If I had money to burn

Well, not burn. I would obviously put it to good use. If I happened to have a few thousand dollars of liquid capital sitting around I would surely be acquiring one of these European-style cargo bikes I have had my eye on for a while. 

I’ve found since becoming a Mom, especially, it’s increasingly difficult, if not near impossible with multiple children, to remain as active as I would like. As I write this, currently cooped up and laying low hit with a double-whammy of colds and a vomity stomach bug making the rounds for near two weeks, there is no way I even remotely feel like today I would want to be riding any kind of bike, let alone even moving a greater distance than the couch to the computer. Not withstanding, in my idyllic world, I would spend these rare sunny spring days cruising around the city with the girls rather than wasting them indoors.

Gone are the days of 60-miles-in-a-day-and-a-half backpacking trips, car-camping ski trips through Canada, even a full day of skiing is unrealistic. I can accept that, in this season. And I know there are other things I could do, though less appealing- joining a gym, putting my kids in childcare to run, going nowhere for the sake of ‘working out’; Getting up at 5am to go for a run. There are few, if any, things I can do with Three kids in tow. Plus Motivation is a hard one for me, I have even thought of doing a Triathlon or doing a 12 week Crew rowing class, which while still on the list doesn’t solve my issue of time and feasibility in being able to train and knowing myself I will complete the event and become lax on keeping up the regimen once the goal is reached.

So the idea of having something regular, almost disguised in the normalcy of what we do, sounds the most appealing right now. We have one car, on which we have put less than 8000 miles in each of the full years we have lived in the City, mostly used for trips to get out of the City. Near everywhere we go on a daily basis is by walking, occasionally by bus, which is great to get out and move our legs. Of course, that also means everywhere we go is at Toddler Pace, not much of an opportunity to get my heart rate up or start to push my lactate threshold. Plus, our radius of travel and allowable time remains within what is feasible to get to and back from on foot. The appeal of a Cargo Bike is that it would greatly increase our distance, so hence the variety of what we could do would also increase. It would get us out, doing activities we normally do, or could include and do more of. The biggest consideration, and Matt’s valid concern, is that in my idyllic idealism, these bikes are mostly used by women in countries and cities that are reasonably flat. We live in Seattle, on a Hill- any direction we go at some point I would be facing and incline- myself, this big bike, three kids, groceries and stuff would be going up under my physical power. That sounds hard. The up side is it would be kicking my butt (in a good way). Matt bike commutes, at some points since living here going from and back to Capitol Hill (note the word hill in the name)- up, down, up, all over- Ballard, Fremont, Queen Anne, West Seattle, Downtown, Laurelhurst. He would know the difficultly, yet the times he has been biking regularly he has hands down been in the best shape.

Am I crazy to think I can do this? Not that I am going to (100% constrained by cash flow here, for the record), but this seems way cooler than even a nice road bike and kid trailer (in the end likely about the same average cost, roughly $1300-$4000, to note). With Three young kids, biking is really the only thing I can conceive of would be even remotely feasible to do, no? Anyone else find a creative solution they are both enjoying and benefitting from?

Cargo Bike Resources:

2 Wheeled “bakfiets” (“bak” means box; “fiets” means bike); in Denmark, a cargo bike is called a “ladcykel” (load-cycle): 

  Seattle Dutch Bike

  Workcycles

  Madsen 

  Cargo Cycles

  Metrofiets (in Portland)

  Clever Cycles (also in Portland)
3 Wheeled (glorified Trikes):

  Christiania Bikes

  Nihola

 Bakfiets (has both 2- and 3-wheeled styles)
Blogs:

  Totcyle- Family Biking (Seattle)

  Bakfiets en Meer

  Bakfiets cargo

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~ by gdesign on March 13, 2009.

2 Responses to “If I had money to burn”

  1. Great post. We found we suffered from lack of opportunities to exercise when we became parents. Lugging around our boy and associated cargo is a great lift, mainly ‘cos it’s such fun.

  2. If you lived in Copenhagen, I’d say go for it. Get a cargo bike. But you live on a hill and those girls probably already weigh at least 70 pounds combined. I don’t think I could do it…

    I’m 100% with you that it’s hard to make exercise work with kids. The upside of three kiddos is that I don’t live a sedentary life. Grocery shopping feels like a serious workout. Even on days we don’t leave the house I’m on my feet almost constantly. Cleaning, picking up laundry, giving Zephan his pacifier, refilling water bottles, making lunch, changing diapers, doing more laundry, picking up more toys…and fortunately all of that “counts”. After spending most of last year in bed, I am amazed at how strong I am 4 months later from basically just being mom. Beginning to actually exercise isn’t that hard because I’m in okay shape.

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