Friday, April 24, 2009

tote'n the little guy (or gal) around

The time will soon be at hand when George, Ashley and I are capable of going out together - by bicycle. Obviously this day can't come soon enough. I've been kicking around many solutions to the problem - and this is what I've come up with so far.

If you want to take your child out while they are still in infancy - your best bet is probably a bakfiets retrofitted to fit an infant car seat (see my friend Josef's bike), or pull a similar maneuver in a bike trailer. While neither are endorsed by companies or their crafty lawyers - there is mounds of anecdotal evidence to suggest that you can safely travel with your child before they can hold their head up (the nebulous time most child - bike related gear gives you the go-ahead).

So what am I going to do? Several people have asked me for my opinions on the subject... but first I wanted to show you some of the bikes and contraptions that make this decision difficult:

For your viewing pleasure I've divided them into apperati that I'll likely acquire, and the ones that are unlikely. Unfortunately for me - the "Unlikely" category are also the most coveted. Big Time.

We are probably going to start out with a Burley trailer. Why Burley? They seem to be the right combination of price, design & aesthetic. There are some other child trailers out there, but they are either super obscure, or too expensive. Burley is an old name in the bicycle industry and my friend has one of their utility trailers which performed well on our trip from Los Angeles to San Diego.

If you are looking to buy a trailer - might I recommend these guys? I like people who specialize. The Bike Trailer Shop is a great online resource for all your bike trailer needs. I've purchased several items from them, with excellent customer service. Because they are specialists, they can give you great advice for any bike-trailer related question you might have. I would also like to mention that their prices are almost always the lowest in town... and by town I mean the internets.

I haven't purchased a trailer yet... and if there are any generous bike-trailer reps out there that want me to test their product - I'm your man.

Once I do - I'll get to work rigging it so George can hit the mean streets of LA with Ashley and I. How else will he get a bitchin' summer tan come May? We're already supposed to have a good base tan and we're dreadfully behind. ; )

Stay tuned for more info on taking your baby in a bike trailer.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

park it, dad.

One problem facing bicyclists is finding a good place to park their bicycle.  We live in Culver City - and I must confess that while the bicycle parking is often convenient - more often than not it is substandard.  Most of these racks are what we in the industry would call "wheel benders."  Basically, they only support a front or rear wheel if you lock your bike the way the rack was meant to be used.  Not only is this dangerous for theft reasons, but it also makes your bicycle vulnerable to damage from being knocked over while un-attended.  Here are some wheel benders through out Culver City:

Downtown - Culver Plaza

City Hall

Culver City Aquatic Center

Veteran's Park



While most of the parking is substandard, there are some good racks out there.  These racks are also downtown.  What I like about them is that they are minimalist, space efficient, and support your bicycle while allowing it to be locked securely.

Here they are again.

A word of caution.  Bike theft is on the rise.  If something isn't secured by a lock - you are running the risk of it getting taken.  Especially with the economy in a funk, people are looking to make an easy dollar anyway they can.  Don't let your bike be a part of that cycle.

Also - don't compromise and park at a crappy rack where your bike isn't secure.   Ride around and find a light post, parking meter, bench, or something secure that will keep your bike safe.

If you know of any additional places in Culver City or Los Angeles that have substandard bicycle racks, shoot me an email here.