My Blog Is Adorable Today

04.19.2009 | 6:36 pm

After two or three false starts — last week there was a snowstorm that left six inches of snow on my lawn — I’m pretty sure Spring is here now, for real.

And I have promised myself that this is the Spring I get the twins to learn to ride bikes, without the training wheels.

But I am not having an easy time of it.

I think there are a number of factors at work that have made the whole “teaching the girls to ride” thing difficult. One part of it is that, well, they’re girls. And while I make a conscious effort not to, I know for sure that I am babying them more than I did the boys.

More than the “girls” thing (or more accurately, my chauvinist treatment of them because they’re girls), though, is the “twins” thing. Specifically:

  • They’ve got each others’ back. If I am stern or even mildly firm with them, they both cry. If one’s tired, they’re both tired. If one falls, they’re both in tears.
  • I don’t magically have twice as much time. One of the secrets parents of twins have is that once you get past age four or so, the net amount of work twins take is hardly more than a singleton. Sure, you have to spend a little more time doing some things, but those are balanced out by how much less time you have to spend dealing with the “I’m bored” syndrome. But learning to ride a bike is a strictly 1-to-1 activity. And, as it turns out, I currently have other fish to fry. So they’re each getting less help from me than I’d like to give.

All these reasons, though, are trivial. I have a theory that the real reason the twins are reluctant to ride their bikes in a cul-de-sac or parking lot is because I’ve already introduced them to the hard stuff.

Saturday, for example, I took them each for a 90-minute ride, pulling them on the tag-a-long bike up Spring and down Rodeo at Lambert park. Now, I’ve always been curious what the twins’ expressions are like when we’re downhilling, so this time I mounted the helmetcam so it faces them.

Here’s Katie’s ride, in what may in fact be the most adorable mountain biking video ever made.

Once you’d done this, how much appeal would riding unsteadily around in a parking lot have for you?

Lessons Learned

I learned several things while taking the girls on this ride.

  1. Batteries are important. I’ve now definitively figured out why my helmetcam shut off during the downhill on Grove last week. The batteries wore out. I found this because I did not replace these batteries, and within moments of taking Carrie out to Lambert Park, the helmetcam had –yet again — shut down. So I got no usable video of Carrie, making this a “Katie” video instead of a “Twins” video. I think I can safely say that someday several years from now Carrie will use this as prima facie evidence that I am a terrible father and that I treated her unfairly. Unless, of course, I make another video exclusively about Carrie. Which I guarantee I will. Anyway, from now on I will always make sure the helmetcam’s batteries are fresh before heading out on a ride.
  2. The twins need helmets that fit better. I could’ve sworn that the helmet on Katie’s head fit snugly and properly. Judging by the way it’s about to slip off the side of her head in this video, I was wrong.
  3. Hauling 80 extra pounds for a 3-hour ride is a good workout. The girls each weigh sixty pounds (they have not yet reached the age where they don’t want their weight public knowledge). The tagalong bike weighs around twenty. The round trip from home up to the top of Rodeo and back home takes around ninety minutes — and the video shows exactly how much of a pedaling contribution the twins make (hint: about enough to make it very difficult for me to balance the bike). So, that’s about three hours of hard riding I got in on Saturday.
  4. Multitasking rules. While I was taking the twins out on this ride, I was accomplishing all of the following:

    • Making Susan Happy by keeping the twins out of her hair so she could get some work done on her jewelry and her novel.
    • Being Dad of the Month by taking my kids out on an adventure on a beautiful Spring day.
    • Being Dad of the Year by recording this adventure on videotape.
    • Getting Fodder for a Blog Entry which you are reading right now.
    • Getting an Intense Workout: Hill intervals while pulling up an extra 80 pounds really work your legs
    • Learning to Use My Helmetcam: I’d hesitate to say I’m competent yet, but I took another step in that direction.

Feel Free to Skip the Rest of This Post

The rest of today’s post is really just me talking — pretty much humourlessly — about what I’ve learned about using the VIO-POV.1 recently, just in case anyone else is experimenting with helmetcams and is interested in what I’m learning.

I’m fully prepared to admit the likelihood that there is nobody interested in my very novice efforts toward capturing good video while mountain biking. So, feel free to skip down to the comments section and tell me how adorable Katie is in that video.

Still with me? I didn’t think so.

My biggest lesson — apart from using fresh batteries — learned this weekend in using a helmetcam is to keep the mount as simple as possible. See, when I bought the VIO-POV.1 I went a little nuts, buying all kinds of mounts, thinking this would facilitate interesting shots.

I started out this weekend with this monstrosity fastened to my seatpost:


The knob you see there tightens a vice-style clamp to the seatpost. Then there are several other joints and knobs, letting you pivot the mount on all three planes. Then there’s a gooseneck, to which is mounted the lens clamp.

