I dropped the kiddo off at school with the tandem today. A couple of years ago her teacher gave us a big stink about clipping her helmet to her backpack for the day and since then I’ve needed to tote it home in the box of the fakefiets after she darts off to class or affix it to the rack somehow to bring it back with me. Normally with the tandem I drag along a pannier to stow it in but I forgot it in the AM rush this morning.
A friend of mine with a similar tandem set up made a funny observation on Facebook last week that I’ve been thinking about as I tool around town after the school run. Apparently, after she drops her son off at kindergarten, she is frequently subjected to cat calls from drivers and pedestrians as she proceeds to work on the tandem sans-tiny stoker. Check out her post:
Solo tandem riding bummers:
1) “Hey, baby, can I ride with you? Come on baby, let me get a riiiiide.”
2) “Hey, you lost your passenger.” Um, do you say that to people driving cars without passengers???
She raises a great point. Drivers are never chastised or belittled for riding around without passengers and yet it’s heh-larious to cat call cycling strangers on their mode of transport? This exchange has never happened to me, thank Flying Spaghetti Monster, because I know I wouldn’t handle it with the same cool bravado my friend has in these situations. Most of the time I’m actively riding I make a really unfortunate subconscious squirrel eye face so typically drivers steer clear of any cutesy comments. My perma-scowl has ended up being more of an asset than I ever could have imagined.
Oddly though, today without my pannier concealing the kid’s helmet I felt a bit less self-conscious about riding solo. Her helmet was bungeed there on the back of the rack for all the world to see, like a badge of honor.
The chillier evenings of September bring with them one of my favorite family rituals. Each Wednesday evening we eat an early dinner or pack a picnic and head to Humboldt Park to watch one of the many weekly cyclocross practices that go on in the city and suburbs. This is the first practice we’ve made it to this season but the crew already looks to be in tip top shape bombing down the hills and across the dusty grass.
At last year’s practices plank barriers were regularly set up for impressive bunny hops. The kiddo loved to sit aloft on the branches of near by trees and get a bird’s eye view of the skills tests. We both hope they’ll make their first appearance at next week’s practice.
If you have a free evening this fall, this crew starts practice around 6pm by the diaper beach in Humboldt, approximately 1400 N. Humboldt Blvd. If you’re on the Northside, there’s a different practice at 6:30pm on Tuesdays at Cricket Hill by Montrose beach.
A list of other practice locations and times can be found here.