I love cycling. I’d commuted to work for over 7 years in London before I had children and I loved the freedom and flexibility it gave me. Having children was joyous, but it was a big change – prams, napping and the safety of something so small meant cycling was on hold for a bit. However, once my daughter got bigger and more robust I was happy to gain a second hand wee-rider seat and start going places again. We did it, and it was fun!
Then I had another child, so I started looking at what options were available. I noticed a family up the road had a cargo bike and a mum at school. Last summer we had circus trip coming up and I had to get 3 children there after school on a Friday and the venue a pain to get to. This was my excuse to rent a cargo bike and see what it was like!
I hired a Christiania bike from London Green cycles. When the kids were at school I took the tube up to Regents park and rode it round the block a couple of times before making the journey back across town to West London.
I was a little nervous but they’re amazingly easy to ride. They’ve got good gearing and their size means you can’t be tempted to go too fast and cars give you enough space.
The trip was a great success and we used it every day of the week – trips were even made up in its honour! The corner shop to get some milk, posting a letter, being dropped at a friend’s house – we were trying to make it part of the family.
We didn’t have enough money to buy the bike straight away so we saved up and bought one in spring this year. On the first day of the Easter holidays we took the tube to the shop and bought it and cycled back across London. The girls got a fair amount of looks and waves which they loved! The bikes are so well put together – hub gears means smooth and easy gear changes and the seat has storage underneath – great for keeping helmets when out and about. Dymano lights, rain cover, front opening door to make it easy to get in and out, the Danish have thought of everything.
With the box in front I can always see what the girls are up to and we can share the journeys together. They often take a toy along and I can hear the imaginary games they make up.
There’s plenty of room for them – plus picnics, shopping, swimming things – and their friends! It’s useful for a family food shop or trips to the garden centre too. When I think of a place to go I now think in terms of can I cycle there rather than what public transport route I need.
The girls are also keen to go further and do more as they don’t have to sit on a hot train or wait at the bus stop. They’re the future cyclists of this city and I’m keen for them to feel it’s normal, safe and good to cycle here.
Where to hire a cargo bike
- Carry Me – covers the Hackney area
- London Green Cycles – based near Regent’s Park
- London Bike Hub – covers Ealing and Hounslow