In the first week of Mums’ Corner, Cathy shared the thought process she went through, before deciding to start cycling with her one-year-old, Cherry. Now Cathy shares the task of turning her chariot into a bicycle made for two.
Today Cherry went on her first ever bike ride.
After reading up on Karen’s excellent website CycleSprog, which is now my new favourite website, I went for a front-mounted seat. This one is a Yepp Mini, a Dutch brand that is sold in Evans. As it’s a Dutch brand the seat is made for Dutch bikes, so we needed a special adaptor to make it fit my hybrid. We also bought Cherry her cute little Kiddimoto helmet, which is adjustable so should last her a few years.
After Noel had fitted the seat (yes, I could have done it myself I suppose, but I chose not to) we were both a bit concerned how little space it seemed to leave for me. I found I needed to lower the saddle a couple of inches to be comfortable on the bike with the seat in front.
I also had a rack fitted to my bike, as carrying a bag on my back with a baby up front seemed a little dangerous. So I picked out this gorgeous pannier from Cyclechic, another favourite website of mine, which is made from recycled fabrics for super-duper green points. It’s massive, there was plenty of room for all of Cherry’s toys and nappies and general jiggery-pokery.
The result of these modifications is a bicycle that weighs approximately a billion tonnes, but nobody wants to be a speedster with a baby on board.
For our first ride we ventured into Clapham’s nappy-tastic Northcote Road for lunch. Noel came with us and I was very grateful to have him to either lead the way or stay behind and act as a barrier between Cherry and I and traffic, for our first trip.
I was surprised how nervous I felt cycling with Cherry. I’ve never felt nervous cycling by myself, but clearly she’s a very precious cargo. The extra weight took some getting used to, particularly the pannier at the back which threw the weighting slightly ‘off’. The closest experience I could compare it to was cycling a tandem. Your weight distribution suddenly becomes extremely important and sharp turns were out of the question at first. But I got used to it very quickly.
Noel noticed that Cherry and I got plenty of ‘how cute’ from drivers and passers-by but also the odd look of disgust. This really doesn’t bother me – if you don’t think it’s safe to cycle with a child, don’t cycle with your child.
Cherry was happy as anything on her little seat, and having her so close to me was very comforting. I could put my arm round her and cuddle her from my vantage point, and we had a nice little chat as we pottered along.
In fact she was so happy and cosy she nodded off on the way home.