Monday, January 16, 2012

Further Adventures Of Declan

It has been a bit since we had an update in the bicycle adventures of Declan. San Francisco is evolving daily when it comes to getting around by bicycle. We have a long way to go, but the streets have become so much better, especially in the areas of town with the highest concentration of bicycle riders, that I am comfortable taking Declan just about anywhere his two legs can get him to.


What do you think of that bicycle James put together for him? It is a light weight steel BMX frame with a Sturmey-Archer 3-speed coaster hub. We had to look for 2 months to find the right frame within 200 miles of us (it had to be steel so we could bend the rear forks to accommodate the S-A hub) but it finally appeared. One day I will put together a little piece on just how very cool this machine is.

Up Front

Now that Declan is older (almost 7!) and has a bicycle that helps him keep up (he is so much faster than I am up hill!!!) we are able to have him ride his own bicycle when we run errands around town. If you were to see him riding you would be amazed. He chats away to us the whole time while watching for doors, keeping an eye out for glass and doing the left-right-left look at intersections. He rides way better than half of the adults I see riding around.

Taco Boys

We have to borrow the Xtracycle from Cameron when we do this. That way, if the traffic is bad or Declan just poops out we can tow his bicycle and him home. It also works to make sure we have taco truck seating mid-ride.

Traffic, Too

James usually takes the rear because Declan is so used to riding next to me (I need a photographer to ride with us so I have pictures of it). I no longer have to give him many verbal directions . Today, I took the rear and let the boys have some fun. Declan likes to chat while he rides. I love it, I figured James might enjoy it, too. They talked about the difference between catapults and trebuchets, how to build a more destructive arctic ice breaker and their plans for the next homemade air powered rocket launcher.

Cycle Chic Boyo
a different day but I had to put this picture in somewhere

He is really growing up! It just amazes me (silly as he is the youngest and I have lived through this stage many times before!). My City is growing up, too. It takes a lot of trust and a deep breath from time to time, but the fact is my little boy rode his bicycle through 4 neighborhoods (a total of about 7 miles altogether) almost entirely in bicycle lanes. He was just another rider. OK, he was way cuter than any of the other riders and people kept pointing at him and smiling, but you get the point. Now we just need to get more kids out there!!


  1. Nice photos and good parenting skills. If he rides safely, it's because of YOU.

    I've also felt this need to get more kids out there. I started a family overnight camping ride that thrills the kids. Check it out:

  2. what a cool bike! my only suggestion, it looks like that bike could use shorter cranks for the size of the rider.

  3. Most kids don't ride much through the winter months here in Chicagoland - but this spring I plan to schedule some group rides on the Illinois & Michigan Canal Towpath that will certainly include kids. The Towpath run totals 58 miles one way - but we will obviously turn around at some point and go back to where we started - somewhere short of 58 miles. The surface is crushed limestone (a very fine gravel) so REALLY thin tires won't be the best choice to take on the ride, but most of the kids around here seem to ride BMX or Mountain bikes anyway, so the tire width should not be an issue.

    It should be fun - and it's not going to be a competition, so Moms, Dads and Kids alike ought to enjoy themselves.


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  5. I love it! Cool bike, adorable kid, beautiful city. And what smart parents for realizing that these three things belong together.

    Declan sounds like the kind of kid my oldest son would love to ride alongside chatting with. He could talk homemade rockets and icebreakers for hours and hours.

    Looking forward to reading more about Declan and his bike!

  6. Awesome.
    Our olderboy is almost 5 1/2. This is the bigger bike I built him last summer /in/photostream

    I'd love to hear the story of this build for Declan.

    Ride on, sweet child!