The Freedom of Cycling as a Family

There are moments that despite the milage I put in, I still surprise myself that I have a lot to learn.

As my most dedicated readers know, I’m leasing a three year old daughter which I have the option to renew in another fifteen years.

To make the family more mobile, I’ve had a bike trailer for the last couple of years. It’s been used sporadically since latching it, placing said daughter and maneuvering it out of the house takes a bit of time.

About a month ago, I convinced my wife that we would go out to dinner followed by a session at Color Me Mine by bike for the evening(note to editor: please replace CMM with Megadeath concert).

It took some convincing since we’d be riding home in the night, but once I explained how silly it would be to park the car twice within a few blocks, she saw my logic. Barely.



Time for a coffee break on Main St.

Of course, the whole plan got squashed two blocks into it when one of the rims on the trailer’s wheels bent, but it had the bones of a solid plan.

To get CV Jr. mobile again, I had always thought about getting my daughter a bike seat attached to my 20th Century mountain bike, but I felt I’d be throwing money down the drain since she might grow out of it soon.

Then one weekend, Mrs. CV went out of town which was a perfect time to feed my irrational thoughts. Having time alone with my daughter is a special type of fun, so I threw caution into the wind and damn I bought that bike seat.

On that Sunday, I found her easy to load(no longer than getting her into her car seat), she had more freedom to move and loved being close enough that we could talk.



“Let’s go daddy!”

We started out with breakfast together at Eat in NoHo, rode to get some playtime in at Valley Village Park, then hit up the Farmers Market in Studio City.

Yes, traveling between points would have been faster by car, but being able to park my bike right in front of the destinations saved me time, money and aggravation.

We both had a great time that day and were already excited about when we would take our next trip.

When Mrs. CV returned, I was pretty excited to plan our next adventure but she shared my original skepticism. The following weekend I convinced her to try shunning the car with my enthusiasm eventually winning over her reluctance.

We started off with breakfast again and just like me, that was all it took for her to ask, “Where next?”

If we had to look for parking, how else would we have had this much fun.

The next weekend we took the bikes to Santa Monica where we bounced around freely to Tongva Park, Giant Santa Monica and Coffee Bean on Main St., Timbuk2 and Rapha Pop Up on Abbot Kinney, and Venice Boardwalk.

Just imagine trying to do that in a car on a busy weekend. How much would you spend in parking? Could you even find parking if you tried?
Going around on bikes gave us such freedom that it makes you realize what a nasty appendage a car is.

Now, weekend rides are always in the mix and we even brought the bikes along to San Luis Obispo.


Ready for some SLO action in San Luis Obispo.

As a parent, do I ride the same roads and speeds than when I’m in Lycra? No, but family trips never match that distance and I always adjust my riding tendencies depending on which bike I’m on and who I’m riding with.

I might ride more on side streets and take a few more sidewalks here on there, but even with a slower temperament, I’m saving time when you factor in parking a car.

Trying to sum up the whole experience, this isn’t really about being anti-car or pro-bike. It’s about living.

It’s a combination of spending time with your family, moving around stress free and being able to make up experiences on the fly. You can’t put a price on that.