Spring has finally arrived in New England!

Spring is here!  The leaves are coming out, and the bicycle paths are filled with people riding all kinds of bikes, rollerblading, running, and just enjoying the fresh air.   Western Massachusetts is beautiful this time of year.  It is fantastic to see so many people out and about.  And the plants blooming... reminds me of a song: Bright yellow forsythia, just as pretty as can be, daffodils and lilacs, and the dogwood trees...

For the past month we have been regular users of the bike path and transporting ourselves around the local towns.  The kids still love being out on the bike, whether it is to school or back and forth from an errand.  They wave at nearly everyone they see on the bike path.

On average we have been traveling back and forth from school three or four times a week in the cargo bike. It is about 6 miles each way.  On a good day, it takes me about 40 minutes when the kids are on the bike, and less than 25 minutes without.  With the kids, this usually includes a water break.  More than half the days that I pick them up from school I will also include a playground break.  The average speed I see on my speedometer is between 10 and 15 miles per hour.  In flat sections it is usually around 13.  We've been as fast as 29 down one of the steeper and longer hills, and I'm sure going 30 MPH will be attained.  I don't think there is a speed limit on the bike path, only a rule that you can't be motorized.  The bike feels amazingly stable going fast, but I still tell the kids not to sway too much at any time since it can disorient me.

The few hills we do have are fairly small, but there are some long sections that have a gradual slope that feel like they take forever.  This sometimes makes we wish we had an electric motor, particularly near the end of the trip.  However, I will say it feels like I'm getting back in shape after this snowy winter and cool spring.

Here are a couple photos from early April (not quite spring yet).  We were transporting some raw milk back home in the cooler.

The photo below also shows my saddle lock and velcro, something I probably don't need where we live but I do feel better about.  The Madsen saddles are very comfortable.  This setup still allows my wife to lower it without any adjustment to the lock.  It also shows that we might need to get some larger kids' helmets soon.
Over the past couple of weeks, the weather has been in the 70's (Fahrenheit) during the days and down into the 40's at night.  There hasn't been much rain in weeks, but there is no drought to speak of yet.  I fueled up one of our cars today (May 2nd), and the last time it was filled was April 11th!  It wasn't our fuel sipping commuting car either.  That makes me feel pretty good saving that much fuel, and getting a good workout on the bike multiple times per week.

Every day this week that we've been on the bike path we have seen a tandem bike of some kind.  I even saw a tandem recumbent bike! That was really cool. Tandems seem to be a cousin of the Madsen Bucket bike, since it also has a long wheel base, so there is often a bond we have with tandem bicyclists.  Still, we must be a sight as we get smiles and waves regularly.

There was one random guy yelling something I couldn't understand out his car window earlier this week, but it was a positive "thumbs up" type statement or maybe it was how we should all be riding around with one of these.  Weird but cool dude.  Usually I hear some random words mumbled from others as we pass by.  Something like "cool" or "wow" or "neat".  It is often not understandable due to the Doppler Effect. We see one or two trailers with kids in them each day.  I'm happy that our kids are able to be a part of the growing group of people who commute by bike.

Here is a photo from last week on the bike path.  A random biker was nice enough to take our picture!

We are planning to do a 17+ mile (each way) bike camping/overnight trip with the cargo bike in the coming months.  It will be interesting to see how all of our gear fits.   I also ordered a front rack that I have but haven't been able to get on yet.  Stay tuned!


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