…was luckily also “papa day”. Thursday’s are dad’s weekday to hang out with Pascal. Since a 19 month old demands pretty much full-time attention it means a (nearly) no work day. We do all kind of things on papa day: ride to the zoo, walk around Amsterdam doing errands and checking out every park and playground along the way, visit friends… If it’s decent weather we often go for a bike ride.
Today was beautiful, at least by Dutch late winter standards. After breakfast we got on the bike and then we rode until early evening. We stopped at several playgrounds to test their slides (P’s favorite). The big, curvy one near the wind turbines was the winner. We sat on the terrace of a cafe and shared a chicken saté and frites. We checked out a running windmill where they still grind grains and the nice bakkers bakfiets out front. We even climbed “Het Kopje van Bloemendaal” the biggest hill in the area (43 meters!).
Of course our daily ride bikes are equipped with child seats but I also have a bike especially for longer, recreational rides with the family. It’s essentially a heavy-duty touring bike somewhat modified to make it comfortable and safe with a toddler in a front child seat and it works really well. It has full fenders and dynamo lights so rain and darkness aren’t real problems. With a triple crank and derailleur gearing I can climb hills. I usually bring one pannier with kid essentials: diaper/wipes, snacks, jacket, spare clothes etc. Speaking of panniers I absolutely hate the Vaude roll-tops I’ve got. Sure they’re waterproof and lightweight but having only one compartment is a total pain in the butt; all of the little stuff you need falls to the bottom, my camera bangs against the lock or keys and so on. Next panniers will have little compartments, will stand up when off the bike, and will be quick to open and close. I’m thinking Carradice canvas or something along those lines.
In any case we’ve racked up a lot of family kilometers both around Holland and on holiday in France. Pascal sits in front of me in a Bobike Mini seat. When he naps I drape an arm over his little handlebar cushion so that his head rests in my arm. I’ve climbed entire mountains like this since you can’t always predict when a little kid will fall asleep. Our heads are only a few centimeters apart so we can “talk” easily. Pascal points out the animals (wanwan, baaahh, moooo…) and vehicles (monono, kruk, batchi, pee pee…), and particularly gets a kick out of hearing his voice flutter when we ride over rough surfaces: “Waa-aa-a-aaa-aa-a-aaaaa!” Being a typical dad I thought this was unique but it turns out lots of kids do exactly the same thing. As long as the scenery/action is good, and we stop to play or eat each hour or so Pascal will happily ride and babble all day… and that makes me very happy.