Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Bike Free for Five Days

When we began bike commuting, we didn't have any specific intentions to become a carfree family. Instead, we wanted to remain a one-car family and figure out how to get two miles to work and school without using that car. However, as we began doing more errands by bike, we realized just what more we could do by bike. Investing in the second cargo bike, suddenly made us a truly carlite family as we could divide and conquer and still get the three boys where we needed to go using two wheels (or really four wheels, I guess--on two different bikes!).

Since February, it has been a rare day we did not ride somewhere. I don't mean to suggest that we never used our car-- we did-- but at the very least, one errand would be accomplished by cycling instead of driving. Suddenly, a whole week would pass and we would realize that the car sat dormant against the curb without being driven for a whole week. I've never tracked it, but it would be interesting to see the longest consecutive period of carfree days has been for us.

Most days, riding has been joyous. Lately, it has been a bit of a slog. Yesterday, we had the rain cover on and two squirmy, complaining boys and some darn tired legs. I don't think it helped that it was grey out and some more bad news greeted the local cycling community here. It just felt like it would have been so much easier to drive, but the truth is, since we began family bike commuting we've actually discovered that most times, it is easier to cycle. For instance, we spent all weekend here and there, but doing it all by bike. I took the two older guys downtown to see Tap Dogs and it is so wonderful to be able to pull up right in front of the theater, hop out, engage the internal lock, and walk in with no worries about lines (and cost) of dealing with the parking garages. Sunday mornings, it's become a fun ritual to cycle together to church and then head out to a local coffee shop for good lattes and yummy baked goods. We even braved the car traffic to visit a friend in the neighborhood where this was happening. I couldn't help but think that all the fans should be traveling there by bike.

But now, we head off for the Thanksgiving holiday and I realized this morning that we will be bike free for five days. How odd! With our big cargo bikes, we can't easily throw them on to the car and travel with them to Washington DC. (Major hats-off to the hardcore folks who still figure out the bike thing with kids while on vacation). And these five days are the longest we will be away from our bikes since we started this whole thing....

7 comments:

Charlotte said...

Yeah, it's tough to have a bike everywhere. I don't have kids yet, but I imagine that will be special grandparent bonding time while my husband and I take off on the road bikes stored in the barn. Kid-free cycling, we're taking it for granted right now, but I imagine there will come a day...

viky said...

Hey its really true bikes cant take us on a very long journey at a speed like the cars. But biking is itself a real great experience.

Angie said...

What an amazing journey you've been on - to start out wondering how to get places by bike instead of car and now you won't know what to do with yourselves without the bikes!

At least distance makes the heart grow fonder and I'm sure missing your bike babies will help with the slog. Have a great holiday!

MamaVee said...

:-)

Random pipe dream I have? Folding Kids Bikes. Why? So they can bike through the airport and then I can fold it up and gate check them. They move so much faster and consistantly via bike!

Have a GREAT vacation

Andrea said...

That is amazing...and how does it feel now that the five days is done?

Filigree said...

I was abroad for work for over two weeks last month, and was only able to cycle a couple of times during that time - It was a bummer, especially since I had gotten so used to doing it every day. I took public transportation rather than drive, but still I missed cycling terribly. As you say, it is often simply easier and nicer to use a bike.

Daniel said...

Glad to read other biking parents feel like driving at times too. It certainly is harder when the temps drop and the days darken. Thanks for the post, you blog is very motivational for us!