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Katie Allison Granju is the married mother of five children, ranging in age from toddler to teenager. In addition to blogging for Babble Voices, she also publishes her own blog, Big Good Thing, and she works full time in digital media with a large cable network. When she isn't at work, blogging, or washing someone's socks, Katie enjoys working in her flower garden, riding her bike, and feeding the chickens she keeps in the backyard of her family's large and totally impractical, 113-year-old Victorian house.

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Jon’s Side of the Story: About That Three-Wheeled Christmas Surprise…

By Katie Allison Granju |

Since I wrote my blog post the other day about the  Christmas surprise I got for Jon this year – which elicited a somewhat inscrutable response from him –  lots of folks have been asking me how Jon likes the Schwinn Meridian now that he’s had a chance to check it out. I kept saying that I wasn’t quite sure yet, since I wasn’t, but now I am.

So this afternoon  I was going to write up a Part II to my first blog post , but Jon said he wanted to write Part II himself. I  like this idea of him telling  his side of the Christmas surprise story, since I have already given you my version.

So without further ado, here’s Jon’s own take on my surprise Christmas gift to him this year, and what he thought & thinks of it.


HERE’S PART I… and now, here’s  Jon’s Side of the Story…

If you saw the photo Katie got of me when I first saw the present she gave me for Christmas this year, you already know that I was, um, how to put this? Caught off guard by the surprise. What you also see on my face in the picture is total this-does-not-compute confusion because, while I didn’t want to say it to Katie at the time, at first I had absolutely no idea what that thing was. Was it a bike? A delivery cart? Was it for me? What the heck?  How do you tell your wife and kids that you aren’t really sure what they just gave you for Christmas?

In general, I love it when Katie does surprises. A few years ago, she managed to pull off a real surprise birthday party for me – the kind where I had no idea that anything was happening until I walked in the door and saw dozens of my favorite people grinning back at me. Not only was the surprise itself great but so was the party. However, even that time I think that my initial reaction was muted until I got a chance to let it all sink in. That was an awesome party.

But back to “the trike.” Katie says she doesn’t remember this, but sometime back I did mention to her how much I miss being able to ride a bike around town like I did when I was in school, but that my old bike probably wasn’t worth fixing. In a perfect world, Katie and I would have only one rarely-needed car, and even though I run every other day (weather permitting), I would love to get more exercise. However, I am pretty sure I never mentioned wanting a bike with three wheels, mostly because the idea of riding a bike with three wheels would never have occurred to me. That helps explain why I was so confused when presented with one on Christmas. 

After my initial confusion, I could tell Katie was waiting for me to give her some feedback on the bike, but to be honest I didn’t know what I thought of it yet, so that’s what I told her. I did go outside and look at it a few times on Christmas Day. However, there was no way I was going to give an opinion until I rode it, and there was no way I was riding any bike for the first time with spectators, no matter how many wheels it had.

On the day after Christmas, when the family chaos had calmed, I went out by myself and took Trikey for a ride. I was surprised by how fun it was, and I had a great time coasting around our neighborhood. I planned to only stay out on it for a few minutes but ended up riding for a little while because frankly, I’d forgotten how much fun riding is, no matter how many wheels are on whatever it is you are pedaling.

After I brought the bike back to the house I started thinking about how much I actually would like to have a bike to ride, and how useful a cargo space like the one on the three wheeler could be, as Katie had pointed out  to me.

After another ride the next day, I realized that I really do like the idea that prompted Katie to get me this particular gift as a surprise — namely her belief that I would like to be able to get around town without a car but still able to cart stuff with me. So ultimately I’ve come to two conclusions regarding the surprise gift. Conclusion number one is that my wife was completely spot on when she decided that I would really enjoy having a new bike of my own – and one with plenty of cargo capacity. She got this part of her surprise exactly right. However, I had to break conclusion number two to her yesterday: I really want a cargo bike with only two wheels, not three.