In theory, it’s awesome. In practice, the constant jarring and vibrating of the trail kept loosening all those knobs and relaxing the gooseneck, so the lens wouldn’t stay where I positioned it for more than a minute or so. Even if I would have had fresh batteries during my ride with Carrie, she would have kept drifting out of the shot.

So, when I got back home and put fresh batteries in the helmetcam, I also switched to a different mount:


One of the rubber half-circles sits on top of the tagalong toptube, the other end holds the lipstick lens. And then velcro holds the whole thing down tight.

And as you can see in the video, the lens stays nicely in place the entire time — for about 90 minutes of video, which I mercifully trimmed down (currently using iFilm ‘09, though I hope to make the jump to Adobe Premiere Pro and After Effects once I am less clueless about how they work) to under four minutes for you.

Of course, that mount is only useful for making the lens point in a direction parallel to the bar it’s mounted to. I have a similar mount, good for pointing the lens in a direction perpendicular to the bar it’s mounted to:


This is the mount I use when I want the camera on my handlebars or seatpost.

Putting the Helmet in Helmetcam

I have to admit, for a while I was puzzled about how I should mount the camera to my helmet. See, my helmet — a Giro Ionos — is so vented, there’s no easy place to mount anything.

The solution I came up with — and tested for the first time in Lambert Park just over a week ago — was simple: get a new helmet. I bought an inexpensive BMX / skater helmet with very few vents, and plenty of surface area for a helmetcam mount.

Reviewing that video, it seemed like the camera’s vantage point was too high, which made sense since I mounted the camera right on the top of the helmet.

And then I noticed that the adhesive holding the mount was starting to come off. That’s not a good thing when you’ve got the business end of a $600 camera on top of your head.

I solved both things at the same time:


Just in case you can’t tell, I took some sandpaper and roughed up the side of the helmet and the mount, then used plastic epoxy to bond them together pretty much permanently. I could have cleaned up the extra epoxy around the mount, but I like the sloppy look. Seriously, I do.

I really like the idea of having this permanent mount on a helmet, and it’s made me think: I should perma-bond my HID light mount to the top of this helmet (or maybe to the other side, to keep things balanced?) in a similar way, so the light doesn’t slip around all the time. And then I’d be all set for night ride filming. Which I think could look very cool indeed.

My current plan is to wear this helmet with the camera setup for RAWROD 2009 this weekend, though I worry about riding with this helmet all day; even riding for a couple hours with a heavy, non-vented helmet gets a little uncomfortable. Wearing this all day with the sun beating down on me in the desert might be a little more than I want to put up with.

Zipties Are Your Friend

Zipties make it so easy to keep the cable routed out of the way. And then they can be snipped off at the end of the ride. I am going through zipties at a prodigious rate right now. Good thing they’re practically free.

Excited for More

I’m almost embarrassed to put up the videos I’ve done so far (but am doing it anyways, of course). I realize that I’m not even to “beginner” level yet. And my editing skills are worse than weak. But I’m having so much fun capturing these videos and showing Susan where I’ve been riding all these years — she’s finally getting more than just an exaggerated description of the trail; she’s getting a reasonable visual facsimile of the ride itself.

And I’ve been thinking of all the other trails I want to film: Jacob’s Ladder, Tibble Fork, Leadville 100, Mount Nebo, Frank, Gooseberry Mesa, Goldbar Rim. And on and on and on.

Is it too late for me to join the AV club?


  1. Comment by Flatoutjim | 04.19.2009 | 6:42 pm

    Snow, Late April. I feel your pain. Nothing like a ride on your road bike in a snowmobile suit.

    My 8 year old learned to ride with no TW last year this time. Thought it would never hapen.

    Then yesterday, his bike was stolen. What a heartbreaker.

    Best of luck. Have patience

  2. Comment by Todd Olson | 04.19.2009 | 7:00 pm

    That video was awesome! Our neighbor attaches the tagalong to the back of his mountain bike and then attaches the Burley kid carrier trailer to that. He pulls a pretty mean train. Give that a shot next time. I was fascinated by the helmet cam (although, admittedly I did skim the review.) I did like the “sloppy” epoxy mount – there is something artistic about that look. Glad spring is finally headed your way.

  3. Comment by Mikeonhisbike | 04.19.2009 | 7:03 pm

    I know this isn’t the high tech route but I’ve found that a flashlight will connect very tightly to my helmet if I use a livestrong band and loop it through the holes in my helmet. That should work great for your cam also. Not very high tech but it works great for me. By the way, Katie looks like she was having way too much fun on that ride. Way to go Dad!

  4. Comment by matt (ming) | 04.19.2009 | 7:04 pm

    the smile is priceless. im going to try to have that much fun the next time i ride, itll be hard though, and i LOVE riding my bike

  5. Comment by Bryan | 04.19.2009 | 7:29 pm

    That’s a great video. Make me miss my girls just watching it. Say what you want but I like your editing and music selections so far. Nice work.

    I kept waiting for Katie to ham it up for the camera.

