Monday, June 01, 2009


Cars and parenting

I am a big fan of this blog post from Fresno, of all places!

Cars influence parenting styles and behavior-- and, in turn, both help create dependent children.

I don't know when it started, perhaps when my daughter was two-years old and I started driving her to swimming lessons just a few miles away from our house. It started a parenting cycle that finally stopped the day my daughter got her driver's licence.

Shuttling my kids from one event to another became a lifestyle for me and my children. It was "expected." In fact, I swear, my husband's family competed to see which family unit had the busiest kids!

Heck, I didn't know any different! When I was growing up, I was never "involved" in after school activities, except riding bikes, playing kick the can, or riding bareback through the vineyards. About as involved in my after school life my father and stepmother ever got was to ring the dinner bell! I don't remember any of my friends doing anything structured after school--except chores. That is obviously why we did not end up at Harvard!

I was dating my children's father when I first witnessed the benefits of the car-centric, shuttle service childhood--a four-year-old that could sing and dance on cue! I didn't stop to wonder what the child--and family--were giving up in exchange for such "talent." Instead, I blindly followed this insidious, parenting experiment--and I hated every moment of it! The whole constant craziness not only eliminated free time for my children to play, but it created a lifestyle that required "fast" or processed foods. It became a sick feedback loop that also required more work hours to pay for all of their talent development. Did I mention that I had to hire a counselor when my child was in second grade--in order to help her process her stress. Sick! And I still didn't catch on!

My daughter is now 17-years-old. I am here to tell you that none of those talent building exercises helped her in the long run. She didn't even sign up for the school talent show, not even once! She has never used the tee-ball skills, the soccer, gymnastics, Aikido, Girl Scouts, violin, modeling, basketball, ballet, jazz, tap or tennis lessons in any of her endeavors.

The catch: this crazy child-rearing lifestyle is only possible if you drive a car! Cars alter the natural rhythm of living. The best gift you could possibly give a new family would be to save them and their family from a car-centric lifestyle. The children pay the greatest price; they become accustomed to dependence. Trust me, it is a miserable cycle!

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Monday, November 10, 2008


Cool new kid-carrying bike

My friend just sent me this link. Very cool! Too bad it's only available in Europe.


Saturday, August 30, 2008


Biking with Babes!

I know I've been totally lame about posting here. I had hoped that I would get some other biking moms to join the blog and post with me. But oh well.

Anyway, my biking buddy will be back on the bike in a few weeks, along with her new baby. So we'll be looking to do regular fitness rides and have other moms with trailers (or back seats, or front seats). If anyone is actually reading this blog anymore, and you might be interested in riding with us, let me know!


Monday, June 30, 2008


Food for thought

I know there are some families who can't walk or bike their kids to school because of schedules or geography. But it's worthwhile to think about whether or not it's possible for you to use your feet or bikes to get kids to school this fall. Not sure? Try out a route or two this summer. Ask your neighbors and fellow parents about walking or biking in a group; safety in numbers, right?

Here are some great thoughts from a fellow RC Biking Mom:

In 2004 42,800 died on the nation’s highways -- a far, far higher number than either pedestrians or cyclists. (In 2003, the number of pedestrians killed was 4,749.)

I remained amazed that people think being in a car is safer than walking. In spite of being surround by steel, air bags, etc., you are far more likely to be killed in a car than on the street. Given that every American who is not house-bound is a pedestrian at some point and not everyone rides in a car, the numbers are astounding.

The most dangerous way for children to get to school is in a car driven by a teenager. The second most dangerous way is in a car driven by an adult. Both biking and walking are safer for children and for adults -- plus, it cuts down the waistline....
gotta go walk to school -

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Thursday, June 26, 2008


Smoked out

As you may have noticed, the air quality the last few days has not been so great. Tuesday early in the day was fine, but when I walked out of the house mid-afternoon, it was like walking into a cigar club. Or maybe it was more like pipe smoke. Anyway, it's a concern with regard to exercise. Yesterday during the exercise class that I teach, one of the moms complained of a scratchy throat about two-thirds of the way through class, so I cut the cardio portion short. This poorly written article says we're surrounded by fires, but doesn't specifically mention San Mateo County air quality problems. After I ride the boys to school, I'll decide whether to continue to my errands in San Carlos or go home.

