Friday, March 27, 2015

50 Shades of Biking

Meet elBoda Boda: an e-assist mid-tail cargo bike.
At the playground recently, I got into a conversation with a couple of moms about biking with our kids. One of them has a Yuba elBoda Boda (an electric midtail cargo bike) (we'll call her Ms. Boda Boda) & the other one is thinking about starting to ride with her three little kids (we'll call her Ms. Maybe Bike). Ms. Maybe Bike said she wasn't sure if she could do it, so Ms. Boda Boda chimed in & suggested she consider an electric bike. Ms. Maybe Bike went on to say that she's not sure if she's "a cyclist, you know, one of those people who ride".

I try to focus on how easy riding is & how many advantages it has over driving or taking transit--especially with two or three little kids. I love riding & I've been biking for transportation on & off for over 15 years now, so it's second nature to me, & I can get a little carried away talking about the load of paving stones Oli biked home or the four giant Ikea bags of clothes I rode with to a clothing exchange.

I think people have the idea that cycling is all or nothing. Black & white. You're either a die-hard, gearhead who bikes everywhere in all weather & always has bike grease under your fingernails, or you don't bike at all. But it's really a continuum, it's many shades of grey. There's no reason you can't just ride once in a while, in good weather, & normal clothing is perfectly fine for biking--often preferable if you have little kids, because who has time to change out of stinky spandex when you get to your destination, right?

Some people might consider me a "hard core cyclist", since I talk about it, blog about it, I even wear it on t-shirts. But really, I'm not all cycling all the time--it's just one of my options. We don't own a car, but we do drive Modo carshare vehicles once or twice a month when we go somewhere farther than we'd want to ride, or in really awful weather. I take transit sometimes, like when Linnaeus & I went to see the Nutcracker Ballet last December, or when we went out to the Beaty Biodiversity Museum at UBC with another family. I also don't really ride that far most of the time. Preschool drop-offs are about a 2km round trip, most of my grocery shopping or errands are within 3km of home. Even when I do a Costco run, I usually buy less than I would if I were driving & it's just a 15 minute ride from home.

I think maybe all the labelling divides people. Cyclist, MAMIL (Middle Aged Man In Lycra), Gear Head, Mountain Biker, Bike Commuter, Weekend Warrior, Recreational Rider... I get that our transportation can sometimes feel like a part of our identity, but let's not let semantics get in our way. Just get on a bike & ride. Try it on a weekend or evening, on an off-street path like the seawall or the Central Valley Greenway. Leave the car at home & do a quick run to the grocery store near your house for two or three things. Ride five blocks to the park with your kids on a sunny day. Just do it. I bet you'll like it.

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  1. Absolutely agree with you! I also ride an electric Boda Boda and found that having the electric assist really makes for a low bar entry to riding -- I feel like I'm riding a "real bike" but get that extra boost up hills. That means I'm more likely to ride with my kids to school or to work, knowing I will arrive dry and not too out of breath.

    1. Thanks for commenting! Electric is definitely an easy way to get into kid-hauling. :) My only major issue with it is the cost--if you buy new, you're looking at a big chunk of change for a cargo bike with e-assist. Much less than a car, but when people replacing a car with a bike, I think they don't necessarily see the savings.


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