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Old 08-20-13, 09:55 AM   #1
PatrickGSR94
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Do you bike with your kids to school? Younger kids?

I'm cross-posting this here and in Family Cycling so I can get more of a response.

My wife and I just took our 3-year old son to his first day of K3 this morning. We had to sit and wait in the car drop-off line for probably 15 minutes before someone from the school came out and opened the door to the building, and one-by-one the kids would get out of each car. The whole ordeal was just dreadful, sitting in idling cars, fumes and pollution everywhere, wasting gas, etc. etc.

I would really love to bike with my son to school to drop him off, but at this point I'm not sure if I can make that happen, and also bike to work twice a week like I've been doing since May. He has to be at school by 8:15, but they don't open the door to the building until 8:15 on the dot. If you're there early, you have to wait in line in the car. The earlier you get there, the closer you are to the front of the line, but you also have to sit and wait longer obviously.

My son is going to school on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Normally I leave the house early and get to work by 7 on Tuesdays and Thursdays so I can leave the office around 4 and bike home (between 60 and 70 minutes each way on the bike). My son is not riding a bike yet, but loves riding in the trailer. I could bike with him in the trailer to get him there at 8:15, then take the bike/trailer back home, then drive to work with the road bike on my car and get to work about 9. My wife would then pick him up. But getting to work at 9, I'm not sure if I would be able to leave at 4 to ride home, and I really don't like the idea of not getting home until after 6 on the bike.

I only bike home on T/Th because my wife teaches Zumba classes on M/W and I have to be home a little earlier.

What about when he starts riding his own bike? I'm not sure if the school even has a place for kids to keep bikes (I'm certain NO ONE else there bikes), and then with my wife picking him up a bike wouldn't really fit in her car I wouldn't think.

Thoughts or suggestions?
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Old 08-20-13, 10:13 AM   #2
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No bus service for the kids?

I've posted about school car drop-off lines before, one of the more sillier things I've ever seen.

Anyways for your situation, just take the blow and get home after 6, why not? The extra time spent to get the kid to school is time enjoyed by both of you (you like being on the bike, kid likes being in the trailer).

Ideally you could just leave the trailer at the school or somewhere in between and not have to go back home before heading to work.

Another thing, one of you should get involve with the PTA and get some racks out there, why are kids not riding to school?
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Old 08-20-13, 10:34 AM   #3
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It's not surprising that they have no bike racks at pre-school, as most 3-5 year-olds aren't ready to ride on their own. Is the school on the way to work? It would be nice if you could leave the trailer at the school and pick it up on your way home.
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Old 08-20-13, 01:11 PM   #4
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This is a pre-school at a church, as public schools do not have classes before kindergarten (5 years old). It actually sits right on the opposite corner of the local elementary school, but there are pretty much no kids riding to school, and only a few parents walking with their kids to school at the elementary school (people who live in the immediate area). The church actually has no pedestrian access at all - no sidewalks at all on that corner of the intersection.

I'm pretty sure there's no one there at 5 PM or later so I wouldn't be able to pick up a trailer then. And it won't fit in my wife's car, I don't think. Plus I don't pull the trailer with my road bike, and riding to work on my "hybridized" MTB is actually pretty dreadful.
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Old 08-20-13, 01:15 PM   #5
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most kids here (Germany) over 7 bike to school alone, even in Frankfurt (if they don't catch the subway).

the post has data comparing it to England (my new home) but not the US (sorry)

still an interesting read:

http://rethinkingchildhood.com/2013/...gland-germany/
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Old 08-20-13, 01:20 PM   #6
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also, lose the trailer and get a proper commuting bike with a kid seat (Römer Jockey is the best, in the US may get them as Britax or some nonesense).

this is another reason I ride an MTB and not with the drops (which is think reduce the overall utility of a bike):



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Old 08-20-13, 01:32 PM   #7
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Personally I never liked the kid seats on the back of the bike. Makes the bike real unstable getting on and off. Plus the kid just stares at your back the whole time. Seats that attach to the top-tube are gaining some popularity but our kids have long since started riding their own bikes so I have no present need to try one.

In our case the trailer worked out pretty well since there's some protection from the elements plus you can throw books and other things in there to keep them busy. That and we could at least for awhile get both kids in the trailer. We still use the trailer for hauling stuff to the beach or wherever. At the time it seemed like a big expense but it turned out to be money well spent.

