|Jennifer rides a Bakfiets Cargo bike when she riding her kids around.|
*** Check out Jennifer's blog chicargobike.blogspot.com for great information on family riding.
Why do you choose to bike around with three kids?
When my oldest son figured out how to ride on two wheels it was almost instantaneous. After using a balance bike for a month he jumped on a friend's bike and tore away. He had this amazing look of total freedom in his eyes as he burst ahead and rode off. I ride, even though I have to take my kids everywhere, because that’s how I still feel when I’m on my bike.
Staying on two wheels with kids takes a little creative thinking in the city, but it’s easier than you might think, and lots of fun. It can be tricky with more than one child, but it works, and they mostly love it. Other family riders in Chicago I know are like me - they use quieter streets and routes to make their way around. You don’t need a fancy bike. For a smaller child and little bigger one try an old tandem from one of the used bike places like The Recyclery or Working Bikes with a child seat. When people who see us, ask about riding together with kids, I say "give it a try, and take it a little at a time, find ways to get where you go the most the most comfortable way." It takes a little experimenting.
What would improve cycling in Chicago?
I’m totally excited about cycletracks coming to Chicago. Cycletracks are paths for bicycles separated from other traffic- cars! The city will be testing a track out on Stony Island but I think we need more. Imagine having cycletracks in the center of the city and through the neighborhoods keyed to how each different community most uses shopping, libraries, parks and schools. Could we could get everyone from 8-80 out on a bike? Yeah-scrawny kids and old ladies want to ride too.
In Chicago, my favorite morning ride takes us over the river, near the lake, under the skyscrapers, and then home. I always love to ride to a delicious coffee shop, but the kids' favorite ride is one that includes spotting a Rat Patrol bike!