Aubrey

A bike seat isn't for safety like a car seat. It should be clear, but I will say it anyay, cars and bikes have different safety concerns.

  • the most likely accident in a car would be a front end collision at some speed. On the bike the most likely accident with a child seat is a zero speed tip over.
  • with a car seat, safely loading the child is done from a safe position. On your bike, you load the child while balancing the bike
  • there is effectively zero chance of whiplash in a bike seat because the bike wheels, then bike, then you crumple, all before your neck. A car is much stronger.

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You should mount the seat in a way where you can safely load and unload your child.

Pretty much all of the big brand E-bikes with child seats are similar. Especially if on the rear and not carrying two kids. Find one that's comfortable. I spent alot of time looking at them a few years ago.

The thought behind rear facing is that most car accidents are frontal collisions. Since the body is thrust in the direction of impact, the rear-facing seat means the spinal cord is more or less supported and doesn't shift much.

I don't think this would apply to bike collisions. Even if you're hit from the front, you're likely going to snap backward, to the side, etc.

The main things for safety really come down to the driver and maintenance. If you are a competent rider who pays attention to whats going on around you and you are riding a well maintained bike in safe areas, you and the kid will probably be okay. Though there is not guanrantee.

And please, please, please make sure that the child is in a helmet (and you should follow suite).

Aubrey

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We had one of the Graco travel systems for my first.

It isn't bad. And I will admit that it's a decent lightweight stroller, but I did find it to be a bit too bulky for things like shopping or taking a casual walk around the neighborhood. It was good for going to large outdoor events, Disney, basically any place where there would be a lot of walking and I would need to bring along a diaper bag or other crap to put in the bottom bin.

Then we received the City Mini from my sister. Her son is two and a hald and didn't use it anymore.

And what can I say? After using the Graco Snugride, well, I love it soooo much. And I wish I had it from day 1. It's so lightweight and easy to steer, it's easy to fold up for the car. A pricier stroller is worth the money, but they aren't all created equally.

We actually originally wanted to go with the iGo. When we broke it all down, I realized that the chairs were really uncomfortable to hold. The Evo has little hand holds where the buttons to take the chairs on/off are, and it's really easy to switch them out and hang onto them (especially if there's a sleeping baby in the bassinet part). I found the iGo chairs to be really awkward to handle without the handles.

If I had to say two things that are a must, they should be lightweight and easy to break down.

I never in a million years would have thought I would get so excited over a stroller, but it's the one thing you really learn to appreciate and the City Mini is not the stroller I wanted, but the one that I needed.

Aubrey

Don't be afraid to get a used one. Bike maintenance is simple (relative to a car) and routine so you'll need to do it regardless. As long as none of the components are worn out, i'd say to buy used and save the money you would otherwise spend on a new bike.

You could try Bikes Direct if you trust your mechanical skills which you should develop anyway if you own a bike. Bike shop bills add up.

I'd suggest something fairly upright so you can see better in traffic. Single or three speeds for ease of maintenance, since NYC is mostly flat. Fenders for the rain, chubby tires for the mediocre roads, and a rack for your briefcase/bag. Nothing wrong with a used bike, but if you don't want to go used...

The Trek Earl is right around $500. Single speed but lacks fenders and a rack. Pretty, though.

The Windsor Oxford has fenders, a rack, and a three speed hub for $400. Bikes Direct is a pretty reputable site even if it looks fly-by-night. It's available without the rack for $50 less.

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The Breezer Uptown 3 with proper length fenders, a rack, a suspension seatpost (meh), and lights powered by a generator hub can be had on sale for $415 because it's a 2011 model. This would be my choice, if one of the available sizes fits you.

The Schwinn Coffee is similar to the Windsor but closer to the $500 mark.

A lot of things are a luxury, this bike called the The Brooklyn Cruiser Driggs includes a wood box and some leather parts that probably won't do so well in the rain comes to mind. It is quite distinctive looking and has fairly fat tires. Almost $100 over budget, though.

