Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Interaction with children / more xtracycle

I've never had interaction with small children. Not much anyway. Just enough to scare me and make me a little bit uncomfortable. I like kids - I'm definitely for them - but that doesn't mean I know how to act when they're around. I'm sitting next to Milo and eating a bowl of whatever was left in Eddie and Melanie's place. Barley chicken lima bean soup with confusing crayfish parts. It's great food, but I could do without the pinchers. Milo expressed interest in the soup, and I got to let him try it. Then he continued to express interest, and I kept spooning it over. At 7:21 I'm having a sweet little family moment. I'm feeding a little boy who just turned one and learned how to walk. Milo will probably be saying word combinations before I leave, and I'm genuinely excited to hear them.

I'm here again for dinner because Eddie needs to change out the handlebars on his new xtracycle bike. Eddie likes to sit up when he's riding a bike. Because it's more comfortable. I'm starting to agree strongly with this style of riding. It is very comfortable to sit up, and makes a ton of sense for most people - but aside from beach cruisers, or goofy hybrid bikes you really can't sit up unless you do something drastic like changing the bars and/or stem, and often all of the cables and housing. That's what we're about to do on Eddie's bike. New bars and stem and cables and housing.

Eddie's xtracycle is one of the best bicycles I have ever seen or ridden. I already knew about the xtracycle because a guy rode up to my bicycle sidewalk sale at 46th and Locust on one. In Philly last year. I didn't know exactly how it hooked up to a frame or how awesome it is. The connection is simple and strong, and the added storage capacity and durability are staggering. I love this bike. After completion, we immediately took turns riding on the 'snap deck' on the back. There are huge, long panniers with a wooden surf board-style deck on top. I really kinda want one of these. You could go on a bike tour with no storage worries whatsoever. It beats a trailer, and it's way sturdier than a regular loaded bike because it has an enormous wheelbase. You could fit all the gear you could ever need on there. And it doesn't look that weird, and it's still just a solid two-wheeler and a very easy ride. The xtracycle impresses me. It makes so much sense that I'm almost slightly frustrated by its unknown-gimmick status. This is what you need if you want to carry big stuff on your bike. This is what we need as a people. Bikes can do everything, and this is another tool that helps. Eddie put on a baby seat and rode by the shop with Milo behind him, and Melanie sitting on the snap deck behind Milo. The whole family was enjoying a sturdy ride on one beautiful 80's Peugeot mountain bike. No problem. Amazing.

About Eddie's bike: Eddie had to decide which of his bikes would receive the xtracycle. The Trek with the chunky lugs was a candidate, but instead he chose a newly gotten yellow Peugeot mountain bike with lugs. Yeah - he has two lugged Peugeot mountain bikes. This one is yellow, and proclaims itself to be the "Crazy Horse" on the top tube. That's the model name, for real, and it's written in a western font style with a colorful mustang that matches the rainbow Peugeot decal on the downtube. It's in great shape, and after a little tuning it runs silently, perfectly. It still has the original freewheel, and the lowest (biggest) gear is stamped metal that is an integrated part of the big shiny spoke guard. This is very hilarious and awesome to me. We upgraded from the Lee Chi cantilever brakes and levers to some decent v-brakes and levers. Dude: the shifters are Simplex friction thumb shifters. Totally sweet! Eddie also put my briefly-installed Maxxis Hookworm 26x2.50 tires on. Those mega-fat tires on this mega-long bike make it a smooth load-bearing beast of burden bicycle. It floats around like a cloud over the earth, and you can literally ride around with a kayak and have an optional pedal-powered blender going at the same time. That's right. A pedal powered blender is possible.

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