Tag Archives: riding with kids

Get Kids to Talk: The Modern Equivalent of Trapping Them in the Car

Parenting fact: one-on-one time with kids is where all of the good dialogue happens.

1977 Cadillac Sedan Deville

1977 Cadillac Sedan Deville from The Hartford Guy on Flickr

When I was in high school, my dad was well aware of this fact. I think that’s why he’d bribe me with rides to school in his 1978 Cadillac DeVille (or “the boat” as we called it in the family). Even today I can still hear the “thunk” of the automatic door locks engaging as dad backed this giant, baby-blue, swank sedan out of the driveway.

That “thunk” nearly always triggered teenage-cheek-flush and upper-lip-sweat as I realized I was trapped in the car with dad. On the surface it was a luxury ride, but in reality I was merely being held for uninterrupted questioning.

My 15-year-old brain swirled with thoughts of outsmarting him:

“Crap, it’s just dad and me, no one else to distract him or run interference, he can talk about anything he wants. I can’t escape, I have to answer his questions. Maybe if I just look out the window and feign boredom, he won’t try to talk to me.”

But my sweaty, flushed flight response of my lizard brain knew better.

He always asked questions. So many questions. And I eventually had to answer. Continue reading

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Motivating the Stoker

The airplane stoker The Silly StokerThe Serene stoker  We’ve been busy this spring getting ready for our Pacific Coast bike tour in July (even though we’d love to do the whole thing, we only have time for Seattle to SFO).  We’re buying light weight camping gear, planning our route, getting the bikes set up and doing lots of tandem riding on the weekends. The whole family goes for at least one long ride every week – usually between 20 and 35 miles. We’ll slowly build up to 50 miles by the time we’re ready to roll out-of-town in July. Continue reading

“Borrowing” Mom’s New Bike

2010 OctoberI wasn’t prepared. In fact I was completely caught off guard.

Aren’t they supposed to borrow your shoes before they borrow your bike? Continue reading

It’s not you, it’s me

This is our fourth post in our summer transitions series, How to transition kids from being cargo to riding their own bikes.
DowntownSometimes parents use their kids as excuses when they (the parents) don’t want to do something.  Come on, admit it, you do it too.

“We can’t make it to (insert destination or event) because Johnny is real real tired and cranky”.

Biking with kids is no different.

Parents use their kids as excuses all the time.

  • Billy can’t make it up all those hills so we can’t bike to school (translation: there is no way in hell I’m getting my a** on a bike and riding up all those hills with Billy)
  • Billy is scared to ride a bike (translation: I’m scared to let Billy ride a bike)
  • Billy is too out of shape to ride (translation: I’m too out of shape) this one is stretching it a bit…who says their kid is out of shape? ; -)

For us cargo hauling parents (or parents who want to be cargo haulers but haven’t made the leap yet) kids are a great excuse to continue hauling (or driving) them around. Continue reading

Look Both Ways

Tip of the day: crossing busy streets with kids

I see a blue oneCrossing a busy arterial with two young riders is sure to rattle any normally calm, cool and collected parent. Many parents simply won’t do it: “Too many busy roads to cross where I live” is one of the most common reasons I hear from parents for why they don’t get around town on bikes with kids.

How do you get everyone across safely and keep what’s left of your sanity? Like everything else in life, it takes lots of practice. And you have to cross many intersections with kids before it becomes second nature.

We cross several of these intersections on a daily basis and have come up with a system that works for all of us and allows for safe crossing. Continue reading

Transitions: What does your neighborhood say about your (kid’s) riding

This is our second post in our transitions series. The other day we talked about parents preparing to let kids ride their own bikes in the road. If you haven’t read the comments from that post, do it. You all have so much great insight to share.

Based on your comments, it looks like we’re all in agreement: When we talk about riding in the road, we’re not talking about a couple of kids racing each other around the block to blow off steam (not that there’s anything wrong with that). No, we’re talking about real mobility, car-replacement stuff: riding to the library, the local lake or pool. Grocery shopping at the store with the good cheese aisle and more.  It’s fairly easy for younger kids to ride to a neighborhood play-date with parents. The next step is incorporating normally car-centric errands into longer rides with traffic. For most kids, or maybe more accurately, their parents, it’s that jump up to the next level that’s the big deal.2010 July Continue reading

Transitions: Am I ready for my kid to ride?

Riding to Swimming Lessons

Car Free Days Kids (Summer 2008)

Our summer series about transitioning kids from being cargo hauled by parents to pedaling on their own power was born a couple of weeks ago when I wrote about luring parents back to bikes to get more kids riding. I loved all of the comments; they sparked such a rich discussion among parents and non-parents alike about riding with (or as) kids. Continue reading

Transitions: from kids as cargo to kids as riders (a new series)

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.

First Ride

First Ride, August 2007

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.

A lot. Continue reading

If we lure parents to bikes, will kids follow?

fiets of parenthood PDX School has been out for a week and we’re just starting to get into our summer groove.  Swimming, beach time, garden time, cleaning the deck, you know, all that fun summer stuff.

And of course, getting around on bikes.

I didn’t blog much about Bike to School Month this year (our 3rd year organizing and promoting it at our local elementary). Despite the record-setting rainy and cold month in Seattle, quite a few parents and kids got to school on two wheels in May. Of the 550 or so kids at school, 105 kids participated in Bike to School Month. Not a terrible statistic, but definitely has room for improvement.

Last summer Tim read Pedaling Revolution, by Jeff Mapes. I didn’t get a chance to read the whole thing but I did read Chapter 9: Bringing Kids Back to Bikes. Continue reading

Anne Dreams of a Family Triplet

familytriplet

Anne's latest dream bike

School gets out today. This time of year is bittersweet. We are all ready for a break from our normal routine and are looking forward to some carefree summer times. I’m sure the kids will be happy not to hear the words:  get dressed, eat your breakfast, put your book down, brush your teeth and we’re going to be late for a few months. Continue reading