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  1. #1
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    Anyone carry kids on your commute? Tell me about it?

    In September I'm hoping to commute by bicycle (I'm a student). My plan is to carry my 2 year old and 6 year old about 4 km (2.5 miles) to the 6 year old's school - their combined weight is about 80 lbs. Then I will continue on 7 km (4ish miles) to the university with just the 2 year old, she attends daycare on campus (she is 31 lbs). I have an Xtracycle. Not in the best shape but I find if I go slow I can cover good distance (for me) without tiring much.

    Anyone wanna tell me about your commute with kids? I need inspiration.

  2. #2
    SE Wis dedhed's Avatar
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    You may want to check out the "living car free" forum for this too.
    '68 Raleigh Sprite, '02 Raleigh C500, '84 Raleigh Gran Prix, '91 Trek 400

  3. #3
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    Cool, thanks. I've checked out that forum before but hard to decide where best to ask a question!

  4. #4
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    I used to when our daughter was small. Started with a childseat on the rear rack and front panniers for assorted child-related items when she was a year old. The commute was about 8 miles to the daycare and then a couple miles back to where I worked and involved a pretty significant hill between the two. When she was 4 I switched to using our tandem after modifying it with a clamp-on bottom bracket mounted partway up the rear seat tube to allow her to reach the pedals. Both approaches worked fine, but she did have a tendency to want to start conversations or ask for snacks right at the steepest part of the hill when my spare breathing capacity was limited. She's now an MD so this was back a few years.

  5. #5
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    Ha! Oh man mine are famous for asking questions on the uphills.

    Strangely just in the last few days the bike feels plenty light with both children on it. So maybe this will be easier than I think...

  6. #6
    Senior Member tligman's Avatar
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    If you have too much trouble, I know that there's a special "assist only" motor available for xtra-cycles

  7. #7
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    I carry my daughter to day care on a trailer on the way to work in the morning. It's a little slower, but it beats driving. I leave the trailer there. She loves it, and when we have to go in the car, she asks why we're not taking the bike.

  8. #8
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    I have carried my 10yr old daughter to various, local, places; its just the hills that are really hard.

  9. #9
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    I've been carrying my daughter since she was about a year old (now she's 3). She rode on a back seat at first, and after outgrowing that moved to a trailer. I liked having her in the seat because I could talk more easily to her and I could hand her things. We go up one really big hill now it's a lot of work at first, but keep at it, then it's OK. My daughter talks a lot and asks lots of questions which seems to slow things down a lot, i.e "What's that?" and we have to stop and look at it and talk about it.

    It's a lot of fun for both of us, and she loves it.

  10. #10
    Acts 2:38 rex_kramer's Avatar
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    I don't think my 18 year-old would appreciate a ride to work on my bike.

    In all seriousness, me and the little lady are trying to get pregnant again. I'm looking forward to the day when I can ride around town with my kid in tow.
    Philippians 2:9-11

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikeymama View Post
    In September I'm hoping to commute by bicycle (I'm a student). My plan is to carry my 2 year old and 6 year old about 4 km (2.5 miles) to the 6 year old's school - their combined weight is about 80 lbs. Then I will continue on 7 km (4ish miles) to the university with just the 2 year old, she attends daycare on campus (she is 31 lbs). I have an Xtracycle. Not in the best shape but I find if I go slow I can cover good distance (for me) without tiring much.

    Anyone wanna tell me about your commute with kids? I need inspiration.
    Any chance your 6 yr old can ride his/her own bike to school (w/ you, I mean, not solo). Would have you going slower but from my own standpoint, the sooner the better for that sort of thing. Plus, going your kid's speed makes it a lot easier to climb any hill. 6 might be too young, but it's something to think about for down the road.

    My 9 yr old has been riding his own bike to school since K, but it's only a half-mile or so. But he was ready for riding solo to summer camp when that came along. When he first had a 4 mile each-way commute I wanted to carry him on a trail-a-bike so as not to slow myself down too much, but it worked out for the better to just go the speed he was comfortable at on his own bike, and then I would speed up by myself when he was good and dropped off.

    I do the 2 kid thing too, but usually just once or twice a week, and not day-in-day-out for months on end since they were both in the same daycare (youngest now weighs about the same as they both did back then). This fall they'll be in the same grade school finally and not going in opposite directions. We will be very happy.

  12. #12
    Very, very Senior Member JPprivate's Avatar
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    Sometimes when I have to pick up my 8-year old, I ride to her school and we take the bus back. I've been thinking about a workable solution (since she's too big for the trailer thingy and too young to ride by herself). The only thing I came up with is a Bike Friday Tandem, where you can adjust the seat to any size, so you can take along an adult or child. But I am not sure if I'm willing to spend $1800 for a bike like that.

  13. #13
    DON'T PANIC!
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    Two kids 3 and 1, total weight 50 pounds and I commute them both to daycare which is around a mile each way ( before I go another .5 mile to park the bike and go to my own office ). Most days they really seem to love it. It's a closed canopy, so in light rain I can still take them, but I have never tried in a real downpour.

    Problems you might run into is that trailers like this one are rated to only 80 pounds, there are some rated to 100. The trailer does put some drag on the bike, but I have no problems even up some steep hills or dirt/rock path that connects one dead end street to the campus..
    Weight (April 2010) 200lb -> Goal (Nov 2010) 145lb Achieved -> (Aug 2011) 132lb 10%BF

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  14. #14
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    Ahhh these are great stories, thank you!

