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Child on Board the Bike

Even with gas prices dipping just under $4 per gallon in some places, commuting costs are much higher than they once were. Drive around the D.C. area this summer and you're bound to see many more people commuting by bicycle rather than car.

But are there good and bad ways to travel by bicycle with your child? That's where Glen Harrison of the Washington Area Bicyclists Association comes in. Harrison is WABA's Safety Education Program Coordinator. Last week, he walked me through all the attachments for bicycles available for parents.

There are four ways to carry a child on a bicycle, Harrison explains: the backpack, the child seat, the trailer, and the third-wheel cycle. The most dangerous of those is the backpack. Here's why: The child's location makes the center of gravity for the rider higher, making it more unstable. Plus, the child's and rider's helmets can bang together. And the higher the child is in the bicycle, the more likely the child can get injured in a fall.


A child seat that attaches to a rear rack

Next comes the child seat. These look a lot like a car seat in which the child is harnessed in and cost between $50 and $160. The seats can attach to both the front of the bike or the rear (sometimes on racks). Harrison doesn't know of any studies that say whether front seats, which are used widely in Europe and Asia, are safer than rear seats. One challenge of bike seats, particularly rear ones, is getting the child into the seat. That's much harder than riding with the extra weight, Harrison says. To safely mount the child into these child seats, Harrison suggests either locking the bike to a rack or propping it against a wall. Practice with the child and engage the child in helping by grabbing onto you. To get used to the extra weight, practice riding with books that weigh the same as your child. A note of caution: It's not a good idea to let a child play with a toy while riding in this seat. The toy could drop into the spokes of the tire, causing the rider to crash.

Some strengths of the child seats, which are generally geared for children ages 1 to 3, are that they don't make the bike much longer and are more maneuverable than some other methods. Unlike a front seat, monitoring and talking to a back-riding child can be difficult. In general, children outgrow these seats by height before they reach the weight maximums given by manufacturers.


A double child trailer

The easiest and most stable child attachment is the trailer, says Harrison. It's also the most expensive, costing between $110 and $800. Trailers are lowest to the ground, which makes a fall less likely to cause extensive cuts and bruises, and is easy to ride with. They have reflective material, offer the most weather protection and are the safest of the bike attachments in which to give a child a toy. Trailers should always have a flag as well. Some trailers are large enough for two children and some can be a double-duty workhorse, converting to a jogging stroller. Trailers attach with an easy on/easy off pin-hitch system that attaches to the rear axle. One challenge with the trailer system is that the rider needs to take over a lane of the road rather than riding on the side of cars.

Finally, when children outgrow child seats and trailers, the next option is the third-wheel cycle. This attachment is just as it sounds; a third wheel and pedal contraption attaches to the bicycle. The main rider still controls the bike, so, unlike a more-expensive tandem, the child can, but is not required to pedal.

Of course, when riding with a child -- regardless of the attachment -- make sure the child is wearing a well-fitted child helmet. To see how to fit helmets properly, watch this video:

Also, WABA executive director Eric Gilliland will be live at noon today to answer any questions you may have on bike safety, a subject that Jennifer Huget also writes about in today's health blog, The Checkup.

Do you bicycle with your kids? What do you like and dislike about it? What safety precautions do you take when riding with your kids?

By Stacey Garfinkle |  July 28, 2008; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Safety
Previous: The Dangers Lurking in Pools | Next: Sore Losers

Comments


I bike with a child seat that's attached to the back of my bike. I chose not to get a trailer since I live in a DC neighborhood with narrow streets and no bike lanes. My bro, who lives in bike-friendly Portland, has the 3rd wheel cycle for one of his kids and a front child seat for the other. I really don't feel safe biking with my kids on the streets in DC tho. I avoid biking in our nhood and take them over to the canal...even tho I'd like to ride around here as well. I have friends who commute with their kids on their bikes which is great, environmentally, but I so worry about safety. A good friend of ours got the 'door prize' and was seriously hurt (luckily not killed) biking to work from our nhood. I feel like DC proper (the city) doesn't safely accomodate biking.

Posted by: MamaBird | July 27, 2008 9:22 PM | Report abuse

When I take my child cycling with me, I let him ride on the handlebars. I've never had to purchase anything special, and he's always been safe.

Posted by: Bring Back the Good Ol' Days | July 28, 2008 7:21 AM | Report abuse

To bring back the good ol' days

Reminds me of the kid who had just learned to ride a bike, he was pedalling around the block, showing off for his mom.

"Look, mom, no hands!" as he made the first block

"Look, mom, no feet!" as he went around the second time.