  6. Comment by Isaac | 04.19.2009 | 7:33 pm

    got back on to your blog after a hiatus. Way cool post-can’t wait to do that with my daugher (currently 4 years old). Just wanted to let you know that I joined Team Fatty today for the Austin Livestrong Challenge, in honor of my mother, who’s now a 16-year survivor of breast cancer, and my father, who’s a 1-year survivor of colon cancer. Blessings and prayers to you and your family from Austin, TX. Win Susan!

  7. Comment by Eric Olson | 04.19.2009 | 7:36 pm

    Luvved the vid so much that I embedded it on the family web site!! Kid smiles are priceless!! =o)

  8. Comment by Weiland | 04.19.2009 | 7:58 pm

    The Father of the month & year must be regional or state because I was told on good authority from my 4 year old that I won this month hands down by teaching him to ride without training wheels.

    Here’s his ride video:

    That is very cool. Congratulations! – FC

  9. Comment by VA Biker | 04.19.2009 | 8:10 pm

    That is too cool! I’ve pulled my girl on a tagalong for awhile, wondering what’s she’s doing sometimes.

    The camera reveals many things, including how seemingly wide the Alleycat bars are. I’ve always wondered about me hooking my kid’s bars on something, as the tagalong is attached to a drop-bar touring bike. (I could potentially squeeze through a spot that’s too narrow for her bars… Ouch!)

    I do love it when the girl tells me when she’s going to stand up and stretch, and really love it when she adds pedaling power!

    When my girls stand up and pedal, keeping the bike on course becomes a full-body workout for me. – FC

  10. Comment by crispy | 04.19.2009 | 8:36 pm

    Heya Fatty,

    The best advice I heard for teaching someone to ride a bike is to pull the cranks off and lower the saddle so they can touch the ground. Let them push it around like a hobby horse of yor for a while, then put the pedals on. Viola, they can ride their bike sans training wheels.

  11. Comment by Paul | 04.19.2009 | 8:55 pm

    Any update on your shoe situation?

    Oh yeah. Big time. But not today. – FC

  12. Comment by donbiker | 04.19.2009 | 9:22 pm

    My Granddaughter pedaled on our trailerbike so hard that if I pedaled too, we would ride away from the rest of the family. Very relaxing.

  13. Comment by KanyonKris | 04.19.2009 | 9:34 pm

    I swear Katie was lip syncing to Pseudo Echo.

    Nah, she was singing the original Lipps version. – FC

  14. Comment by Miss | 04.19.2009 | 9:40 pm

    Your blog IS adorable today. Makes me wish I was your daughter. How would you like to haul an extra 150lbs on one of those rides? :)

  15. Comment by BikeLemming | 04.19.2009 | 9:50 pm

    You’re right, that has to be one of the most adorable mountain bike videos I’ve seen. What video editing software do you use?

    I’m editing with iFilm ‘09. – FC

  16. Comment by WheelDancer | 04.19.2009 | 10:05 pm

    What a great video! I’d say your video editing is pretty darn good. I’m using iMovie ‘08 and managed to put up a clip of my snow dancing dog but haven’t figured out how to mount my camera to the bike for any rolling shots.

    What a great deal that Susan can share your rides with the videos!

    WIN Susan!

  17. Comment by amelia | 04.19.2009 | 10:34 pm

    that is the most adorable bike video…ever.

    i’ve thoroughly enjoyed all of your bike videos lately actually. and not only because i’m moving to salt lake in a couple months and they’ve been a great preview of all the awesome trails in the area.

    keep up the good work!

  18. Comment by Jerry in So IL | 04.19.2009 | 10:38 pm

    I’ve got to get me a helmet cam now!

    I can’t wait for The Young Prince to get off his tag a long! You are right about pulling the extra weight. I lose 40 pounds just to pull along 80 more!

    Keep us updated on the twins helmets. My kids need a new one and just wondering what’s a good model to get.


  19. Comment by jenjen | 04.19.2009 | 11:05 pm

    You are dad of the year Elden! It looks like they had a fun time!


  20. Comment by Craigaroonie | 04.20.2009 | 12:05 am

    You deserve the prizes Fatty!

    That smile says so much.

  21. Comment by sarah | 04.20.2009 | 12:45 am

    that video made me smile! right on! i think you’re right; i can’t really imagine a more adorable mountain bike video (except the future one you’ll surely make that includes both of the girls at once!)

    (in unrelated news, i can’t get the philly site to accept my donation! i keep filling out all the info and then it tells me there’s been an error. how am i ever going to meet bsnyc now?)

  22. Comment by Tom Fort | 04.20.2009 | 12:50 am


    Crispy gave you good advice re. getting the kids to ride without training wheels. The problem with training wheels is that not only do they not teach good balance, they actually teach improper balance. When you make a turn riding a bike, you need to lean to the inside a little bit to initiate the turn. Riding with training wheels teaches you to lean to the outside of the turn, reinforcing a very bad habit.