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Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Liberal bicycle laws in Idaho!

Who would have thought?? But apparently it's true. Since 1982, Idaho has had a law on the books that allows bikes to treat stop signs like yield signs and stop lights like stop signs. California is now considering the same thing, apparently. An idea whose time came long ago. But what would Woodside cops do with their weekends?

Published Wednesday, May 14, 2008, by the San Francisco Bay Guardian

The Bike Issue: Don't stop
Bike lessons from Idaho

By Rachael Daigle

In the two miles between my home and office in downtown Boise, there
are five stop signs and 10 traffic lights. On a good day, I can make
the journey without coming to a complete stop.

That doesn't happen in my car because, of course, I'm a law-abiding
driver. Yet on my bicycle, it's possible for me to cruise through
all five stop signs and effortlessly cruise right on through the
downtown corridor without once touching my feet to the pavement.

And in Idaho, it's completely legal.

Although cycling commuters here often bemoan the city's ineffective
bike lane system and criticize the lack of public bicycle parking,
nary a word is spoken about the state's progressive bicycle traffic
laws. Thanks to some forward-thinking state legislators a couple of
decades ago, Idaho's bike laws are the envy of cyclists throughout
the country.

The concept is a simple one that allows bicyclists to keep their
momentum without ever taking the right-of-way from motorists:
basically, stop signs are treated a yield signs, and stop lights as
stop signs. Bicycles can legally blow through stop signs as long as
it isn't another driver's turn. And at red lights, bicycles must
stop, but can proceed if the intersection is clear

"There are lots of good reasons for it," said attorney Kurt Holzer,
who specializes in bicycle accidents. Aside from the fact that a
waiting cyclist won't trip a traffic light changing mechanism, Holzer
said the laws are in place for safety reasons. "If you have a bike on
the right side and a car wants to turn right, the law allows the bike
through the intersection, through the area of conflict, so the biker
can get out of the way."

Newcomers to Boise often muse that people are less defined by what
they drive than what's hanging from their bike racks. Boise's mayor
endorses the bicycle and is a regular bike commuter. Mayor Dave
Bieter is often seen pedaling to City Hall on his red 1969 Schwinn
Typhoon -- the bike he got for his 10th birthday.

Rather than each faction exerting ownership over the pavement,
cyclists should know and follow all the laws, while drivers should
concede that bicycles are different from cars and should therefore
be subject to different laws. Stopping at empty intersections is
cumbersome for drivers and cyclists alike -- but cyclists aren't
likely to kill pedestrians with their carelessness.

By drawing a legal line in the sand between cars and bikes, allowing
them different rules in the same environment, Idaho's bike laws
ultimately foster a mutual respect between drivers and cyclists. In
Boise it's common to see road signs instructing drivers and cyclists
to "share the road." It may be common sense advice for cyclists, but
to motorists, it's a subtle reminder that bigger shouldn't mean

Rachael Daigle is a staff writer for Boise Weekly.

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Thursday, June 12, 2008



I have two trailers: a single Burley and a double Chariot. There are a number of subtle, but important, differences.

Doesn't fold down (at least not my model)
Pretty light
Attaches to any bike
Front wheel flips down to make it a stroller
No parking or hand brake (at least on
my model)

Folds down easily and small enough to go in a small station wagon
Kinda heavy
Requires special equipment installed on bike for attachment
Separate bars and wheel carried in back of trailer for jogger, easier set up for stroller
Parking break under back storage

Of course, these are the highest-end models. I got lucky and found a used Burley for only $100 and then decided to shell out the big bucks for the Chariot since I use it so much. (I would loose my mind if I couldn't ride my bike!) Target and other stores have much lower-priced models, which I don't have any experience with.

I personally haven't tried bike seats, with the kid riding on the back or front of the bike. Frankly, my balance isn't that good, and I'm afraid I'll fall over. But lots of people love them, so if anyone has experience with those and would like to share, we're all ears!


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