Author Topic: Help with commute in Southamerica!  (Read 2744 times)

MariaSouth

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Help with commute in Southamerica!
« on: December 02, 2013, 10:58:02 AM »
Hi all,

I found this blog a couple of weeks ago and come to realize I have been a Mustachian girl all these years without knowing. I get so much inspiration and strength from the posts and forums that I  now dare to post my 'problem'.

I am a 31yo woman, living in a big city in Southamerica, single mom (and provider) of an 8 years old boy and with a huge secret desire of being financially independent soon. My son and I own a small house (700sf of fully paid 'cheap' brick) and have some other very small investements in real state, I just do not know other better ways to invest in Argentina (right now we have a 28% inflation per year, and growing, so... go figure). My salary has always been on the low side (academia), but that did not prevent me from saving all I could to achieve my goals.

I have biked to kindergarten and work since my kid is 1yo (before, I was living close enough to college to walk), with him in the back bike-seat. After living abroad for three years, we have recently come back to Southamerica and  I am facing a commute problem.

His school is right in front of my office, which is great. It is almost 3miles away, which is perfect. The thing is that I can not find a good path. No close, convenient bike lanes, streets are quite heavy in traffic and there are million barking, hateful dogs. That did not stop me before, but at that time I was bringing my son on my bike. Now he is old and heavy enough to ride his own bike.

What we are currently doing is the following: His father picks him up early in the morning and takes him to school (that is probably most of the time they spent together so I would not want to cut that). I walk to work carrying his bike. Then I pick him up from school and he rides back while I fast-walk by him carring my backpack full of books and papers. It takes us around 50 min to do this!
We have some big intersection and many unused-to-bikes cars that delay us. So that forces him to walk along with me for half the way, the streets getting too dangerous to ride. In general he loves it, and I do too, but for him it is a bit frustrating to have to wait for me (he does not say it though), going up to the sidewalk, avoiding dogs... And for me it is annoying as well, since I must carry our stuff and it takes us a loooot of time. There must be some more efficient and funny way.

I am considering adapting my old bike to bring him in the back rack or somewhere, with me again (I am not sure he would like the idea). That should make it easier and faster. Maybe at some point he and his father can find a better way to share time and we can bike together, in separate bikes to and from school. But in the meantime, I just do not know what to do.

Might there be some other way? Riding in my big city is almost suicide, but I enjoy it and want us to keep doing it. By the way, we have a nice car, paid in cash as well, that we use to travel or do some exceptional errands, and I refuse to drive it to work.

Please, does anybody have some tips with older kids in high traffic, full of dogs, third-world-like streets?

Thanks in advance!

frugaldrummer

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Re: Help with commute in Southamerica!
« Reply #1 on: December 02, 2013, 11:18:23 AM »
How about a tandem bicycle, built for two?

MariaSouth

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Re: Help with commute in Southamerica!
« Reply #2 on: December 02, 2013, 02:15:55 PM »
You know, when I first saw your suggestion, I thought 'This is Southamerica, we do not have these fancy bikes here'. But I made a quick search and I was greatly surprised to find some used affordable ones in my city, and even one for an adult and a child! Now I hope the guy did not sell it yet.

So, frugaldrummer, thank you so so much for your advice! It seems like the ideal solution, and so much fun!

I will let you know how it goes.

Cheers!


yyc-phil

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Re: Help with commute in Southamerica!
« Reply #3 on: December 02, 2013, 02:46:28 PM »
A tandem bike looks like an interesting idea, but they are usually pricey. Perhaps a tandem bicycle trailer may be more suitable and more affordable. This is just an example, there are lots of models on the market, even in South America. Your child is still young enough and probably small enough to be able to use this kind of trailer for at least a couple more years.

http://www.amazon.com/WeeRide-Pro-Pilot-Pro-Pilot-Bicycle/dp/B002MCYWJ4

MariaSouth

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Re: Help with commute in Southamerica!
« Reply #4 on: December 02, 2013, 04:54:12 PM »
Wow ykphil, I did no even know these things existed! Do you know if these trailers work with big bikes?  My son weigths 66 pounds and is 4.3 feet tall, and left the small kid bike behind some time ago. His current bike (that he bought with his own savings a couple of months ago) is almost as big as mine.

The possibilities I see at the moment are:

1. Try to find a cheap tandem bike (it would consume all my monthly savings, or maybe a one and a half months sabvings)
2. Get an appropriate bike trailer, like the one suggested by ykphil, but for big bikes (it would consume Almost all my monthly savings)
3. Build some kind of bar to attach his bike to mine, probably from the side, instead of from behind. It is not a great distance, and it is a flat path, and he would not ride it while it is attached to mine.
4. Try to lead his bike with one hand while leading mine with the other. I think I tried this once, and was not succesful though. This would be free, but surely would make me go slowly one way.

What I like about the idea of the two of us biking, together or separated, is that we could take some longer path, but much nicer for biking (that now, with me just walking with backpacks, would take more than 2 hours).

Any other suggestion?

Thank you all guys! This is really making me think!

MariaSouth

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Re: Help with commute in Southamerica!
« Reply #5 on: December 02, 2013, 05:03:29 PM »
By the way, this is the bike I saw today, Isnt it beautiful? It is home made and therefore, not too huge! And it was not that expensive, but the guy does not answer my message... hope it did not sell...

(hope the picture can be seen)