Empty Nest (wittco posted on August 30th, 2012 )

Empty Nest Color - Aug 27, 2012

We are gearing up for school this week by going through kids clothes to see what still fits. Kids grow out of clothes. It is anpart of life.

Kids growing out of a cargo bike is also a part of life. As much as you want, and as cute as you think it is, your kids will reach a point when they no longer want to ride in (or on) your cargo bike. And this is okay.

In fact, it is great.

I have four sons: 12, 10, 9, and a 7-year-old. My eldest rides a recumbent and has been known to borrow a cargo bike or two, and my youngest has unstoppable stamina (more than his older brothers, easily biking a 10 mile route with hills). For my sons, it is unnecessary to carry them because they are all competent people on bikes. Kids reach a point when they want to (or should) ride their own bikes; this supports a child’s confidence when riding within the streets alongside traffic. This is healthy. The specific time that this will happen will depend on the child and the family.

While my sons ride their own bikes, I still own two cargo bikes. My cargo bikes serve a purpose outside of carrying kids. The cargo bikes I have, I consider my “Travis” cargo bikes, and are cargo bikes that cater to my needs. They are my daily haulers.

Before I come across as saying that I never carry my kids anymore, there are exceptions. I suspect that in a bit of whimsy, I will carry my teenage sons to school, or to a friend’s house for a sleep over. Maybe on a special outing with dad. But these will be bits and pieces of fun, not an everyday occurrence.

In our family, we have two exceptions for when our kids ride on our cargo bikes: (a) the distance is too far or other factors involved make the trip time sensitive, or (b) the route is not conducive to stress-free biking with kids.

Have your kids left your cargo bike? If so, at what age and what were the determining factors?

Download a line drawing of the Empty Nest cargo bike.

3 Responses

  1. Stacy says:

    Great job, well timed. I had a reader ask about who is blogging about independent riders. There seems to be a shortage of blogs/posts about children who ride alongside. Thank you!

    And for the note, we have two independent riders, but do as you do, and they ride occasionally based on distance, time, exhaustion, safety, fun factoring.

    Do any of your children ride without the supervision of a parent?

    • wittco says:

      Perhaps it is the timing of bike popularity among families, or the age of kids when these bike families get into cargo bikes, but there does seem to be a missing chunk of stories about self propelled kids riding bikes.

      We have one child who could (or we would feel comfortable about) riding on his own to a lengthy location. The lot of them, ride around the close neighborhood blocks, but beyond that, they ride with us. I think much of it has to do with our perception of safety and the fact that Portland is a larger city than that in which we, the parents, grew up so we see more traffic and want to be sure our kids are safe.

  2. [...] on our cargo bikes. Usually our kids ride their own bikes because we believe in supporting their independence as kids on bikes. However, this outing had some tricky traffic areas and we had a time frame for the the distance we [...]

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