Hey! Hi! Howzitgoin?
We are on the first leg of our Pacific Northwest tour, which comes with limited bike riding. But there have been walks on the beach and farmers market visits and many interesting bikes sighted. We’ve seen child trailers galore (this is the right kind of town for them—limited traffic, wide bike lanes), a Bullitt with a plastic crate to haul a kid strapped on, trailer-bikes, recumbent bikes, and mountain and commuter bikes galore. Kids ride their own bikes a lot, even at very young ages. It’s not a big deal given that they don’t have to contend with city traffic or monster hills.
We have been chauffeured by my mom in her car, mostly, given that we are here without bikes. But in an effort to experience the authentic traditions of family biking in these United States, we are scheduled to rent a bike with a child trailer. Okay, granted, a trailer is the only option available for a family bike ride in this town. Still it seems only fair to try riding the ways most families do in this country, so we have a basis for comparison.
I’ll be honest: my kids are nonplussed by this idea. They view trailers with a combination of fascinated disbelief and confused longing. They viewed the child care room at our gym the same way. Having never spent any time there (I only work out during my lunch hour at work, figuring that I spend enough time away from my kids when I’m being paid for it—I have no desire to ditch them during my free time), they viewed it as a destination of mysterious wonders. So one day we dropped them off at the Ikea kids’ playspace when we were visiting Berkeley so they could try out the whole drop-in child care experience. It is fair to say that when we returned the bloom was off the rose.
My kids like climbing in bike trailers when we’re visiting a store that has some. They get along pretty well most of the time so I’m not too worried about their squeezing into a tight space for a short-term rental. But I’m curious what they’ll think of a trailer compared to bike seats. There’s no question that trailers are the most common child-carrying option for bicycles in the United States. I guess it’s a measure of our distance from the mainstream that even by the standards of outrageous family weirdness and deprivation—we have no car!—we are bizarre by the standards of families who bike everywhere. Our kids have never ridden in a bike trailer. Yet! But soon.