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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 10-07-10, 07:53 PM   #1
velosprinter
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Moral support needed

I am commuting with the kids 30 miles a day. The 3 and 5 YO in a burley trailer both ways and a 7YO on a tandem we built on the to home trip in the afternoon. We broke the chain on the tandem yesterday on a steep hill and I was telling some co-workers. They all jumped on the, "Get a car" band wagon even saying the kids would be safer.
I still need to figure out a solution for next week, it is more than just the chain, guess I am a little deflated.
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Old 10-07-10, 08:28 PM   #2
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Tell everyone that will listen how proud you are of the 7 year old's strength. I mean you never broke the chain riding alone. did you?
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Old 10-07-10, 08:33 PM   #3
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You can do it! Don't listen to the cagers!
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Old 10-07-10, 08:40 PM   #4
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I wish I could put college students in a trailer and carry them around. Then I could drop my 2nd car and be in really great shape. =) I would be really doing well on mileage reimbursement too. LOL Keep it up at least as long as the kids are willing. Your kids are getting fresh air and are being modeled to not be sedentary humans. Being obese is the worst health risk in the country and I think you might be keeping your kids from falling into that category with you current habits which lowers their health risk. So is really riding in a car safer? Maybe maybe not. There are so additional variables that haven't been considered by your co-workers. Maybe you are worse driver than you are a bike rider. j/k although I know some people like that.
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Old 10-07-10, 08:40 PM   #5
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Your co-workers are just trying to bring you down to their level. As a cyclist who goes above and beyond (homemade tandem and hauling 3 kids) you present a real threat to them.
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Old 10-07-10, 08:49 PM   #6
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30 miles a day while towing 100 or so pounds is pretty impressive I'd say. How long have you been doing this? You can inform your coworkers that auto crashes are the single largest cause of death for children. (and young adults for that matter)

This doesn't necessarily mean bikes are safer, but most folks greatly underestimate the risk of death and injury they subject themselves to everytime they get in a car, while overestimating the risks of cycling. Add the fact that they really don't understand that when done properly, and by using best practices, one can reduce the realitively low risks of this activity even more. Pedal On!
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Old 10-07-10, 09:04 PM   #7
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i'm not sure how long your ride takes, but i'm impressed that your kids will sit in the burley for that long! after half an hour, my son wanted out.

i have no problem doing my 14 mile ride home from work, but i remember pulling my son for 8 miles was a challenge, specially on the hills!

you're doing a good thing - keep it up!
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Old 10-07-10, 09:11 PM   #8
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You can inform your coworkers that auto crashes are the single largest cause of death for children. (and young adults for that matter)
+1

People tend to critique what they don't understand, and we've become a society in which anything that hints of 'risk' regardless of the reality is seen as irresponsible. Your kids will be much better off in the long run.

And besides: If your car had blown a tire, tossed a drive shaft, had a wheel bearing failure or any of the myriad possible mechanical failures, would they be saying 'get a bike?'

Obviously not.
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Old 10-07-10, 09:17 PM   #9
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You're probably deflated too because you are tired. That's a lot of cycling with a trailer full of kids.

Is there some way you can break this trip up a little? Like maybe take the bus part of the way?
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Old 10-07-10, 09:21 PM   #10
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With a diabetes and obesity epidemic among our young people I am shocked that anyone would harass you for modeling and creating a healthy lifestyle for your children. I wish we had more responsible parents like yourself. In fact, considering our current oil-import-driven trade imbalance, I wish we had more patriotic citizens like you. Hurray for your family.
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Old 10-07-10, 09:25 PM   #11
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30 miles every day with two kids in tow must be a pretty hard thing to keep up. It's a great thing you're doing but I wouldn't knock myself out, you just might end up resenting all that biking just like you can resent driving around in a car all the time. I think balance is the key. The bicycle is just another form of mechanical transportation, the automobile is best used for long distances or carrying cargo (although a train is way more efficient). Bike on the nice days and drive on the crappy ones, if the cost of driving a car is a problem have you looked at using public transportation for 'crappy day' trips? Going 'all' bike or 'all' car is just limiting yourself for no reason. I try to bike all the time but i'm not going to wreck my enjoyment of cycling by forcing myself onto my bicycle when I don't want to ride.
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Old 10-08-10, 02:42 AM   #12
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The OP doesn't say what the other problems are but I bet part of that is carrying all that weight with steep hills and all. You might want to consider an electric assist motor. Check out your options on the electric bicycle forum. You'll still get your exercise but it will get you over those hills without wearing you out.
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Old 10-08-10, 03:40 AM   #13
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Get a new chain?
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Old 10-08-10, 04:26 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by heywood View Post
30 miles every day with two kids in tow must be a pretty hard thing to keep up. It's a great thing you're doing but I wouldn't knock myself out, you just might end up resenting all that biking just like you can resent driving around in a car all the time. I think balance is the key. The bicycle is just another form of mechanical transportation, the automobile is best used for long distances or carrying cargo (although a train is way more efficient). Bike on the nice days and drive on the crappy ones, if the cost of driving a car is a problem have you looked at using public transportation for 'crappy day' trips? Going 'all' bike or 'all' car is just limiting yourself for no reason. I try to bike all the time but i'm not going to wreck my enjoyment of cycling by forcing myself onto my bicycle when I don't want to ride.
Agreed. Can you somehow combine transportation methods to lower the fatigue? Break the routine. Find other options? That's a long and hard commute. Perhaps carpool or bus some days, plus some walking, etc? This would also add some variety: you can read a book with your kids on the bus, etc.