    So, take off the training wheels completely.
    Next, take off the pedals, and then drop the seat so they can _easily_ put their feet flat on the ground.

    Then let them push themselves around a bit until they learn balance. It helps to go somewhere where there is a slight downhill so they can get a little momentum. A gentle grassy hill is perfect. Some kids want you to run next to them dowhill, others learn balance by themselves on flat ground.

    Once the kids can steer right and left without putting their feet down, they’ve learned enough balance to ride without training wheels. Put the pedals back on, take them to a flat, open space like a deserted parking lot, and be prepared for a great hour or more of the kids being incredibly proud of themselves and not wanting to get off the bike.

    By the way, in my experience, the kids learn the balance required in an _hour_ or two on a push-bike. You will kick yourself for ever putting on the training wheels, and become a no-pedals proselytizer. Spread the word.

  23. Comment by Tom Fort | 04.20.2009 | 12:54 am

    Forgot to add that this process does not teach the kids to brake enough going downhill. You need to work on this a good bit, first for coaster brakes and again when they go to hand brakes.

  24. Comment by stewOZ & miss | 04.20.2009 | 1:39 am

    I stopped reading when it became a bit too AV for me…..

    But judging from the ear-to-ear grin, it looks like Katie had an awesome time. Nice work. And you were right, she was barely pedalling at all! :)

  25. Comment by Orbea Girl | 04.20.2009 | 1:59 am

    That’s fantastic. I’m sure the twins will become awesome bikers, thanks to the encouragement from their Dad. Also, serious haul of brownie points for you – well done.

  26. Comment by buckythedonkey | 04.20.2009 | 2:31 am

    What a smile! Katie’s video was a lovely way to start the week, thank you Fatty.

    My kids both used Micro scooters to go to primary school. When it came to bikes they subsequently found training wheels so counter-intuitive that they pretty well went straight onto two wheels.

  27. Comment by BikeCopVT | 04.20.2009 | 4:14 am


    I too have one of those tag along bikes. I have had a similar experience as far as my son’s desire to “help” by pedaling. You see he really likes to pedal on the down hill portions when there is little to no resistance for him. On the climbs however he finds it is much more fun for daddy to do all the work. I figure he is really just trying to make sure I’m getting a good workout.

    Win Susan!

  28. Comment by Shiny Flu | 04.20.2009 | 4:17 am

    Most awesome video ever! I love those big smiles after the g-outs/corners… definitely dad of the year- after you make Carrie’s video :P

  29. Comment by Andrea | 04.20.2009 | 5:47 am

    Your blog is adorable today, for sure. I’m a twin and my Mom loved to tell me the crazy stories of taking care of two infants on different sleeping and eating schedule. Good times!

    My daughters aren’t quite old enough for the tag along but I can’t wait.

  30. Comment by Mike Roadie | 04.20.2009 | 6:04 am

    POV cam, not so much!


  31. Comment by Fat Cathy | 04.20.2009 | 6:31 am

    Definately the most adorable mtb video ever produced. Starring a very adorable young lady. And you are right, after being pulled around on the equivalent of a roller coaster ride, why would they want to pedal on their own? I wonder if I can get that trailer bike in adult size and coerce the hubbie into dragging me around?

  32. Comment by George | 04.20.2009 | 6:41 am

    Like the helmet…..if you’re a cheap bastard like I am-heck, I’d get a hole saw (the kind of thing that goes on your electric drill to cut holes in doors for doorknobs) and go to town on the BMX helmet until it has enough ventilation to suit you.

    Added bonus-you’re gonna get a lot of strange looks.

  33. Comment by AJ | 04.20.2009 | 6:54 am

    Awesome! It looks like you’re definitely being Dad of the Year! Can’t wait to see more vids!

  34. Comment by jwbikes | 04.20.2009 | 7:06 am

    AV Club membership? Coming right up. I know I have a couple of extra pocket protectors around here somewhere. Helps save the shirt and lets everyone know which side of cool you roll.

  35. Comment by Terry | 04.20.2009 | 7:07 am

    Great video. As for teaching the girls to ride, you need to park the tag-a-long for a while. My daughter struggled with learning to ride without training wheels until we stopped riding the tag-a-long. They get so used to relying on you for balance that they struggle on their own bikes. Give is a shot and you will be surprised how quickly they are riding on their own.

  36. Comment by MOCougFan | 04.20.2009 | 7:09 am

    FC… I’m biased as a father of 3 girls, but that was a dang good video. Loved the look on your little ladies face when you were downhilling. Very cool.

    My 13 year old asked the other day if she was old enough to ride a moped so she could go out with me on my “really long rides”. I almost cried.


  37. Comment by Charlie Brown | 04.20.2009 | 7:11 am

    Hey – on a different subject – you made it into Velonews (tagging along with Ibis)

    Great job with the kid video too! How’re you going to keep up with them at Leadville in 10 years?

