Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Cycling Mammas and kiddos

I have been wanting to get back to cycling regularly.  I stopped (again) because I was helping my mom pack every day, which required a 45-minute drive to where she lives.  So I would drop off the kids at school with the car, and then head out to my mom's house.  The kids got out of the habit of biking, and so did I.  I live in one of the most bicycle-friendly towns in the US, and I spent years commuting to work and doing all my errands by bike, so it's been really frustrating for me to spend so much time driving.

I've been inspired by a few things to start biking again, one of them being a book I read In the City of Bikes: The Story of the Amsterdam Cyclist, by Pete Jordan.  I really enjoyed this book, although the organizational structure of the chapters was sometimes a bit confusing and incoherent.  That's because it was partly, but not exactly, chronological, especially since it mixed the author's story with the history of cycling in Amsterdam, and therefore shuttled back and forth a lot between past and present, and didn't always stay chronological in the present, either.  Like I said, a bit confusing.  But still really good, and really inspiring about how cities could be planned a lot better in the US.  I was also surprised by the amount of anti-bicycling sentiment there has been at various points of time, even in a city that is known world-wide for cycling and the cycling lifestyle.

The last few days, I've been working on getting the kids back into the bike trailer, but it's not the easiest proposition.  Part of it is that they're outgrowing it.  For the moment, they still fit, but it's getting tight.  For some reason, I thought they'd get too tall for it, but elbow room is actually the current issue.  It's a bit squished in there, and they like to read while biking, which is even more of a problem.  So I'm looking into other options.  My husband is against my ideas, saying I won't bike enough and it will just be more stuff sitting around in our garage.  I get what he's saying, but I hope to prove him wrong.

My idea right now is to get a cargo bike - the type I'm looking at has an extended rear frame with a platform that kids (or adults!) can sit on and that saddlebags and cargo can be strapped to.  There are two brands I'm interested in: the Xtracycle and the Yuba Bikes Mundo.  They both have child seats that can be attached, and safety bar attachments as well, but all the attachments start getting expensive, and I'm not sure how long we'd use them.  I discovered that children under 4 need to be in a seat or a trailer, and I'm also not sure about using this bike in the rain (which the trailer can handle), so my current tentative plan is to try to use the trailer through the winter, rack up as many miles as possible, and then reconsider in the spring after the rainy season.  And then, we'll see ... I hope I can surprise both my husband and myself and make cycling a major part of my lifestyle again.


  1. Those are neat bikes. If I were into cycling, I think that would be a great option with bigger kids. Would it be possible to sell the trailer (to limit the amount of "stuff" in the garage your husband is concerned about)?

  2. You have the kind of energy I can only dream about. :)
    You'd love Austin! Cycling is all the rage. I don't know how they do it in the heat, though!


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