A Family Adventure

Tyson, Emilie & Isaac

First Bike Ride: Nashua River Rail Trail

April 23, 2016
Emilie Phillips

We took Isaac out on his first bike ride beyond the neighborhood. We picked an easy section of the Nashua River Rail Trail with an ice cream shop.

Since we really had no idea how far Isaac could bike, I picked the closest intersection to down town Pepperell — 1.5 miles away with 20ft of elevation change. He spent the last month transitioning from a balance bike to a peddle bicycle. He’s doing really well, except he hasn’t figured out how to get on by himself or how to stop. We got him started down the trail and then I hopped on my bike and caught up.

Tyson came last on his brand new folding bicycle, a Dahon. We want to fit three bicycles into the Bearhawk to solve the last mile problem. We split the rear seat, which gives us enough room for 2 bicycles, but not for all three. Our plan is to get Tyson and I folding bicycles. We bought Tyson’s folding bike last week. I was intending to buy one too, but trying it out in the store, I wasn’t convinced by the ergonomics. I have problems with standard bicycle handle bars because of my tendinitis. So, we only bought Tyson a folding bike, and I agreed to try his out.

Headed in to Pepperell

Headed in to Pepperell

Isaac did great the whole 1.5 miles in to Pepperell. He peddled the whole way without any falls. He doesn’t get the concept of staying on the right hand side, no matter how many times we tell him. And, since he doesn’t know how to stop yet, he would have ridden straight out across the one road crossing had Tyson not grabbed him. Tyson seemed reasonably happy with the folding bike. It wasn’t as fast as my road bike, but it seemed good enough for getting places.

Rest stop to "fish" in the Nashua River.

Rest stop to “fish” in the Nashua River.

We stopped at the local diner in town for sandwiches since it was lunch time. Isaac insisted he wanted to keep riding farther and not go back to the car yet. So we continued along the bike path towards the oxbows. We didn’t stop until Isaac got too excited pointing something out and crashed into me. Then I looked at my cell phone map and realized we’d really better turn around. Isaac spotted swans out in the river on the way back. And he finally requested a rest stop at an overlook.

I tried out Tyson’s folding bicycle. The handle bars did aggravate my tendinitis like I’d thought they would when briefly trying it in the store. I tried adjusting the handles to all different angles, but it didn’t help. The straight handle bar just doesn’t line up with my arms. Back on my road bike, I played around trying to figure out what makes it more comfortable. I think it’s a combination of riding with straight elbows and wrists, and being able to shift positions. I don’t think the handle bar options on the more expensive Brompton brand P type handle bar will provide that. So my options are either to call the Dahon good enough for the length rides we might do from the Bearhawk, find an aftermarket handle bar mod, or research folding bicycle brands not sold in our local store.

I can't find a decent small cone in New England.

I can’t find a decent small cone in New England.

Back in Pepperell, we stopped at the ice cream shop. I don’t know what it is about New England, but it’s impossible to buy a small ice cream cone. Isaac was soundly defeated by his, and even Tyson didn’t volunteer to finish it.

Then we bicycled back to the car. On this leg, Isaac was showing fatigue, so it’s good we turned around when we did. He took one fall not far from the car. 6.5 miles total.

New folding bike and trailer for the Bearhawk.

New folding bike and trailer for the Bearhawk.

After the ride, we stopped back by the cycle shop in Nashua. Isaac did great on the bike trail, but he isn’t ready to go out on the roads. So we still needed a whole family solution for Bearhawk trips. We bought a ride on trailer and hooked it up to Tyson’s folding bike. That evening we tried it out at home and it looks like it should work. Now I just need something that fits in the Bearhawk too.

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