25 August 2009

Baby Bike Kid Bike

Here's a common sight in Copenhagen. A newborn child in an auto-seat on a cargo bike. Having kids means you still have to get around the city and cargo bikes are our version of SUVs.

Our reader Kari sent a link to a Treehugger piece called When Should Tykes Be On Bikes? The author tries to be balanced, but the tone is typical of Emerging Bicycle Cultures where doctors, among other quirks, still tell women not to cycle when pregnant [it's virtually prescribed in Denmark].
Five Wheeler
In Denmark, according to the traffic laws, children are not allowed to cycle ALONE on the bicycle lanes until they turn seven. Up until then they must be accompanied by an adult. My boy was rolling along the bike lanes to daycare and back every day from the age of three and a half. With training wheels until he was about four and a half. It's all about education and spending time teaching your kids the basics.

There are few limitations to transporting kids by bicycle/tricycle when they're small.
Baby Transport
This chap took the top half of the baby pram, which clicks onto the bottom half, and made a clicking system on the top of the box of his cargo bike. He rolls around with his four-month old son [at the time] lying happily looking up at him. What a wonderful way to travel. Staring up at your dad's smiling face and at the new world floating past, all while being rocked gently by the soothing movement of the bicycle. Beats sitting inside a car filled with hydrocarbon particles.
Oh Baby - Copenhagen Transport Daycare
Just strap the baby carrier on your Short John or get creative with the pram.

Here's a bike seat for the back rack put inside a cargo bike.

Hey Baby
Or, just use a sling like people have used for a millenium or two. Like in this shot from Amsterdam.

Cargo Bike Training
For the older kids, most schools have a variety of bikes for them to play with. As you can see above, cargo bike training starts early.


Anonymous said...

You're cheating, Mikael :)

That last picture is almost certainly somewhere in Holland. Look at the tram tracks (not to mention the very un-Danish tidy streets and blue bike lane sign!)

Kevin Love said...

Here's what I posted at Treehugger:

I have to agree with Mikael.

Taking a baby into a car is an extremely dangerous thing to do. Best to be safe and stick with bicycle transport until baby is older and has more developed lungs that can do a better job of handling the pollution.

I would never dream of allowing one of my children inside a car until they were at least one year old. In my opinion, allowing a baby into a car is such a hazardous thing to do that it constitutes child abuse.

I believe that there should be child protection laws that hand out serious jail time to anyone who puts a baby into a car.

Toronto's Medical Officer of Health, Dr. David McKeown, has done a good job of reporting on the serious danger that car pollution poses to children - and adults. See his report at:


Anonymous said...

How young can you take a child out in a trailer? I would assume any age, since it's pretty similar to putting a child in a car seat, I assume?

That treehugger article is dominated by hysterical nonsense (why would a child in a five-point harness inside a roll cage on a wide wheel-base attached to a very slow-moving vehicle need a helmet?), so I'm not going to rely on that.

Mikael said...

any age.

Anonymous said...

Thanks! It is an issue that will be more pressing for me next year ...

missy mookins said...

How do you chic Copenhagenites (or indeed any other chic continentals) keep children on bike seats dry in the rain? I don't use my bike here in northern England in the rain because I don't see an easy way to keep my daughter dry on the back - which is unfortunate because it rains A LOT here!!

Anneke said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anneke said...

Just wear a rainsuit, and put one on your child as well. Windscreens are also very common, these also help a lot if there is some sort of legcover attached. Just look for images of "windscherm fiets" and you can see what I mean.

Mikael said...

the climate here and where you are is virtually identical.

kids just wear rainsuits on the kid's seat or in the cargo bike. although many cargo bikes have canopies, too.

missy mookins said...

Thanks guys. Although I'm not sure that when I think of "rain suit", I also think of "chic" (no doubt, you have photographic evidence to prove me wrong :-D ) Will find waterproofs for the baby and I will carry on as I am, as we say around here "I won't melt"!!

Kevin Love said...

Missy Mookins said:

"...as we say around here 'I won't melt'"!!

Kevin's comment:

We have been known to say the same thing around here.

"We have not journeyed across the centuries, across the oceans, across the mountains, across the prairies, because we are made of sugar candy."

Sir Winston Churchill, House of Commons, Ottawa, Ontario, 30 December 1941.

Melbourne Cyclist said...

Excellent, thanks for posting these Mikael! Whilst I knew it was easily possible to transport toddlers and upwards, I'd been wondering for a while if it was possible to rig up a baby seat onto a cargo bike, and now I know for sure that it is - cool. Not that this is a pressing issue, we've only just gotten engaged (yay us), but in the next few years probably (and with any luck, Melbourne will be more cycle friendly by then too).

I particularly like the pic of the little guy holding his bike whilst being cycled along - he's got things right :-)

Green Idea Factory said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Green Idea Factory said...

In the March 1981 issue of the published in the USA "Bicycling" magazine there is a lengthy, mostly-first person and very positive account from a pregnant woman cycling during most of her pregnancy.

To complement this, there is an article about bike trailers, showing several kids in a few of them without helmets.

To give you a better idea of long ago this was published, the same issue has no mentions of mountain bikes except a tiny ad with black and white text from Gary Fisher (the mtn. bike pioneer) offering to make custom mtn. bikes with 28 in. balloon tires.

Putranto Sangkoyo said...

The article is really cool, great and very inspiring. In Indonesia, especially Jakarta, it was just recently people began to bike to work … but still very very few compared to millions of cars and motorcycles. It requires a mentality switch, because people here consider riding a bike is only for weekends, otherwise if you ride on any other days, means you are poor, can’t afford to buy a car. And in the country where a gap between poor and rich is wide, you feel ashamed to ride a bike. To compensate that, people buy expensive bikes to ride to work with various expensive accessories. I’ve lived for some years in Copenhagen, and as far as I recall, up there you never mention in conversations one’s status, rich or poor. People just don’t care and don’t want to know whether one is rich or poor, because rich/poor doesn’t really matter in Danish daily life. Wish my country become ike that someday…