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Shelby Sanchez shares cargo bike lessons she learned while riding with her two young children.
1. ENJOY THE BIKE RIDE
Cargo bike riding is an invitation for your family to slow down, localize, and connect with your surroundings. When we are riding, I love to engage my kids in discussions about what they see and experience on the ride. We love to make stops if we see animals or beautiful flowers. Sometimes, we forage for food. We also like to make stops at libraries or book swaps where the kids can choose a book or two to read on the ride.
2. YOUR ROUTE FOR THE DAY
Make sure the streets you are riding on are bike-friendly and safe. Scenic routes are more pleasant. Thankfully, in Long Beach, we have a bike path on the beach and many bike-friendly residential streets. Unless you have an electric cargo bike, I suggest avoiding routes with hills. Cargo bikes are heavy and with the added weight of children, a very heavy push up a hill.
3. ALLOW FOR STOPS IF YOUR KIDS NEED A BREAK
With my toddlers, our rides are no longer than 30-40 minute one way trips. They will get restless if I go any longer. If you have a long route, plan for stops at a park where the kids can stretch their legs, take off their helmets, and run around.
4. ESTABLISH A RELATIONSHIP WITH A BIKE SHOP
Unless you live in Amsterdam or Portland, most likely you will be one of the few families with a cargo bike in your community (though I foresee this changing in the next few years). Form a relationship with a shop that knows how to meet your bike’s needs in a timely manner.
5. CLEAN OUT YOUR BIKE AT THE END OF THE DAY
I’ve found that, at the end of the day, the inside of the cargo bike can get quite dirty from shoes, dust, snacks, or small water spills. Proactive maintenance includes cleaning and caring for it.