Sunday, 1 July 2012

Let the Adventure Begin...

June 29th, 2012 - Today was the first day of the summer holidays, and the beginning of a new adventure. It marks the start of my plan to document my summer at home with my two children, Coralie, who turns 6 in August, and Etienne, our rambunctious 3.5 year old. The goal is to show us enjoying life in Vancouver, doing what we do best, getting out on our bikes like it is the completely normal activity it should be. I heard an interesting comment from the CBC’s Stephen Quinn this week: “Cycling is fantastic... For people who don’t have to drop kids of at school and pick up groceries on the way home.” I have spent the last two years doing exactly what he says is impractical, and I think almost anyone else can. Read on and find out how I do it…

Parked and ready to shop at our local market
Like every day, we started early, since the children never seem to want to sleep in. But I won’t lie, I was pretty excited because I had the unique opportunity to test out a Trio Bike Mono on loan from Mikael Coville-Andersen and Copenhagenize for the day. So once we said goodbye to Daddy, and finished our breakfast, I took two curiously excited children down to our storage garage to show them how we were going to get around for the day. Then it was off to the grocery store for our weekly shop, done as most weeks, by bike.

Heading home, bags at their feet full of groceries
Needless to say, in a city not exactly used to this new style of Cargo bike from the UK, we got some funny looks, both amused and curious. But it certainly did the trick in allowing us to doing what we always do, live easily while cycling and being car-free.

Then it was off to meet Daddy for lunch. Using some of Vancouver dedicated bikeways, I headed out with the kids in the Trio once again. This is just another normal day for us, but with a new toy. I know many families who do their daily errands with their children in tow, whether on foot or in a motor vehicle. I think, no matter how you do it, involving your children in your day to day activities is a great way to have them feel like they are a positive, helpful member of their family, and gives them a great sense of responsibility and pride.

Just arriving at Daddy’s work for a lunch date
Still, one of the greatest things I find about doing this while on our bikes, is that the kids see so much of their surroundings clearly and not from behind glass and steel. I felt such pride and joy on our ride to meet Daddy and then downtown to help set up for the Vancouver Cycle Chic Social listening to my children react to all the sights along the way, and couldn’t hide my smile when Etienne shouted out, “Wow! I can see everything!” It brings to light something I think a lot of people take for granted rushing from one destination to another, and that’s is simply enjoying the journey. Just like the anecdote that you should enjoy ever moment with your children, good or bad, because it goes by so fast, it is surprising what you can miss in your neighbourhood and city if you never take the time to enjoy your surroundings.

My busy day ended with a fantastic evening at the Cycle Chic Social. It is truly inspiring to be in a room full of people hoping to make a positive change in our city. With the Velo-city Conference in town, as well as Mikael Coville-Andersen being in town for a Copenhagenize lecture the night before, it was a packed house of stylishly dressed cycling and non-cycling people from all over the world. It made me so hopeful and excited that my family are on the right path, enjoying life, each other, and living happily…on our bikes!
Making new friends at the Cycle Chic Social


  1. I'd have to disagree with Stephen Quinn too. Cycling with kids is totally doable when you live in the city. We've been riding with our son since he was about 11 months old. We use our bikes to run errands like grocery shopping or go out to picnics or to visit friends. The only time we use a car (Modo carshare--we don't own one ourselves) is for trips to stores like Ikea & Costco when we're planning to buy a large amount of stuff, or when we visit family in other cities.

    1. Thanks for reading, Lisa! It's great knowing there's others like us out there. Keep riding and check back in on our two wheeled adventure ;-)

  2. Hi there - I want to try that bike! Do you know if they are available in Vancouver, and how much they are? Sadly, I can't make it for the family bike ride tomorrow, but I'd love to chat about your experience. My kids are 4&6, but still not quite roadworthy on their own. Thanks! Callie

    1. Hi Callie - Unfortunately it's on it's way to Calgary now...but if you check out Whoa Nellie on Main Street they can probably help you out if you were interested in that bike or something like it. It's pretty pricey, as most cargo bikes are, but if you're looking to commute around the city with two small children they can be an asset. Stay tuned for our next ride in August and check out the our Facebook page to keep in touch!