  38. Comment by Rantwick | 04.20.2009 | 7:14 am

    ooh! ooh! Hand raised high! Can I be in your video club? I’ve been messing around with poor-man DIY versions of handlebar mounts and using a half-broken digital camera to take the video, but I’m learning to clean it up after the fact with virtualdub and deshaker (both freeware)…

    Good post. Nice family you’ve got there Fatty!

  39. Comment by Hawkens | 04.20.2009 | 7:58 am

    Great Video!

  40. Comment by BurkeInTheOzarks | 04.20.2009 | 8:00 am

    What a great viewpoint! I would have loved to have some videos like that of my girls on our trail-a-bike adventures. I managed to rattle them both off the bike by tackling some rooty/rocky sections that, in retrospect, we should have walked. No permanent injuries, though, so it all ended well.

    They are now 6 and 8 and have been riding without training wheels for a year or two, so the trail-a-bike days are behind us. Now, I’m waiting for them to join me on the trails on their own bikes. They are definitely not interested in going off-road yet. Maybe, it has something to do with the rattling-them-off-the-bike experiences…

  41. Comment by kiwi | 04.20.2009 | 8:13 am

    The best thing is teaching and watch a child riding a bike! It gives more joy then just about anything!

    Thank for this posting…I’m in Chicago and it’s going to snow later in the day ,it was like a ray of sunsine on a rainy/snow day!
    Way to go mate!



  42. Comment by Daddystyle | 04.20.2009 | 8:23 am

    SWEET, kids on bikes got to love it.

  43. Comment by (California ) Matt | 04.20.2009 | 8:59 am

    Great post! Loved the vidoe, and I’m always interested in seeing how others solve issues like helmet mounts and such.

    And HEY!! I see you made the April LiveStrong newsletter! (Meet Team Fatty)…NICE!

    And finally, I meant to say thanks for putting up all the LiveStrong Challenge city tallys on your site…Team Fatty ROCKS!!! (and COME ON all you California people…we need to do better in San Jose! We’re lagging behind! We need MORE team members!!)

  44. Comment by (California ) Matt | 04.20.2009 | 9:10 am

    Oh…one more thing…after watching Katies smile on the downhill, I don’t see you EVER getting her interested in pedaling for herself! What’s her upside? Good luck on making that sound interesting! You still have a chance with Carrie…DO NOT take her on the tagalong! Next thing you know, you’ll have a tandem tagalong towing about 150lbs. And you think you are getting strong NOW…just you wait! Of course, you will totally CRUSH Leadville after a year of towing tagalongs. Next thing you know, all your friends will want to BORROW your twins and the tagalongs for training rides!

  45. Comment by Lowrydr | 04.20.2009 | 9:26 am

    It’s official, you’re just a geek with a bike problem. Nice shot with the Vid and the youngun.

  46. Comment by Gillian | 04.20.2009 | 9:51 am

    Ridiculously cute. Loved it.

  47. Comment by Grizzly Adam | 04.20.2009 | 10:12 am

    As a video dork, and a father of twins, I found the entire post rather enjoyable.

  48. Comment by Sam | 04.20.2009 | 10:13 am

    You’re a good dad, Fatty.

  49. Comment by Grizzly Adam | 04.20.2009 | 10:13 am

    Oh, one more thing:

    I’d be happy to walk you through Final Cut Pro Express, if you decide to go that route. I think its better than Premier.

  50. Comment by Dan | 04.20.2009 | 10:15 am

    Fun post.

    I’m in the process of teaching my 5 year old daughter to ride without training wheels. She’s not there yet. No rush – we’ll keep working on it.

    I’ve taken her through singletrack in a Burley trailer. Front of the trailer would be too muddy to see out of. Fun stuff, almost like a new sport – Trailer Cross.

    My son lost the training wheels at age 5. At first he wasn’t getting it – then after a few days on a Razor scooter, noticed he was balancing on that. Pulled the training wheels off once again and away he went. No crashes, no drama.

    Riding with your kids is the coolest thing ever. My son is now 9 years old and rides with me regularly. He’s done some mountain bike racing as well. We have a blast together.

    You have a great blog here. I really enjoy checking it out.

  51. Comment by blinddrew | 04.20.2009 | 10:29 am

    Tom Fort and Crispy have the right of it; take off the pedals and training wheels, lower the saddle a bit and let them scoot around for a bit. They’ll soon learn about the balance bit and when you see them scooting around keeping their feet up as long as possible then it’s time to pop the pedals back.
    Worked for my nephew and both my nieces and i’m told it’s the normal way to do it in holland

  52. Comment by Ben L. | 04.20.2009 | 10:29 am

    I’ve never seen a kid so happy. You’re such a great dad.

  53. Comment by Steve | 04.20.2009 | 10:34 am

    Great video Fatty.

    Regarding the zip ties, we started buying the ones that have a little tab that can, in theory, allow you to release and reuse the zip tie.