Our son started school in Kindergarten and we rode to school with him periodically but he mostly took the bus. Now both kids are at a different school and the oldest rides his bike. My daughter isn't old enough to do it on her own and if my son had to ride with her all the time, he wouldn't ride at all. He's a teenager and for him riding is about independence. If he had to ride with his sister it would lose its appeal on that point.

For your situation, it's really up to you. It certainly can be done and you can try it as a once in while thing to see how it works and do it more consistently if it's working out.

In our case the weather starts to become a factor in November and remains that way for much of the school year.
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Old 08-20-13, 01:35 PM   #8
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Personally I never liked the kid seats on the back of the bike. Makes the bike real unstable getting on and off. Plus the kid just stares at your back the whole time. Seats that attach to the top-tube are gaining some popularity but our kids have long since started riding their own bikes so I have no present need to try one.
Not sure about that. Especially with a hub that one shift at a stop. A city bike is heavy enough that it doesn't matter. If you try it a road/MTB bike, well ... it's not the right bike for utilitarian usage. The slender translucent box-bikes are the best compromise and they can be left outside.
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Old 08-20-13, 01:49 PM   #9
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What about when he starts riding his own bike? I'm not sure if the school even has a place for kids to keep bikes (I'm certain NO ONE else there bikes), and then with my wife picking him up a bike wouldn't really fit in her car I wouldn't think.

Thoughts or suggestions?
Usually there's some place to lock a bike even if there's not a rack provided. It's best to check with the school though. For your wife's car I'd recommend a trunk or hitch mounted rack. Hitch mounted ones are better but you need a hitch. Usually hitches are not expensive to install but if you have to get that + a rack the expenses start to add up.
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Old 08-20-13, 02:01 PM   #10
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Not sure about that. Especially with a hub that one shift at a stop. A city bike is heavy enough that it doesn't matter. If you try it a road/MTB bike, well ... it's not the right bike for utilitarian usage. The slender translucent box-bikes are the best compromise and they can be left outside.
We used bikes similar to the ones you pictured. All I know is that of the various kid hauling accessories we had, the rear mounted seat was the one we least liked and ended up using very little. By 3 years old I think we had moved them to a "Trail-a-Bike" kind of thing for many rides. I suppose it depends on the distance but they really enjoyed that.
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Old 08-20-13, 02:01 PM   #11
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Usually there's some place to lock a bike even if there's not a rack provided. It's best to check with the school though. For your wife's car I'd recommend a trunk or hitch mounted rack. Hitch mounted ones are better but you need a hitch. Usually hitches are not expensive to install but if you have to get that + a rack the expenses start to add up.
folding bike ... 6 speeds and 20" wheel with fenders and lights.

http://www.decathlon.de/klappfahrrad...d_8248976.html

just have one shipped from UK or whatever country has them in stock. damn high quality for the price (less than 200 USD).
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Old 08-20-13, 02:02 PM   #12
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also, lose the trailer and get a proper commuting bike with a kid seat (Römer Jockey is the best, in the US may get them as Britax or some nonesense).
I believe trailer vs. kid seat belongs right up there with steel vs. alu, Campy vs. Shimano, friction vs. indexed and whathaveyou. We chose trailer, because it's easier to haul groceries with the kid, he may take a nap during ride if he feels like it, he's sheltered from the elements and the whole thing can be disconnected and left at day care to wait for whichever parent's turn it is to pick the kid up after work.

Does it work? Ask again next spring, when we have started day care and have some experiences.

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Old 08-20-13, 02:04 PM   #13
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folding bike ... 6 speeds and 20" wheel with fenders and lights.

http://www.decathlon.de/klappfahrrad...d_8248976.html

just have one shipped from UK or whatever country has them in stock. damn high quality for the price (less than 200 USD).
For a kid? There might be a good folder option but best to skip the gears until they're older.
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Old 08-20-13, 03:15 PM   #14
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For a kid? There might be a good folder option but best to skip the gears until they're older.
they should be on a walking bike until 3 or 4, then with gears.

http://www.likeabike.de/
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Old 08-20-13, 03:49 PM   #15
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This is a pre-school at a church, ...The church actually has no pedestrian access at all - no sidewalks at all on that corner of the intersection.

