Father & Son Off-Road Thanksgiving Ride

My 13 year old son has a general distaste for strenuous activities and anything that is a little precarious or might cause injury. He's always been very protective and careful of his being. He'd much rather spend a cold Sunday morning in bed cuddling an Ipad or Iphone or some other device or combination of both, networking with friends and playing games, instead of getting into a wet suit and playing in the surf, or going for a hike up the coastline somewhere, or bombing down a hill with Dad on a mountain bike.  So, I like to push him out of his bounds whenever I can to help him try to get to that limit and push past it whenever possible.

The day before Thanksgiving I managed to talk my son into a going on a "short little" MTB ride to kick off the day right. With a little pulling and convincing, he gave me the green light for an easy mountain bike ride at a local park, for the morning, just me and him. 

We have three children: 13, 11 and 5. Each of them has degrees of daring and each has their own riding abilities. Our youngest began riding a push bike when we was 3 and he's been riding without training wheels for over a year. 

Im very much a Let Kids Do Dangerous things kind of Dad. I don't force them to do anything, but I like to get them exposed to things, let them make the choice to do things that stretch their safety net a little. Our culture has become fixated on safety and personal well-being, to the point that many of us never get to do anything that challenges that sense of safety. We've become safer, so we get hurt less, perhaps, but we also live a little less in the process. 

If you are over the age of 40, you recall as I do, that growing up we would just about always be around some one with a broken leg, or a broken arm. The things we did as kids back then, all pretty harmless, are stuff we see only on Jackass nowadays.   

About 10 minutes from our house is an easy little network of trails in a county park that's great for kids and novice riders. It's a closed park, with riders and hikers on the same trail and the ground is well packed and the trails well maintained. This is the perfect kind of riding area for my son and I. The network goes up hill and for a couple miles, winding around a few ravines and back around. The trail back down is quick and fun. 

 I know my son would rather be sitting home playing his iPad games with his buddies. As we set out on the trail he's already made it clear that my little outing needs to have a very firm and quick end-time so he can get back and get on with his day and his friends. Without trying to ignore his desire to get back home, I try to let him know that we're going to stretch beyond what he wants to do today and do things that he may rather not do, but will do. 

For kids, mountain biking is a great adventure. They are constantly challenged in all the right ways. Balance. Judgement. Muscle. Fear. Self-confidence. Just the ability to self-pilot a multi-speed mountain bike on loose gravel roads in up-hill down-hill terrain is a challenge enough. My son bitched and moaned the whole way and I had to remind him to accept his accomplishments and take pride in the stuff he was able to conquer.

When he wanted to go home, I pushed him a little harder, kept going a little more. He cussed at me and begged to back down the mountain. He didn't much like my laughing at his discomfort and he didn't care when I explained that he can't be tired because Im not tired and Im 45 and smoked for 20 years! 

I can't say I blame him. I wouldn't like some one laughing at me either, but I just couldn't help giggling a little, as much as I felt for him.

As men, we're trained that it's ok to be talked down to somewhat, pushed, whipped into shape and prodded to get to the next level. That's life. That's sports. That's football. 

Still, it's a hard thing to do to your own kid. I didn't much like looking back one time to see my son walking it down one of the not very steep trails at one point, but I let him do his thing. I was alternately impressed on a different downhill to see him riding it through and holding it all together right behind me.

Online gaming is an easy thrill outlet. It's too easy to fall back and get back online. It's too rewarding and too easy to feel rewarded by the social gaming that's available to kids these days. Out here on the trail with dad, his friends aren't around to convey their congratulations, or their envy, or their yearning at the points he got, etc. The challenge is personal and it's physical. It's much harder. Much more real too.

Out on the trail, I really had to keep my son motivated. Kids need a lot of pep talking to keep them going. Lot's of "way to go"s and "good jobs" all along the way. All the while, other dads were there in the same boat as I was. We were all calling out to our kids yelling the same stuff. "No, the parking lot is this way!", when in reality it was the opposite way, just as they thought it was, but to keep them going on the trail we have to tell them that the way back down the mountain is really up the hill a little more jut past that dead tree...

When we were done riding we made a trip to a cafe to grab some hot chocolate and treats. 

I enjoyed our Thanksgiving ride. I think my son probably didn't, at least as much as I did, but, I like to think he'll look back on it one day and know that he gained some skills from our rides and maybe one day learn to enjoy riding on his own.



Tags: mtb

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BOSCH EMTB Update

Bosch is launching a new trail riding feature for Performance Line CX called eMTB mode. This new feature will automatically change between assistance modes depending on pedal pressure for optimal support on different types of terrain, allowing riders to concentrate their full attention on the trails and achieving #UphillFlow.

