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Thursday, October 09, 2008

Bicycle travel, with children too!

Image of three kids on a bicycle rack
From the Oregonian, 10.09.08:

Have kids? How you can still travel via bike
It's no secret that Portland has a love affair with bicycles, but what to do when your kids are too young to ride on their own? With all the fun and functional new biking systems on the market, becoming a parent doesn't mean you have to let your bicycle grow cobwebs. There's a rig for every family, from the simple and relatively inexpensive baby seat to the snazzy Bakfiet, a Dutch cargo bike made for serious hauling.

Best choices for babies and toddlers are attachable seats, trailers or the cargo bike. At age 4 or 5, children may be ready to try a tag-along, family tandem or an Xtracycle. While there's no hard and fast rule for when to switch kids to a more independent riding system, Martina Fahrner, co-owner of CleverCycles in Southeast Portland, offers some advice. "You really need to use your parent instinct," she says. "You know your child's development and what they're comfortable with." (Read more.)
Many would-be bicycle commuters have the challenge of needing to transport kids; and many bicycle commuters are children on their way to school. This article from Portland offers a great overview of bicycle travel options with children, considering options such as tandems, trail-a-bikes or tag-alongs, trailers, bicycle seats, long-frame utility bicycles, and the fun-to-ride Bakfiet. No matter how old your child is, there is a way to bicycle commute with kids.

This is the kind of story we can only hope to see more of in the major media, with practical "how-to" information on bicycling for transportation. Americans are likely to be relatively poorer in the next few years. Gas prices are unlikely to go down, especially with an increasingly weaker dollar. The new Bicycle Commuter Act passed by Congress offers a possible cash inducement to bicyclists. Together, these factors among others mean more people will be looking very seriously at the bicycle as a means of transportation in future months. They'll be grateful for helpful articles such as this one.

Image: The Oregonian.
Visit: Twelve tips for bicycling with children, Marion Star (OH)
Visit: Kids and biking, San Francisco Chronicle
Visit: Car-Free Families Blog,
Visit: Fitness: Safe bicycling for children starts at home, News Press (Ft. Myers, FL)
Visit: Auto traders: Families who give up their cars like the savings--and their life in the slow lane, Boston Globe
Visit: Bicycling With Children: A Complete How-To Guide
Visit: Bicycling with Children, Blue Island Bicycle Club
Visit: The biking parent: Interview with Jon Winston, Bike Commute Tips Blog
Visit: Paul Dorn's Bike Commuting Tips Site


Anonymous said...

You bet we are going to be poorer. And public finance is going to collapse, turning transit improvements into pipe dreams even in the minority of American communities where development is dense enough to support them.

That leaves large scale bicycling, carpooling, and telecommuting as the short term alternatives for Great Depression II. The former would save on health care spending, too.

Unknown said...

You just made me jealous for an Xtracycle even more. Who wants to contribute to my "Buy Zach and Xtracycle Fund"? Anyone? Anyone at all? (joking of course... sort of)

Philippe said...

Traveling with kids is probably the most satisfying experience a parent can have – daily rituals and chores get set aside in favor of spending quality time with the children. The best part is that you don't need to be an expert cyclist to enjoy a bike trip with kids.

LBJ said...

I have a Montague folding bike. I can still get around by bike, sometimes the kids can too, but when it comes to moving the kids (esp. in bad weather), sometimes I still take them in the car - bike folds right up and into the trunk.