Even though she kept telling me that it was fine if the present was too weird and that it was mine to keep or sell, I was still worried that her feelings would be hurt when I told her that the three wheels just aren’t my thing. However in this case she surprised me because she really did seem fine with what I proposed, which is this: I am going to research what kind of two wheeled city cargo bike I really want, and shop around and then let Katie know which bikes would be my top picks. She and I have already started Googling to look at what’s out there. I want Katie to choose my new bike for me from my list of potential rides, and then she and the kids can ”surprise” me with it sometime later this month or next month — to coincide with my upcoming birthday. However, I also told her that we’re definitely keeping the big red trike that started this whole thing. It really is fun to ride around and very practical. I may not be the trike’s primary rider, but I’m going to try to get Katie to start riding it around. Since the big kids have bikes now, too, once I get mine we can all go cruise around town together. The only thing I will have to figure out is how to bring our two youngest along for the ride.

If you see us all riding around Knoxville in the next few months, I’ll be the very lucky guy on his brand new two wheels, who has a very sweet wife who likes planning big surprises for him.

So, any suggestions for a two-wheeled bike with room to carry stuff?



Thanks Jon.  I can’t wait to surprise you  in a month or two…with two wheels this time around. xoxo – Kate





NOTE:  Please feel free to speak your mind in the comments on this blog post, and in comments on any of my posts, but if you leave comments in which all you do is stuff like slag my husband, call me ugly names that have no relevance to any substantive point, attack other commenters, lob ad hominem insults at anyone, or are in any other way fundamentally rude or just plain mean in expressing your point of view, your comment won’t be published or will be deleted if it somehow escapes Babble’s moderation process. This position on what’s acceptable here is consistent with Babble’s community standards, which you can see  published below every blog post and article appearing on this site.

It is totally possible to disagree – with me or with another commenter – without being disagreeable.

Thank you.


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About Katie Allison Granju


Katie Allison Granju

Katie Allison Granju is the married mother of five children, ranging in age from toddler to teenager. In addition to blogging for Babble Voices, she also publishes her own blog, Big Good Thing. Katie also enjoys working in her flower garden, riding her bike, and feeding the chickens she keeps in the backyard of her family's large Victorian house. Read bio and latest posts → Read Katie Allison's latest posts →

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33 thoughts on “Jon’s Side of the Story: About That Three-Wheeled Christmas Surprise…

  1. [...] PART II OF  THE CHRISTMAS SURPRISE: JON’S SIDE OF THE STORY (In which he tells what he thought of the weird bike I got [...]

  2. Chris says:

    I love the bike, BUT, even though I am old (er) riding a 3 wheeler would make me feel even older. If that makes sense. I love that you were so thoughtful and plugged in to what Jon would need. It is a cute bike as well! Love Schwinn Bikes!!!
    Oh, and I applaud Jon for his honesty. And his blog post!

  3. Katy E says:

    What about the Madsen Bucket cargo bike? Google it! I like Trikey the best, though. I’m so glad you guys are keeping it!

    1. Katie Allison Granju says:

      @Katy -

      I just blogged about those amazing-looking Madsen cargo bikes over at today after a Facebook friend mentioned them. They look like they are priced a lot more reasonably than the European cargo bikes (which are totally not in our price range at this point in our lives.) It seems like if you got a cargo bike that could transport kids and belongings at a reasonable price, and then actually used it on a regular basis, you would make up the cost relatively quickly in less gas bought (that’s what would really add up fast) and less wear and mileage on car.

      Do you have a Madsen?


  4. @txmere says:

    This made me a little teary. You two are so sweet. I have nothing of substance to suggest though. (My brother works at a bike shop so he might have ideas; I’ll stop back by, if so.)

  5. Emily Finch says:

    I cannot recommend a bakfiets cargo bike highly enough. I have yet to find the limit to what they are capable of hauling. 6 kids, gear, groceries, Christmas trees… These are the best made bikes out there, IMHO. I bought mine at They ship. I bought mine 4 years ago. It literally changed my life. I love, love, love mine. Happy shopping!

