First ride

10Feb10

We had a snow day from work. Only the snow didn’t come until late in the day, so we set the kids off on their first ride to pick up blizzard supplies from Nana, like dutiful New Englanders.

R was smiling long after he came inside and G fell asleep on the way home. It was a resounding success. We are ready for the winter farmer’s market and the children’s museum. We will be getting out of the house together and keeping our sanity alive until spring. Everybody wins.

The bike is just as nice with two toddlers as it is with a hundred pounds of groceries. Stable, quiet, like a locomotive coasting on tracks. I’m still amazed by how balanced it is. It could be ridden no-handed if the steering weren’t so sensitive. That has taken a little getting used to. It needs very little input to move the front wheel.

You may have noticed in the photos our other car—a Honda Element. We lived for ten years in New York nearly car free and it was perfectly lovely. We had a car near the end of our time there, but only ever really used it to get out of town or to Home Depot. It was often more a chore than it was worth, as anyone who has parked in that city well knows. Between alternate side every few days and the weeks during which the city looked to boost its revenue by towing everything in sight, we had our fair share of pain owning the thing.

We eventually left New York and moved to a much less dense city, but a city nevertheless. Dense enough to make cycling practical—and lucky enough to find jobs near enough that we don’t need to drive to them—but not the kind of density that supports car-free living. That list you can count out on one hand: NY, SF, Boston, Chicago, Philly. Maybe Portland and Seattle, but the public transportation infrastructure really drops off after the first five (and Philly can be counted as a stretch).

So we needed a car. Neither of us ever thought we’d end up with an SUV, but the other model we considered, the Fit, was just too small to support an old house and infant twins. After hauling five loads of replacement windows one fall, I never thought about it again. It meets our needs and it fits into tight spaces and we put relatively few miles on it (and it gets the same mileage as an Outback, which is the de facto standard around here) so we’re fine with it.

All that is a roundabout way of saying I hope to put even less miles on it now that we have the bakfiets. We have myriad places to go with the kids that we can reach by bike, not the least of which being two waterfront cycling paths which take us past relatives’ houses and picnic spots. Summer can’t come soon enough.

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