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Originally Posted by akohekohe View Post
The OP doesn't say what the other problems are but I bet part of that is carrying all that weight with steep hills and all. You might want to consider an electric assist motor. Check out your options on the electric bicycle forum. You'll still get your exercise but it will get you over those hills without wearing you out.
True. This looks like a legitimate reason for an electric assist.

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Get a new chain?
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Old 10-08-10, 05:30 AM   #15
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30 miles every day with two kids in tow must be a pretty hard thing to keep up. It's a great thing you're doing but I wouldn't knock myself out, you just might end up resenting all that biking just like you can resent driving around in a car all the time. I think balance is the key. The bicycle is just another form of mechanical transportation, the automobile is best used for long distances or carrying cargo (although a train is way more efficient). Bike on the nice days and drive on the crappy ones, if the cost of driving a car is a problem have you looked at using public transportation for 'crappy day' trips? Going 'all' bike or 'all' car is just limiting yourself for no reason. I try to bike all the time but i'm not going to wreck my enjoyment of cycling by forcing myself onto my bicycle when I don't want to ride.
+1,000,000

A few hundred years ago I spent a few months with my motorcycle as my sole form of transportation. It got old....fast. I remember climbing on that thing to go to work in the rain thinking to myself, this sucks and lost my appetite for riding quickly. The same could happen here.

Going car free works fine for some. I would be willing to bet that the majority of them are urban single types. A family guy with a 30 mile commute? Not so much.

It might be time to come over to the dark side and become a part time cager or maybe move closer to work.
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Old 10-08-10, 05:33 AM   #16
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If everyone is happy keep doing it! In the west, a family of four on one bike is as rare as riding an elephant to work. I think the anomaly of it would be enough to get most motorist's attention thus rendering it safer
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Old 10-08-10, 05:40 AM   #17
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One other thing to consider. Them little fellas ain't gonna get any lighter in the next few years, but they won't make good stokers either for quite some time.

Right now you are dragging maybe 60-80 pounds? Next week it'll be over 100!!!

I'm liking that e-bike suggestion more and more. Actually, e-trailer would probably make much more sense. Just go bigger on the motor than you need remembering that 5 year olds put on 5 pounds a week.

Actually, now that I think about it, 5 year olds only grow a pound a week. 12 year old boys like the one I'm growing currently, about 10-20 pounds a week!

Time to head over to the geek, uhhh, I mean e-bike forum and find the biggest baddest e-trailer mod out there. Good luck.
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Old 10-08-10, 06:26 AM   #18
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I'm disappointed to see so many responses bordering on "get a car!" With responses like this in the bike commuting forum, I can only imagine the pressure from the cagers.

"Can you ride the bus?"
"If a car isn't an option..."
"How about an e-bike"

Keep pedaling unless you want to stop. Cutting dependence on foreign oil IS patriotic. Teaching your kids to be healthy and self-reliant is to be admired. People keep pointing out that the kids will keep getting bigger. That's right, they will. That 7 year old will be able to assist more and more and eventually ride alone. Then the 5 year old will be 7 and on the tandem and your towing weight will significantly drop.
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Old 10-08-10, 06:32 AM   #19
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I'm disappointed to see so many responses bordering on "get a car!" With responses like this in the bike commuting forum, I can only imagine the pressure from the cagers.