Look for something that fits you and is comfortable to ride. If you are not confident that you can accurately size a bike for yourself, you might be better off buying from a shop and getting fitted. Remember, you'll be spending a lot of time on the bike so get one YOU like and not one someone talks you into.

If you're interested in this general type of bike but none of the above suit you, a Google search of "single speed city bike" or "three speed city bike" will probably find you many more options.

Aubrey

It can be a pain finding a nice seat, and once you find it, somebody will steal it. Sad, but true.

My quest for the perfect sabble ended like that last week.

For most modern saddles, you run into a plastic frame with some generally vinyl material stretched over a layer of closed cell foam and/or 'gel' like material.

I dislike the gel saddles.

Why? Simple, it tends to get pushed out of the way once it warms up and squishes out of the way, leaving your butt to be chaffed by the displaced material and bounce on the plastic frame. So, one idea on the comfort of the frame itself is if it's staple-assembled, replacing the foam with some thinner, harder closed cell foam can actually go a long way to making it more comfortable. If it's plastic-welded in place, you're outta luck, though, unless you are comfortable trimming off the old cover and stapling a new one in place once you're done.

Now, that said, I'm avoiding the easiest solution of all; Make certain your saddle is positioned correctly. Height is only one dimension, but is an important one, of course.

Angle of the saddle can make a lot of difference, potentially loading your weight onto your wrists instead of backward. If the seat is tilted too far backward, though, you'll be sitting harder, and 'standing' while riding will be more difficult, and you'll be using the saddle more as a seat, which it isn't supposed to be on most bikes.

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Lastly is the fore-to-aft positioning of the seat, where you can shift it forward or back to get yourself into a better overall position and make sure your back is bent properly to absorb some of the shock instead of just driving it straight up against your spine and butt, which hurts. Take my word for it, you want to skip this.

There are tutorials o how to adjust your saddle. Sheldon Brown has a good one about positioning for max comfort.

Adjust slowly and in one direction at a time.

If your female like I am look into getting a female bike seat. I used a male/general saddle for years until I upgraded and it was worth it.

The reason they are better is because they are typically spaced a bit different to deal with wider hip bones.

Go to a local bike shop and ask what they have to say, most shops can be reliable in terms of advice about seats. New seats arnt terribly expensive either, and if you know what your looking for finding a used one is a cinch.

You'd still want it to be hard though, those soft plush ones are terrible. There only good for leaving your butt raw which is worse then what you feel during the actual ride.

The longer the rides the more the seat matters, I will say that a bike seat will never be a couch. So often times youll hear cyclists just fighting through it. I do admit to my knowledge about female seats being limited. But I know that during longer rides the constant pressure in that area is never good. If your riding an occasional ~5 miles I wouldn't worry about it; unless your looking to turn it into a daily thing.

Aubrey

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It seems like a logical statement. But the more we nurture them while they are young the healthier and stronger they will be when they are older.

My Pregnancy

My pregnancy would be what you would call a by the book pregnancy. It wasn't hard, though it wasn't easy (none ever are), it lasted just the right length of time. And when it came time to deliver, it was just the right time. Nothing was out of the ordinary.

Birth size was perfect and at the end we were holding a bright eyed baby.

One that we were just waiting to shower with love.

In Retrospect

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In retrospect it was a stressful time for me. One filled with anxiety, and more than a little self doubt. Could I handle this? What did I get myself into? Are we ready? Am I ready to be a mother?

I had a lot to be thankful for. My husband and I am so blessed. And the pregnancy was a blessing for us as well. But they all come with their little surprises. And with surprises I mean happy experiences. For one, the anxiety wasn't mine alone and we spent many hours talking over our doubts, our fears, and our dreams. This was a wonderful experience and it helped up prepare for being parents more than a dozen books on the subject could ever have been. But I will confess, I read the books, too, thus I can contest that this simple approach (communication) was immensely beneficial in helping me overcome some of the more pressing fears that I had.

We were in this together, it was a joint effort from the beginning. And if we worked together we could overcome just about anything.

There were other surprises.

