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Car Free, With Kids, in Michigan?

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Car Free, With Kids, in Michigan?

Old 03-03-14, 02:04 PM
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Kindacrunchymom
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Car Free, With Kids, in Michigan?

Hi everyone! First thread and just joined so I apologize in advance if I'm beating a dead horse here.

I'm going against the gain of my little town and trying to become car free as much as possible. I am looking to carry my 4.5 yea old as well as my 10 month old. I've been doing my research and am currently stuck between two types of cargo bikes.

I'm considering a bike with a 'bucket' and a bike with a platform and bag. My biggest set back is our weather. Would it be wise to get a bucket style that I can put a rain cover over or a platform and risk not being able to ride during bouts of bad weather. I'm hoping others in a similar climate (snowing one day, 70's the next ) can chime in with an opinion.

Thanks in advance!!
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Old 03-03-14, 05:23 PM
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To start, if it's been 70 anytime in recent memory, you're in a different Michigan than I am!

I think I know, but I'm not sure what you mean by "bucket" and "platform and bag". Could you post brand names, links, or even pictures?

Welcome to the forum and Happy Paczki Day! When you see Paczkis, spring can't be far behind...even if it was three degrees below zero when you went out to get them.
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Old 03-03-14, 05:47 PM
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I used a trailer for my son for a long time. Being in DC, the winters aren't as harsh, but we definitely went out year round.

The covered part was great for the cold, not just the rain. The wind proofing means all you have to do is throw some blankets on them and you're good to go. You can even leave the blankets in there under the rain proof cover when you pull the kids out.

What two bike models are you looking at?
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Old 03-03-14, 05:47 PM
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Oh, and welcome! =)
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Old 03-03-14, 07:41 PM
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I would guess the "bucket bike" is probably a Madsen. The box bike could be one of several different ones. I would be tempted to go with the box bike for the weather protection. If you can keep the kids out of the wind and bundled up you are ahead of the game.

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Old 03-03-14, 09:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Roody View Post
To start, if it's been 70 anytime in recent memory, you're in a different Michigan than I am! .

Haha, it's more wishful thinking than anything. We are actually pretty close to each other based on your location. I'm about 45 min from the Capitol.


the Madson is one of the possibilities, really any Dutch type bike. As for platform I'm currently looking at the Mundo. I like to option of a cover for snow/wind/rain but the Mundo also looks a little easier to maneuver.
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Old 03-03-14, 09:39 PM
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car free with small children and snow/rain .............why???? political environmental or economical or legal
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Old 03-03-14, 09:47 PM
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Originally Posted by muzpuf View Post
car free with small children and snow/rain .............why???? political environmental or economical or legal
Mainly, just because. Exercise never hurts, saving money is always good, they enjoy the ride, I enjoy the air and a little bit because others think I can't. I don't plan on riding in the dead of winter but being Michigan there is always a chance of snow in July.
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Old 03-03-14, 09:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Kindacrunchymom View Post
Mainly, just because. Exercise never hurts, saving money is always good, they enjoy the ride, I enjoy the air and a little bit because others think I can't. I don't plan on riding in the dead of winter but being Michigan there is always a chance of snow in July.
nothing wrong with just because ............enjoy
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Old 03-03-14, 11:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Kindacrunchymom View Post
I don't plan on riding in the dead of winter but being Michigan there is always a chance of snow in July.
Given that the dead of winter in Michigan may run for at least 3 months; how do you plan on getting around with your children? Are all necessary services for you and the children within walking distance or easily available by public transit in your "little town," or do you plan on being housebound with them for the duration every year?
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Old 03-04-14, 05:32 AM
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Car Free With Kids, in Michigan?

Originally Posted by Roody View Post
To start, if it's been 70 anytime in recent memory, you're in a different Michigan than I am!

I think I know, but I'm not sure what you mean by "bucket" and "platform and bag". Could you post brand names, links, or even pictures?

Welcome to the forum and Happy Paczki Day! When you see Paczkis, spring can't be far behind...even if it was three degrees below zero when you went out to get them.
Hi Kindacrunchymom,

I have no advice, but for my interest as a Michigan (Detroit) native whereabouts in Michigan are you, if you don't mind me asking. Also is "Kindacrunchymom" a variation of "cruchy granola"?

Originally Posted by Urban Dictionary
Crunchy Granola: Noun. Is a person who lives in a healthy, green, vegetarian way. This person often supports Greenpeace and other and such environmental and anti-war groups.
And thanks to Roody for his cheery greetings on this Polish (and Michiganian) holiday (today 3/4/14), both heritages that I celebrate.

Last edited by Jim from Boston; 03-04-14 at 08:18 AM.
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Old 03-04-14, 07:15 AM
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
Given that the dead of winter in Michigan may run for at least 3 months; how do you plan on getting around with your children? Are all necessary services for you and the children within walking distance or easily available by public transit in your "little town," or do you plan on being housebound with them for the duration every year?
For now, during those times, a car will be used when needed. Either car pooling or our own. My husband isn't in the position of being able to be car free so we will still own one but I will be using it sparingly. I'd love to be car free during the winter months as well but until some health issues are ironed out, it's not in the cards.
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Old 03-04-14, 07:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
Car Free With Kids, in Michigan?


Hi Kindacrunchymom,

I have no advice, but for my interest as a Michigan (Detroit) native whereabouts in Michigan are you, if you don't mind me asking. Also is "Kindacrunchymom" a variation of "cruchy granola?

