I got my daughter a FItbit Ace 2 from Best Buy for her birthday in 2021. You can get the older model Ace 2 there frequently on sale for less than $50. I honestly didn’t think she’s wear it, but I quickly learned she loved completing the challenges that it offered. She’s the type of kid that never sits still, so it seemed like a good fit.
She stopped wearing it later in the year. I thought getting her a new band for Christmas would get her excited about wearing it again, but my wife thought it was a lost cause. After Christmas came and went I asked her why she didn’t wear it, and it was because she didn’t like the band! 💡So I decided to revisit a new band for her birthday.
There are several big band stores out there like StrapsCo and Axios that sell several different styles of Fitbit bands. I really thought she’d like this rainbow one (which cost as much as I spent on the watch) 😅
Inspire 2 / Ace 2 bands – interchangeable?
So I ordered it because it claimed the Inspire 2 bands also work on the the Ace 2… sort of…
When I got the band, there was one problem. There’s an extra ridge on the band that must work on the Inspire but the Ace doesn’t accommodate it.
WordCamp US 2020 was canceled, citing online event fatigue. But the organizers of WordCamp Minneapolis / St. Paul did not. Would we just be another notch in the bedpost of 2020 online event fatigue?
To be honest, the organizing team did contemplate canceling WordCamp Minneapolis / St. Paul as the Coronavirus pandemic continued to linger. But everyone agreed that pivoting to a single-day virtual event was a better idea – and we stayed the course.
When we had a real-life venue selected, there was an excellent computer lab available with over twenty computers. Going virtual meant re-thinking the game-plan. With WordCamp US canceled, it looks like WordCamp MSP’s KidsCamp might wind up being the only virtual KidsCamp of 2020.
Since it was uncharted territory, we cut the attendance in half, to 10 available spots. We reserved them for locals only, as our regular in-person conference is truly supposed to highlight pillars of our local community. With 80% local speakers at the conference, I think our organizers nailed it.
Check out the inside pages – including the first page which has a place to write down all of your new hosting and WordPress site details.
To make sure things would run smoothly, I went through the entire curriculum with my 11 year old son. We did it the same day the rest of the team was doing their streaming dry-run, two days before the live event. I even had my son go to his grandma’s and log in there via Zoom so we could simulate teaching remotely.
What did I learn from that experience? While I can power through a 3-hour zoom call with no issues, kids need to take a break. When my son asked to take a break I realized that I also was hungry, thirsty, or needed to use the restroom. So I added TAKE A BREAK in all-caps to my schedule notes in various places.
The Live Event
The day of the event went off without a hitch. We had 8 registrants and only 6 showed up. A 25% no-show rate is typical for WordCamp, so I didn’t sweat it.
We did some self-reflection and brainstorming. We talked about people we follow on YouTube and social media and what we like about them. My son cited DanTDM who plays a variety of games, not just Minecraft. When it came to self-reflection, I was pleasantly surprised that my son listed gaming as one of his interests, not just Fortnite. He wound up setting up a site with the central ideal of helping people with their gaming strategies. I likened it to Chris Lema’s mantra of Be Helpful – it warmed my heart 😍
Other kids chose different central ideas based on their interests: Animals, Music, Gaming – it was good to see a variety from the group.
We went with GoDaddy as our KidsCamp hosting sponsor, and they provided slick managed WordPress sites that didn’t require us to FTP any zip files to get started. This was one of the most important pieces of doing the camp virtually. We literally had zero technical issues to troubleshoot. 💪
Then we were off, publishing an about page and our first post. Then customizing our themes to reflect our tastes.
Besides taking breaks, doing the event virtually was challenging because I wanted all of the kids to stay in sync. When you’re in a lab, it’s easy to see what screen someone is on and help them move forward.
My approach to doing it virtually was to share my screen and have everyone let me know when they’re on the same screen so we can all move forward together. It was challenging at times because some kids would give a thumbs-up on their camera, some would type “done” in chat, some would confirm aloud, and others wouldn’t respond. I left plenty of breathing room and we managed to stay together.
