Friday, June 15, 2018

BSNYC Friday Zoological Expedition

Before we all go forth into the weekend, I'd just like to follow up on the Islabikes Luath 24, which I mentioned in yesterday's post:

(I have no idea how to pronounce either "Islabike" or "Luath.")

I'll be honest: my first impression was that they got the bike all wrong.  Tiny wheels, cramped cockpit, tons of toe overlap...but then I realized the bike was for my son and not me and that changed everything.

Yesterday I assembled the bike and we knocked around the neighborhood for a bit, but today we made a proper outing.  Schools were closed today for Eid al-Fitr, which it may shock you to learn we don't observe, and my son was on me to ride pretty much as soon as he woke up.  So after dropping his little brother off at the Apple factory (tiny hands are ideal for assembling today's ultra-thin smartphones) we set out for a ride to the Bronx Zoo:

There are two ways to get to the Bronx Zoo by bike from my estate.  The shorter way is about four and a half miles and takes you to the zoo's much more human-scale "pedestrian entrance" but involves a lot of sidewalk riding if you're traveling with a kid.  Or, you can get there almost entirely via a protected bicycle greenway, but this adds about a mile or so and puts you on the opposite side of the zoo.

Naturally we went the longer greenway route, as this trip was more about the ride than the zoo itself.  Parts of the greenway are very pleasant and absolutely ideal for a kid who's very excited to be on his first real go-fast bike:

Though there are some frustrating crossings at various Bronx River Parkway on- and off-ramps, as well as the usual NYPD personal vehicle parking, though you hit that no matter which route you choose:

You can tell they're NYPD because of all the Punisher decals.

Of course the only thing better than traveling to the zoo along a dedicated bike route is gloating over all the schmucks waiting to park:

Hey, I'm not gonna say I never drive to the zoo myself, but I will say I know how to avoid waiting on line when I do it.

If there are bike lanes anywhere in the vicinity of this particular zoo entrance I have no idea where they are, so instead we just shackled up to a pole:

Obviously since I have multiple human children and live just a few miles away I've been to the zoo roughly four billion times since we relocated to the mainland back in 2012.  However, I still learn something new with each visit, and today I learned that helmets are indeed useless:

See that?  The helmeted curassow was born with one and it's still going extinct:

That's why I always tell the California Condors not to bother:

It's also true that sometimes the most interesting wildlife sightings are on the way to and from the zoo.  For example, at Pelham Parkway we came across this wayward Lime bike from Yonkers:

It's only a matter of time before this invasive species reaches the Citi Bike zone and the two species interbreed.  Just imagine a herd of green and blue hybrid docking/dockless bicycles.  They'd become as ubiquitous as squirrels and pigeons in short order.

As for the Islabike, so far it's a massive hit.  Until now my son has been riding basically this:

My thinking was that the go-anywhere nature of a mountain bike would be better suited to a kid, and it never occurred to me to subject him to drop bars at this age.  But while the bike's been great, he's been expressing lots of interest in cyclocross bikes lately (I honestly don't even remember explaining to him what a cyclocross bike is), and the second he got on the Luath it was clear that's where he belongs.  Sure, Fred "Woo-hoo-hoo-hoo" speed may be 46mph:

But he was woo-hooing at barely over a quarter of that, something I never saw him do on the mountain bike.  And while kids are fickle and who knows how long the love affair will endure, it's the quickest I've seen him take to anything in recent years with the exception of video games--and that's not even addressing how disappointed he was when he found out I hadn't Strava'd our ride.

So I may have a Fred on my hands, Lob help me.


Anonymous said...


Beck the Biker said...

Those road bieks are quite the thrill, like riding the wind!

Serial Retrogrouch said...

...It's been an animal(istic) week.

N/A said...

Before you know it, he'll be saving his allowance and birthday money to buy a Rapha kit and crabon ass-hatchets. They grow up so fast.

Nice going said...

Oh you do have a Fredster on your hands, yes you do . . .

And the young -un is assembling quite a nice stable of rides.

Jeez, trips to Italy, California, and the Bronx Zoo .. . with your whipper snapper . . . I am jealous!

bad boy of the south said...

yes.yes you do.enjoy your Father's Day all.

leroy said...


Ride safe all!

Lobo Von Wolfenstein said...

The flat bar Isla bikes (Beinn?) work just as well for going fast and woo-hoo-ness, so the roadiefred thing isn't necessarily predestined.

Chazu said...

I had to Google "Punisher decal", and was disappointed to learn that I'm familiar with them because of the local pickup trucks.

When I moved to NYC to waste money (but not time) in college, I said "wait IN line" rather than "wait ON line" and my cohorts instantly identified me as a flyover rube.

No cable through the front wheels of your bieks? Even a dedicated motorist can figure out how to operate a quick release.

Anonymous said...

My kid actually enjoys riding (although he says he doesn't) when I can tear him away from the Computer games.
Despite having taught several of other peoples children to ride I am entirely at a loss on how to get my daughter who is a gymnast and a Figure skater to be able to ride a bike? I do point out to her that somersaults on a trampoline & most ice skating spins & jumps are way more difficult then riding a bike, but she disagrees!???? - Mas

Mark said...

Did he ask #whatpressureyourunning?

And will it be a Garmin/Wahoo/Lezyne before he gets a cell phone?

Anonymous said...

We can't wait till you share how your first post ride Brooklyn Summer Ale (upstate brewed of course) goes with junior.

BikeSnobNYC said...


He already has a phone. Come on, it's 2018!


Not a chance any parent visiting the zoo with a carload of kids would have any extra energy to steal a bike wheel.

--Wildcat Etc.

xFred said...

Happy eleventeen yearz and two days-

Anonymous said...

I'd like to mention that turtles wear helmets.
Also, only Carl Sagan (Peter's long lost cousin) has been to the zoo billions of times.

BikeSnobNYC said...

Anonymous 6:50pm,

Body armor, not helmets.

--Wildcat Etc.

Anonymous said...

My son loves his Isla. I think most junior MTB's are marketed to parents. Look! It has a shock and disk brakes and everything! Meanwhile, the shock is too stiff for their weight and the bike is HEAVY.

HDEB said...

Breaking the law, breaking the law -- on a Saturday morning. I'm too space constrained and neither I nor my children have any pedal bikes in NYC : (

Anonymous said...

I too had to Google "punisher decal." Looks like some kind of goth afro comb.

Arizona hillbilly said...

You're a good dad dood...

BamaPhred said...

Nice Bronx Zoo montage. Which one is The Snob? Snicker Snicker Chortle Chortle. I couldn’t resist.

hardcoder said...

So good... nothing better than seeing kids get about on bikes.

Anonymous said...

Isla Rowntree,founder of Islabikes is a 3 times British Cyclocross champion, just saying.

Kiddie-Phones R Mind Control said...

Anon 4:17,

Cycling is CROSS-TRAINING for skating.
The Heidens, Longsjos, Connie Carpenter, etc. were Champeen cyclists and speed skaters.
I mean, she isn't speed skating, but the strength needed for leaps, etc. has to be developed. And in hot months, why not cycling?

"If there are bike lanes anywhere in the vicinity of this particular zoo entrance I have no idea where they are, so instead we just shackled up to a pole:"

Um, perhaps you mean a rack?


run 3 said...

Before you know it, he'll be saving his allowance and birthday money to buy a Rapha kit and crabon ass-hatchets.

Paul Heckbert said...

Someone should warn those condors that their helmets are not properly secured unless the chin straps are in place.