meditations on a family biking life
I pulled up to the alley behind Olivia's house around 8:15 last Wednesday night, my mamabikeorama loaded down with 15 pounds of pears and quinces (I couldn't help stopping at the People's Co-op farmer's market) and an armful or two of clothes for the spontaneous clothing swap she'd planned. I had to laugh as I clumsily maneuvered my bike among the half-dozen mama bikes + Xtracycle and a trailer or two. Only a few of the dozen or so mamas who'd come had driven; and this despite the fact we were all loaded down with the bounty of new clothing and whatever else we were carting around the city. At the end of the night, around 10 p.m., we all pulled out of the narrow spot on the side of the house, laughing as we counted the BoBike seats. Someone said: 'it's like a clown car!' It was a moment of unusual tired joy.
We've all come to this for different reasons and at different speeds. But we're all equally in love with biking (even most of the mamas who drove have family bike setups at home) and committed to spreading the family biking love. We have different levels of comfort with putting our kids on the road; differing budgets for new biking gear; different commutes, different neighborhoods, different alternatives to biking. I think of us as co-inspirators; we're all the inspiration for one another. And we all see the future of transportation as far, far different than it is today. Will we reach the goal of 25% of Portlanders commuting by bike by 2030? It's hard to say, but it won't happen unless mamas like us -- like you -- hop on their bikes and quietly inspire other mamas, papas and kids to shift to the two-wheel (or three) lifestyle, too.
Today, I'm leading another meditation about riding bikes with families (no, there's no yoga or spirituality: all you have to do is listen and breathe) to help kick off the Family Biking Solutions Workshop, part of Oregon Manifest's Family Bicycle Transportation Day. While the workshop itself isn't really kid-friendly due to the limitations of the facility (a "museum environment," someone said), we hope what comes out of it, really will expand the boundaries.
I've made a poster to go with my meditation [pdf link]. Consider it one more co-inspiration. I look forward to expanding my concept of what makes a more family-friendly transportation future -- more options, more unique bikes that work in tiny budgets, more infrastructure, more community, more joy.