"Can you ride the bus?"
"If a car isn't an option..."
"How about an e-bike"

Keep pedaling unless you want to stop. Cutting dependence on foreign oil IS patriotic. Teaching your kids to be healthy and self-reliant is to be admired. People keep pointing out that the kids will keep getting bigger. That's right, they will. That 7 year old will be able to assist more and more and eventually ride alone. Then the 5 year old will be 7 and on the tandem and your towing weight will significantly drop.
+1
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Old 10-08-10, 06:50 AM   #20
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I'm disappointed to see so many responses bordering on "get a car!" With responses like this in the bike commuting forum, I can only imagine the pressure from the cagers.

Keep pedaling unless you want to stop.

Teaching your kids to be healthy and self-reliant is to be admired.
Agreed! As a father of 4, all older than yours, I wish I had done as much to instill a love of an active life in my own kids!

But I also agree with the folks caveating with 'as long as everyone is enjoying it' -- your kids will find enough stuff to resent you for, without adding '30 miles / day of foul weather biking' to the list. ;-) That said, young kids are remarkable in their ability to see their lives as 'normal' despite societal messages. As long as everyone is doing okay, stick with it.

I seem to recall that you've been doing this for a while (at least as long as I've been hanging around this forum... which isn't really that long, of course) and it seems like you've got it down to a pretty solid routine. Stick with it while it is working, and don't let a minor mechanical breakdown get you down. Let's face it -- all mechanical devices fail -- at least a bike is simple and cheap to fix, and self help is most often a viable option (unlike today's cars!). And don't dismiss the electric assist suggestions -- no shame in going electric for the kind of hauling you're doing.
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Old 10-08-10, 07:21 AM   #21
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You are not doing anything immoral, so do whatever you want to do. Go team trailer!
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Old 10-08-10, 07:32 AM   #22
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Let me clarify: there is no shame in going the e-bike route. Or even bus or car. But the OP did ask for moral support. I suppose that could be interpreted as "moral support to feel ok about giving up the 30 miles with three kids bicycle commute." But that was not how I read it.
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Old 10-08-10, 10:15 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by ilynne View Post
I'm disappointed to see so many responses bordering on "get a car!" With responses like this in the bike commuting forum, I can only imagine the pressure from the cagers.

"Can you ride the bus?"
"If a car isn't an option..."
"How about an e-bike"

Keep pedaling unless you want to stop. Cutting dependence on foreign oil IS patriotic. Teaching your kids to be healthy and self-reliant is to be admired. People keep pointing out that the kids will keep getting bigger. That's right, they will. That 7 year old will be able to assist more and more and eventually ride alone. Then the 5 year old will be 7 and on the tandem and your towing weight will significantly drop.
Stop being emotional and be realistic and logical for a moment. There will be situations when a bike will not cut it as the only mode of transportation. 30 miles with 2 kids, day after day may be one of those situations. It may be just physically too demanding. I'm not saying "forget the bike and get a car", but "combine modes of transportation", while still being car-lite, to lower the physical and emotional fatigue. Then when kids actually grow up, they'll pedal on their own. But there is no need to live in a constant state of mental and physical exhaustion just to be car-free and patriotic.
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Old 10-08-10, 11:12 AM   #24
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I didn't get a sense that the OP was in a constant sense of mental & physical exhaustion. I got the sense that the post was a request for moral support in the face of others dissing the bicycling. I did say "unless you want to stop."

I do get pretty emotional about it, though. I'm facing the possibility of having to drive 30 miles tomorrow (to return a bicycle) and it seriously bums me out. I do really really hate cars.
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Old 10-08-10, 11:25 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by trekker pete View Post
+1,000,000

A few hundred years ago I spent a few months with my motorcycle as my sole form of transportation. It got old....fast. I remember climbing on that thing to go to work in the rain thinking to myself, this sucks and lost my appetite for riding quickly. The same could happen here.

Going car free works fine for some. I would be willing to bet that the majority of them are urban single types. A family guy with a 30 mile commute? Not so much.

It might be time to come over to the dark side and become a part time cager or maybe move closer to work.
Pardon my french, but **** that. I'm a family guy with a 30 mile commute (that is just the bike miles). The commute keeps me fit and sane. My small children love that I can haul them on my cargo bike over hill and dale - something their friends parents would only dream of doing in the SUV. (Actually, they would never conceive of doing the fun things we do).
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