I’m glad we were able to put this event on, and I’m hoping dearly that we can do KidsCamp again in person at Metro State in 2021 🤞
I am not a gun nut, but this build was inspired by this comic and conversation:
Looking at it made me think that a similar, but more useful application of vertical bike rack storage, would be for fishing rods. Moore Lake is just down the hill from where I live, and it’s stocked with Bluegills and Bass 🎣
I made this fishing rod holder that attaches to my bike rack for less than $20, mostly from scraps I had in the garage. It holds four rods, but you could adjust it for as many as you’d like, as long as your bike rack setup will accommodate them.
I chose 1-1/4″ PVC because all of our rod handles will fit into that size pipe – you should test fit your thickest fishing rod before you buy.
I attached a PVC coupling to the pipe and then cut the pipe (with the coupling attached) using a hacksaw to 9 inches. This was both the size of my scrap wood and the size of the longest rod handle. You should go longer if your handles are longer than 9 inches.
To make a permanent connection, I used PVC primer and cement to bond the couplers to the pipes.
The couplers are there to serve as stops for the tubing straps – so they don’t fall through them.
To fasten the tube straps to the board I used #10 x 1/2″ sheet metal screws. I pre-drilled holes in the wood with a 1/8″ drill bit, then used a screwdriver on the screws.
I designed 3D printed hangers because I couldn’t find any readily available hooks that I liked at the hardware store. I like Topeak racks because of how their bag systems attach. I designed the hangars to conform to the Topeak’s 10mm rod construction – which I believe is a standard size for many bike racks.
To fasten the hangers to the board, I used #10 x 3/4″ sheet metal screws.
Backing and Hangars
The board I used was some leftover 1/2″ plywood. Mine was 9″ wide so I went with that – luckily that’s how long our rod handles are. You can cut the width to however many rods you want to hold. For my 4 rod holders it wound up being 15″x9″.
To make sure everything lines up well on the back, I used my Thule panniers as an example. The metal plate that sticks to the magnet is approximately 9″x4″ – so I cut a piece of sheet metal that size. You can use a hacksaw to (slowly) cut it. I used a cutting wheel to make quick work.
I also used the Thule pannier as a reference to gauge the placement of the metal backing position relative to the hangers so they’d be generally in the right place. It will ensure the steel plate is the right place so it will line up with the rack magnet without having to move it around on the rack.
I used 3/4″ screws to fasten the hangers, and 1/2″ screws to hold the steel plate. I pre-drilled the steel with a 3/16″ drill bit, and the wood with a 1/8″ one.
There’s no provisions on this rack for bait and tackle, but you can use the opposite side of the rack for a pannier, or just put your bait and tackle in a backpack.
When I’m fishing while paddling, I keep a very small tackle box on the boat with me, and that is also perfect for local fishing by bike.
Riding around with 6-foot fishing poles is like riding around with a whip antenna – it’s real tall. Just beware of any low tunnels or doorways, tree branches, etc.
Also, you’re not going to be able to put a leg over the back like you normally would. A pole (and hooks) will prevent you from doing that. Be mindful while you’re getting on and off.
I (perhaps stupidly) tried out the purple worm seen in my tackle box above – set up as a Texas Rig. I felt some serious bites, but I didn’t land anything. In the end I’m lucky because I didn’t bring a net if I actually had caught a tenacious bass.
While I didn’t bring one, you could certainly put a net in one of the holders. This is more of a catch-and-release type of rig, and I wasn’t planning on any big bites my first time out, just a couple of sunfish 🐟
So you’ve heard me wax poetic about the best 14″ bike and the best 20″ bike. Well today I’m talking about 26″ wheel bikes, and I’m not going to call this one the best, only because there are so many 26″ bike options out there. I just happened to find one that I feel suits my son best right now.
Let’s talk about bike sizes. Kids bikes are usually measured by wheels size. Once you get beyond 24″ wheels you’re into adult bike territory. With adult bikes you’ll typically be looking at both wheel sizes (26″, 650B, 700C, etc.) and frame sizes (14″, 17″, 54cm, 55cm). To make matters worse, some measurements are in inches, some are in centimeters, and some have arbitrary numbers from the (g)olden days of cycling. The bottom line is to pay attention to what the sales guy is talking about and don’t be afraid to ask!
Growing Like Weeds
You may have noticed we skipped the 24″ wheel size bike and went straight for a 26″. Technically my son’s height is smack-dab in the middle of the 24″ bike range. But after outgrowing his 20″ bike, he began stealing his mom’s 26″ Trek Navigator 2.0. He looks and feels comfortable on it, so why not entertain the idea of getting him a 26″ wheeled bike? I like that idea over buying a 24″ and having him outgrow it in a year.
