The comments a mom gets when cargo biking with kids
The following post was written by wife in 2013. Reviewing it now as we head into 2023, the comments still sound familiar.
I get a lot of comments when I am riding my Yuba Train with the kids. They are usually mostly positive and sometimes make me crazy with irritation. I occasionally have good responses to these comments and sometimes I just smile or shrug or try to ignore them. Here are a few from today.
“I have the utmost respect for you. I’m just not in the shape to be doing that.” (said by another parent at preschool pick up)
My response: “The only way to get in shape is to just do it.” (I completely left out the fact that my Yuba Train has electric assist). Truth-I’m not actually in that good of shape. I’m not in bad shape, but I’m just a normal person. I swear. If I can do it then this person can do it too. It’s all in the attitude of, dare I say, laziness “if I stay on my couch I won’t get sore”. Yeah. That. Besides, the Yuba Train is like the end result of working on biking confidence. Start small-just a bike for you, riding on the bike trail, then a trip to the grocery, then add accessories and kids and take it on a full round of errands. Seriously, if I can do it, then you can too.
“Didn’t you have to special order that thing from Sweden or something.” (said by a parent at the playground.)
Response: “No, that’s our other bike.” Yes, we are that family with all those weird bikes and my friends know it.
Fortunately I have passed the threshold of wanting to be like everyone else so I won’t stand out as a weirdo. I can’t say I have completely embraced the weird parts, but I own them now. I am really conscious of the fact that we are raising our kids in a family that has some not normal aspects. I remember how much that sucked as a kid and so I try hard to make sure that our weird parts don’t make our kids feel like they are not “normal”. They aren’t old enough at this point to care about that stuff, but I’m hoping the fact that they get to eat (vegetarian) hot dogs and watch Dora (on the Kindle) will tide them over their teen years of being embarrassed by everything we do. I know some really awesome families with teenagers (now twenty-somethings) that seemed to skip the being-mortified-by-everything-their-parents-do stage. I am not so naïve that will happen in our family. I’m just trying to be ready. (Really that bike-the Bakfiets-was special ordered from the Netherlands, not Sweden.) Cargo biking in Indiana is not a common choice and local options are limited. To give this area some credit there are more options available now than there were 5 years ago when we first started this biking-with-kids adventure.
Comments regarding the origin of our strange bikes are frequent. We get asked whether we made them ourselves (ummmm, no, we are not that handy). We have pieced together the Yuba Train from existing products (thanks to a friend who welds-once again, handy we are not), but none have been built from scratch. We also get the question (mostly from kids) “how much was that” to which our usual reply is “less than a car”. I really don’t need these kids to know how much bike we are riding around on.
“I was wondering how you were going to do that. That bike is no joke.” (said by a parent at the playground). It was accompanied by a grunt of commiseration as I muscled 180 pounds of bike and kid off the kickstand.
My response was just to laugh. Yeah. No joke at all. It still makes me smile. Getting that bike, fully loaded, off the kickstand, is, indeed, no joke. More than once I have wondered whether I would actually be able to get it off the kickstand and at least once I was afraid it would tip over when it suddenly popped off. Once again, normal person here of normal strength. If I can do it, then you can too.