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Cycling Vancouver with your Baby

Guest post by Talia Erickson, giving us the scoop on cycling Vancouver with your baby.

Hunter: Cycling Vancouver from 18 Months Old

Ever since my partner Lawrence’s son Hunter started making overnight visits to Vancouver at around 18 months old, he’s been a cycling baby. Our vintage purple Norco trailer was one of the first things we bought for him, off Craigslist for $100. Plus, the “grape pod” carried all the other stuff that goes with the baby, like the diaper bag, toys, blankets, groceries, handbag, laptop…or maybe that’s just me.

Hunter loved his helmet, but he was a little nervous the first time we put him in the trailer. By the second trip, though, he was calm and happy. For our cherry blossom ride this spring, he brought his little piano (a present from my mum), and played and sang for most of the day.

Bicycle Seat Love

For a day-long ride, we’d probably still take the trailer, but for the six block trip to the supermarket, or to school or daycare, it’s definitely overkill. For cycling Vancouver neighbourhoods we use our Co-Pilot bike seat, which we all love. Hunter thinks it’s awesome to ride with Daddy on the big bike, and the seat cushion just happens to be orange: his favourite colour.

Lawrence and I love how quickly and conveniently the seat slides on and off the rack that fits almost any bike, and the fact that we can be at the store in less time than it used to take us to assemble the trailer. Plus, at Bikes on the Drive this spring, the Co-Pilot was around $80.

Make a Fashion Statement with Bobike

Bobike Bicycle SeatFor families that want to make their bike seat a fashion statement, a Bobike seat is the way to go. The company is based in Holland where they know about biking with kids! They offer two versions: the Bobike Mini is a front mount seat, has an optional little windscreen, and accommodates kids up to 35lbs. The Maxi goes on the back, can hold kids as much as 50lbs, and looks so comfortable I wish someone would ride me around in one.

The price for a Bobike is double what we paid for our Co-Pilot, but the construction, fastening, and style are all about double the quality. They are available at Saf & Benjamin in Yaletown, where the Mini runs for $185 and the Maxi is $200. The windscreen is $45.

Encourage a Healthy Lifestyle

Cycling Vancouver with your kids is an amazing way to spend time with them, and, trust me, you get used to the added weight. For a daily commute, it may seem like a hassle to go by bike, but there are bigger benefits to traveling sustainably than just the environmental ones.

As North American childhood obesity levels rise, and more and more kids are diagnosed with diabetes and other health issues, it makes sense to demonstrate healthy lifestyle habits. If your children see you riding a bike, and get to ride with you, they will be ready and more than willing to jump on when it comes time to get out there on their own.

Do you cycle with your baby or toddler? Share your top tips for cycling Vancouver with little ones in the comments!

Talia Erickson is a writer, cyclist and daycare administrator. Her flexible occasional childcare centre for 3-5 year olds is currently accepting applications and will open October 3, 2011. Find them at buddings.ca.

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