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Five On Bikes! 3We take up the whole bike lane when we ride together.
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Five On Bikes!Not a soccer mom.
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Five On Bikes! 2Cameron takes his turn as the family pick-up truck.
By Adrienne Johnson
It is Saturday and like every family in America, my family has a lot to do. There is grocery shopping, martial arts classes, library books to return, playgrounds to visit and dinner plans with friends. With each of us needing to be in different places, our “day off” could be a very stressful day indeed, full of driving, traffic and parking lots. Instead, we each jump on our bikes and off we go!
My 15-year-old son, Cameron, grabs his bike and rides across town to his martial arts class or a swim meet. My 11-year-old daughter, Úna, gets on her bike and takes her very overdue book back to the neighborhood library. We load up our five-year-old, Declan, on the back of my bike and my husband, James, makes sure the reuseable shopping bags are in the Xtracycle for the groceries.
Instead of taking the whole day to chauffeur each of our kids to and from their individual destinations, we choose to ride our bikes to get ourselves where we need to go. With this flexibility, our errands are done and we all get back together to enjoy a family day in half the time!
While the time savings are great, there are even better dividends from choosing to ride bicycles as a family. My older children have learned how to get themselves to the places and events that are important to them. Both of them are able to get to just about any neighborhood in the city and know how to use their bikes with public transportation. My youngest is able to tell me almost every turn on the six-mile ride home from preschool and can signal my turns for me from the backseat.
My children have learned to be alert to their environment and trust in their own ability to be successfully independent. They do not fear the world, which is ultimately theirs. They are already comfortable inhabiting the world they need to learn to navigate from the day they pedal away from the safety of our home; they learn to live their own lives.
When they aren’t learning how to be strong, capable, independent and healthy individuals, they are playing “I spy with my little eye” and learning how to ride with no hands. Sometimes they crash and scrape themselves up. That experience carries with it some good lessons too. Mostly, though, we just have fun being together while we get to where we need to go.