  6. Christine says:

    We kept it more simple. Two bikes (we bought ours from a place that recycles bikes) and a new trailer with an extra hitch. Either of us can attach the trailer to haul goods or kids. We can also leave the trailer behind to ride solo if we’re out for exercise. The total cost for this was less than the Madsen bikes, which are very pretty, but aren’t you stuck with the cart on that thing?

  7. Sarah says:

    I’m looking too. Had a Kona Ute cargo bike and loved it but it got stolen recently. Trying to decide if I need a box bike or a long tail. There’s a guy in Portland who makes cargo bikes ( if you are like me and can’t afford a Bakfiets. As far as long tails, I’ve heard Yuba Mundo, Surly Big Dummy, and Xtracycle (they make one, or you can convert a normal bike). Kona Ute is great but you can’t add much to it, like a tag along or any xtracycle accessories. Xtracycle is also making a new folding cargo bike, Cargo Joe, which appeals because then you can take it on trips. Curious to see what you end up with!

  8. stacie says:

    Jon and Katie, This is what you should get for “C” to attach to the new bike Jon picks out
    I have seen several families cruising around the bike trails in our neighborhood with these. There are several different styles and look like a lot of fun. As for “G” maybe you can get something custom for the Trike and Katie can carry her! What fun!!

  9. stacie says:

    I have also seen a design that is just the bar that allows you to connect the adult bike to the kids bike without having to purchase a co-pilot bike. Like this:
    Which this might be even better that way as C or G grows you can just attach it to what ever bike they have.

    1. Katie Allison Granju says:

      @Stacie -

      That thing is fascinating! I’ve never seen a kid-towing trailer like that. Must check out further.

      Hope you & the fam had THE best holiday ever.

      Much love,


  10. Lynn says:

    I am curious regarding your criteria for censorship of comments. I would think a few of the ones on the previous post about the trike would have been deleted, specifically the one asking whether Jon got you a week at a fat farm. That was totally mean and an ad hominem insult to you, yet you not only didn’t delete it, you responded to it. That is confusing to me.
    I think this post by Jon is a touching defense of his wife and explanation of his reaction to your surprise. I hope you can take what I say next in the spirit in which it is intended. Jon writes that even though you said you would be fine with whatever he decided, he was afraid of hurting your feelings when he told you. He then writes “however in this case she surprised me because she really did seem fine with what I proposed”. Why would he be surprised that you would be fine with what he decided if you said you would be? It sounds like historically that has not been the case. Those few sentences really stood out in what he wrote, and might be something to look at. I hope you can take what I wrote as an observation, not a criticism.
    At any rate, I hope your family enjoys many happy hours of biking together, whether it be of the two or three wheeled variety.

    1. Katie Allison Granju says:

      ARGH! I just spent 20 minutes responding to your first question (about comments), Lynn, but my computer battery died and then the whole thing disappeared. I will rewrite again today at some point when I can sit back down. The question you’ve raised is a fair one, an interesting one, and frankly, one with which I and *every* blogger I know is struggling at the moment.

      Anyway, thanks for reading and commenting and I definitely plan to respond in full to your two questions when I get a chance today or tonight.


      PS: The “fat farm” comment has now been removed because it violated Babble’s community standards, irrespective of which blogger on Babble’s site was the subject of the comment.

  11. Ralphie says:

    Considering that the “fat farm” comment was a question about a hypothetical situation, I’d say Babble’s community standards are really a form of censorship. No one said that Katie or any other Babble blogger or staffer should go, needed to go, or in any way participate in a fat farm. But anything for page views!

  12. Katie Allison Granju says:


    1 – You’re being just plain mean, and for no discernible reason. Why would you leave a comment on someone’s blog asking if her husband had sent her to a “fat farm” as a Christmas gift? Does it give you joy to know that I would read your comment and feel hurt by it? Because if it does, then you can feel very joyful, because it did hurt. I am indeed really struggling with my weight over the past two years, for a variety of reasons, and like most women would be, I’m bummed out about how I look carrying 50 extra pounds at the moment. So you definitely *did* land a zinger that made me sad and embarrassed when I read it.