  54. Comment by Clydesteve | 04.20.2009 | 10:42 am

    It was pretty funny when you commented about pushing the bike up a hill – Katie was about as inclined to push as she was to pedal!

    This brings back good memories. I actually had kids three ways with a tag-a-long. One was bored, one loved being on-tour, on-trailer (no pedaling), and my youngest, who pedaled like a madman, loved going fasterer.

  55. Comment by Bryan (not that one) | 04.20.2009 | 10:42 am

    Adorable. And what amazing scenery for a ride. I hate Florida.

  56. Comment by LidsB2 | 04.20.2009 | 10:42 am

    That was a sweet video. You can’t help but smile when you the smile on her face.

    Last week I took my kids (14 year old daughter, 8 and 12 year old sons) out on their first mountain bike ride on a real trail. They were giggling with glee on the downhill portions. The whining on the uphill parts decreased as they gained confidence and looked forward to the next descent. Yesterday my 12 year old son asked when we can go again. Swish!!!

  57. Comment by axel in texas | 04.20.2009 | 11:01 am

    I think you can fit a tag a long on a tag a long to be fair to both kids and improve your fitness…

    I did notice that the tag a long reduced my kids desire to ride on their own. But eventually they wanted independence from dad. The time will come…

  58. Comment by Banger | 04.20.2009 | 11:05 am

    Actually your video is nicer than what I came up with my first time out. And the editing was good too. In fact you may want to be careful, too much more effort and it’s possible that the NWD guys may either recruit you or sue you.

  59. Comment by run-girl-run | 04.20.2009 | 11:06 am

    We’re struggling with training wheels here too!

    My husband pulls the 6 yr old and I follow watching her lean side to side for the fun of it. Dad’s a little more motivated to kick the tag-a-long habit!

    Thanks for the tip on taking the pedals off! Great idea – we’ll give it a try!

  60. Comment by Brandy | 04.20.2009 | 11:13 am

    Get that kid a Fat Cyclist jersey! That is the cutest member of Team Fatty !!

  61. Comment by Hamish A | 04.20.2009 | 11:23 am

    Fatty, you really should charge Alleycat for product placement like that! ;-)

    Fantastic video, that smile says it all! If it’s ok with you I’d like to post it on the site to cheer people up on a Monday afternoon.

    Regarding the Vio, how does it look on a full size screen? I’ve been trying to find a cam that can output at least DV resolution but everything is falling more in the VGA range which isn’t fantastic for anything above web use.

    Great post, made me smile.

    WIN Susan!!!

  62. Comment by Hamish A | 04.20.2009 | 11:29 am

    Oh, and about the training thing – the Likeabike range is great for getting kids of most ages into the balance thing, and they’re cute enough to keep hold off (I’ve seen a pair turned into a garden bench once the kids were done with them).

  63. Comment by bikemike | 04.20.2009 | 11:30 am

    freaking awesome. i woulda used the music from Israel Kamakawio’Ole…somewhere over the rainbow, but, that’s just me. my short comings in video production talent are surpassed only by my inabilty to choose the music for the video.

    actually, after second thought, i think i would’ve used “Lucky Man” by emerson lake and palmer. beautiful girls, man.

  64. Comment by Julia | 04.20.2009 | 11:37 am

    This is how I taught my kids to ride bikes without training wheels.

    Like pretty much everyone over 40 my back isn’t what it once was. Therefore- I will push you up and down the street for 15 minutes to get you going.

    Then the child needs to put on every concievable elbow, knee, wrist pad and the helmet that still allows them to ride a bike and practice while you do yard work (trust me its better not to watch) for a few hours.

    Tell the child that they probably will fall over about 20 times but by the time they make it to the 20th fall, they probably will know how to ride a bike without training wheels. Worked for both my kids – even my extremely cautious and fairly uncoordinated son – although it took about 2 hours of practicing to get it.

  65. Comment by Linda | 04.20.2009 | 11:42 am

    That was AWESOME…if you really want a workout I’ll ride behind you next time. I might even pedal from time to time.

  66. Comment by Sandy | 04.20.2009 | 11:46 am

    That is the most adorable post. Thanks for brightning up a dreary Northeat day. And yes, Fatty you are the Best Dad Ever.

  67. Comment by Robert | 04.20.2009 | 12:09 pm

    Great story, but I can’t see the video. Seems like it won’t load.

    Any suggestions?

    Might be that Vimeo is blocked at your work? Try going to and seeing if any of my videos will load for you. – FC

  68. Comment by DOLPH | 04.20.2009 | 12:23 pm

    That video is pure mountain biking joy, well done.

  69. Comment by Walt | 04.20.2009 | 12:37 pm

    Fatty, did I see your foot there at the beginning? You need to get in the habit of mounting over the top tube if you’re going to have people behind you.

