Autumn Gear Guide
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Chis and Melissa Bruntlett share how they have woven bicycles into their family’s daily life.
Names: Chris and Melissa Bruntlett
Occupations: Co-Owners of Modacity, a multi-service consultancy, focused on inspiring healthier, happier, simpler forms of urban mobility through words, photography and film.
Children: Coralie (Age 8) and Etienne (Age 5)
Location: East Vancouver, BC
How do you fit riding into your family’s daily life?
We are a car-free family so riding bikes is predominantly how we get around the city. We cycle to get to school, work, day-to-day errands, and weekend adventures.
What is your favorite place to go by bike with your family?
We love riding along the Seawall as a family. It allows us to be connected with so many different areas of the city, from cafes and restaurants to the many beaches and parks. It has something for each member of our family, and is our favorite way to spend a sunny summer’s day.
What is your favorite piece of gear for riding with a family?
Nothing more than our bicycles!
What is your current setup for family riding?
We all ride our own bicycles now, each of us on a practical, upright-style. Since we mainly use our bikes from getting from point A to B, they need to be comfortable and sturdy enough to handle daily riding.
What challenge have you overcome in adapting to riding as a family?
Riding with children means finding suitably safe routes throughout the city. This can sometimes mean taking the longer way around, but we much prefer sticking to separated cycle tracks and quiet bikeways so we know our children are cycling in a safer environment. It also means our children have quickly learned how to navigate our neighborhood, setting them up for their eventual independence as they grow up.
What one piece of advice would you give other families who are thinking about trying to ride with their children?
Stop overcomplicating it. Riding a bike is a right of passage for all children, and they are much more capable of adapting than you may think. In just four short years we have gone from towing our children in trailers to riding alongside them upwards of 30 kilometers (19 miles) some days. Kids are resilient, and if you give them the opportunity, they are sure to surprise you!