"Look mom, no teeth!" as he completed the third lap!

Posted by: A Yoke | July 28, 2008 8:02 AM | Report abuse

"Look mom, no teeth!"

I think you mean "Look mom, no teef!"

Posted by: Anonymous | July 28, 2008 8:04 AM | Report abuse

Always check the used markets for these things. We found a Burley trailer for $30 on Craigslist a couple months ago. It's not in excellent cosmetic condition, but mechanically it's perfectly sound.

For us this is purely recreational. My child does not "commute" anywhere. I wish I could bike to work myself, but that's just not feasible right now.

Posted by: Common Sense Dad | July 28, 2008 8:10 AM | Report abuse

Are you kidding me? You will really let your kids ride with you on your bike in traffic? This is the dumbest thing I have ever heard you guys talk about.

Posted by: DC driver | July 28, 2008 8:44 AM | Report abuse

"I feel like DC proper (the city) doesn't safely accomodate biking."

This is because almost all bikers don't follow traffic rules. They run red lights, ride right beside cars in their blind spots and, basically think they own the rode. If the poor person driving a car hits one of these idiots, it is automatically their fault.

Posted by: There is a reason | July 28, 2008 8:47 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for including the video demonstration. That helped...for some reason my seven year old puts his helmet on in some weird ways and any correction on my part is not well received. Just had him watch it.

Posted by: mlc | July 28, 2008 8:52 AM | Report abuse

I don't think I would feel safe biking on the road with my kids. Certainly not in a high traffic area.

We do go on family bike rides on bike trails. I have a seat on the back of my bike for th little one and everyone else rides.

Posted by: Momof5 | July 28, 2008 8:53 AM | Report abuse

I'm sure Cecilia's husband, being in Law Enforcement, has safety suggestions for bicycling parents.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 28, 2008 9:56 AM | Report abuse

To the tune of Beverly Hillbillys.

The Ballad of OP!

Come and listen to a story about a woman named Stace
A Washpo employee, trying to keep her readers on pace
Then one day she was shootin' at some fool,
And up through the blog came a bubblin' rube.

Snark that is, off topic, weak witticism.

Well the first thing you know ole Stace in a flamin' war,
Many folk said "Stace, move away from there"
Said "above the fray is the place you ought to be"
So she loaded up some registration to move from anonymity.

Names, that is. No Donna's, no porn stars.


Well now it's time to say good bye to Stace and all her kin.
And they would like to thank you folks fer kindly droppin' in.
You're all invited back a-gain to this locality.
Just have a real "nom" kinda' like Lizzie D.

Name that is. Type a spell, Take your CAPS off.

Y'all come back now, y'hear?

Posted by: Songster | July 28, 2008 10:03 AM | Report abuse

"I'm sure Cecilia's husband, being in Law Enforcement, has safety suggestions for bicycling parents."

Law Enforcement is MM code for Prison Guard.

Posted by: Mmmm | July 28, 2008 10:08 AM | Report abuse

"I have a seat on the back of my bike for th little one and everyone else rides."

Momof5, are you saying that you get stuck with hauling the extra weight on family bike rides? Well, your husband isn't the only whimp that sticks mom with the baby, I see it more often than not and have a difficult time understanding it.

Posted by: make your husband do it | July 28, 2008 10:10 AM | Report abuse

"Momof5, are you saying that you get stuck with hauling the extra weight on family bike rides? Well, your husband isn't the only whimp that sticks mom with the baby, I see it more often than not and have a difficult time understanding it."

It's easier this way to pull out the boob without missing a beat.

Posted by: Um | July 28, 2008 10:16 AM | Report abuse

It's easier this way to pull out the boob without missing a beat.

Hey, that's what Justin Timberlake did to Janet Jackson at the Super Bowl.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 28, 2008 10:21 AM | Report abuse

boring

Posted by: Anonymous | July 28, 2008 10:22 AM | Report abuse

make your husband do it,
How can you be sure that Momof5's husband is a wimp and she is not a control freak? My best friend wouldn't let her husband change any of the baby's diapers because she felt she could do it better. I have little compassion for her now that she wants some help with their toddler and he doesn't have a good relationship with the child.

Posted by: 21117 | July 28, 2008 10:24 AM | Report abuse

"Momof5, are you saying that you get stuck with hauling the extra weight on family bike rides? Well, your husband isn't the only whimp that sticks mom with the baby, I see it more often than not and have a difficult time understanding it."

Fof4 does the same thing.