One of which was my baby shower. Something that I had made zero thought about. And when they all jumped out and yelled surprise I almost wet myself. Almost.

My biggest challenge was surviving bed rest that my doctor put me on (though my library of unread Kindle books helped).

My Tribal Baby Shower

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When I was a little girl I had a lot of encouragement from my parents. It came in all different shapes and forms, and it usually didn't appear like I was being motivated to try something new, to push myself further, or to learn a new skill. It just felt like it was natural and I was free to express myself. This has been a blessing throughout my life and it was something that I was determined to offer my child as well.

At the age of five or six I got an interest in the lives of the Amerindians that lived on the continent long before the Europeans "discovered" the Americas. What I learned was eye opening, and it turned into what would be a "lifetime" spanning interest. The most intense phase was in my developmental years, and probably lasted for four years. By ten or eleven I had further expanded my interests but the things I learned then, the tribal aspects of their culture, and our ancestor's impact on their livelihood shaped much of what made up my life during that time.

If something has such an influence on a person's life it is bound to remain special.

And it has.

You see that in the different aspects of my life. I love the tribal look, different pieces adorn our walls. Pieces that we collected on our trips across the US.

A dream catcher hangs over our bed. It is the same dream catcher my mother gave me when I was nine years old. The same dream catcher that took the bad dreams away and allowed me to sleep soundly when my grandmother passed. This simple piece of wood and string has serviced three moves, once to the dorm in college and then again when my husband and I moved into our first apartment together and now in our new home.

So what did you think I did when I saw that something so dear to me had been made into my baby shower? I almost jumped with joy. It was just amazing to see that my friends cared enough about me to really take the things that I appreciated and made them an aspect of the celebration. Even the invitations had tiny dream catchers on them. I made her give me one of the invitations for the baby shower so that I could put it into my family scrapbook.

The baby shower was organized by my very dear friend, Beth.

We have been friends since we were children, meeting in what has remained to this day a very awkward story to tell strangers. All I will say is that it involved a lot of glue and a somebody's hair being cut off. But I will save that for another day.

When I told my colleges about the afternoon they made the statement that they thought it was tacky. That nobody would actively choose to celebrate a tribal themed baby shower. But I disagree. There are so many things you can do, so many ways to take the celebration that it is actually a very good idea. Now if you dressed up like Native Americans and played games that were demeaning, sure that would be terrible on so many levels. But why?

I have never been to a baby shower that took that direction, no matter what they choose for the day.

Things were handled tastefully. The tribal decoration was minimal if at all present, and the food was simple. No attempt was made to make it something that it wasn't. And that is something that I appreciated.

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The First Months

I don't know. A new born baby, they are small. But they are a handful.

I was really lucky with my pregnancy. Being pregnant isn't easy, but it is partially much easier than when they are out.

You will spend more sleepless nights than you could ever imagine possible in those first eventful months. And they are a testimony to your love for your child. Because, no matter how bloodshot my eyes were, how tired I felt. Or how much I wanted to just go back to sleep I had an even bigger desire to do more. To tend to our child's needs and to calm them down. This is the true drive that keeps a parent going during those months. And it is something that your child returns in fold as you watch them grow. Them develop new skills and experience new things.

I don't know anyone who hasn't enjoyed every moment.

And even though it feels like an eternity it really isn't.

After a few months you change fewer diapers, you sleep longer stretches, and you both become more accustomed to the routine. And the more things begin to stabilize the more chances you have to get to know one another, to bond, to watch them grow, and to express your love.

Because if there is one thing that it is certain, it is that you should shower them with love. Nurture them. Because in so doing you nurture yourself and a happy parent raises happy children.

Aubrey

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I have actually been in the process of moving my site this last week. As well as collecting my stuff from the different CMS and platforms. Through Orange Tang I am able collect a lot of my older work. Posts that I made on sites that have come and gone. And in general organize my thoughts. Some come in the form as replies that I wrote about various topics that I found engaging. Those are the ones that I like the best since they offer a more conversational tone.

Right now I am in the process of moving in. And that is why things are a little bit of a mess right now.

More to come in the next days.