Canal paths and cargo trikes

Last week I took the Christiania (without baby) over to Three Mills to pick up a stack of recycled scaffolding board. Contrary to the doubt of the chap who loaded them up (“they’re really heavy, you know, will you be able to get them home on that?”) the Christiania dealt admirably with the load. But I noticed something about roads and paths.

On the way there, I took the path along the Limehouse Canal. I thought this would be pleasant, especially on a slow-moving trike, and it looked more direct than the road.

In practice, what I found was a rough-surfaced (sand/gravel) path, heavily cambered towards the river. On the trike, with its slight tendency to drift down the camber, this makes for difficult riding. (The bike path along Cable St, while tarmacced, also has an awkward and variable camber which is harder going on a trike, but at least there I’d go into the kerb not the canal if I lost concentration.)

Even worse were the mini-‘steps’ (lines of stones on their ends sticking out of the path, possibly to give better grip for pedestrians but extending across the whole path leaving either no, or very little, smooth part for bikes) at intervals. There was no warning of these. I just suddenly found myself bouncing alarmingly over them with no option to avoid. I was genuinely worried I might damage the trike (happily it’s tougher than that), and if I’d had L in the box he’d have been proper upset.

But wait! There’s more. A very steep bridge over the canal, which advises cyclists to ‘get off and push’. Fine, it’s a steep bridge, I wouldn’t want to build a new one; but again, there are mini-steps all the way up and down to bump the bike, or in this case the 35kg trike, over, and no smooth part to help you along.

This path should be great both for leisure cyclists and for actually going somewhere. But the stone bumps would put me off taking a regular bike on it, or going for a ride there with a young child on a bike; and given all of the above issues it’s very unlikely that I’ll ever take the trike (especially with L in) there again. It’s a desperate shame. This is exactly the sort of path that should be a lovely ride, happily shareable by cyclists and pedestrians and enjoyable for both.

I took the road back — a longer route, and with 30+ kg of scaff board in the box — and knocked 10 minutes off the journey. Bah.

Baby & trike: the next stage!

I’ve just realised that I have nearly no photos of L in the trike over the last 6 months; perhaps because we just use it as a transport option without thinking to take a photo.

However! As of this week, L-transporting in the trike has gone from this:

Red cargo trike box with rain cover, baby in car seat inside

to this:

Baby sitting up on box seat of a cargo bike, smiling at the camera and playing with a book

He seemed very happy to be making a more upright journey, and much less bothered by the bumps. (Which makes sense; sitting in a bumpy thing is more comfortable than lying down in a bumpy thing.) It is kind of terrifyingly old, though — a whole 7.5 months, no less. Scary.

Potatoes, babies, and tricycles

I decided to plan for a very low maintenance allotment this year, given that I also have a new garden and (rather more time-consumingly) a new baby to deal with. Over the winter, the main beds have almost all been mulched with a double layer of cardboard to reduce weeding. The next stage was to plant potatoes (low-maintenance but tasty!) through the mulch. So, only a couple of weeks late, we headed down to the allotment last weekend to get planting.

The mulch is doing its weed-reducing job where it’s been put down, but around the paths and edges the dandelions are in glorious but weedy profusion. I ignored them in favour of getting 50% of the potatoes in the ground before the baby got too grouchy. (I should note that I did not actually plant anything but was instead acting in more of a supervisory/baby-feeding capacity. Many thanks to my glamorous assistant doop.)

The trip also provided the opportunity for the first test of our baby-transporting device, chosen after researching seats and trailers/cargo bikes: a Christiania trike with a car seat strapped in. Glorious success! Leon slept peacefully all the way there, and observed thoughtfully most of the way back, until a cobbly patch near our front door upset his equilibrium.

The Christiania in action

Baby in a trike!

Babies on Bikes!

I have a post today on putting your baby on your bike, over at green parenting blog Peas and Love. Head on over there to read about how old your small passenger needs to be to get started, the advantages and disadvantages of front and rear seats, and a few general safety tips.

Off this morning (after dropping my fixie at On Your Bike for a new headset & new, higher, steerer to accomodate my growing bump) to check out cargo bikes and trailers at Velorution for the next installment in the babies+bikes series. Rumour has it you can put a car seat in one of those…