Posted by: Please, child | July 28, 2008 10:26 AM | Report abuse

GREAT song, Songster. Glad to see you back in your usual top form!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 28, 2008 10:41 AM | Report abuse

I have a Burley Tagalong for my 4 year old.
The upsides of this are:
1)He can ride to work/preschool with me
2)He gets exercise and loves biking and ringing his bell as we pass people

The downsides:
1)It adds about 70 lbs to my ride
2)Sometimes he wobbles on purpose which throws me off balance
3)He has done various things that have nearly stopped me in my tracks (feet on his chain, kicking the chain off, sitting(!) on his back tire, trying to move his handlebars.

It's usually a good experience biking with him, but other mornings I don't have the energy to pull an extra 70 wiggly pounds, plus 2 saddle bags loaded with our stuff for the day.

Posted by: MadisonMama | July 28, 2008 10:46 AM | Report abuse

"How can you be sure that Momof5's husband is a wimp and she is not a control freak?"

Or maybe Momof5 could use the extra exercise to shed those pregnancy pounds? I'm not sure.

Posted by: make your husband do it | July 28, 2008 10:50 AM | Report abuse

MadisonMama's 70 pound 4-year-old sounds like he could stand to shed some weight too.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 28, 2008 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Ahem....
The burley tag-a-long weighs about 25-30lbs and my incredibly tall son (47") weighs about 45 lbs.

Posted by: MadisonMama | July 28, 2008 10:55 AM | Report abuse

"The downsides:
1)It adds about 70 lbs to my ride
2)Sometimes he wobbles on purpose which throws me off balance
3)He has done various things that have nearly stopped me in my tracks (feet on his chain, kicking the chain off, sitting(!) on his back tire, trying to move his handlebars."

Clearly a child who has not been spanked!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 28, 2008 10:58 AM | Report abuse

I point out the downsides because younger children (obviously) do really unpredictable things on bikes.

The worst part is when you're biking alone, it's hard to see what they're doing or maintain a useful conversation to make sure they're ok.

I like that in the mornings, we have the sun in the right place so that I can look left and see his shadow and see if he's ok.

As an aside, we have some people here that I regard as crazy who have a tag-along and a burley trailer all hooked up together and up to 3 kids (2 in the trailer, one on the tagalong) behind them. Those people, though, have thighs of steel and tend to wear serious biking gear. Sometimes I wonder if they're using their kids for strength and endurance training.

Posted by: MadisonMama | July 28, 2008 11:09 AM | Report abuse

MadisonMama's 70 pound 4-year-old sounds like he could stand to shed some weight too.

Posted by: | July 28, 2008 10:51 AM

The 4-yr old probably sits at home eating junk food all day, while watching tv and/or playing video games.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 28, 2008 11:09 AM | Report abuse

The snark is strong with the nameless ones.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 28, 2008 11:16 AM | Report abuse

It is probably people from the other blogs. Don't respond to them and maybe they will go away.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 28, 2008 11:21 AM | Report abuse

To madisonMama,

Thanks for your valuable contribution. Please don't bother responding to those messages that are clearly off track. Why are people being deliberately rude today? Can we all be nice please?

Posted by: Happy | July 28, 2008 11:21 AM | Report abuse

The snark is strong with the nameless ones.

There's nothing like the smell of snark in the morning!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 28, 2008 11:29 AM | Report abuse

At the corner of East-West Hwy and Conn Ave, I saw a very cute biking family. Dad had a trailer, and mom had a 3rd wheel thing. At the light, the little girl decided to get off the 3rd wheel. We had to scream at the mom to stop and go back for the 4-ish year old. She was a slip of a thing, so I'm sure the weight differential wasn't huge. This is not funny at the corner of E-W Hwy and Conn Ave.

The only thing I learned from that story was to stick to the back roads if I bike with the kid. I don't trust kids or drivers to pay attention and not be erratic.

Posted by: atb | July 28, 2008 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Why are people being deliberately rude today? Can we all be nice please?

Posted by: Happy | July 28, 2008 11:21 AM

Today? You obviously haven't read this blog in the last couple of weeks. This is tame compared to how it usually is. This blog has become totally useless.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 28, 2008 11:36 AM | Report abuse

I try to ride my bike daily to work, my commute is less than 2 miles one way to work. Some days I either take my daughter to school/summer campt or pick her up. We have a bike attachment as she recently turned 5. It has a flag, and we sometimes ride in the street in bike lanes, or on the sidewalk. Riding with your kids on seperate bikes is strictly for the trails & even then accidents still happen with other bikers, joggers, etc... Do what' comfortable for you. I do think the city should invest more money for biking commuters.