    2 – Phrasing a nasty, pointless insult as a question doesn’t obviate the fact that you’ve left a nasty, pointless insult as a comment on Babble. Your comment about my husband sending me to a fat farm clearly and unequivocally violated Babble’s community standards. That’s just not how we treat one another here.

    3 – FYI – Bloggers do not *gain* pageviews when comments are moderated or unpublished, as yours was. In fact, having fewer comments, and in particular having fewer inflammatory comments like yours appearing on a blog or website definitively *reduces* pageviews. Commenting and other community features are a primary pageview driver on any website or blog. More comments mean more pageviews, as people return to respond, engage and discuss with other commenters.

    You’re right, “Ralphie,” I need to lose some weight. I freely concede that point to you. I am overweight right now, and it’s upsetting and embarrassing. So you definitely “got” me. And now that I’ve given you the pleasure of knowinh for certain that you did indeed wound with your “fat farm” comment, I hope maybe you will consider either joining this community as a kind, thoughtful, compassionate commenter with substantive things to add to our conversations at Babble or, if that’s not what you want to do, you will at least leave me alone. I don’t know who you are, and I don’t know why you would want to hurt or humiliate me, but I ask as one human being with feelings to another that you please don’t leave any more pointlessly hurtful comments for me.

    Thank you,


  13. KerriLinda says:

    Something you might like for you new tricycle

    Although I agree with most ppl about the gift being the wrong idea, I must admit I am now OBSESSED with getting myself a trike. I never learned to ride a bike and have two little ones. After seeing your post, zi knew this would be the new way to go to the market, even in car obsessed LA. I already found a great priced kids trailer hitch on Craigslist and am just deciding on the right trike. Love the look of the one you got and even found it for $200 new but if I’m hauling kids, I hear multiple speeds are a must. Wish me luck on finding a good one!

    1. Katie Allison Granju says:

      @kerrilinda –

      I’ve been riding our Big Red Trike around the ‘hood today and OMG! I love this thing! I actually ride a two wheeler just fine, but for some reason this seems more fun to me. I also went and got groceries in it a little while ago (our grocery is only two blocks away) and that was awesome to be able to do.

      I would highly recommend this Schwinn for the money. I think because it’s relatively cheap compared to others, you could get it and have a good bike shop add gears to it and still come out ahead. Also, if you go to the actual Schwinn site, they do make a pricier version of the same three wheeler that has gears and probably other higher end features. They could tell you where to find a retailer that sells it.


      PS: Jon and I are going later to a local bike shop to scout possibilities for him, and I will ask about other three wheeled options and let you know what I find out.

    2. Katie Allison Granju says:

      I am ordering the owl bell right now :-)


  14. Lynn says:

    Well now I’m really confused. Checking back in to see if you’ve had the time to retype your answer to my earlier question, which was genuine and you agreed was fair and interesting. No response to that, yet a very lengthy response to Ralphie, of the fat farm comment. I don’t get it.
    And Ralphie, please stop insulting mine and others intelligence by saying the comment was hypothetical.

    1. Katie Allison Granju says:


      Apologies. I meant no offense by responding to the other commenter before re-writing my response to you , and certainly your questions are good ones that deserve a thoughtful response. I typed out the response to the “fat farm” fella in about. 5 minutes on my iPhone while I was cooking something (ah! The irony!). However, I really do want to give your comment more time and attention, so I’m waiting til I can give it that (typing on iPhone now, too) while lying down with napping G ;-)

      Anyway, mea culpa! Sorry for the delay in my response, but I do promise I will (re)write it up just as soon as I can.


  15. Sarah G says:

    I loved reading this post – thanks for sharing your point of view, Jon. It sounds like you appreciated the thought and spirit of the gift, if not the exact execution. Katie, I think you’ve opened a door on what’s bound to be a fun new chapter in your family’s life.

  16. jzzy55 says:

    I think this is a fine outcome. It’s called marriage, where you go back and forth to come up with an outcome that everyone can live with.