The eMTB mode replaces the traditional Sport mode (210% boost) with a “Variable” mode which provides assistance between Tour (120%) and Turbo (300%). This gives riders ideal power at all times, even at low pedaling frequencies, without them ever having to toggle between support levels. The amount of assistance is dependent on the rider’s pedal pressure (see above graphic), starting with light drive unit support at light pressure and increasing to maximum support as pedal pressure is increased. The system responds almost instantaneously and the rider continues to experience the “natural riding sensation,” whether starting off or accelerating. As soon as the pedal pressure decreases, the power assistance is smoothly regulated downwards. Thus the rider has much greater control when riding through narrow, winding sections of a trail.

 

eMTB mode will be available to old and new customers beginning in July

The iZip Dash Electric Bike Might Be Our Favorite Ebike Ever

The iZip E3 Dash from Currie Tech might be our favorite eBike ever. NOT ONLY does it look great, ride great, go 28 MPH and handle like butter, but at $2600 retail this bike is something you can bring home to the wife or husband and they won't look at you like you are insane because you just spent $6,000 on a bicycle. This is a bike that will take you long distances, quickly, doesn't make you look like a German design project from University and is backed by a great dealer network. 

The iZIP e3 Dash has nothing to hide. It has a style that any one can enjoy and that isn't afraid to show that it is an e-bike. It's unassuming design makes it really look like a regular bike even though its battery isn't hidden like other e-bikes. It says that it's not trying to hide its e-bike-ness. 

But, the most exciting thing about the DASH is its top speed. This e-bike cooks. We took the dash on a lunch run through heavy San Francisco traffic at noon time and we were able to cross town in just minutes. Once down on the Embarcadero we walked our bike into our favorite Salumi shop, grabbed a sandwich and headed back to the store to sell more ebikes. The getting around part was a blast. The DASH is light weight, has a predictable and usable suspension and its wide tires are great for San Francisco's crappy asphalt. 

At this feature set and top speed, the DASH is going to appeal to any one considering any of the higher end $4,000 ebikes such as the Stromer, eFlow, A2B and others. 

 

 

A Pair Of Ebikes For Him and For Her

If an ebike is on your horizon because you want to get more exercise, or not be bothered by traffic and parking, among the more stylish his and hers ebike combos we offer - we think - the BH Easymotion Neo Cross combined with the BH Neo Street ebike. Each bike fit the same needs of urban or suburban riding, or, take them on trail for light duty off pavement fun at the coast side or by the bay. These bikes will get you from your home in the lowlands of Atherton or Menlo Park, to the highlands of Woodside and beyond. 

 

 

Or, when the weekend is over, leave your car at home and hop on your bike. These are transportation devices that take you effortlessly and easily 20-30 miles at 20 mph. They are fun, healthy and inexpensive ways to get around. 

Charge it over night for pennies. Spend less time and money at the pump and our electric bikes will in fact pay for themselves in just a short few months. 

It's money in your pocket for better things. 

The two combined look well together. They match in power and style and look great in town going shopping or parked outside restaurant. 

BH Bikes are a Spanish bicycle company, one of Spains largest. The BH Easymotion line is their ebike line-up and known for their quality in components and design. Each bike uses a 300 watt motor with both pedal assist or power on demand (throttle) power. 

Visit our show room to test and buy one of these great bikes. 

 

 

Too Much Parking In Downtown San Mateo

Letter to San Mateo City Council members about planned increase in parking in downtown San Mateo.

 

Hello Mr Matthews and Mr Lim

I read about the recent parking meeting in the SM Daily Journal and wanted to contact you with my thoughts as a resident, father of 3, driver and cyclist. I think the idea of adding even more parking and more cars to the down town area is the opposite direction San Mateo needs to go. A city our size should be looking at reducing access to cars down town and bolstering it's walkability and rideability. 
We live in the Highlands, so visiting downtown usually, not always, involves a car drive. We also ride in by bike from time to time, during less peak times only, because it's unsafe otherwise. 
There is too much parking in downtown San Mateo already. There are too many cars in downtown San Mateo. Not enough pedestrian and bike friendly access. The sidewalks are narrow. Adding yet more parking to San Mateo isn't going to make the area more attractive for couples or families to linger and enjoy the downtown area. It will simply add more cars to the downtown area, making it even more unpleasant for people looking to do more than an in-and-out of one shop and go home. 
Less parking and more pedestrian space means a better sticky reason to stay in the area, rather than zoom in park and leave. There's already plenty of parking in the surrounding area of the downtown that goes empty during peak hours. 
San Mateo downtown is unsafe to walk around due to all these cars. It's also unbearably unsafe to ride a bike around unless you are an experienced commuter and an adult. During the evening I would never feel safe taking my family into town in the evening by bicycle to have dinner and see a movie and possibly do some shopping later and yet I would LOVE to do this and I know other families would also love to be able ride in to downtown and explore rather than have to get into a car, find a parking spot and so forth. 
And- there are actually cities who enable this and promote this. Let's follow their lead and get out of our 'car brains' for a bit. 
 
