On the road with baby Konstantin

By Cycling Dad:

One part of the reason why this blog has got its name is due to the special baby pram we decided to get for Konstantin earlier this year - a Chariot Cougar. The Chariot enabled us to actually become Cycling Parents, without necessarily depending on a baby sitter. One thing you have to know about Chariots is that they come from the future and usually live in outer space. On earth, they are hiding in plain sight by being sold as Child Transport Systems and taking different shapes. Here are some mugshots from the manufacturer’s website:

Ours is a bicycle trailer with an occasional sideshow appearance as jogger. If we were asked about the best purchase we made in 2012, this would have to be it. The Chariot Cougar has allowed us to take Konstantin along anywhere, from cycling weekends in Styria and Lake Neusiedl to hiking tours on the Nassfeld and Zugspitze mountains to long strolls through Vienna and the Schoenbrunn Place park. We especially enjoyed the cycling tours we made as a family. Since we knew that Alex is pregant again, we have not had that much time to go out on rides together, but we have already started making plans for 2013. Hopefully, this blog will also become a collection of cycling stories with our children over time.

This past weekend provides me with the first story. As the regular visitor to this blog may know, I am following a three week training cycle, with one rest week between the cycles. This past week was a rest week, and as a result I only spent half an hour on the static trainer on Wednesday and went for shorter, slower one to two hour rides on Saturday and Sunday. For the first time since September, I loaded the Chariot with baby food, diapers, (polar-dressed) baby Konstantin and hit the road. I took Konstantin out on both days, but screwed up the first recording on the Garmin, so I can only show you the longer Sunday ride. Alex decided to stay at home and spent an hour on the static trainer, so it was Konstantin and me against the world.

There are a few dedicated long-distance cycling paths nearby, so chosing a route mainly off the main roads was quite easy. Not that there would be any problems in riding main roads – the Chariot comes with two bright tail lights, reflective stripes all around and a little flag raising from the tail end to ensure visibility. I always found motorists to be driving much more carefully when passing us with the baby carrier than on solo or group rides. Here are the details fresh from the Garmin (may take a few moments to load and appear on the page):

It was a beautiful winter ride on dry roads, with cold but crisp air and fully recovered legs. Konstantin enjoyed the ride, had a good look at the areas we were passing through and eventully fell asleep for about one hour. He woke up shortly before we got home and had a big lunch afterwards. Who was pulling the trailer again?? With so many new impressions, I am sure that we will again sleep well tonight.

Pulling a trailer is work. You notice not only when going uphill (check out my heart rate during the ride). The Chariot comes at 11kg, Kontantin has around 9kg and all the gear adds another 5-10kg. Still, hooked up to a decent bike you can easily sustain a 25k average speed in the flat and enjoy a good workout.

What I enjoyed most next to the ride was having the opportunity to spend some time with my son, while giving him some outdoor time in the fresh air and Alex a bit of a break from looking after our little bugger. He may still be too young to fully realize what is going on, but I hope that he will remember some of our rides and maybe learn to enjoy sports as part of a healthy lifestyle himself. I am planning to take Konstantin for more rides in the future, and am looking forward for Alex to join us again next summer.

Stay tuned for more stories from the Cycling Parents.