    Jon parsed the bike issues very logically and figured out the good part s(he wanted a bike and he wanted one that hauls) and the bad part (he doesn’t want a trike). Katie got it almost right which seems fine, too — she was taking a risk as to the bike idea, the kind of bike and the purpose of the bike. Two out of three ain’t bad.

    Good for you guys. This could practically be a case study in how marital things are supposed to work.

  17. Cora says:

    Can’t you just delete the nasty posts? I know that, as a follower of your blog, I just plain don’t want to see them, even if you offer an even-tempered response. And I say “nasty” to differentiate between people who respectfully disagree with, or question, your views, and… the trolls.

    Every successful blogger has “haters”. People who are bugged by a blog’s viewpoint and success, yet for some God-unknown reason make repeat visits to this blog and snark. This is so bizarre to me; I can’t understand why someone would do this when there are so many other places to go online, not to mention stepping away from the computer entirely. It implies some sort of obsession, or jealousy. Please, trolls, go somewhere else on the vast, vast internet. Or get a hobby.

    I love reading about you taking a chance with an offbeat gift for your husband… I smiled when I read Jon’s response. Your blog is like a letter from a girlfriend. Spare us those troll posts, Katie! Please delete them!

  18. NHMaman says:

    A bike and bike trailer could be a good option. Then Jon could haul kids or groceries, and he could choose to ride it without the trailer, too. Here’s one that’s similar to ours:

    I bought ours used from a family who was no longer using theirs. Even though our kids now ride their own bikes, the trailer is great for hauling beach gear.

    It’s hard to tell a spouse that his/her gift wasn’t right. My husband bought me some scented lotion that smelled of roses and made me think of someone’s grandmother. Enjoy whatever bike(s) you choose!

  19. bruce says:

    Get a Breezer downtown 8 or other Breezer with an “automatic”

    If you ride one you want want anything else.

  20. bkmale says:

    @Cora: Yes, it might be nice if one never had to encounter disagreement or offensiveness, but in my experience that is unrealistic and naive in the real world. Once in a while one’s comfy little corner of the internetz will get some attention, which is kinda the author’s intent. IMO, there is an awfully fine line between “editing for content” and “censorship”. Myself, I prefer to support everyone’s right to express a “nasty” (your word) opinion so that I may continue to have right to express mine.

  21. Cora says:

    @bkmale: Nope. Sorry, disagree. While as you say, “it might be nice if one never had to encounter disagreement or offensiveness”, I DID say in my above comment that there will certainly be folks who respectfully disagree with, or question, this blogger. And they should have their say, right?! I’m not looking for a universe where we’re all in agreement all the time.

    But if I read your comment correctly, you seem to imply that anyone should be free to say ANYTHING. Which in the case of anonymous commenting often includes people’s own psychological bile. Which they post publicly, anonymously… and it in no way mirrors the tone of the blogger. There are plenty of blogs out there that post vitriol and invite readers to “take them on”. This isn’t one of them. At least treat the blogger with the same respect that she gives her readers.

    The anonymous-commenting aspect of the internet has exposed an ugly side of SOME people’s nature, the side that needs to publicly trash folks, anonymously, then run away. There are several major newspapers that have recently realized that a public commenting section isn’t worth the hits, that it brings down the level of conversation, and are doing something about it. I’m interested in readers that question the blogger, disagree with points made, but— nastiness? You’d have to be pretty dull-witted to NOT get the sentiments behind it. It’s not constructive, it’s not respectful. It’s just bile.

  22. Scott says:

    Jon is being gracious, kudos to him.
    But let’s leave the coolness of the trike out of it, the fact remains you bought him a expensive gift without any clue that he would want it. You did not consider his wants at all. Very odd for someone who seems sensitive to others needs.

  23. bkmale says:

    @Cora: One person’s “bile” is another person’s “pointed commentary”. I know that *I* am not qualified to determine the difference, and I question the motives of anyone who says they are. I’m also reflexively suspicous of any call to filter “offensive” speech. That’s a very slippery slope. Of course I don’t support saying anything anywhere, one should not be free to shout “FIRE!” in a crowded theater. Maybe I’m too “dull-witted” to see beyond such simple black & white examples, but it is not always obvious to me which voices are valuable and which are not.

