There is an inverse relationship between the temperature and the number of trips and miles I’ve ridden with my daughter Lucilia.
Mix in a mother who is getting slightly more comfortable with the prospect after joining us on several rides and you’ve got the most miles and trips Luci and I have been on.
Last Sunday, with it’s lower temperature, marked the first time Luci and I rode to the grocery store by ourselves. We called Luci’s mom when we left, when we got there, when we left again and finally when we got home.
Irene, Luci and I went on six bike rides this week and used every type of facility available for bikes. We used the Rillito River path to get to a park, the path and a proposed bike boulevard route to get the bike boulevard open house and the path, boulevards and roads with striped shoulders to get to Tucson Meet Yourself.
It was a pleasure being able to use our car so little and our bikes so much to get around the city, but one thing is clear: we need more low-stress bike routes.
When I’m riding by myself, I’m entirely comfortable taking the lane on Congress in downtown Tucson or riding over Gate’s Pass. But, when Luci is with me it feels like cars are going faster and passing closer. I know they aren’t, but riding with a child changes your perspective.
I’ve added a “baby on board” sign to the back of her seat and bought a super bright flashing rear light that can be seen during the day and makes my wife sick if she rides behind me. I also change the way I ride when Luci is with me. I slow down a lot and I ride much more defensively.
Despite all these precautions, it is surprising to me that when we are riding together, even Mountain feels scary. I can’t imagine what it would be like for someone who hasn’t ridden 4,000 miles this year.
Both the city and county are working on low stress bikeways including bike boulevards and new parts of the Urban Loop, but they aren’t progressing quickly enough. How do we make bikes a priority in Tucson?
Despite my occasional apprehension, riding with my family is such a great experience and when I watch the video below, I realize I’ll never stop riding with them.
What do you think? Have you ridden with children?