    In my opinion, once they learn to balance and ride their own bikes, they will stay better balanced on the tag-a-long. I’ll fourth or whatever the no-pedals method.

    I took my daughter out Thursday. On the way home, after working up a short but steep hill, the comment I got was “we never go up that without stopping when I go with mom” – we try not to repeat that once arriving home :-) .

    MOCougFan – you need a tandem.

  70. Comment by Janneke | 04.20.2009 | 12:56 pm

    That was awesome. I mailed the link to my brother who has a 7 year old girl. I think she’d love to go out cycling with dad.

  71. Comment by Miles Archer | 04.20.2009 | 12:56 pm

    Faster Daddy, faster!

  72. Comment by Kala | 04.20.2009 | 12:59 pm

    LOL. Loved the video, Fatty. Katie is adorable. We better see Carrie’s video soon! :p


  73. Comment by Skidmark | 04.20.2009 | 1:02 pm

    OOOOOHHHHH! That sure took me back. We swapped the trailer for an Alleycat, and it was great. Teaching kids to ride bikes was one of my biggest parenting challenges. First daughter: took to it like a duck to water. Got her a mini mountain bike (24 inch wheels) and we hit the local park. Coming down a trail that ends at a T, I realized she wasn’t heavy enough to get the tires to bite, and that she was not going to stop. She T-bones an oak tree, gets off the bike, kicks it a few times and announces she’s not getting back on. She did get back on, and now as a college senior, is riding a cruiser to and from campus.

    Daughter 2: Just didn’t get it. Our neighborhood sidewalks are up against the curb, no planting strip. Every driveway would spill her toward the street. She got disgusted, quit, and wouldn’t try because as she got older she was embarrassed that she couldn’t. Our darkest secret came when I took her out to a seriously deserted country road and taught her to ride when she was in high school. She saved for her own bike — a Breezer town model — and rides that around her campus at U.C. Santa Cruz, where she’s a freshman.

    All things in good time!

  74. Comment by Gail | 04.20.2009 | 1:10 pm

    Way to get the girls out there on the trail!!! I like to think that that smile on your daughter’s face is the same one I still get on my face when I’m flying down twisty-turny single-track. :D

    Can’t wait to see more video!

  75. Comment by Tarvin | 04.20.2009 | 2:35 pm

    I’m loving your videos even though it makes me jealous that you live in an area of such natural beauty.
    And it must be said that you are a great father and husband.

  76. Comment by Broompatrol | 04.20.2009 | 2:39 pm

    Yup, my new fave video! I have 2 young daughters, too and watching this made me feel all sniffly inside.

    I actually like your videos, you have managed to eliminate that nauseating shake that makes many unwatchable. Plus, your trails are very scenic.

  77. Comment by JamesInPhoenix | 04.20.2009 | 2:52 pm

    So a few years back (and by that I mean like 5 or 6) Specialized ran a public service announcement thing in some of the bike magazines on teaching a kid to ride a bike sans training wheels… I tore it out and kept it as it worked phenomenally well for me… see my oldest was petrified of bikes from the first one I got him when he was like 2 and a half till he was 7 almost 8 he HAD TO HAVE the training wheels and not just have them but they had to be all the way down so that they ALWAYS contacted the ground. I read that article and that Saturday we went out and found a hill, and not even four hours later he was riding around sans training wheels… the method prescribes using a grassy hill that isn’t very steep this allows the child to coast and not have to worry about pedaling until they get the balance down better, it’s also less scary for them as grass is far more forgiving on skin than concrete or asphalt… The funny part is his younger brother who was like 2 almost 3 at the time decided a year later (when he was 4) that he wanted to ride sans training wheels so he just got on his brothers bike (he’s big for his age and his older brother’s small for his age) and started riding like he’d done it many times before… he didn’t even need me to help him start the first time he just got on and went… go figure.

  78. Comment by Jenni Laurita | 04.20.2009 | 2:52 pm

    I pull my son on a Trail-a-bike- he was scared to get on it but once we started going, he was alright.

    Then the pedal came off and he freaked out.

    Just check them every once in a while, we ended up walking home that day.

    I’ve been borderline on getting that cam for a while, I think you may have just convinced me…

  79. Comment by Kathleen | 04.20.2009 | 3:22 pm

    Love this! You so deserve one of those “dad of year” statues…

  80. Comment by Janel | 04.20.2009 | 3:25 pm

    we loved the video Elden. What a fun thing to do with your children!!
    I was wondering what is the age limit on riding with you?

  81. Comment by sansauto | 04.20.2009 | 3:39 pm

    I was riding up Mt. Evans one day and passed a man riding with his wife at about 12,000 feet. He was also hauling a trailer with two girls, the older of which was just slightly smaller than yours. There was a cooler and extra clothes in the trailer as well. You do the math on how much weight that guy hauled up 7000 vertical feet.

    I made a comment and he responded, “It’s the difference between Father and Daddy”.

    Way to go dad!