Posted by: KAB | July 28, 2008 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: Anonymous | July 28, 2008 11:53 AM | Report abuse

No, my LE hubby is not a prison guard and he is not in the traffic division.

I don't even owe a bike, little precious and I walk everywhere we need to go.

Posted by: Cecilia | July 28, 2008 12:08 PM | Report abuse

we use the 3rd wheel attachment aka "kiddie crank" on my husband bike. son also rides his own. i got him off the sidewalk & on the street pretty quickly. a friend was horrified when i told her my 5 year old was biking on the street rather than the side walk. i told her the reasons i had my son bike on the street was 1. that's where he's supposed to bike. 2. safety issues both for him & pedestrians. 3. i wanted to teach him the street rules at an age when he would listen to me. luckily, arlington has plenty of bike lanes. he's still not that keen on riding his own bike. he much prefers the crank.

Posted by: quark | July 28, 2008 12:20 PM | Report abuse

No, my LE hubby is not a prison guard and he is not in the traffic division.

I don't even owe a bike, little precious and I walk everywhere we need to go.

Posted by: Cecilia | July 28, 2008 12:08 PM

You must live in flyover country, on an LE's salary.

Posted by: Please, child | July 28, 2008 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Yes, we do live in what you mockingly call "flyover country." It is a great place to live, especially judging from some of the comments I have read here the last few weeks.

Posted by: Cecilia | July 28, 2008 12:26 PM | Report abuse

"Yes, we do live in what you mockingly call "flyover country." It is a great place to live, especially judging from some of the comments I have read here the last few weeks. "

I agree, i find nothing more off putting than some snarky liberal who thinks 80 percent of the country is "fly over" country. We live in the REAL world, try it sometime.

Posted by: love flyover country, the real world | July 28, 2008 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Yes, we do live in what you mockingly call "flyover country." It is a great place to live, especially judging from some of the comments I have read here the last few weeks.

Posted by: Cecilia | July 28, 2008 12:26 PM

"Flyover country" is not necessarily a negative phrase. I live in flyover country, duh.

Posted by: Please, child | July 28, 2008 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Brian's going to be living in flyover country soon. Wonder what he thinks of these snarky cracks. And by the way, there ARE liberals in flyover country too!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 28, 2008 12:32 PM | Report abuse

And by the way, there ARE liberals in flyover country too!

Posted by: Unfortunate but true! | July 28, 2008 12:51 PM | Report abuse

"And by the way, there ARE liberals in flyover country too!"

Who rarely come out of the closet.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 28, 2008 12:54 PM | Report abuse

"And by the way, there ARE liberals in flyover country too!"

Who rarely come out of the closet.

Posted by: | July 28, 2008 12:54 PM

Except to vote for Democrats (for example Obama).

Posted by: Anonymous | July 28, 2008 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Hey, I live in flyover country and we're chock full of liberals here in Madison.
I'm proud to be one of 'em, too.

Posted by: MadisonMama | July 28, 2008 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Can't people stop picking on little kids. My 6 year old DD weighs 40 pounds and people think I don't feed her. She is very active and has great metabolism.

She is a little scared of her bicycle now. I have not been able to afford to myself one so I walk with her when she rides.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 28, 2008 1:36 PM | Report abuse

This blog has become totally useless.

Posted by: | July 28, 2008 11:36 AM

Become?? You must never have read it before, Kemosabe.

Posted by: Alice | July 28, 2008 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Brian's going to be living in flyover country soon. Wonder what he thinks of these snarky cracks. And by the way, there ARE liberals in flyover country too!

Posted by: | July 28, 2008 12:32 PM

He lives in Chicago now. Nothing's changing.

Posted by: hmmmmm | July 28, 2008 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Not Chicago, but Urbana-Champaign, Illinois.

Posted by: to hmmmmm | July 28, 2008 1:49 PM | Report abuse

You must live in flyover country, on an LE's salary.


Some people like flyover country. There is less crime, clean air and we can afford nicer things because it is less expensive.

Don't hate.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 28, 2008 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Oh and fly over country is where most of your food comes from. Although I can't expect many of your liberals to care about unimportant people like farmers. It's really sad, when there are other flooded areas of the country, everyone wants to help. I don't see the hippie liberal trying to help the flooded Midwest. Oh well, no bother, just enjoy your tainted wheat from China.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 28, 2008 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Not Chicago, but Urbana-Champaign, Illinois.

Posted by: to hmmmmm | July 28, 2008 1:49 PM

Dude. You need to keep up. Brian currently resides in Chicago. He's moving to Champaign. He's merely relocating within fly-over country.