.
1.) Get the church to put in bike racks. Biking to church is good. The gods will smile upon you.
2.) Get the city to put in sidewalks. (Walking to church is OK too, I guess.)
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Old 08-20-13, 11:23 PM   #16
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also, lose the trailer and get a proper commuting bike with a kid seat (Römer Jockey is the best, in the US may get them as Britax or some nonesense).

this is another reason I ride an MTB and not with the drops (which is think reduce the overall utility of a bike):
Nah man I have to stick with what I have available, my 2 bikes and the trailer.

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1.) Get the church to put in bike racks. Biking to church is good. The gods will smile upon you.
2.) Get the city to put in sidewalks. (Walking to church is OK too, I guess.)
Fat chance, the whole city has no provisions whatsoever for pedestrians. There are zero pedestrian paths between neighborhoods or to stores, etc. it's really awful for people who like to walk/bike.

We have a hitch rack that fits on my car but it weighs around 50 lbs, plus I would be using it on my car on days when my son goes to school.

I'll try to work something out with the trailer I think.
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Old 08-21-13, 10:29 AM   #17
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also, lose the trailer and get a proper commuting bike with a kid seat (Römer Jockey is the best, in the US may get them as Britax or some nonesense).

this is another reason I ride an MTB and not with the drops (which is think reduce the overall utility of a bike):



Interesting thread. I talked with some folks who ride with their kids a lot (younger kids) and they say a trailer is better versus a seat on your bike because your bike can fall and it wont turn the trailer. Thoughts?
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Old 08-21-13, 11:00 AM   #18
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Interesting thread. I talked with some folks who ride with their kids a lot (younger kids) and they say a trailer is better versus a seat on your bike because your bike can fall and it wont turn the trailer. Thoughts?
I suppose it depends on how the trailer mounts to the bike. It was true of the trailer we have. The bike can tip over and the trailer will remain upright.

We preferred the trailer but there are tradeoffs. In our case the trailer was big enough for two kids which was nice but it also makes your footprint wider.

A seat on your bike is also more likely to remain there so if you make a lot of quick spontaneous trips with your kid, there's no set up time like there is with the trailer. It's not like it takes much time to attach the trailer but if it's been awhile since you've used it you've got to make sure there's air in the tires, etc.

The pros for the trailer were more room, protection from the elements, and it didn't make the bike feel wobblier.

The trailer we had also had a wheel that could flip down in the front and an optional bar for the back so you could use it as a jogging or regular stroller, - though a big one. So you could ride to wherever you were going and still have a place for a sleeping or tired kid to take a break as you walked around.

Finally now that the kids are two big for it, it still has plenty of utility for hauling around what ever we need.

Like I said, we preferred the trailer but kids grow up fast and it's easy to find this stuff used. You can have both.
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Old 08-21-13, 11:01 AM   #19
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A trailer is, IMO, a better choice, simply because of the utility of the device. I've had one bike in the last 19 years that could take a child seat (BTW, MTB unsuitable for utility? Yeah, right); but regardless of the bike, having the trailer meant I could haul kids, groceries, both, whatever.

I've had a few; one, bought in '97 for less than $100, is still in service. This one was advertised as "tip-proof" -- and has been, but for ONE instance.

My daughter was riding in it, surrounded by groceries and various other bits of family possessions, going to a party; I was pulling the trailer, and hooked a curb bordering a small strip-mall driveway. . .a curb that rose to over a foot in height. I didn't even realize it until the trailer tipped over.

My daughter was unhurt, not even scared; all the gear was still contained. Nevertheless, my embarrassment made me be a LOT more cautious after that!
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Old 08-21-13, 01:03 PM   #20
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I have used different combos of Chariot and Burley trailers, Adams Tag-Along (tandem) bike, and other trail-a-bike systems with our 4 kids.
I have also locked up and left both the trailers and the tag-along bike at my kiddo's schools for later pickup.

You can also pick up 1 nicer and 1 cheaper kids bikes off craigslist. Leave one at school, locked up, so you are never in a jam to pick up by bike.

My older two kids have multiple bikes and commute full time back and forth to middle school and elementary school.
My four year old rides our tag along bike.
The 2 year old rides in the burley or chariot trailer.
But he would love the Weehoo iGo tag along type recumbent cycle.

Best o' luck w/ you and yours.
Have fun, stay safe.
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