As I've been mapping out Kidical Mass rides over the winter, I've been thinking of something that would add a little extra pizazz to our meetups. Over the past years we've seen a Mama Bakfiets race, and the recent Oregon Manifest Constructor's Race (with excellent coverage on BikePortland.org). I love the idea of setting a more real-world challenge that pushes the limits of both bikes/gear and their riders, based on the constructeur races among bike designers of olde in France. But sillier. Sillier, even, than the original:
And so, the time has come for a family bike design challenge and family cyclocross, or KinderCross.
With real world family biking challenges and feats of parenthood. Or "Fiets of Parenthood", if you will (fiets is Dutch for bike).
We could lay out a course at GasWorks or Magnuson Park that will test the mettle of family bikes and their riders, and make sure that we have at least one bakfiets, xtracycle, MADSEN, front seat, rear seat, and trailer in the race.
I'm thinking a Le Mans style start, where one parent and at least one child race from a starting line to their family bikes, don helmets, strap in kids, and take off. The off-road simulated urban cycling environment will involve some traffic-cone-weaving, pedestrian-dodging, and intrusive-comment-from-motorist-managing. And some "stop" signs, kiddie car right hooks, door zones, and other infrastructure features.
There will be other required stops along the way. Many stops. Such is the way of cycling a la familia:
- The dropped toy. Circle back for child's lovie. Extra points for rolling pickup.
- "I'm thirsty ..." Stop not mandatory, but must be able to get sippy cup to child.
- Look - blackberries! Stop and "pick" 5 berries for child.
- Shopping errand. Must stop and lock up, run over with child, load one full grocery bag, to be carried for the remainder of the race. Tantalizing treat in full view on top of the bag. Deal with it.
- "I'm cold ..." Must add one layer of clothing.
- Napping child. Child replaced by floppy doll for one lap. Doll must not fall off bike, and points subtracted for major floppy-head action.
- Tantrum. When picking child back up, child or judge pitches a fit. Style points awarded for creative tantrum strategies.
- Diaper change. Or at least removal of extra layer of diaper/undies. Bonus for on-board diaper action.
Extra points for additional children/pets on bike, and perhaps some side-challenges such as:
- Most number of children on adult bike
- Best decorations
- Kludgiest kid-carrier (with related sketchiest way to carry children award?)
- Longest kickstand trackstand
- Best comeback to "that's not safe!" comments
- Cycle chic-iest
For older kids on their own bikes or trail-a-bikes, we'll probably have a cyclocross/"KinderCross" course set up. Xtracycle passengers and MADSEN backseat drivers must jump out as well for the dismount portions, kind of like these dudes.
What do you think? I need more ideas ... stops, obstacles, side-challenges, features for the KinderCross (I'm living in a toddlers on bikes world, so I'd need help with the kids on own bikes challenge), and more silly awards.
And Portland people, I see you have a Family Cycling Day at Oregon Manifest coming up on Oct 25th. What say you to trying to pull off a Fiets of Parenthood then? I'd happily come down to help organize and, of course, represent Team Totcycle for the race. Otherwise, this seems like a nice way to brighten up our Seattle winter. We'll work out the kinks in the drizzle, and have a better, bigger challenge next summer! I'll leave you with the Mama Bakfiets race for inspiration: