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A Simple Six: The New Family Caravan

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The New Family Caravan

As part of our efforts to trim the fat, financially speaking, we are driving less and biking more. I have whittled our car miles down to less than 20 one day each week for the past several weeks. We have been working down our errands and appointments to places with in walking/biking distance or in proximity to places we need to go in our van, which we are trying to sell (hint, hint).

The most troubling thoughts and planning has been on how to transport four children when there is only one adult. The past week and a half has put this scenario to the test. There were many different ways this problem could have been solved. Our 9 year old can ride independently but needs an escort for traffic areas. Our 7 year just got his training wheels off a couple weeks ago and has no experience on the streets. We didn't even consider having the 4 and 1 year old on bikes. We looked at trail gators, triple tandems, follow me tandems, a double tandem and a single with trailer, and Xtracycles amongst other things. We didn't have big money to invest initially so here is what happened.
Elliot learning to ride without training wheels at the park, June 2011.

Last year someone loaned us a small Fisher Price bike trailer. We had one adult bike, the trailer, a toddler rear seat and bikes for the older children. Brent would take the little boys out in either the seat or the trailer depending on where they were going and how many were needing to go. Elliot and I stayed home and London rode along side.

My neighbor got wind that we were a bike short and offered up one in her basement that needed some work but wasn't being used. Wonderful! I took it to Huntington Cycle and Sport for a tune up, rear tire and crankshaft adjustment. $50 and 60 minutes later I had a bike. Another friend heard about what we were doing and saw how small the trailer was for our 4 year old and gifted us a beautiful Yakima trailer. I have some of the most generous caring friends.

With Elliot getting better at riding and shortening our errand distances we started out. Our first single parent ride was to a local community garden to volunteer. Elliot and London rode independent. I hauled the little boys in the trailer. It worked wonderfully. It was a great practice trip to see what we needed to get packed, where every one would sit, how helmets and tools and first aid kids were going to be used, etc. We were now a family caravan on the streets of downtown.
Our caravan parked at the community gardens, July 2011.

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