Posted by: hmmmmm | July 28, 2008 2:17 PM | Report abuse

"Although I can't expect many of your liberals to care about unimportant people like farmers."

Who is that you think donates all that FarmAid money and buys all those Mellencamp CDs? Not that you'd have any way of knowing who is a liberal and who is not when the topic is zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz biking with tots.

Posted by: Alfredo | July 28, 2008 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Brian said he was moving 719 miles to Urbana-Champaign. So that's not from Chicago.

Posted by: to hmmmmm | July 28, 2008 2:21 PM | Report abuse

"You must live in flyover country, on an LE's salary."


"Some people like flyover country. There is less crime, clean air and we can afford nicer things because it is less expensive."

"Don't hate."

Where's the hate? Do you even know the origin of "flyover country"?

Posted by: Duh | July 28, 2008 2:25 PM | Report abuse

It is approx. 138 miles from Chicago to Champaign.

No, Brian does not live in Chicago. I believe he lives somewhere around D.C.

Posted by: Fun Illinois Facts | July 28, 2008 2:39 PM | Report abuse

It is approx. 138 miles from Chicago to Champaign.

No, Brian does not live in Chicago. I believe he lives somewhere around D.C.

Posted by: Fun Illinois Facts | July 28, 2008 2:39 PM


WHO CARES!!!!!!!!!! Can we go back to debating Sherri's question at 12:47?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 28, 2008 2:51 PM | Report abuse

It is approx. 138 miles from Chicago to Champaign.

No, Brian does not live in Chicago. I believe he lives somewhere around D.C.

Posted by: Fun Illinois Facts | July 28, 2008 2:39 PM

For Pete's sake, check out Rebeldad.com! Duh!!!

Posted by: They're so dumb | July 28, 2008 2:53 PM | Report abuse

It is approx. 138 miles from Chicago to Champaign.

No, Brian does not live in Chicago. I believe he lives somewhere around D.C.

Posted by: Fun Illinois Facts | July 28, 2008 2:39 PM

For Pete's sake, check out Rebeldad.com! Duh!!!

Posted by: They're so dumb | July 28, 2008 2:53 PM


Again, WHO CARES??? Why do we need to know where Brian lives or is moving to? Those debating it on this blog must have ADD.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 28, 2008 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Those debating it on this blog must have ADD.

Posted by: | July 28, 2008 3:01 PM

That's your idea of an insult? It doesn't even make sense. Sheesh.

Posted by: nuanna | July 28, 2008 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Not Chicago, but Urbana-Champaign, Illinois.

Posted by: to hmmmmm | July 28, 2008 1:49 PM

Dude. You need to keep up. Brian currently resides in Chicago. He's moving to Champaign. He's merely relocating within fly-over country.

Posted by: hmmmmm | July 28, 2008 2:17 PM

3:01, it's because hmmmmm incorrectly accused a poster of being wrong, when the poster was right.

Posted by: to 3:01 | July 28, 2008 3:06 PM | Report abuse

3:06, get a life. it doesn't matter who is right or wrong when the debate is inconsequential.

Posted by: lkm**gdht | July 28, 2008 3:09 PM | Report abuse

lkm**gdht, who made you god?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 28, 2008 3:10 PM | Report abuse

Those debating it on this blog must have ADD.

Posted by: | July 28, 2008 3:01 PM

That's your idea of an insult? It doesn't even make sense. Sheesh.

Posted by: nuanna | July 28, 2008 3:06 PM

Why are you ASKING for an insult? Haven't we had enough trolls from the Celeb blog and other hate-mongerors over the last couple of weeks? No need to instigate and then ask them to insult us. Zip it!

Posted by: to Nuanna | July 28, 2008 3:10 PM | Report abuse

If they had ADD, they wouldn't remember it long enough to debate it.

Posted by: start making sense | July 28, 2008 3:11 PM | Report abuse

lkm**gdht, who made you god?

Posted by: | July 28, 2008 3:10 PM

who made you an idiot?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 28, 2008 3:12 PM | Report abuse

3:01, it's because hmmmmm incorrectly accused a poster of being wrong, when the poster was right.

Posted by: to 3:01 | July 28, 2008 3:06 PM

3:06, get a life. it doesn't matter who is right or wrong when the debate is inconsequential.

Posted by: lkm**gdht | July 28, 2008 3:09 PM

Seriously 3:06, you're an Idiot with a capital "I"

Posted by: to 3:06 | July 28, 2008 3:12 PM | Report abuse

No need to instigate and then ask them to insult us.

Posted by: to Nuanna | July 28, 2008 3:10 PM

Us? Them? 3:10, I do not think those words mean what you think they mean.