To become an actual destination where people will want to shop and linger, downtown needs a larger pedestrian area, more bike lanes and more out door activities. Look at what is going on in Redwood City and other towns where they've created a reason to actually get out of a car, shop and enjoy a downtown area. 
 
Instead of a downtown flooded by cars between 6 and 8, try to imagine a down town with families and couples streaming in by bicycles during these times, because they are want to really enjoy an evening. Let's see some bands playing out doors in the square in front of the theater. This is what I see in Redwood City around those times and on weekends. Let's promote and build that. 
We have great weather in San Mateo. Rather than pay nearly $4 million on 400 new parking places in the next ten years, put that towards building and promoting a walkable and rideable downtown. So what if we have to walk a little further to get to a restaurant or the movies. The end result is so much more healthy for people and the town itself. 
Joe Witherspoon 
San Mateo, CA 

Urban Arrow Electric Cargo Bike Makes It Easier Not To Own A Car

Wild, young, America is losing interest in the automobile. Once a symbol of speed and freedom, the car now signifies a nagging monthly payment, another thing to maintain, another mouth to feed, with gallons of expensive earth-polluting fuel each week. Traffic jams. Circling city blocks looking for parking or spot-hunting in giant soul-less parking lots and so on and so forth. 

The AAA says that it costs about $9000 per year just to operate/own a car in the United States. Young Americans don't want to be a slave to their cars, or the auto industry. They want effective, cheap transportation that's good for them, is low-impact and low-maintenance.  

Many wild, young Americans are looking at the cargo bike as a viable car replacement and the new Urban Arrow Cargo e-bike is one the most advanced example of its kind on the market. 

Imported direct from Amsterdam - the capital of bicycle transportation - the Urban Arrow is a joy to ride and to utilize. 

Considering that a car costs $9000 per year just to operate, using the UA as a car replacement pays for itself in just 6 months. 

Suburbanbikes / Motostrano is the California importer for these great bikes. 

Our first deliveries have been well received. 

The Urban Arrow cargo bike uses the famed BOSCH pedal assist mid-drive motor system to offer a smooth and powerful ride that takes the weight off starting the bike and climbing hills. 

This is a cargo bike of the highest order, well thought out and engineered as a real transportation and carrying solution, not a novelty. This is bike you can safely carry 3 small children to school with on a daily basis in good or bad weather. 

The Urban Arrow cargo bike takes a lot of the sting out of pushing a cargo bike around by pedal power. The electric assist makes it a little easier to get started and to climb hills. It also can extend the range of your cargo bike by getting you further, faster. In a place like San Francisco, for instance, you can easily get around the entire city with an Urban Arrow and never need a car. 

Mom's really like the idea of an electric cargo bike. You get exercise and fresh air. You get a safe vehicle to transport kids and go to the store. You get money savings and you get to park just about anywhere. Which makes the Urban Arrow a solution for progressive moms who want to do things a different way than lining up at the pre-school in a minivan. The Urban Arrow makes getting out an adventure and an exercise in exercising, as it were. 

 

The Urban Arrow cruises at speed around 16 MPH but we recommend keeping the speed down. Get there safely and calmly. As a bike, it's equipped with a front and rear light to keep you visible at night. 

There's a sturdy center stand meant to keep the bike upright whenever parked. 

The seat is a comfortable gel touring seat and it's a standard bike seat you can also swap it out with an even more comfortable. There are many accessories available for the bike.  

The Urban Arrow is in high demand. Right now there is a lead time of 5-10 weeks to get an order shipped. To find out more, contact our sales people.

 

A Beach Cruiser Electric Bike - IZIP Zuma

 

One of the best buys in electric bikes right now is the super slick ZUMA electric bike from Currie Technologies. For just around $2000 this bike gets you a 500W motor mounted to a solid beach cruiser frame with big balloon tires and a big battery for long distance travel by ebike. 

The rack on this bike is heavy duty, welded to the frame itself and can easily take a small passenger or lots of gear. For all practical purposes it's a cargo bike without the chunk of a real cargo bike. 

Simple 2 button operation lets you select between throttle power or pedal assist power for quick control and no fidgeting with fussy display modules. Just turn it on and go. 

The batter is removable too so you can charge it at your desk, bedroom or workshop. 

This is last years model so look for good buys on this bike right now.