    Quote Originally Posted by tligman View Post
    If you have too much trouble, I know that there's a special "assist only" motor available for xtra-cycles
    Stokemonkey right? I have considered it, although I had a motor on a bike before and didn't love it (Bionx, it's a great motor but I had it on a heavy mountain bike, and when I got a light bicycle with no motor I actually found that easier to ride.) If I cant make the commute though I would seriously think about a stokemonkey.

    Quote Originally Posted by HardyWeinberg View Post
    Any chance your 6 yr old can ride his/her own bike to school (w/ you, I mean, not solo). Would have you going slower but from my own standpoint, the sooner the better for that sort of thing. Plus, going your kid's speed makes it a lot easier to climb any hill. 6 might be too young, but it's something to think about for down the road.

    My 9 yr old has been riding his own bike to school since K, but it's only a half-mile or so. But he was ready for riding solo to summer camp when that came along. When he first had a 4 mile each-way commute I wanted to carry him on a trail-a-bike so as not to slow myself down too much, but it worked out for the better to just go the speed he was comfortable at on his own bike, and then I would speed up by myself when he was good and dropped off.

    I do the 2 kid thing too, but usually just once or twice a week, and not day-in-day-out for months on end since they were both in the same daycare (youngest now weighs about the same as they both did back then). This fall they'll be in the same grade school finally and not going in opposite directions. We will be very happy.
    Mine really can't ride her own bike to school. She rides her bike just for fun, but it's just too much to manage with busy roads and morning commuter traffic. Maybe next year tho.

    Quote Originally Posted by JPprivate View Post
    Sometimes when I have to pick up my 8-year old, I ride to her school and we take the bus back. I've been thinking about a workable solution (since she's too big for the trailer thingy and too young to ride by herself). The only thing I came up with is a Bike Friday Tandem, where you can adjust the seat to any size, so you can take along an adult or child. But I am not sure if I'm willing to spend $1800 for a bike like that.
    Ahhh!!! I will need to check out that Bike Friday. Didn't know there was one that would adjust for any size stoker. This could be our next thing, a few years down the line (although by that time maybe I will need a triandem, for the toddler will be pedaling too. Ha!).

  15. #15
    Riding like its 1990 thenomad's Avatar
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    So you are all riding on the regular streets?
    I cycle all the time on the roads but haven't gotten the nerve to bring my kids in tow on the streets around here. I took my son to the bike trail for a long ride (him on the trail-a-bike) via sidewalk for two miles because I just don't trust the other drivers when I know he's right in the danger zone. Feel different about myself I suppose when I commute.
    My blog about rides, bikes and builds: ridesgoneby.blogspot.com

  16. #16
    Senior Member MNBikeguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thenomad View Post
    So you are all riding on the regular streets?
    I cycle all the time on the roads but haven't gotten the nerve to bring my kids in tow on the streets around here. I took my son to the bike trail for a long ride (him on the trail-a-bike) via sidewalk for two miles because I just don't trust the other drivers when I know he's right in the danger zone. Feel different about myself I suppose when I commute.
    Perhaps a side car for the dangerous areas.....

    "I thought of that while riding my bike."
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  17. #17
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    I take my daughter on the trail-a-bike but stay on trails. I try not to touch the roads except to cross them. I have heard that drivers show a great deal more courtesy when you are trailing a kid but I don't want to risk her falling off in a traffic area. Not that she has ever fallen off but the thought is enough to prevent me from trying it.

  18. #18
    Senior Member sggoodri's Avatar
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    I've transported my kids to preschool by bike using various trailers. I use mostly 25mph streets, some 35 mph. I avoid 45 mph roads mostly to avoid potential harassment for violating social taboos with kids, and to make my wife feel better.

    I haven't had any problems. Climbing hills is easier when my oldest helps pedal using his trail-a-bike.

  19. #19
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    We use the streets that are not overly busy and/or have bicycle lanes. On super busy/fast roads, I take the sidewalk. I do find drivers and pedestrians very watchful and understanding when towing kids.

  20. #20
    Senior Member tligman's Avatar
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    All summer I've been riding to work with my son, who then rides a block from my office to his summer day camp and back from here, and though we stuck to the sidewalks at first, the morning that he ran over a drunk guy and made him drop his beer was the last morning we did that. He rang his bell, shouted "on your left" and at the last minute the guy stumbled right into him and dropped his beer. I guess 11 going on 12 is a little old for sidewalk riding, but no matter how old he is, I still get a little nervous with him riding on the street.

    Nervousness aside, riding with him every morning and every evening has been a fantastic experience overall. We get some together time without either of our electronics interfering, we're both getting healthier with the extra rides, we're learning the neighborhood better... just goodness all around. He even asked if I thought his mom would let him ride to school, though since his school is 5-6 miles away, on the other side of the river, with at least one 45mph road no matter how he navigates it.... well I don't think that's in the cards for this year.

  21. #21
    King of the Ramsey Hills specq's Avatar
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    This blog looks to be a pretty good resource for ideas and inspiration:

    http://totcycle.com/

    "Tots on bikes, kids as cargo, family cycling, and other high-occupancy velo goodness."

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