Posted by: Nuanna | July 28, 2008 3:13 PM | Report abuse

lkm**gdht, no one's forcing you to read this blog. You can always just leave (hint).

Posted by: Anonymous | July 28, 2008 3:15 PM | Report abuse

3:15, you need to get laid. (hint)


Posted by: lkm*gdht | July 28, 2008 3:17 PM | Report abuse

If they had ADD, they wouldn't remember it long enough to debate it.

Posted by: start making sense | July 28, 2008 3:11 PM

look! there's a bike!

Posted by: so true | July 28, 2008 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Tell me again how much better flyover country is....

Posted by: Oh, brother | July 28, 2008 3:20 PM | Report abuse

STACEY, PLEASE REMOVE INAPPROPRIATE COMMENT AT 3:13 PM.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 28, 2008 3:21 PM | Report abuse

I NEVER would have commuted into DC when I lived in MD (and I only lived 2 miles outside the limits). However, I moved to Portland, OR a year ago and have ridden to work every day for the past month with my 21 month old. She rides in a child seat on the back (the Co-Pilot I think). My husband commutes with our 5 year old on a trail-a-bike (one of the not quite a tandem contraptions). It has been a great experience for them - fresh air, exercise, a different perspective - and my own stress level has gone down considerably as a result of the regular exercise. Seriously - the kids love it.

Posted by: ar | July 28, 2008 3:22 PM | Report abuse

STACEY, PLEASE REMOVE INAPPROPRIATE COMMENT AT 3:17 PM.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 28, 2008 3:23 PM | Report abuse

The trailer works well for transporting children under 75 pounds. I understand the biking parent feeling overwhelmed pulling a 100 pounds of trailer-kid-work stuff. Parent may wish to look at the gearing of his/her bicycle. In general, it takes a bike with a wide range of gearing to pull a 100 pound load. That means a mountain bike, a hybrid or a road bike with a wide-range triple. The factor to attend to is how short the shortest gearing is on the bike. That way the parent can climb hills while towing the trailer. Tall gearing is of little consequence when towing a trailer, because the tallest gears will never be used.

The person who scored the used Burley for $30 on Craig's List should congratulate themselves. Burley's in good condition rarely sell for a large discount....when you can find them for sale.

Posted by: Biker Boy | July 28, 2008 3:26 PM | Report abuse

I bike exclusively. This is a new phenomenon, since I just got rid of my car a year ago. I live in a little nothing suburb, and traffic is minimal. I still feel weird driving in traffic, and drivers here aren't as haphazard as in DC. I wouldn't feel comfortable commuting with a child on my bike. I see it in my community and think it's pretty cute. But I don't think I'd have the guts to do it if I had a child.

Posted by: Mona | July 28, 2008 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Can you calm down? Geez, you're like a little tattle-tale who has absolutely no sense of humor.

Posted by: to 3:23 | July 28, 2008 3:36 PM | Report abuse

3:15, you need to get laid. (hint)

Posted by: lkm*gdht | July 28, 2008 3:17 PM

How seductive (NOT).

Posted by: Anonymous | July 28, 2008 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Can you calm down? Geez, you're like a little tattle-tale who has absolutely no sense of humor.

Posted by: to 3:23 | July 28, 2008 3:36 PM

Bet that's what you say when faced with sexual harassment accusations at work, though employers nowadays tend to kick employees to the curb for creating that kind of legal liability.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 28, 2008 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Tell me again how much better flyover country is....

Posted by: Oh, brother | July 28, 2008 3:20 PM


Seriously, every friggin day we go over the same thing, and these dumb flyover nuts start spewing their ridiculous propaganda about how great it is in podunk, nebraska.

Posted by: OP blogger | July 28, 2008 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Seriously, every friggin day we go over the same thing, and these dumb nuts start spewing their ridiculous propaganda about how great it is in DC or LA

Posted by: Anonymous | July 28, 2008 3:48 PM | Report abuse

How seductive (NOT).

Posted by: | July 28, 2008 3:37 PM

It's not intended to be seductive. It's intended to suggest that only a long-term lack of sex could explain why you'd be so worked up about a minor comment. Do you ever read this blog? This is small potatoes, chump.

Posted by: lkm*gdht | July 28, 2008 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Would someone please shoot the shouting troll whackjob and put her out of her misery?

Posted by: Arethia | July 28, 2008 3:51 PM | Report abuse

3:39, what are you talking about? The topic is bikes, ADD, fly-over country - take your pick. legal liability is not on the table.

