Totcycle | Family Biking

Tots on bikes, kids as cargo, family cycling, and other high-occupancy velo goodness.

Not caring how much our bikes weigh since 2008.

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Dec062008

« "Car Free" Weeks »

Thinking about trading the car for a bike? Or selling the second car? Not ready to commit? Well, I've been inadvertently car-free for 10 days and counting ... 

The secret to being press-ganged into the ranks of the hardcore carfree few, other than collecting yourself a few too many DUIs? Leave your car parked somewhere totally inconvenient, but unlikely to get ticketed. I haven't seen my car since Thanksgiving, and arranging the logistics to get it back has seemed like more of a hassle than just riding the bike to work and on errands with our toddler. Now, I already ride a bike to work, but not having the car parked out front does eliminate those last-minute "I'm so freaking late I'll just take the car" lameouts.

What with the cold temperatures, and my man cold, the lack of easy access to car has kept us on the bike more than we would have otherwise chosen. Most of the time, it's been a good thing. Being late and in the car seems to involve a lot more agita than being late on the bike, especially a nice upright heavy beast of a bike, which invites a certain "it's gonna be what it's gonna be, baby" attitude. 

But sometimes, it's just cold. This photo sums up Drew's thoughts on it pretty well: 

As for convincing our toddler to ride the bike when she doesn't want to, that luckily isn't often a problem yet ("Bike! Daddy!"), but one draw for her on bike errands is having access to the groceries. Whether she's in back of the Madsen, or up front on the Dutch bike within arms reach of the front basket, I try to leave something tasty within reach. Our standing deal is that she gets to hold any tasty loaves of bread, as well. 

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Reader Comments (2)

Hey, very nice blog here. I just saw it linked from the Clever Cycle site.

I hope this doesn't come across the wrong way, criticism being about the first thing I'm posting, but I have to say I just don't understand the whole 'keep a kiddie treat at the ready' strategy. I see it recommended often on biking with kids web sites. I wonder if it is an American thing, we American's being so notorious for always driving and grazing at the same time?

My own opinion, based on a little personal experience, is if kids see the parent treating biking vs. driving as a choice/decision to be made, they are going to lobby (whining being their preferred lobbying tactic) for their preference. If kids see the parents just go out and get on the bike as a matter of course, with the car never being given thought or mention, they don't see it as something to voice an opinion on.

Anyway, one guy's two cents. Again, I like the blog. Please take the criticism as highest form of flattery. If I didn't like it I'd not bothered sharing. All my best...

December 18, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAllanF

Hey, please, no worries on the parenting debate. It's my day job, and there, I generally discourage using food as a bribe. But I don't see treats on the bike as a bribe, more like a sometime "feature", or little shopping ritual. We don't do it on every ride, of course (I overstated things above a bit), but I have a hard time not tearing off a piece of of a warm baguette on our errands, and I hopefully have a bit more self-control than my 2-year-old.

As for bike vs car as a choice, we're not car-free enough yet to pretend there isn't a choice, but luckily she rarely expresses a car preference, unless it's dark, wet, & cold. At that point, it's not about treats, and more about making sure things are reasonably cosy (bring on the rain cover, Madsen!). Since she's the more passive participant in the experience, I do feel that her comfort and enjoyment are up to me, and on long rides, a healthy snack does seem to help prolong the fun. But there's plenty else that's fun about bike rides, especially with a more social family biking setup than a trailer.

But yes, we Americans are some big snackers, and we do tend to eat in distracted/non-mindful ways. Then again, toddlers need snacks in between our grownup meals. I'll know we have a problem when I get a supersize cupholder for some bike ride Big Gulps ...

I appreciate the comments! Thanks for stopping by ...

December 20, 2008 | Registered CommenterJulian / Totcycle

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