two on tuesdays: rooftop party and a madsen bike review

Two on Tuesdays

As promised yesterday, today we’re kicking off the Two On Tuesdays mini-series with the fabulous Miss Sarah of Girls and Bicycles and her adorable son Dexter. Miss Sarah will be checking in every Tuesday this summer with posts on cycling with Dexter and thoughts on retaining that mobile (cycling) lifestyle as a family. And we’re looking forward to hearing more tips and questions from you readers too! Take part in the conversation in the comments section or drop either one of us an email so we can share your own expertise and questions with everybody else in future posts.

Two on Tuesdays

Dexter and I rode to this week’s Latitude53 Rooftop Party in the Madsen! I was weary of taking it because I’ve only ridden it around the south side of the river. Every time we have taken the bridge to go North (there is one tiny and steep hill) I have gotten Don to ride the family bike while I ride one of my own. The sun was out, Dexter is all sturdy and enjoys the open air… I figured the worst case scenario was walking up the hill if I had to.

Though the ride downtown was downhill! It usually takes around 20 minutes to drive downtown without traffic, usually 20-30 minutes once you factor in parking. I made it in 25, from rolling out of my garage to being in line for a glass of wine.

Two on Tuesdays

Dexter surveyed the crowd in his Maid Marian Muffins t-shirt.

Two on Tuesdays

Thomas Scott was in control of the tunes.

Two on Tuesdays

Todd was a very good nanny.

Two on Tuesdays

And this is what Dexter’s expression is like when he is deciding whether he should cry or not (he had tripped and fallen down).

Two on Tuesdays

Soon he recovered and found a new friend to play with.

Two on Tuesdays

Oh, and there was entertainment!

Two on Tuesdays

In the form of a belly dancer.

Two on Tuesdays

Let’s not forget about the gallery space and exhibition.

Two on Tuesdays

Here is a Miss Sarah-styled mommy tip (I qualify because everybody has their own way of doing things and different things work for different people):

Let your kids be a part of your life.

I know nothing can be exactly the same (at least not right away) after having a baby, but lots of limitations and opportunities come and go because little kids go through so many phases in terms of portability and mobility.

It has been really important for us to bring Dexter along as a part of our regular life. We were lucky that he always napped really well in his stroller (though he is too big for that now, and too curious) and his exposure to our friends and other strangers has made him very comfortable and secure in social settings. Even when I couldn’t bike I would take the train or bus and take him everywhere. That way my friends have all become unofficial aunties and uncles because we were all learning how to care of Dexter together. Now when I’m out and about, there is always a nice friend who gives me a hand. And we’re always making new friends too.

I get to see my friends. We go out and enjoy our city. People get to know my kid. I don’t feel like having a baby has been much of a compromise, lifestyle-wise. I want to reassure people who are weary of having babies, that your life with a baby is what you make of it. Not some sort of limiting life-sentence. For me, having Dexter is the best decision I have ever made!

Two on Tuesdays

Anyway.

Clouds were forming and the forecast said there was a good chance of thundershowers, so we bid the rooftop adieu.

Two on Tuesdays

Down below I helped little D with his helmet.

Two on Tuesdays

And his seatbelt.

Two on Tuesdays

Then we were ready to ride home!

Two on Tuesdays

I purchased a cargo bike with my future of biking with children in mind. We do have a Chariot we like to use, and that comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages (more on that another time).

I wanted a bike that I could use to cycle with a baby. In the early days of Dexter we retrofit the Madsen to accommodate his car seat because babies under a year old (give or take) are so delicate and floppy that sitting up in the Chariot isn’t really an option. Infants also need to be secured with a 5-point harness (these are the rules in Edmonton) so just putting them on a blanket in a cargo box (seen it done in Europe) or in a bike basket (seen it done in Japan) wasn’t an option either.

It was actually finding Totcycle’s Madsen Hack that convinced me that this was the cargo bike for us. Mostly because it’s reasonably priced as these things go, and I liked the idea of it having two benches and four seat belts for future use with more than one kid and additional cargo (groceries, book bags, other friends). I also really liked the idea of biking with two children of different ages. Julian at Totcycle had an infant and a toddler on the bike at the same time. The frame is aluminum (lighter) and the two-wheels (instead of a tadpole-styled bike) make it pretty nimble. SOLD!

I figured if we outgrew it in time, we could always sell it to another new family and get something more robust (like a steel frame with a hefty wooden box). The Madsen is a great bike to introduce you to family cargo cycling.

And it also attracts a lot of attention, which means you end up having lots of fun conversations with people about family cycling.

Two on Tuesdays

The cons about the Madsen are that it’s not made out of top-of-the-line components, so if you’re going to ride it really hard, every day, in all kinds of weather… it might not stand up to certain degrees of abuse. Sean from BikeBike is now carrying a wide array of accessible cargo bikes over in Calgary, and he used to be a Madsen owner too.

I have been using the Madsen in fair weather and in rain, but not with snow and ice. Dexter can now hold an umbrella and really enjoys being back there! He waves at cars, trains, and pedestrians. We high five at red lights and he mimics our arm signals when we’re navigating in traffic. Most of all, it’s good cardio for me and it’s FUN! Why should having a little kid stop any of us from enjoying fresh air and people-powered mobility? I am hoping Dexter remembers all of our fun bikey adventures together when he is older, and that he will still want to ride around with his mama even when he is old enough to choose his own bikes.

I’m not an iron woman or anything. If I can have a baby and bike all around town, I feel confident that many ladies could do likewise. Riding a heavy bike like the Pashley has made me pretty strong. Riding around in a cargo bike with Dexter is making me even stronger!

Oh, and I totally made it up that steep hill. I geared down and it was slow-going… but we did it!

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About simplybike

{Bikes, a new baby, and the story of us.}
This entry was posted in Biking in a Dress, Biking with Kids, Guest Posts, Summer Cycling, Two on Tuesdays. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to two on tuesdays: rooftop party and a madsen bike review

  1. Mistie Watkins says:

    Great post. I love biking with my munchkin, and I agree with your parenting philosophy. Mine has always been that if you take the kid with you, the kid will be cooler and you will be happier.

  2. cb says:

    that bike is awesome and how freakin adorable are they together! what a cute little kid! love these posts! such great inspiration!

    xo,
    cb

  3. Liz H. says:

    Oh, that is wonderful! Thank you, Sarah, for your philosophy on bringing the kid along with your life. It’s exactly what I needed to hear today :)

  4. Fiona says:

    Your little trip is such an inspiration! I’ll still be spending some more years at uni so I’m in a different stage of my life, but stories like this about cycling with children or about exercising during pregnancy make me look forward to what I might be doing within five years or so. Sometimes “real adult life” seems quite scary but because of your blog I’ve gotten a clearer picture what life might have in store for me and it really sounds great. Thanks to you, S. and Miss Sarah!

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  6. Pingback: why not bike as a family? | Knotted Tales

  7. Jennifer says:

    I love the fun you are having with your Madsen. Something we found useful once the cargo bike plunge has been taken is to get an extra child’s helmet so that you can carry a friend along for a ride if someone comes over to play. Having an extra helmet can help if you end up carrying your friend home or off to the park.

  8. david says:

    hi, after reading your post and some research on the web I would like to buy one as well. however Madsen didn’t list any Canadian dealers on their web site. I was wondering if you can tell me where you purchased the bike. I live in Toronto and the shipping/broker fee will cost more than half price of the bike. Thanks for your help

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