The “Mini-Van”

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Earlier this year Kristen and her husband Thomas won a Haul-a-Day through a Bicycle Times contest. Kristen is pregnant and as an avid cyclist she and her husband have been looking for ways to continue riding with their new baby. The surprise win of the Haul-a-Day was a dream come true for them. Here’s Kristen’s first update since they received their bike!

 

The day we picked up the Haul-A-Day from Edible Pedal, was the first day of rain in Sacramento in FOREVER. It was ridiculous! I fell off my bike when I was 10-ish and ever since then I tend to be way more cautious than I probably need to be. I have to test drive my new bike to make sure the seat, handlebars and frame were all right for my new pregnant belly. I made Thomas ride the bike first because I was so freaked out I might fall with the slippery conditions. Finally, he convinced me to get on and turning on the Bionix was definitely an experience. Thomas warned me that the bike was going to feel like it was going to fly out from under me, but not to worry because it wont. Well I got super freaked out the first time, but after that I rode around using the different speed levels and the throttle. I was in LOVE. We rode our tandem over to Edible Pedal with the idea that we would ride the HAD back together. Thomas would sit on the back and I would haul him home. As it turns out, I couldn’t get it going with him on the back so I got to hold on and ride on the back the whole way home. He spent most of the ride giggling every time he used the throttle.
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I waited about 3 weeks before I switched from my touring bike to the Mini Van, our nickname for our Haul-A-Day. I waited until I rode 1,000 miles on my touring bike. That day was so refreshing. It was such a chore and a wee bit painful to ride my touring bike. Being bent over, not having enough space for my stomach and legs and every hill. I was so exhausted with the touring bike. But then the Mini Van. It became such a pleasure to ride again. Having the Bionix system was also amazing because now I didn’t have to kill myself over tiny hills anymore. Thomas had a hard time keeping up with me because he was so used to me giving him breaks, but not anymore! A few times he even drafted off of me because the wind was so bad.
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I am the most in love with the Mini Van When we go grocery shopping. We used to ride fully loaded touring bikes with all the bags and trying to bungee cord awkward groceries where we could. But now it’s just a delight! I load the Mini Van cargo slings, strap stuff on the back and then realize I also have the extra space of the front basket! When picking up our local CSA, I put the entire contents of the box in the front basket. One of the worst chores has just become one of the best chores!
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May is Bike Month finally rolled around. Oh my favorite month of the year, quickly became the most embarrassing MIBM for Team Peteë (that’s Thomas and my team name since 2002 when we met in art school, it’s a whole other story). First, I wussed out on the 1,000 and decided to change my pledge to 600 miles prior to May. I quickly realized that there was no way I was going to be able to get up an extra half an hour early when I was leaving half an hour late every day. The first week was GREAT. I had the exact amount of miles I needed to maintain hitting my miles at the end. Then the second week rolled around and I started getting lazy. I was off my miles and we had to meet up with family so I couldn’t get in a really big weekend ride. Then the third week came. In the middle of the week, while I was crossing an intersection, my saddle bolt snapped in half** and I fell off the Mini Van. Before you freak out, I’m totally fine, the baby is totally fine, the bike is totally fine. I added some patina to my saddle, but that’s about it. Remember that whole fear of falling off my bike? It’s been multiplied since that’s the biggest warning for pregnant ladies riding their bikes. The one thing I couldn’t do, I did. And the worst part is I didn’t even do anything dangerous, it just happens. But it seems like when I fell, I put all that energy into my arms because I couldn’t lift them for the next two days. Which means, I was off my bike for 5 days straight. After that, MIBM was just a complete and utter failure. I barely made it over 300 miles. I did tell Hildegard (our baby) that she is SO making it up to me next year. Bike camping, long rides out to Folsom, we’re going to get that 1,000 she owes me!
 
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 **With the saddle bolt I think it was mostly user error. I noticed maybe a month in my saddle was wiggling and Thomas tightened it down. Thomas thinks at some point it wiggled loose again and then I was probably just riding on the bolt itself. I didn’t realize that it’s a right of passage for cyclists! Everyone who rides who we told basically said “it happens.”
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Now that it has become so incredibly hot in Sacramento, I haven’t been riding for about 3 weeks now, so unfortunately I also am failing at riding up until my last day of work. But my amazing brother bought us a Burley trailer for our baby shower to go on the back of one of our bikes, and we got a baby handlebar seat so as so as possible I’m getting Hildee on that bike and we’re riding!
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