Posted by: friggin amazing | July 28, 2008 3:53 PM | Report abuse

"Who is that you think donates all that FarmAid money and buys all those Mellencamp CDs?"

ummm, I imagine a lot of the people who buy his CDs are from fly over country. Really, you are not going to tell me that people who grew up in DC, LA and New York City have much in common with him or the people he sings to and about. Although, your view that you are somehow more important or are saving the farmer by donating to farm aid or buying his CDs is laughable.

I would love to see you singing rain on the scarecrow driving around in your Saab drinking your latte lamenting about how the flyovers just don't get it.

Posted by: yuppies kill me | July 28, 2008 3:59 PM | Report abuse

So Mona at 3:35ish....what do you do in the winter? Still bike? To the store, etc.?

Posted by: mlc | July 28, 2008 4:04 PM | Report abuse

You ladies need to carm down. Here's a pic that will help you relax.

http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,20204645,00.html

Posted by: Carm down | July 28, 2008 4:07 PM | Report abuse

I was in Tokyo in May, and the locals do commute with kids on bikes, most on the front, where we typically put a basket (in front of the handle bars) a few on the back, and the (very few) infants I saw were in a sling on the back (2 in 2 weeks) Their bike paths are more of an widening extension of the sidewalk, allowing a meter or two of space for commuting. It's pretty typical to see guys in suits on bikes (it was early May). I didn't see many guys with kids, overwhelmingly the cyclists with kids were women. The kiddo "baskets" were pretty no-frills, though I would guess that given the thoroughness of the public transportation system, longer commutes by bike might not be the norm.

Oh, and no trailers.

Posted by: slazar | July 28, 2008 4:10 PM | Report abuse

I have lived in Baltimore, San Diego, San Francisco, Houston, Del Rey Beach, FL, Indianapolis, IN and Des Moines, IA. I have traveled to 49 states and 12 countries.
The biggest hicks, least traveled, just outright dummies that I ever met, lived in Baltimore. What an uneducated bunch of losers, most of whom had never traveled outside of Maryland.
Here is my day in Des Moines, get up at 6:20, get ready for work, drive 9 miles to my downtown office in 12 to 15 minutes. Work 7 to 8 hours and be home by 4:30 every single day. No traffic, no smog, no rude people, etc.
Plus, I earn enough money to travel a LOT. In the last 12 months I have been to Honolulu, HI, Seattle, WA, San Francisco, CA, Boston, MA, and Vegas baby! I have zero debt, a 2400 square foot home in a neighborhood that has not had a single crime in the 7 years I have lived there, a beautiful Asian wife, and a great life.
I also attend our local civic center that ran among other shows last year, Miss Saigon and Phantom of the Opera with the same cast that was on Broadway. We have several movie theaters that show art films, a triple A baseball team, arena football, developmental league basketball, big ten and big twelve universities, and the famous Drake relays. The most famous bike ride in the country took place last week - RAGBRAI. Over the summer my wife and I hosted two professional dancers from a dance troupe from China, who only put on performances in Des Moines, Chicago, and New York.
We have restaurants that fly in fresh seafood daily, serve sushi, Indian, Thai, Greek, and pretty much any other kind of food you can think of.
Our population of Asian, Hispanic, and African Americans are growing and adding to our diversity.
The state of Iowa always finishes among the top 4 states in the country on their SAT's. We are an educated bunch with hundreds of thousands of people working in the Insurance and Financial industries.
And by a wide margin a greater percentage of our population has traveled out of the country then most east coast people.
I would never move back to the east coast and be surrounded by rude losers again.

Posted by: not a Governor | July 28, 2008 4:11 PM | Report abuse

about 20 years ago i biked to work (long before it was hip to be green) and the company did everything it could to discourage me from biking since it didn't fit their "image". they couldn't force me to drive but they created all sorts of rules about my biking.

Posted by: quark | July 28, 2008 4:11 PM | Report abuse

about 20 years ago i biked to work (long before it was hip to be green) and the company did everything it could to discourage me from biking since it didn't fit their "image". they couldn't force me to drive but they created all sorts of rules about my biking.

Posted by: quark | July 28, 2008 4:11 PM


You probably didnt look like this. If you did, they wouldnt have had a prob.

www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,20204645,00.html

Posted by: Anonymous | July 28, 2008 4:22 PM | Report abuse

Raleigh NC is ranked #1 for quality of life (business and careers) for the reasons you give to support Iowa. I'm not downing Iowa, so hold your horses! I like being close to the beach. Des Moines was #4... so Des Moines looks really good (except for the no-beach thingy) We're not all rude losers here in this part of fly-over country.

