make sure that he wears a helmet, sunglasses, a jacket and jeans. Safety is of course paramount. Since we haven't hit the full on summer heat wave yet, it still gets chilly in the evenings. Since I like to bike down to Upper Newport Backbay, it gets very breezy down there. Since Ethan is right in front, he gets all the wind and since he is not cycling, he is not generating any extra heat, he needs a jacket to stay warm. Next time I will also put mittens on him.
Riding with the iBert definitely takes some getting use to. I would not recommend it for someone who is new to cycling. With all the extra weight behind the handlebars, it is very easy to over steer. When you turn the handle bars just a bit, the extra weight pulls the bars with momentum and it is easy to turn more than you really wanted to. Its not a big problem. You just have to always keep two hands on the handle bars and make sure you don't make any fast or sudden turns. The other problem is that the iBert prevents me from getting off my seat and straddle the bike like at a stop light. There is no room for me to stand over the top bar of the bike. This made getting on and off the bike challenging since it was naturally unbalanced with all that extra weight up on top. The only solution for me was to lower my bike seat. I can now reach the ground with my feet while sitting on the seat. However, this compromises my cycling position because I am losing a lot of my pedaling power and this makes going up hills much more difficult. But then again, the purpose of this bike is to haul my 3 kids, not to win the Tour de France. All in all, I love my new Trek Fx 7.3 hybrid bike. It is so light, quick and comfortable to ride. Ethan loves riding in his iBert infant bike seat. As soon as Noah our littlest one gets to be 1 year old in June, I will strap him into the bike trailer with Megan. Sandy is going to dust off her road bike and then the whole family will get to enjoy our our weekend bike rides again. Say bye bye to my jiggly belly. Buh By!
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