For some of us summer means pulling our bikes out of storage – for me it’s the one with the little red basket on front – and the many memories that riding my bike bring to mind and create. Biking is also synonymous with memories of hair flying around my face, the wind at my back, feeling free and alive, and of my feet peddling as fast as they can as my bike carries me to the beach, the park and the corner store.
As the following guest post from Anna Fahey at Sightline shows us, biking with family in tow is often a common everyday way of life at ANY time of the year. Biking is also a wonderful opportunity to get some exercise and at the same time reduce our carbon footprint, making a visible statement that fossil fuels need not to be part of our regular transportation plans.
Babes on Bikes, by Anna Fahey
My daughter will turn three this year, and we just enrolled her in preschool!With all our childcare at home to date, we’ve been lucky to avoid lots of extra running around with the kid. So, no sooner had we signed little Audrey up for preschool than we began to fret about the logistics of getting her to and fro—without royally complicating our lives.
It’s a bit too far to walk, and since I try to commute as often as possible by bike, it seemed counterproductive to go the few miles by car. What would I do with the car? Drive back home and then hop on my bike? I don’t think so! Drive to work and pay to park downtown? No way!
So, I started to investigate my options for conveying my babe by bike—it appears to be the most convenient and sensible solution.
I asked other parents what works for them and for tips about equipment, safety, and getting started. I also asked for photos—and they flooded in, along with all kinds of inspiring insights about the joys of cycling with your kids!I have to admit that at first the idea of taking my small child by bike terrified me—partly because my own commute to downtown can be hairy. I also didn’t want to spend a fortune on gear (and since I’ve sworn off new stuff, I wouldn’t buy it new anyway). But talking with families who bike with kids has me convinced that it’s the way to go.
One woman told me “It’s the best thing we’ve done for our family!”
From what I gather, you can do it safely (I won’t be riding in high-traffic areas) and fairly cheaply (used and borrowed equipment all the way!), and the payoff is health, family fun, special quality time out of your car, a deeper connection to your community, and a way to instill important values and attitudes in your kids that will last their lifetime.
And, if you think it’s too hard, or you’re not strong enough, or it’s inconvenient, all you need to do is read about this Portland mom who hauls six kids—yep, you heard me, SIX—on her one bike! (Sometimes she even takes along a neighbor kid too!) Whatever I do with my singleton will be easier than that!
Follow this link to Anna’s complete article and to some great photos of families “Biking with Babes!”
Anna Fahey: Senior communications strategist oversees opinion research and distills best practices in messaging. You’ll find her writing posts on how to communicate about tricky issues like climate change and government. Prior to Sightline, Fahey received her MA in political communication from the University of Washington. Email: Anna (at) sightline.org
ClimateMama is pleased to feature guest posts by Anna Fahey.