Roll forward 18 months and the kids are aged 7, 4 and 3. The four year old just transitioned from a strider and the three year old is comfortable on her strider as well as a three-wheeled scooter. I wouldn’t have expected some of the changes.
One of my rules-of-thumb is to consider selling anything that I don’t use for a year. So, I sold my racing bikes, race wheels, powermeters and Garmins. When I need a road bike, I rent a top-of the line model. Considering maintenance, upgrades and airline fees – a net savings of more than $1,000 annually for the family.
I spent $5,000 and bought a haul-a-day and a family tandem from Bike Friday. My main bike is a 29er and the 20-inch wheels on the Friday bikes were an adjustment. Disc brakes and front/rear flashing lights with both bikes. Flat pedals for me and shoe cages for my daughter on the tandem.
Most the cost (above) was in the tandem but it’s a game changer for exercising with my oldest. She loves it and we’re up to 20 mile rides. If I remove a second row seat in my Sienna then it fits inside my van and we did several trips this summer. Now that school is back in session, we use it as a commuter to/from her climbing.
When I got the cargo bike, I expected to be able to sell our second car (my Sienna van) as well as our double bike trailer. It’s not going to happen.
Turns out that the second car was useful, it’s now the sitter’s car. The adjustment to not having a car of my own left me a little grumpy. I went so far as to price out what a third car would cost the family. When I calculated the costs associated with a new car, a third car and my existing car… it got a whole lot easier to adjust my life. My effective savings are $5 per city-mile not driven. Human powered whenever possible and treat Uber like a free service.
The cargo bike gets the kids up high and in the air. They love it… when it’s warm. I have kept the trailer for cold and wet mornings, when I bundle up and take one for the team.
SAFETY – it turns out that I don’t enjoy riding on city roads with my kids on their own bikes! This shouldn’t have surprised me (but it did) because I was a nervous boyfriend when Monica and I would train together. The kids and I prefer bike paths, even if they double our travel time.
We didn’t go electric as I have the horsepower (just) to get a hundred extra pounds up the local hills. If you aren’t a strong cyclist then consider front-wheel power assist for the cargo bike.