It had been nearly three days since I was on the bike, the longest we've gone since we start bakfiets commuting, and I was itching to ride. We spent the holiday down in Jersey with 11 of the guys' cousins, then headed to the shore to visit a friend from high school and her two boys. The whole time we walked around her small town, hanging in the park and stopping at the smoothie shop, I kept remarking what a perfect place her town would be for a bakfiets. I could just imagine tooling around the quaint downtown, loading the box with beach gear, and parking it up by the boardwalk. If only we could travel with our cargo bike-- we would love to visit her this summer and bring the baks with us. I am imagining one of those trailers hooked up to the car with not a motorcycle strapped on nor a jetski making its way to the beach-- but the bakfiets strapped down, waiting for its chance to be exposed to the sea air.
So 2:30PM rolled around today, and we had still not been on the bike. The twins and I have this week off and we had committed to hanging with one of the boys' friends today. We decided to go to this mack-daddy playground a few towns north of us and then have a special lunch out-- both destinations that we could not get to by bike. Heading home via the highway, I was just determined to get on the bike so instead of driving directly to the friend's home, we headed to ours. I asked the boy's friend if he was comfortable riding in our bike and he excitedly agreed so I parked the car on the street, unstrapped the three boys, ran into the house, and picked up three kids' bike helmets.
For a moment, I did wonder if I should call this boy's mom and ask if it was OK if I brought him home by bike. We've mostly gotten extremely positive comments about the bakfiets, but once in awhile, someone has a comment on what they perceive to be a lack of safety. I think about the number of times I see drivers speed up to stop signs in their cars and barely stop, clearly talking on a cell phone, and I wonder how riding in that vehicle could possibly be safer than with me on the bike, acutely aware of my surroundings, paying extra care to obey traffic signals, and always, when in doubt, yielding to cars. (Of course, one of those cell-phone-gabbing drivers could hit us but that could happen walking or driving just as easily.) Anyway, I know this boy's mom relatively well and thought she would approve so we set off without a phone call first. I don't think any of the boys even noticed we were traveling by bike as they were so engrossed in their conversation and when we pulled up to the friend's house, they asked if we could circle the block a few times so they could continue talking. When his mom came out of the house, she was clearly delighted that we had traveled by bike, remarking how cool it was. After a short exchange, we bid good-bye so we could pick up Boy #3 at his school. We were happily already equipped with the third bike helmet so off we went, only having to jump off the bike for a block, to make it up the steepest part of the climb.