Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Forget the booster. Do you have an extra helmet?

It had been nearly three days since I was on the bike, the longest we've gone since we start bakfiets commuting, and I was itching to ride. We spent the holiday down in Jersey with 11 of the guys' cousins, then headed to the shore to visit a friend from high school and her two boys. The whole time we walked around her small town, hanging in the park and stopping at the smoothie shop, I kept remarking what a perfect place her town would be for a bakfiets. I could just imagine tooling around the quaint downtown, loading the box with beach gear, and parking it up by the boardwalk. If only we could travel with our cargo bike-- we would love to visit her this summer and bring the baks with us. I am imagining one of those trailers hooked up to the car with not a motorcycle strapped on nor a jetski making its way to the beach-- but the bakfiets strapped down, waiting for its chance to be exposed to the sea air.

So 2:30PM rolled around today, and we had still not been on the bike. The twins and I have this week off and we had committed to hanging with one of the boys' friends today. We decided to go to this mack-daddy playground a few towns north of us and then have a special lunch out-- both destinations that we could not get to by bike. Heading home via the highway, I was just determined to get on the bike so instead of driving directly to the friend's home, we headed to ours. I asked the boy's friend if he was comfortable riding in our bike and he excitedly agreed so I parked the car on the street, unstrapped the three boys, ran into the house, and picked up three kids' bike helmets.

For a moment, I did wonder if I should call this boy's mom and ask if it was OK if I brought him home by bike. We've mostly gotten extremely positive comments about the bakfiets, but once in awhile, someone has a comment on what they perceive to be a lack of safety. I think about the number of times I see drivers speed up to stop signs in their cars and barely stop, clearly talking on a cell phone, and I wonder how riding in that vehicle could possibly be safer than with me on the bike, acutely aware of my surroundings, paying extra care to obey traffic signals, and always, when in doubt, yielding to cars. (Of course, one of those cell-phone-gabbing drivers could hit us but that could happen walking or driving just as easily.) Anyway, I know this boy's mom relatively well and thought she would approve so we set off without a phone call first. I don't think any of the boys even noticed we were traveling by bike as they were so engrossed in their conversation and when we pulled up to the friend's house, they asked if we could circle the block a few times so they could continue talking. When his mom came out of the house, she was clearly delighted that we had traveled by bike, remarking how cool it was. After a short exchange, we bid good-bye so we could pick up Boy #3 at his school. We were happily already equipped with the third bike helmet so off we went, only having to jump off the bike for a block, to make it up the steepest part of the climb.

5 comments:

Terra said...

I remember when I would come back from my week long bike trips and think, "wow I miss the bike!". This post took me back to when my dad would ride BOTH my sister and I around on his Honda motorcycle. LOL We wore helmets, but still. You will probably get some well-meaning comments about safety, so you should come up with a neutral comment. There is an interesting book out now that talks about how seriously dangerous cars are, but we don't think twice about getting in them or taking our kids in them. Talks about traffic, too. As you ride your bike more you will be able to predict and even have a third sense about what cars will and won't do - some people who ride bikes a lot know what to avoid and what to watch out for. I'm sure you're SUPER vigilant. You should write a book called, Adventures in Bakfieting!

Dottie said...

I'll bet all the kids love playing at your house :) Cute picture of all the helmets.

Jennifer said...

Sounds like a great afternoon. I'm glad that the baks is providing so much fun for you.

Andrea said...

You need to talk all your friends and relatives into getting Bakfiets so that you can just borrow theirs when you go visit (although I really like the idea of the bakfiets on a snowmobile trailer!)

MamaVee said...

I who hates all things cars actually want to buy a pickup truck. So I can bring my Sorte with me everywhere I go. I will be so sad to be in CT without it. I want it on cape cod when I am there this summer. I want to bring it to NYC when I go there. Even my Xtra is too big for a reg bike rack. Le. Sigh.

I was just thinking about the Playdate factor. I hope T's pal's parents allow a trip home in the bike... I think so, everyone seems to like it. they just think I'm nuts to push so much weight...