Posted by: to not a Governor | July 28, 2008 4:24 PM | Report abuse

I will also add that I saw a bike carrier on the FRONT of a Baltimore MTA bus last week. Impressive, but I'm not sure I'd be able to get my bike loaded in a timely way with a kiddo along. It's an interesting development that I'd have to think on and research before using. I have combined biking and DC Metro usage with older kids. Only had one SNAFU when the middle schooler didn't load fast enough and was left behind (weekend afternoon) but all was well in about 15 minutes. (we got off at the next stop, called from the gatekeeper's station and waited)

Posted by: slazar | July 28, 2008 4:29 PM | Report abuse

I confirm that Brian currently lives in D.C. and is moving to Champaign. This is per his website.

He is NOT moving to Chicago which was my point, Champaign is not 719 miles from Chicago.

Posted by: Fun Illinois Facts | July 28, 2008 4:31 PM | Report abuse

I confirm that Brian currently lives in D.C. and is moving to Champaign. This is per his website.

He is NOT moving to Chicago which was my point, Champaign is not 719 miles from Chicago.

Posted by: Fun Illinois Facts | July 28, 2008 4:31 PM


Geez, can you carm down? Just look at this pic and you'll relax a little:

www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,20204645,00.html

Posted by: to Fun Illinois Facts | July 28, 2008 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Raleigh, NC - I meant to say not THE Governor since I was so gung ho about the state. LOL
I really should not have trashed the entire east coast. I actually met some very nice people in Boston last month when my wife and I were looking for Fenway Park.
It just upsets me when some people from the east coast trash everyone outside of their area when most of them have barely been out of their city.
I consider a hick to be someone who does not travel, does not try new kinds of food, and is not open to trying new things. That definitely does NOT describe most Midwesterners, but does describe a lot of the east coast people I know.

Posted by: not a Governer | July 28, 2008 4:42 PM | Report abuse

In the DC area, it's not possible to easily combine bicycling and Metrorail to commute. Metro does not allow bikes on trains during rush hour, and I think it does not like bikes with trailers on the trains at any time.

I predict that these policies will be modified as commuting via car becomes more and more expensive.

Yes, it would be great to live in Des Moines or Raleigh, or some other smaller metro area. If only it were easy to find a job in a small metro area......

Posted by: Biker Boy | July 28, 2008 4:50 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: not a Governer | July 28, 2008 4:42 PM


Idiot, don't you know how to spell? Its "governor." You must have been raised and/or educated in flyover country.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 28, 2008 4:51 PM | Report abuse

To anon at 4:51 regarding spelling

Wow and east coaster with a good sense of humor. Thanks for making me laugh at the end of my day. (and I was educated in the east by the way)
Now if you will excuse me it is 3:55 here and I am leaving for my 12 minute drive home.
Enjoy your hour long trip folks.

Posted by: not the governor | July 28, 2008 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Great song, Songster! I love it!

Now if only I could get that tune out of my head..... :0

Posted by: Lynne | July 28, 2008 6:03 PM | Report abuse

not a Governer

Right on! They are the ones who yell and scream about culture, but can't seem to make it out of their own little area.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 28, 2008 6:24 PM | Report abuse

It just upsets me when some people from the east coast trash everyone outside of their area when most of them have barely been out of their city.
I consider a hick to be someone who does not travel, does not try new kinds of food, and is not open to trying new things. That definitely does NOT describe most Midwesterners, but does describe a lot of the east coast people I know.


Posted by: not a Governer | July 28, 2008 4:42 PM

Some people trash everyone so you slam all East Coasters as hicks? That's a mighty big chip on the old shoulder there, Mr. Sophisticated Fly-Over Man with the short commute. First you decide that residents of Baltimore represent the entire East Coast. Then you realize that's a bit over the top because once you met some nice people in Boston. Finally, you conclude with the same old, same old broad-brush insult.

I am mighty glad that not one of the midwesterners I've met has your tone, your insecurity, your defensiveness, or your desire to size up an entire region by a living experience in a single mid-sized city. By the way, I live on the East Coast and have an 8 minute commute. Big wup.

Posted by: eeny meeny miney mo | July 28, 2008 6:43 PM | Report abuse

"Really, you are not going to tell me that people who grew up in DC, LA and New York City have much in common with him or the people he sings to and about."

Earth to insecure man: most of the people living in DC, LA and New York grew up in fly-over country and relocated to the coasts as soon as possible. They have more in common with Mellencamp and his 4 pack a day habit than you think.

Posted by: yada yada yada | July 28, 2008 6:49 PM | Report abuse

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