Comment of the Week: The best moments of life

Happy Labor Day!

This week we feature a sweet comment that seemed appropriate for the last lazy, long weekend of summer. If you haven’t gotten out yet, there is still another day—enjoy some of it on a bike!

Here’s what SD wrote:

I couldn’t do one kid without a cargo bike or two kids without an e-cargo bike. The secondary market for these has really picked up making them more affordable. This summer, I saw a lot more around.

I’m not exaggerating when I say that the times I’ve spent riding my kids around on a bike are some of the best moments of my life. There is so much to see and talk about and the simple joy of being outside together is the best.

There are probably a good number of cargo bikes that would be great for carrying kids sitting in garages that should be sold to people who want them. True, they don’t work for every trip, but there are so many trips that are done by car out of habit rather than necessity.

Thank you again SD! You can read what SD wrote under the original post.

Lisa Caballero (Assistant Editor)

Lisa Caballero (Assistant Editor)

Lisa Caballero is on the board of SWTrails PDX, and was the chair of her neighborhood association's transportation committee. A proud graduate of the PBOT/PSU transportation class, she got interested in local transportation issues because of service cuts to her bus, the 51. Lisa has lived in Portland for 23 years and can be reached at lisacaballero853@gmail.com.

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9watts
9watts
8 months ago

And those little kid seats that bolt to the top tube are the poor mom’s or dad’s version. The one we had was called a Wee-Ride. Definitely fun!

Trailers too!

David Hampsten
David Hampsten
8 months ago
Reply to  9watts

My mom had the hard black aluminum baby seat bolted behind her, on her 1965 Alex Moulton, the bike bought brand new for $100 back then. I remember holding on for dear life, no helmet, no straps, early 1970s, like a Peanuts cartoon with Linus – total joy! Learned to bike myself soon afterwards, age 5, a free-range kid.

Dave
Dave
8 months ago
Reply to  David Hampsten

Wow, sure did set you and your brothers on a lufe trajectory, and a good one at that!

Iconyms
Iconyms
8 months ago
Reply to  9watts

Yea I love those top tube seats, my 2 year old is riding on it now, no straps handles or back rest etc she just holds onto my handle bars. It does have pegs which she recently started standing up on after seeing her older brother standing up on his peddle bike.

Fred
Fred
8 months ago

These moments of zen are widely available, and can happen on regular, unassisted pedal bikes – not just on cargo bikes.

SD
SD
8 months ago

Fred and 9 watts, I agree completely. My kids are a wide age range and I feel like I’ve used almost every iteration of child transport. Most were great, others not so much, but not too bad. My comment was a clumsy attempt to sympathize with someone who felt like they weren’t able to bike with their kids and that the perceived obstacles made biking not worth the effort.

My main point was that long tail bikes that can transport children and some front loaders are now much more affordable due to used bikes being available. For kids in the 30-50 lb range, I think these are the most practical.

I see a lot of comments where people either genuinely or superficially look into the price of a new e-assist cargo bike and quickly decide that this rules out utilitarian family biking. I want people to understand that this option is more accessible financially and there is more variety of bikes and carriers. Most importantly, whatever the hassle, it is totally worth it!!! Also, having it be part of the daily routine is so much better than the once in a while weekend bike ride.

Iconyms
Iconyms
8 months ago
Reply to  SD

Yea I really appreciated your take on it BTW!

In terms of just carrying a kid on a bike I got one of these Mac Seats – https://enduro-mtb.com/en/best-mountain-bike-child-seat-review/|

and love it, my 2 year old loves it too. Cool thing is she can stand up for bumps and I can even let her steer for awhile since she’s holding on to the same bars I am. Fun way to teach them balance.

Damien
Damien
8 months ago

I think this is a great post that highlights something I feel often gets…overlooked in the sort of discussions frequently had on BikePortland. In a typical American frame (to say nothing about other places that may have the same framing), “quality of life” is almost always linked to consumption – more consumption, higher quality of life. This is a self-defeating framing, because we must reduce consumption and no one will accept a lower quality of life (which is only a choice while resources last).

The thing is, most signs seem to point to consumption not making us any happier. Not increasing our “quality of life” in the more general English language meaning of the term.

Tying that back into BP and this post: Jumping on a bike is fun. Being outside is fun. We’ve evolved to generate endorphins moving outside. Conversely, being in a car (particularly in an urban environment) is rage- and sociopathy-inducing. It’s a miserable experience in and outside of the car. All the while being way more consumptive.

It’s just a nice reminder of the goal: Reducing consumption and increasing quality of life is more than possible, so long as we’re not framing “quality of life” as something that leads to the space ship environment as depicted in Wall-E.

