The Best Two Wheels Around
Let's start the week with some decidedly un-Monday vibes.
When I was growing up, I loved my bike. I had a mint green 10-speed that you really couldn't get me off of when it was warm enough to ride. I would tool all around my neighborhood for what felt like hours, enjoying the freedom that sparked from pushing those pedals. I taught myself how to ride without hands, which gave me an extra level of bad ass (in my own head).
As the years passed, I became less and less reliant on my bike (woot, driver's license). And at some point, I just didn't have a bike anymore. It feels like it happened suddenly, but it didn't. I stopped riding. My mint 10-speed got rusty from neglect and that was that.
I've wanted a new bike for a few years, especially when we lived in the South Side and I worked Downtown (I had glorious dreams of biking to work rather than taking the bus). But CJ thought it was unrealistic to ride a bike into work everyday (truth be told, he was correct) and besides, our small house didn't really have a convenient spot to put a bike. CJ wasn't even remotely interested in getting a bike of his own so I had literally zero motivation to push for a new bike.
Where adults fall short, kids are tremendous motivators. Stella has had a bike for a while. But she doesn't think to ride it very often. Because of that, she hasn't been practicing and that means she's still got training wheels. I was about her age when I finally figured out how to ride on my own, so I feel like I need to do a better job of pushing her to practice. She seems to do better with learning when we do it together. And so it seemed I had the perfect excuse to start bike shopping.
During my research, I stumbled upon Priority Bicycles - a company that makes "a hassle-free, everyday bike for recreational riders that is affordable and free of routine maintenance." When I dug in on the company and the bikes they create, I knew it was exactly what I was looking for. And I have not been disappointed. I had to assemble the bike, which wasn't easy but wasn't really hard either. It just was a thing I had to do. But once assembled, I couldn't help but admire how beautiful the bike was. And when I jumped on, I was delighted with how easy and comfortable it was. It has a very different posture from my old 10-speed. But my body feels much more comfortable with this frame than I think it would with a racer's bike. It's super light weight and the frame is actually made from a rust-proof aluminum. Needless to say, I think I'll have this baby for a really long time.
I need a legit basket to cart around my bottles of wine, bundles of flowers and loaves of bread. In the meantime, my STAUD bucket bag does well as an understudy. Stella and I have been able to get out a few times on our bikes and she's been more interested than before. So it's time to get her out on a trail to really open up those two+ wheels and let her experience the true joy that comes with riding a bike.
This is where I desperately whisper for some help. I have no idea where to take her that is relatively flat and free of jagged sidewalks, upended by roots of trees. Is there a spot around Pittsburgh (in the South Hills preferably) particularly good for bike riding, and especially for a 6-year old?
I'm also looking for a good, affordable bike rack. We can load our bikes into the back of our larger vehicle, but it's not ideal.
I'm open to suggestions on all fronts!