  82. Comment by Kt | 04.20.2009 | 4:22 pm

    That is an awesome video.

    I like how she looks forward to the next corner. That’s good practice right there, both for biking and driving (sorry, did I freak you out??).

    And, I love the low-tech/hi-tech mount for the helmet-cam. I buy the zip-tie bucket from Costco, all the sizes you could ever need– for about 3 months, and then you go buy another bucket. :) I fear the day they stop stocking that item.

  83. Comment by The D | 04.20.2009 | 4:46 pm

    Nice work, Fatty. I think Tag-along owes you and Katie a sponsorship, though; you two’ve made their product 100% cooler.

  84. Comment by Penny | 04.20.2009 | 7:08 pm

    Now that is a great video! Should be really good for playing at her wedding during dinner. :D

  85. Comment by Kendra | 04.20.2009 | 8:54 pm

    My daughter loves Lambert Park (she is 9) we started her riding down Middle and up High Bench. We have now graduated to up Zag and down Ziggy. Rodeo will be our next ride. We’ll look for you on the trails.

  86. Comment by Jun | 04.20.2009 | 9:19 pm

    My girls both learned without training wheels at about age 5. The like a bike is great. I tried the removing the pedals on a kid bike method, but there were two issues: one is that the cranks are still in the way (OK I removed the cranks as well). The other is that if the rider swings her legs way back while scooting along, ankles can catch on those unnaturally long axles in the back. So at least put some hockey tape on them.

    This video combines footage of both daughters, including the first day on two wheels for the older daughter who was five at the time.

    Best of luck.

  87. Comment by Corey | 04.20.2009 | 9:56 pm

    What’s that saying? There are no bad students?

    Anywho, I can totally appreciate your training dilemma, my soon-to-be 8yo got her training wheels off when she was 5, (as did I, for the record) and has already been on several paved rides in the 10-12 mile range. She has also ridden Hidden Mesa Trail in Franktown, CO and Bar M Loop in Moab, all on her 6-speed Specialized Hotrock with 20″ wheels. She has just upgraded to a 21-speed Hotrock with 24″ wheels, and is now bugging me to take her riding with “the guys.”
    Her 6yo sister, however, will be on training wheels, or the drag-a-long, forever.

    As for the helmet cam, I read every word. Since purchasing one on a whim at the REI members garage sale, I can’t stop messing with it. Mine, an Oregon Scientific AT2K, came with an excellent velcro strap mount thingy that works well on my Giro Xen. However it turns out the helmet doesn’t fit my melon as well as the camera fits the helmet. I’m still working on that, and it may involve shimming my head. Oh wait, do those foam strips go inside the helmet? huh…

    Mine also came with the simplest seat post mount I have ever seen, but which still allows 4-way adjustment and quick release. If I can find someone slower than I in Moab later this week, I’ll be using it pointed backward from my seat post, as it seems to grab much more stable video from there than it does from atop my noggin.

    Oh, and I edit with avidemux in Linux, nothing fancy. Then I like to use ffmpeg from the command line to encode it to flash for web posting. Yes, I’m that old-skool.

  88. Comment by Corey | 04.20.2009 | 10:06 pm

    Oh yeah, and we did the no-pedal method too, one Sunday afternoon was all it took.

    Now she rides like this:

  89. Comment by Dnwilliams | 04.21.2009 | 12:34 am

    you should try final cut pro for editing, it’s pretty easy to use.

  90. Comment by S | 04.21.2009 | 5:44 am

    Fatty, you’re a bad daddy.

    Just look at poor Katie’s wayward left knee and pedal action. What kind of set up you got there Fatty?

    Just who does the twin core workout sessions?

    Fatty you slacker! It’s all me, me, me with you dude. I mean I bet the girls can already speak and you haven’t got them riding yet.

    (Cool Video – Fatts and Katie, jus jokin)

  91. Comment by Will | 04.21.2009 | 7:42 am

    I got a lot of compliments racing as a Clyde for the first time wearing your jersey.

  92. Comment by Charisa | 04.22.2009 | 11:10 am

    Seriously impressed by your multi-tasking skills! Are you sure you didn’t just set this up in a studio? :)

  93. Comment by Pam | 04.22.2009 | 12:03 pm

    My almost 3 year old son kept saying “Again!”, so we watched the adorable video 3 times. I’m sure he’d like to watch it again. That song may be stuck into my head for the day, tho. Uh oh…he just asked again!

  94. Comment by Lissee (formerly known as Bitter) | 04.23.2009 | 12:56 am

    She’s darling, _and_ it looks like she had fun. Bonus. :)

  95. Comment by gregc | 04.23.2009 | 2:56 pm

    I remember taking my young kids out in the burley trailer- great memories. I now wish we had done the alley cat bikes, but alas0 too late now. Thanks for sharing.

    I remember a while back when you got the video camera but don’t remember the details- this is too cool and I want something like this. Can you share the details of your setup again? Thanks!

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