Today is the last day of May, which is National Bike Month! To celebrate, I profiled a number of awesome families who bike with their kids for transportation and recreation. So far, I’ve interviewed Kathleen from Portland, Stacy from Buffalo, NY, Kate from D.C., and Leanne from D.C. I planned on running one profile a week, but I actually received too many responses for the five weeks of the month! So I’ve got two shorter ones today and one final one later in the week.
Sarah Sparks Floyd
While we’ve seen people on both coasts so far, this interviewee is the first from the Midwest. Sarah Sparks Floyd lives in the greater Chicago area with her husband Patrick and three children, who are six, three and a half, and four months old.
1) How long have you been biking with your children and how did you get started?
My husband and I enjoy skiing and mountain biking. We have been doing both of these things together since before we had kids. When our first little one came along, it only seemed natural to strap her on in a Ergo carrier and bring her along for the ride. Her first non-sketchy bike rides in a legitimate child seat began when we purchased a Chariot bike trailer. She was about 8 months old.
2) What are your typical family biking outings? Are they mainly for transportation, recreation, or some combination of the two?
Typical family biking includes traveling to mountain bike trails on the weekends and just biking around town. Depending on what we are doing that day, we may use bikes for transportation or recreation.
3) Describe your current set-up for biking with your kids. What’s your dream set-up?
Our current set up includes a Niner and Specialized mountain bikes as well as two road bikes for the adults. We have a very loved and abused 2-seater Chariot trailer. In the trailer, the baby rides in an infant sling and our middle child rides in the seat next to it. Our oldest usually rides her own bike. For long rides (more than eight miles), the oldest uses a tag-a-long bike. My dream set up would be to pass the trailer along to another family and get a bakfiet. Our middle child has some disabilities and will likely be riding on my bike for a long while. For her, a cargo bike would be perfect.
4) What are your kids’ attitudes about cycling?
Our kids really enjoy biking; they prefer it over driving in the car.
5) What do you love the most about biking with your family?
I love that biking provides an excellent means of spending time together and bonding. It also causes us to slow down and enjoy the world around us.
6) What is your number one wish for improving family biking in your area?
I do wish some drivers were a bit more considerate, especially when kids are with us. My wish is that more people would not only see the benefit of not driving cars, but the quality time you share as a family via biking.
7) What is your best piece of advice for a parent looking to start biking with their children, either on the parent’s bike or on the children’s own bikes?
My advice would be to quit over thinking it and just get out there and bike. Start with small rides and ease your kids into it. Also teach your children how to be safe on bikes. They are never to young to start learning!
From the land of Northern Virginia, Mike Essig checked in. While Mike didn’t exactly provide answers to the questions, he provided some great information and photos. Plus, I can’t help but want to profile someone who actually brings his kids bike camping! I can only hope to be so ambitious (and convince my husband that it would be a good idea).
Mike lives in Fairfax, Virginia with his wife Keow and three kids (ten, eight, and six). Both he and his wife commute by bike to work, her to Annandale and him into D.C. While his family started by using bike seats to haul the kids, they’ve moved on to trailers, tag-a-longs, and their own bikes. Now, all but the youngest are riding on their own. In the warmer months, the kids ride three miles to school. The family also runs the Bike to School campaign at their children’s elementary school.
Each August, they also take a self-supported bike tour from Lockhouse 6 on the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal with their kids.