    I still hear you asking, “Please Katie, don’t make me read anything I don’t like!” The author posted a controversial subject that got attention beyond the usual readers and commenters. To blame commenters for their reactions misses the target, I think. You say, “There are plenty of blogs out there that post vitriol and invite readers to “take them on”. This isn’t one of them.” Maybe that’s been the case up until now. IMO Ms. Granju posted a lot of “vitriol” in her first column in describing a public humiliation of her husband. Whether or not she intended to, she posted a big-league piece. Seems to me your comment is trying to claim minor-league status after the fact to avoid the uncomfortable consequences.

  24. Cora says:

    @bkmale: Oh, please. Everyone knows an internet troll when they see one. It’s not that hard to assess.

    If you read an article in the NYTimes, then post “pointed commentary”, even blatantly disagreeing with the writer and taking down the whole point of their article, your comment will still be posted. If your post is childishly mean or otherwise personal, gutteral, or nasty, the Times won’t post it. This policy keeps the ongoing conversation respectful and adult with plenty of room for differing opinions.

    Reading various blogs has opened my eyes to the concept of trolls – people who just look for blogs to write hateful comments on anonymously and then sit back to watch what unfolds. My feeling is that without any monitoring, it just empowers these sad people. There were comments made here at this very article that were in no way “pointed commentary”. They were off-subject and hateful. I would love to just delete them and get back to the conversation at hand!

  25. bkmale says:

    @Cora: And everyone knows that Earth is flat, and that all black people are criminals. Sorry, I can’t accept such a blanket, nebulous statement. Really, I expected better from a self-styled journalism fan such as yourself.

    Sounds like you are unaware of this, but FYI this blog *is* moderated, I had a comment deleted in Ms. Granju’s first article in this series. I assume it was because I violated a name-calling guideline (guilty), but maybe someone didn’t like the other on-subject content. Guess I’m one of your “sad people”, on top of being “dull-witted”.

    We’ve all seen ugly blogs. Iif you want this one to have any credibility, it has to be more than a virtual hug-fest of ego-stroking mutual admiration where all non-conforming thought is suppressed. I’m afraid that’s where this one might be headed.

  26. Cora says:

    @bkmale: Hey, perhaps we should grab a coffee somewhere and finish this discussion. Everyone else bailed days ago.

    “>>Sounds like you are unaware of this, but FYI this blog *is* moderated”

    Nope, I wasn’t aware of it until now. But looking over past comments, I now see that other folks have also questioned why some of the comments were posted and not deleted.

    “>>Guess I’m one of your “sad people”, on top of being “dull-witted”.”

    I don’t know, how ugly was your name calling? I mean, if you can’t express disagreement without resorting to name-calling, that is pretty sad. And I didn’t call you “dull-witted”; my point was that it’s not all that hard to discern respectful disagreement from nasty snark, in response to your implication that it’s all too subjective. Lots of websites, blogs, and online newspapers moderate their comment sections.

    “>>it has to be more than a virtual hug-fest of ego-stroking mutual admiration where all non-conforming thought is suppressed.”

    Wow bkmale, it seems as though you have entered our exchange with your own agenda. I mean, my comments here have hardly been advocating “a virtual hug-fest…” etc.

    Going back to my original point, and giving my personal opinion as a regular reader of this blog: in order to keep the conversation civil I would prefer it if some of the uglier, off-topic, personal-attack posts were deleted so that a more respectful conversation can take place.

  27. inquiringmind says:

    I’m still waiting for a reply to this…

    This was the first article I came back to read on Babble in many, many months. Even before babble was bought by Disney their ‘community’ was a disgrace. It still is. How a poor attempt at a fat comment came be ‘reviewed’, then allowed, then taken back down but a nasty comment about your husbands genitals is still up there – I don’t even know…

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