ON BIKE CULTURE IN EUGENE | Fine blogging since 2010 (with periodic long breaks)
Sitting innocently at work one day a couple of weeks ago, an e-mail popped into my inbox. From my wife. Subject line: “Sharrow’s defeat.”
I opened it up (excerpt follows):
I. walked. the. xtracycle. all. the. way. home. from. school. carrying. the. (2-year-old). with. one. arm.
(4-year-old) only fell off the back once. There were tears (mine, theirs). Skinned knees (4-year-old’s). Promises of strawberry ice cream (for me, 4-year-old). Thoughts of some kind of sadistic xtracycle Mama-thon/Iron-woman (mine). I won!
I wore my helmet the whole way, optimistic that at some point we would ride, but (the 2-year-old) just wouldn’t. I guess she had a hard day today.
What is usually a 10-minute bike ride from the preschool to our house turned into an hour-long walk/carry/push.
The 2-year-old — a skilled bike mechanic — normally rides in a kid seat called a WeeRide that mounts over the top tube. So she sits right in front of my wife. The older girl rides on the back of the Xtracycle.
It usually looks something like this (though we don’t always have balloons):
The thing about the WeeRide is that it has those foot rests — so the 2-year-old can stand up anytime she is so possessed. It’s like she is one of those Russian horseback trick-riders, who circle the Big Top standing on the back of horse.
The straps that are supposed to hold her in place don’t work that well. She can get out them with the ease of Houdini. Maybe we need a better strapping system.
But anyone who carts their kids around on bike (or in a car for that matter) surely has faced the occasional tantrum, too. Kid just doesn’t want to ride today and pitches a fit. In a car, though, it’s easier to just strap them in, kicking and screaming, turn up the music really loud and go.
That’s not as easy on a bike. One day the younger kid was insistent on riding on the back like her older sister. We ended up giving in on this, but we wanted her to be in front of the older girl, to help keep her from falling off.
That made the 2-year-old happy, but promptly launched the 4-year-old into a meltdown. As you can see:
The most well-behaved of the bunch, I have to say. But we made it home without any injuries.
Anyway, after the difficult trip home from school, Sharrow wanted to know if anyone has thoughts or ideas about a better set-up for the younger kid — or whether anyone has other methods to coax a recalcitrant child onto the bike.