Iconyms
Iconyms
8 months ago
Reply to  Damien

It would be a lot more fun if there were more places to ride and safer places to ride. I think there is only one bike park in all of portland?

When I was growing up kids were allowed to bike in the streets and it was seens as ok and safe. I could bike myself to school at age 6, no bike bus needed.

I hope we get a bike bus where we are so my son could do that but we and the school are on a 35 mph street which seems to mean 45 mph 🙁

EP
EP
8 months ago

I became “cargo-curious” when our youngest was born. I’d seen, and used trailers, which are okay, but the kids are low, behind you, tucked away, and hooking up/storing a trailer is a pain. Longtails are interesting, but don’t carry as much as well, and the kids are still behind you. So, I needed to try one of those cool cargo bikes.

I looked around on CL and ended up with a cheap Tom Labonty DIY flatbed cargo special that I rebuilt and spiffed up, but realized it was better for burning man! So I sold it to a guy who took it there and had a blast. Then I bought a Joebike cargo bike with a nice box, seats, straps, and a cover. It was amazing to be able to put our toddler in there to go on rides, and then naps, which let me ride even more. Being able to talk to them and see what they’re seeing makes bike rides a lot more interesting. Having a rain cover makes it snug and cozy all winter for the kids, and also kept me fairly dry. I later upgraded to a HPM cargo bike out of Eugene as it had discs, and I wanted to make it e-assist, but upgrading it wouldn’t work. So, I sold that and then ended up trading a MTB for a sweet Bullitt box bike with cover. That was a lot of fun, but with two growing kids I started thinking about E-assist. Over the years I’d ridden each cargo bike to the top of Tabor to test them out, and it was always a bit of a workout. But, the first time I tried an R&M Packster, with e-assist, I was grinning ear to ear, riding uphill with ease, and I was sold.

So now that I have an e-assist cargo bike that is totally sweet I feel compelled to keep spreading the good word. A “cargo bike” need not have a box, or a motor, but it’s the kind I’ve had that I’ve learned to love. Lots of friends balk at the price of one new, or used, and I just tell them they have to get it, e-assist or not, and trust me that it can be somewhat life-changing. Slowly working my way up with ever-nicer cargo bikes as the kid(s) got bigger, helped ease the sting of buying one of these new, and the used market supports that in Portland. I’m so glad that I had a cargo bike for the early toddler years as it became this magical vehicle that the kids couldn’t get enough of. Since then the cargo bike has become a common part of our life, and we’ve replaced a lot of car trips with it. It’s such a great excuse to get out of the house and go on a ride, what more do you need?!

SilkySlim
SilkySlim
8 months ago

Another big endorsement of the kid biking world from this guy!

We started nice and young, with one of those attached Thule seats that connects right to the bike frame, just behind me. That was nice having the kid basically touching me, although kind of unwieldy in loading/unloading.

A vacation rental of a Burley in Sunriver sent me down the trailer path. And as many have said, it was a breeze finding a cheap one via FB Marketplace from a neighbor that had outgrown it.

Towing a toddler really is a joy. Not that we can’t have conversations and point things out in the car, but it is much less likely you will stop on a dime and check out a chicken coop and try conversing with the flock (which we literally did this morning!).

Stephen
Stephen
8 months ago

Hauling kids around is great exercise too! I can get the 33 lb one year old on a bike seat on the back of my bike and the 55 lb five year old goes into the bike trailer. Gotta make sure there is lots of room to zig zag my way up hills. Yes, we all love it. Super fun

Iconyms
Iconyms
8 months ago

I love biking, even when I had a ~45 minute, 16 mile each way commute on busy 45 mph roads I would commute by bike.

Now I have two kids and want to bike more with them. My kids love going on the bike and the oldest loves biking himself.

However our favorite times so far have all involved first loading the bikes into the van to drive somewhere safer and more fun to ride – like the gateway green bike park, or the bike path along the gorge.

I’ve been tempted by an cargo bike, I tried an eike one but I found personally I couldn’t really crack 20 mph even with assist all the way – I think maybe this is the regulation here. My normal pace is 28-32 mph which to me feels a lot safer considering the roads I have to take are 35 mph.

Not to mention how expensive an e-cargo bike is compared to a car. I think it was $8k !! which is 4x more than I paid for our minivan that’s far more useful.

I love 2 wheels, love biking with my kids, would love to sell the car and go shopping with them via bike, but it just feels so so far from actually being practical, safe or making sense and I find myself usually only riding with the kids for recreation.