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Failure to Launch

My wife was a relatively new mom. Who, let's just say, as a group, not to generalize, perhaps, are suspected to be a "little" paranoid about their infant's welfare. Add to that natural maternal "concern," that she was working 100+ hours a week treating very sick and injured children. So, her mommy brain didn't have to imagine all the terrible things that could happen to her precious bundle of joy. She was witnessing all of the awful possibilities on a daily basis. Then she was coming home to a husband who's guiding philosophy was: "The offspring of heroin addicts manage to make it to adulthood, so how bad could I really do?" This was not what a marriage researcher might refer to as the time of "peak satisfaction" in our marriage.

She knew that I had purchased a Yepp bike seat with the intention of cycling with HER BABY, I mean, our child, but she might have been under the impression that we were still litigating the start date of the aforementioned activity. So, on our family biking launch day, I was working on the, "It's better to ask for forgiveness than permission theory." Either that or the "Dad's the lead parent, so he's pulling rank theory."

If you aren't familiar with the gender neutral term "lead parent" than you have obviously not been hanging out around the progressive playgrounds of Silver Lake.

Cue the music from Kubrick's "2001:"

I clicked the Little Dictator's helmet onto his head. I strapped him into his bike seat with the meticulousness of a NASA launch technician. I triple checked all the mounts, screws, and seatbelts. Then, as I very responsibly re-checked all the mounts, screws, and seatbelts, the BIKE TIPPED OVER.

I caught the bike just before the Pint-Sized Dictator hit the floor. If a baby on a bike almost hits the pavement and mom isn't around to hear it, did it make a sound? I think not.

This is exhibit A on the importance purchasing a two-legged kickstand for your bike if you're going to carry children on it.

(Left) Ursus Jumbo Kickstand. (Right) Hebie kickstand.

Our Bike Friday did not start out with a two-legged kickstand, but I added one shortly thereafter which made ingress and egress much easier and safer.

Cut back to our virgin bike launch. Re-cue the "2001" music:

With two hands on the bike at all times, as the Little Dictator surveyed the world like an emperor being carried on a ceremonial throne, I carefully rolled it to the perfect launch site, .

I mounted the bike.

I checked both ways for cars approximately two dozen times even though we live on a residential street virtually devoid of cars.

I checked in with my co-pilot one last time...AND PEDALED.

I quickly adjusted to the unfamiliar feeling of the bike's center of gravity being higher and further back than I was accustomed to. As the bike stabilized, we were suddenly floating on a cloud of freedom and joy and puppies and rainbows...I turned back to witness his first rapturous reaction to riding a bike...only to discover his helmet had slid down over his face.

I stopped. I carefully dismounted the bike. I wrestled to adjust his helmet one-handed without releasing my death grip on the bike. I remounted the bike.

Then, like an alien sucking the face of one of Sigourney Weaver's co-stars, the helmet attacked him again. And again. Then all over again and again and again. It made him and me miserable. This encapsulates why rear-mounted seats and trailers, especially for kids under two years of age are not ideal: You can't see what's going on with the kid. They're behind you. It also teaches us not to buy the cheapest helmet you can find on Amazon.

We had to turn back after traveling less than a hundred yards from our house. Our launch was a failure.

Click here to see what happened next...


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