Monday, March 19, 2012

Family Biking

Our preschool commute: that's FOUR on one bike!  Okay it's all downhill and I'm only using the brakes, but it looks so serious.  Here's my story and what I've learned about biking with babies.
   I stared biking with my daughter when she was 20 months old using an iBert seat in the front.  I loved our ability to chat intimately while riding together.  We lived on a steep hill so I didn't have to go far to get a work out.  Soon, I got braver and braver and was comfortable travelling across town.  It was becoming addictive; the exercise + running errands + bonding with my child combination. 

  I started in the summer by buying a cheap used bike from Recycled Cycles.  I wondered how long into the autumn I would ride.  We found ourselves biking at night to see Christmas lights!  We rode year round and continue to do so.  It was the same with my second pregnancy, I wondered how far into it I could ride.  I was still heaving my big belly over that bike at 9 months. Then once I had my infant I wanted to know how soon I could get back on with him too.  I waited until he was 7 months old.  He still wasn't able to hold his head up well and I knew a helmet would put too much weight on his head and neck.  I was inspired by reading Kent's Bike Blog on How to Transport and Infant by Bike.  Although the Chariot company does not reccomend it, we chose to strap the infant carseat into the trailer.  I like the idea of the carseat being "a huge, full-body helmet."  Our double chariot trailer would act like a roll-cage that completely surrounded baby.  This worked well until he was about 10 months and able to sit upright in the iBert wearing his nut case helmet (which uses a magnetic buckle that makes getting it on SO much easier!) 

  So here we are currently using the double chariot for my five year old and a friend with baby in the front.  Baby also likes to sit with sister in the back during nap time too.  Naps can be a bit of a problem in the iBert.  They often fell asleep in a forward fold over my handle bars.  Not the easiest for balancing the bike and looks really weird to drivers! You'll find everything you need to know here about front child bike seats, some with wind shields.  If you have concerns about the safety of biking with your kiddos, check out this knowledgable Mama.
  far as gear goes, I'm a minimalist but I do require a few things to make winter biking pleasant for my babies:
  • warm lined booties
  • wool hood for babies head and neck
  • warm suit with fold-over mittens (nothing that detaches or can get lost)
  • aforementioned nut case helmet with awesome buckle
Now I'm trying to decide what's in our future.  I've seen a few of these lately, so versatile!
However, I'd always thought I'd upgrade to an xtra cycle.  Decisions, decisions.
Post any inspiring stories or links about riding with kids in the comments!

I'll leave you with the words of my inspiring and sassy riding Mama friend Madi,
"I bike because I'm too lazy to find parking!"


  1. Thanks for including me and the kids! I'm also too cheap to pay for parking :P
    I think in this city, you'd need an e-assist to use a Madsen bucket bike comfortably, but they sure are gorgeous! I recently moved us to a Surly Big Dummy and love it. Xtracycles are terrific, too, but I like that the one-piece frame doesn't have any "sway" to it. Let's go biking soon!

  2. Well I don't particularly have many stories or links about biking with kids, just glad to see Petals and Moss blooming again :) and frankly, you are inspiring enough! You go girl!!! Oh wait, I just had a couple memories of riding Joseph around when he was small on one of the front style seats... on vacation at our quiet beach town and trail riding the mountains of New Mexico! It felt so secure having him up front and we could chat about what we saw... thanks for helping me remember! Here's one driver that will be more vigilant for mamas & kiddos on bikes also!