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Our car-free future spit up on my shirt.

June 8, 2010

Just 10 short months till she can join the cycling community!

I didn’t think I liked babies.

But then, I moved to Denver, where a very close friend has a 10-week-old and another friend has two-month-old twins. Now, I don’t have much of a choice but to like them. If I want to spend time with my friends, I have to spend time with their babies, and it’s not so bad really.

In fact, all this baby time has gotten me thinking about babies on bikes.

Jamie, the mother of the 10-week-old, is on the hunt for a baby bike seat, so that, once little Nina reaches the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute’s recommended 12-month mark, they can start pedaling around Denver together. My friend Jill in LaPorte, Indiana, has a couple of toddlers and uses one of those kid trailers to get the whole family out on bike rides together. And another friend, Martha in Troy, Ohio, whose kids are slightly older, is selecting bikes for her kids, so they’ll be ready to ride to school in a couple years.

As I’ve said, I’m not what you would call a kid-lover. Still, the thought of moms and dads and kids out biking together gives me more warm fuzzies than a cup of cocoa—with marshmallows—in front of a fire—after sledding. Because not only are these parents engaging their kids in a healthy, outdoor activity, but they’re setting the foundation for an avid and competent cyclist.

So, when I see all these babies, what I’m really seeing are future bike commuters.

I hope the babies’ parents will forgive me for poster-child-ing them so early in life, but I just can’t resist thinking about the possibility for a car-free future all wrapped up in those little bundles of joy.

For this reason, I’m making a multi-pronged plea to the parents:

Please, ride a bike yourself.
It’s no secret that kids are copy cats. They emulate what they see others (especially key adult role models—like, say, YOU) doing, whether it be eating potato chips or using curse words. So, why not imprint something positive on them? It’ll make you feel better for using the S word in front them of

Don't you want your family to be the picture of wholesomeness too?

that time(s).

Please, get a baby seat for your bike and plop your kid in it ASAP.
Just like with other skills—talking, reading, trumpet-playing—early exposure is key to developing full competency later. Again, the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute recommends one year as a safe age to start biking with your baby.

Please, teach your kid to bike ASAP.
Ages for learning to ride a bike vary. My sister hopped on her bike and bumped down the driveway when she was just four. I, on the other hand, was coming up on my seventh year before I officially mastered a two-wheeler (yes, that’s embarrassing to admit here). Nevertheless, I say the earlier you start the better.

Please, post a comment here about your family-biking experience!
Hearing your tips, tricks, trials, and triumphs just might be the push another parent needs to integrate biking into their family’s life.

Thanks, in advance, for your cooperation, parents. Our car-free future is napping and drooling in your hands.

Car-freely,
Amy

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. Alicia permalink
    June 8, 2010 1:33 pm

    Great blog topic Amy! Don’t forget about the tag-along option (great for in-between the “toddler phase” and the “being able to keep up with mom and dad phase”). We just got our 5-year old his first mountain bike with gears and he loves it…18-month old loves going for rides in the trailer…took our first family ride of the season this weekend!

  2. avaerewyck permalink
    June 9, 2010 10:46 am

    Thanks for the added info, Alicia! Wow, Baylor’s much more advanced than I was at his age. I was such a scaredy cat, but maybe mountain kids are different than farmland kids. Hope your ride went well!

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