Biking with Child Day One!

Yesterday, I went to Greenwood to pick up my bicycle! Actually, I didn’t want to bike it all the way back to the ferry (8 miles on back roads) so I just checked it out and paid for it. Later, my friend Angela and her friend came with a Suburban and loaded it up and brought it back to Bainbridge. Thank you a million times Angela!

 

My bike in the store. Note the baby seat on front!
My bike in the store. Note the baby seat on front!

This morning, I showed it to my screaming, crying almost 8 year old who was having a fit because he’d spent his savings on a toy that didn’t work while he meant to be saving for a scooter which I just found on the classifieds for $10.  IMG_4315

Anyway, the bike cheered him up. =). He immediately wanted to get on it.
Now the back of my Edgerunner can technically hold 2 children, but I hadn’t planned on the 62 pounder being one of them. But hey, let’s try it! First, I rode around the neighborhood on my own figuring out the geometry of the bike–by the way, I’m 32 weeks pregnant–and it was very comfortable! Upright, easy to pedal, and the secret weapon-a BionX motor–power assist! So I made it around easily! Then Jacob hopped on and it was a bit hard to disengage the kickstand, but a push helped it and we were off–around the neighborhood, up and down a hill, no problem! We loaded Mirit on last (the 5 year old), and we were off! Ok, the kickstand was even harder to push off, oof, but the kids pushed, and we got the bike started!

Here is what was on the bike: One 7 year old with a backpack, one 5 year old, a large stuffed turtle in one cargo bag, my purse and water bottle in the other cargo bag, and a 7 month pregnant woman peddling. And our three helmets on, of course.

Here is what happened: I started to take off up the hill and sort of veered to the curb. Not enough power assist, and I couldn’t reach the button. Oh, and the little side remote wasn’t connected correctly, which I hadn’t realized yet. So I had to get off, veer down the hill, and start again. This time, I powered up to 3 bars ( supposedly for a steep hill with strong wind, but hey, the motor didn’t know it was on a cargo bike!) and made it all the way up Wyatt with no troubles! Nothing compared to pulling a trail a bike, anyway. Lots of stares and thumbs up from other cyclists. Then down a hill through a parking lot to the bakery, where we picked up a box of cookies for Jacob’s camp–just a little awkwardness getting on and off the bike at the bakery–then Jacob carried the cookies in the box as we rode back up the hill to park in front of the theatre. No problem!

One kid delivered, the ride home was much easier! Up a bit, down the hill, and back to the garage. Lots of stares. I unlocked the battery to charge it, and Mirit and I both have giant grins on our faces. Jacob wants me to pick him up from camp in it, but that might be enough for today.

Biking With Child–More History

What is a Cargo Bike? There are several different types of Cargo Bikes, mostly made in Europe, and meant to carry, obviously, cargo, but then, also children. Because in other countries, people bike a lot more, and have found ways to do what they need to do in life on a bicycle. So a cargo bike either has a long tail to hold goods and children, or a big basket/bin in the front to do same. Or a fold out platform. In late May, I ordered an Xtracycle Edgerunner (http://www.xtracycle.com/#cargo-bicycle) from G & O Family Cyclery (http://familycyclery.com) in Greenwood.

Earlier, David and I started talking about minivan options with our third child on the way. We don’t like buying and using gasoline. Our cars are a Prius and a Leaf. We live downtown so we can walk. We decided we could skip the minivan if we had a more practical child carrying device. So this Cargo Bike is our experiment. This blog will be my experiences with the bike in our car-centered culture.

It Begins! A Little History

I love to ride a bicycle. We, the family, love to ride bicycles. I think I really fell in love with cycling when Dave and I used to ride up the coast in San Diego way back in before children time. I aimed to get up to a century (100 miles). My longest ride, 35 miles, was just before I found out I was pregnant with Jacob. So I guess I started biking with child a long time ago! Then I started having knee trouble, and a child, and biking changed a lot for me.

The next time I rode a lot was when I was training for sprint triathlons a few summers ago. I bought a bicycle from my friend Deb and stopped training on my heavy mountain bike. I got through a bunch of triathlons, but I had lots of hip, knee, and foot pain that sent me to many specialists. Still, I wanted to get back on a bike.

I figured out that the racing bike was not for me. Besides, what was my goal, my ideal? Just enjoying being on a bicycle, out of a car. I sold my racing bike, searching for the ideal everything around town bike. I settled on a Cyclocross, which got me around the island and was more comfortable. I still used a mountain bike–the same old heavy one from San Diego–to pull a trailer, and then a trail-a-bike, when now Mirit was big enough. But it got heavier and heavier, and we have hills! So I found myself choosing the car, again, and again–it’s too hard, she’s too heavy, I have to go grocery shopping, it’s too slow. I had a million excuses.

Then I heard about cargo bikes. And that is where the next part of the tale begins!