Kid schlepping with the wrong bike

This started two weeks ago when, after ferrying the kids to school via cargobike, I swapped it out for my road bike for a six-mile ride to Wedgwood to see the chiropractor. I figured since I was only another two miles to the thrift store I may as well take a quick peek for items to make that yellow dinosaur-spider hybrid costume (which has since changed twice and counting) before swapping back to the mamabike.

It was a no go on the costume stuff, but I ended up finding a bunch of other stuff…yet not leaving myself enough time for the ten-mile ride home! In the old days (before someone stole our trailer last month, that is) I would have towed the empty trailer during morning dropoff and left it locked up at preschool, but as it was, I showed up one seat short.

The wrong bike

Preschool is only two miles from home so I figured it’d be a manageable walk. Plus I scored some shoes at the thrift store so I wouldn’t have to walk in my cleats. My four-year old was only too happy to perch on my saddle and cling to my back.

Wrong bike panda shot

We walked half a block when it occurred to me one or two of the buses that stop by school run through our neighborhood. And just as I was thinking this a bus pulled up so I asked from the sidewalk, “Hey! Do you run along 40th?” and sure enough, it did! So we ended up walking one block, busing 12 minutes, and walking one more block. Too easy! Not to mention it was incredibly easy to lift that little bike up on the bike rack! My road bike probably weighs 20 pounds, but I’m used to busing with the Bianchi Milano plus kid seats which is around 50 pounds. And there was the one time I transported Mr. Family Ride’s beach cruiser when I really should have hauled it by cargo bike. But the cargo bike was only 10 days old and I didn’t know any better. And hey, that was my first time schlepping kids with the wrong bike.

Anyhow, the kid had so much fun riding on the wrong bike that I did it intentionally today. This time I was on my cyclocross bike, practicing cyclocrossy stuff with a friend in a park. I ended up having enough time to head home and swap bikes, but decided it’d be more fun to show up on the wrong bike so I used my extra time to figure out that “easy” route up Queen Anne at which I failed last month.

Scenic, easy? Queen Anne ascent

I paid closer attention to the twisty turny route (so easy when alone, so hard when with two passengers) and didn’t miss any turns this time. I only went as far as McGraw, though, as Biking with Brad told me I’d have gained all my elevation by then. No time to stop for scenic view pictures this time, but here’s a quick snap of the cross bike at David Rodgers Park, the destination of our last visit up Queen Anne.

Top of the hill

I should really try the route on the cargobike to see if it’s doable, but on the cross bike with half-inflated tires, it felt pretty not-flat. This route came from a friend who rides a regular bike and uses it as a scenic ride up the hill and refers to it as “as flat as possible.” A couple days ago I met a bike mechanic who lives on Queen Anne and mentioned ways one can zig zag up to avoid the worst hills, but again: regular bike. Plus he used to be a bike messenger and firmly believes in having his kids pedal their own bikes so I wouldn’t call him ideal route-referrer. Today’s route was all uphill for the first half and then flattened out nicely. Not in the sense of “Keep riding up that hill and it’ll eventually flatten out.” I hate when people say that–it won’t “flatten out”! But in this case once I got the climbing out of the way, I found a lot of flat terrain.

As predicted, the kid was ecstatic that I showed up with the wrong bike. He wanted to repeat the bus action of last time, but it was such a nice day I convinced him we should walk to Solsticio for a smoothie.

Kid on my cross bike

Solsticio doesn’t have a view of the water, but it does have a great view of the Burke-Gilman Trail. First we saw Kent Peterson whiz by, visiting town from Issaquah, and then Mr. Family Ride biked by on his way to lunch. I texted him to stop by on his way home and walk a bit with us. Apparently 0.7 miles was the little guy’s limit for sitting on the cross bike’s saddle so I moved him to the handlebars for the remainder of the walk.

Kid on my cross bike

Mr. Family Ride stuck with us for a few blocks but then saddled up and rushed back to work. And then he called me to see if I wanted him to come fetch us with the car so we wouldn’t have to walk up the hill at the end. What?! I’ll admit I bike because I’m lazy and don’t like walking, but I like to save my car rescues for bike breakdowns or frozen kids far from home, like last Cranksgiving. Not to mention my younger son has developed an aversion to getting in the car because it creates too much pollution.

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4 thoughts on “Kid schlepping with the wrong bike

  1. “…my younger son has developed an aversion to getting in the car because it creates too much pollution.”

    I love this closing sentence. When I have kids, if any of them say something like this, I’ll know i’m doing something right…

    • Yeah, it’s pretty amazing! Last time we were up the hill at that park my husband met us there by car and offered to drive the kids home, but the little one opted to stay with me on the zero-emissions bike :)

      It’s also fascinating to watch my train-obsessed other son wrap his head around the whole coal train export thing. Most recently, he wants to give all his wooden toy train tenders to the thrift shop to divorce himself from coal.

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