Transpo Convo: Kristen Biking With Her Son

[This is part of streets.mn’s “transpo convo” series, which aims to be an oral history of getting around the Twin Cities, one person at a time.] 

Kristen is a health care employee who cares deeply about community health and fitness.  She wants to set a good example for her family.  She has a bicycle trailer she often uses to transport her 14 month old son to daycare and other destinations.

“Safety is my biggest concern.  There really aren’t helmets for infants, so I researched what was the safest time for transporting my son.  It is important to consider timing such as when he can hold his head up, when he is safe to sit in the trailer.  I am thoroughly afraid of any streets where I’ll be near people who are interacting with technology while driving.  I feel safest on protected bike lanes.  I like the Greenway.”

"What's not positive about it?" Kristen asks in relation to bicycling with her son.

“What’s not positive about it?” Kristen asks in relation to bicycling with her son.

Kristen’s husband’s job is taking the family from the Twin Cities to Saint Louis in the near future.

“We just bought a house that was a little more expensive than other houses we liked based on proximity to bike trails and dedicated boulevards.”

Kristen’s family is dedicated to this lifestyle.  But, she admits that it isn’t for everyone.

“It’s only accessible to people if everything is in close proximity.  If you have to cross a major intersection, it is difficult.  For example, while it might be faster than a bus, a family from North Minneapolis trying to get to HCMC would have some major challenges.”

Kristen also points out the difficulties of transferring to a bus with the extra bicycle gear that is needed when transporting younger children.

“It is hard to bring the trailer onto a bus.  It is a little easier on rail that isn’t too crowded.”

“There are also time considerations and other expenses.  In the winter, there is extra warm gear that may be needed to protect the youngest passengers in the trailer.  Bicycling your family to daycare and then to work is great when you have a predictable schedule, but not everyone is so lucky.”

“I have a trailer with a rain cover to keep out the cold air.  I take a rice bag, put it in the microwave and then put the bag by my son’s feet, which keeps him warm,” Kristen describes how she combats winter.

Kristen counts herself lucky that she is able to live this lifestyle.

“What’s not positive about it? I don’t curse as often when I’m biking.  My son is obsessed with outside time and he doesn’t cry as much in the trailer as he does in the car.  Both of us interact with the community more on bike.  I feel amazing, I’m happy and more relaxed, which I don’t feel after driving.”


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3 Responses to Transpo Convo: Kristen Biking With Her Son

  1. Bill Lindeke
    Bill Lindeke June 21, 2015 at 9:24 am #

    The cursing thing is true, though sometimes when going up a steep St Paul hill I find myself muttering under my breath.

  2. Julia June 21, 2015 at 5:05 pm #

    Thanks for sharing this! As someone who is carfree and would like to raise a family at some point in the near future, I’m interested in hearing the logistics of how people make it work, especially with newborns and multiple children. Hope to see more stories like this one!

  3. Serafina Scheel
    Serafina June 23, 2015 at 6:43 am #

    We, too, biked our son to daycare, from the time he was old enough to sit in one of those front carriers. We liked being able to talk to each other along the way. He started biking on his own on a scoot bike and graduated to his own bike at 3. We were a little more than a half mile away and had only one fairly busy street to cross (15th Ave. SE), but there was a light. Now he is seven and bikes 4 miles or so to school occasionally instead of taking the school bus. It helps him focus, and he loves the challenge of a big hill home. But it isn’t practical or safe in the winter once the snow flies.