The bicycle: such a simple solution to some of the world’s most complicated problems.
Last summer I bought a cargo bike from a lovely woman named Nic who had moved to Montmorency and no longer had a place to ride her bike. I had seen them in Amsterdam years before, watching the Dutch ferry their kids to school as part of their daily commute complete with leather satchels, baby capsules and even their dogs riding in the front cart. I had wanted one for so long – until one day, the universe delivered…
There’s something poetic about the rhythm of a bicycle… starting the day outside, in the community. Something calming, yet at the same time the bicycle brings energy, as the body moves and the soul becomes still.
During the week the boys and I mostly ride between kinder, childcare and work, with the odd detour to stop and stare at roadworks and building sites. On the weekends we ride down to the markets, to the far away playgrounds or the beach.
It has become a part of our life now, and like most new habits, there was a fair amount of time spent working it out in the beginning.
A few learnings to share:
1/ It’s best if the tyres are pumped up every month or so; the load is that much easier to push if the tyres are well inflated.
2/ Gear up in the winter time – fingerless gloves, scarves, windproof jackets and boots. On the colder mornings I put a little thin beanie on Sam that fits under his helmet, and Ol’s vest has a hood that I tuck under the helmet to keep the boys heads and ears warm in the wind.
3/ You know you’re getting old when you start to check the weather. A bike will do that to you. I often check the forecast the night before to predict the weather at drop off/pick up times.
4/ Keep a towel rolled up under a seat to wipe it down if it rains, cover the kids legs if it’s cold, clean up sandy feet after a beach visit, act as an impromptu picnic blanket etc.
5/ There’s no need to cycle in gym gear then get changed in and out of clothes. Better to just wear the day’s outfit and go with it – think of the Dutch, or even the French, who make it look so effortless. 3/4 pants are a good idea, as are high waisted shorts with a blazer and brogues in the warmer months.
6/ It’s tempting to go back to old habits on hot/cold/wet days, but if one persists it soon becomes the norm.
Like most sustainable practices, once you build the habit…
you will never look back