Like many parents around the world, we have embraced using bikes instead of cars to haul our kids around the city. It’s been 3 years since we built the Xtracycles and started using them for everyday transportation.
Wow, 3 years already? How did that happen?
It’s been a great run: we’ve learned so much, met some fantastic people, laughed and smiled a lot….and developed some beefy quads. We wouldn’t go back to our short-distance car driving ways for anything. We’re hooked on bikes.
If you read Car Free Days with any regularity, you already know that. I don’t want to talk about the benefits of cargo bikes.
I want to talk about growing kids and what to do about them. Because while we were out enjoying cargo biking, our kids have grown.
Our youngest used to be a sweet chubby mama-kissing preschooler and our oldest a good-natured early elementary school kid. Now we have an energetic (and hilarious) going-to-be second grader and a sometimes sweet, sometimes eye-rolling tween.
How did that happen?
In so many ways (and especially when it comes to biking) kids are easier when they are young. You can pick them up and plop them on/in your bike and pedal away. And tell them stories and sing them songs and distract them. And ride as far as you want and go as fast as you want. And go where ever you want. And not have to worry about any one hitting a parked car.
But at a certain point they grow. And they want to ride their own bikes. And they grow and get heavy. And they want to pedal. And they eat and grow. And they want some freedom.
And one day you realize they can’t ride on the back of your bike all the time anymore. (And there is no way two of them are riding back there all the time any more).
So how do you make this transition from cool and collected kid-hauling cargo bike rider to passenger-less mom or dad pedaling alongside your still relatively young kid on their own bike? In the road. In traffic. With cars.
How do you make this transition a smooth one?
Do you need a new bike? A couple of drinks? Group therapy?
Tim and I have been making the transition for @ a year now. Our kids still ride on the back of the Xtracycles on occasion. But mostly they pedal. We’re still learning, but we’ve also learned a lot.
We’ll be exploring our transition from full-time kid-haulers to transportation enablers in a series of posts this summer. We plan to talk about different bike set-ups for older kids, riding in traffic with kids, outfitting their bikes (Tim promises to finish his kids’ bikes that don’t suck series) among other things.
Want to know more? This should be a fun ride so stay tuned. And if you’ve already experienced this transition, and are still sane enough to talk about it, we can’t want to hear your perspective.
Next post in series: Transitions, Am I ready for my kid to ride?