Hi there! I'm about 45 minutes north of Lansing. And yes 'kinda crunchy' is a variation of 'crunchy granola' but more in a parenting aspect verse a political, if that makes sense. Babywearing, breast feeding, cloth diapering, whole food eating, intactivist, keeping things simple and back to the basic kind of way. My friends lovingly refer to me as a 'meat eating, modern day, hippy'.
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Old 03-04-14, 07:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Kindacrunchymom View Post
Hi there! I'm about 45 minutes north of Lansing. And yes 'kinda crunchy' is a variation of 'crunchy granola' but more in a parenting aspect verse a political, if that makes sense. ... keeping things simple and back to the basic kind of way.My friends lovingly refer to me as a 'meat eating, modern day, hippy'. .
Thanks for the reply. My wife is a nurse who currently teaches Childbirth classes When she was a Hospital nurse at the tertiary-care University of Michigan Hospital, she was known as "Earth Nurse" for her simple and back to basic approach, and because she wore Earth Shoes.
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Old 03-04-14, 08:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
Thanks for the reply. My wife is a nurse who currently teaches Childbirth classes When she was a Hospital nurse at the tertiary-care University of Michigan Hospital, she was known as "Earth Nurse" for her simple and back to basic approach, and because she wore Earth Shoes.
That's awesome! She sounds like I nurse I would have loved to have!
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Old 03-04-14, 08:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Kindacrunchymom View Post
That's awesome! She sounds like I nurse I would have loved to have!
When she calls me at work, I'm told, "St. Sharon is on the line.", mainly I guess because she has to deal with me.

Now back to our originally scheduled thread, already in progress.
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Old 03-04-14, 09:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
When she calls me at work, I'm told, "St. Sharon is on the line.", mainly I guess because she has to deal with me.

Now back to our originally scheduled thread, already in progress.
That is funny... mine goes by Airangel, she is a Sr. Flight Attendant (30 years)

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Old 03-04-14, 09:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Kindacrunchymom View Post
For now, during those times, a car will be used when needed. Either car pooling or our own. My husband isn't in the position of being able to be car free so we will still own one but I will be using it sparingly. I'd love to be car free during the winter months as well but until some health issues are ironed out, it's not in the cards.
Makes sense. Thanks for your clarification on your car free status.
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Old 03-04-14, 11:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Kindacrunchymom View Post
For now, during those times, a car will be used when needed. Either car pooling or our own. My husband isn't in the position of being able to be car free so we will still own one but I will be using it sparingly. I'd love to be car free during the winter months as well but until some health issues are ironed out, it's not in the cards.
What about buses? AFAIK, every Michigan county has some bus service, however rudimentary.

In rural counties, it's usually what they call on-demand service, where you call ahead and they dispatch the bus right to your house. It might be helpful as a backup plan--for rainy days or if you sprain your ankle or something. I lived in Charlotte, MI for a short time and used their bus service a few times. It wasn't great, but it did get me places once I figured out a few tricks to using it. They will take you to the other towns in the same county.

i have ridden in most of the villages and small cities around mid-Michigan. They are ideal for carfree living, once you figure out the winter bike thing.
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Old 03-04-14, 01:08 PM
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We do have a 'pay per ride' type bus that could be used in a pinch but due to my husbands job and disability we don't plan on selling our car, at least it's not within the foreseeable future. I'd love to get there eventually but can't take the plunge just yet.

First, I need to actually get a bike lol. After some more research last night I think I'm going to go with the Yuba Mondu and worry about DIYing a couple covers if need be. I'd love to buy used but that doesn't seem like an option so penny saving has started! Hopefully I can order it within the next month. Do bike companies ever have sale?
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Old 03-04-14, 02:32 PM
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I don't know about sales, but I've seen a Salsa Fargo same year as mine for almost half off, as it was over a year old in the shop. Same shop where I bought mine, but a year and a half later, so it was on clearance or something like that.
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Old 03-04-14, 03:04 PM
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Thanks! I haven't seen any local shops that carry cargo bikes, maybe Roody will have some insight here?
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Old 03-04-14, 06:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Kindacrunchymom View Post
Thanks! I haven't seen any local shops that carry cargo bikes, maybe Roody will have some insight here?
I can't be too much help, as I never bought a cargo bike. I don't know of any Yuba dealers n the area. Velocipede Peddler in East Lansing carries Surly bikes, such as the Big Dummy. You might have to go to Grand Rapids or Detroit for a better selection.

Have you ever thought about getting a "regular" bike with a trailer for the kids? These would be available locally and possibly less expensive.
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Old 03-04-14, 08:00 PM
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I'm thinking a trip to Grand Rapids may be in my future. Looks like their is a shop there and in Kalamazoo that are dealers for the Mundo I'm looking at. Wonder if I could find a clear space to test one lol.

We we had a trailer two summers ago for just our daughter and I was not a fan. While we could take in everywhere the other drivers just didn't watch out for us. Even with a flag they still hugged us way to tight which made me nervous. And I didn't like how far down and back she was, I felt more disconnected from her.

My town own only has one road with a designated bike lane and they are quick to ticket if you're caught riding on side walks. It's sometimes a lose lose around here. Drivers complain about us on the roads (there were 4 accidents last year within two miles of me from drivers not paying attention). But the city and shop owners complain about us on the side walks. Never ending battle.
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