Like I said there are many options out there. Here are several we considered:
This is not an exhaustive list, they’re just a few that are available near me at the time of writing. If you’re savvy, you may want to do some internet searching and calling around to find out what is available nearby. Visiting a local bike shop for a test ride is paramount.
We landed on the Haro with the step-through design. He could ride this slightly over-sized frame for his height, but he could still get on and off of easily.
It doesn’t have a front suspension fork. Ironically there are other Flightline models that do come with a front suspension fork, and they’re cheaper 🤔 I suspect they charge the premium for the Step Thru frame, not the fork. The reason I like a rigid fork is because it’s much lighter.
The step thru frame is sometimes marketed as a women’s frame, but Haro have wised up with the following marketing message:
Ladies only? Not the Flightline One ST…One of Haro’s most popular models, the FL One also comes in a step-thru frame (all genders welcome). While it is true the majority of these are purchased by women, men with difficulty lifting their leg over a traditional frame may want to jump on an ST.
I wanted it for my son because he’s only 10 right now and having the top bar lowered makes it infinitely easier to get on and off.
I’m not saying it’s the best, but it’s the best for us right now. Do you have any 26″ kid-bike recommendations? Let us know in the comments what it is and why you like it.
Today is my daughter’s 5th birthday and we got her a new bike. TL;DR? We settled on a ByK E-250. Want to know why? Read on…
As always, I did a bunch of research. One article I came across and revisited several times was Why You Should Never Buy a 12″ Bike! (with a few exceptions). Like everyone should be, I was skeptical of such a bold claim. Some might even call it clickbait. But I kept coming back to that article because of some valid points.
Kids that don’t yet ride on two wheels should be learning to balance no matter what their age. It’s the single hardest thing to learn on a bike. Why muddle it up with pedals, gears, brakes, and bells?
Marlo got a Strider for her 4th birthday last year. Despite her constant nagging that it didn’t have pedals, she finally warmed up to it. At first she cursed the “wobbly bike” but would still give it the occasional college try because she saw her brother riding on two wheels.
5 months later and she had balancing down-pat. No training wheels, no parent running awkwardly behind hunched over. Just turn ’em loose with no pedals.
If your young/small child is just learning, go straight for the Strider. My daughter is small. At 5 years old she’s still only 30 pounds. But she could always lift and move the Strider with ease. Now with balance mastered, it’s time for pedals.
The other main point that article makes is that most 12″ bikes are heavy. I’m talking more than half the weight of your child heavy. Could you imagine trying to ride (let alone learn to ride) on a bike that weighs 100 pounds?
14″ wheels. It’s just a little bigger than her Strider and she can grow with it.
The seat height can be slammed to 15″ – great for shorter kids and amazing considering the 14″ wheels size.
Here’s a comparison shot of the seat height compared to the current seat height of her Strider:
Is it light? Yes – all the bikes recommended from that article are light. Also the crank arms are nicely shaped to stay out of the way when the pedals are removed. I recommend this to any parent with an older child that hasn’t yet learned to balance. Just leave the pedals off until they’re ready.
And about the push handle and training wheels that are included…
Do not, I repeat, do not install or use them. You’re doing yourself and your child a disservice. Take the damn pedals and training wheels off and let them learn to balance on their own! These items are included to placate parents who remember their first terrifying day with the training wheels off. Their parent hunched over with a backache. Forget about it. Those two things are still sitting in the box brand new.
OK, so why is this thing only 3 stars? It comes down to 2 things:
1. Delivered with a flat tire.
I get it. This is a bummer. Do yourself a favor and order some 14″ tubes right when you buy this bike. This is an odd size so there’s even a chance that your local bike shop won’t carry it unless you special order it.
2. Bad / No Instructions
Also a legitimate complaint. The bike comes with a manual that seemingly covers every type of bike that ByK makes. So you have to figure out, is this a single-speed or a mountain bike because there’s no specific section for the E-250. Yes it’s lame. I was able to quickly work through it because I’ve put together a couple of bikes myself. This bike is rather unique and it could use a model specific manual.
Hopefully ByK figures this out, but it shouldn’t stop you from putting this bike at the top of the list. Take my daughter’s word for it.