Family Biking Conundrum.

When I was a kid, biking was a given. My parents had bikes and before I could ride my own I rode in a seat on the back of theirs. I watched my siblings (I have three younger ones) rotate through the trailer, and didn’t look twice at my mom pulling them two at a time.

Not only did we all have our own bikes, but we tended to have a mishmash of too big, too small, and too junky hanging around our house for friends and the adventurous to ride. I rode bikes with neighborhood friends for hours and rode bikes to meet friends when I got older. We went on family bike rides to nearby destinations and when we spent a couple weeks camping each summer we spent a great deal of time biking loops in every campground.

Oregon passed a helmet law requiring kids under 16 wear a helmet when I was in middle school. Though I’d worn a helmet without question before, burgeoning self-consciousness caused my friends and I to shun bike riding (and especially helmet wearing) as dorky. When I went to University of Oregon my freshman year of college I brought my bike. It mostly sat locked outside my dorm until one day I decided to ride it to the grocery store. Let’s just say it was much more taxing then I remembered it being as a kid. I was sweaty and panting and trying not to puke.

Who in their right mind would consider this a viable transportation option?

That was the last time I rode a bike for years.

Now I have a family of my own. I live in an über bike friendly area. And there isn’t much that beats getting out and doing something active as a family. Last spring we purchased bikes for both Tony and myself, along with a Burley trailer. I was just pregnant enough at the time to be experiencing the early effects of morning sickness. We rode our bikes through the summer, with 3-year-old Dot riding happily in the trailer. I rode without a problem until about seven months pregnant, though stopping probably had more to do with the weather than my growing belly.

burley bee trailor little girl riding sleeping helmet preschool family biking bike

Dot taking a nap in the trailer last summer.

This summer that baby is seven months old! We dusted our bikes off at the beach over the weekend and it was really nice to be back riding. Alas, we were limited to biking while M napped at the house with someone available to watch her. This upcoming weekend we are going camping and I’m scouring the internet and all available resources (with the help of Facebook friends, the Twitterverse, and Asha at Parenthacks!) for some way that we can [safely] do some riding as a family.

Our hang-ups are as follow:

  • M is seven months old. She weighs maybe fifteen pounds. Our trailer recommends 12 months and up. Other seats (specifically the iBert safe-T-seat) also have a minimum recommendation of 12 months.
  • We have considered just putting her in the trailer and being careful but would like a helmet in that case. What is the tiniest helmet out there? And even if it fit, how long could she wear it? Head support doesn’t seem to be an issue, but we don’t regularly put a pound or so on the girl’s head and bounce her around for long periods either.
  • A few people have suggested the infant carseat in the trailer route and we like this idea…except then there is no room for Dot. I considered a bike seat for her, but it seems (at four years old and approximately 37 pounds) she is too big. Grrrrr.
  • Would any of the Chariot accessories work in our Burley?
  • As for the front seats (in a few months?) my bike isn’t even compatible!

I’m thinking this just may not be our summer. Are there any options I’m missing? Afforable ones? Would trying out baby in Ergo, on bike be horrible? Maybe I can just tether our Bob behind us? 😉

Who’s got insight or experiences?

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