Author Topic: New here..intro and bike question..  (Read 6341 times)

micah_mae_

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New here..intro and bike question..
« on: January 22, 2013, 03:49:01 PM »
Intro: I am a stay at home mom with my soon-to-be 3 boys all 4 and under. My husband is in the army. I have mastered living on a dime, now I want to learn other skills to actually build wealth!


Now about biking...we live in an area where there is nothing close to us and we regularly drive 15-20 miles to get to stuff.

For example: It takes my husband 30 min to drive to work and back. He is in the army so he goes in at 5:30, does PT and to save gas he started showering at the gym and just going to work.
Twice a week my oldest son, who has special needs, has speech therapy. It takes 20 min to drive to the therapy office. He is going to be starting occupational therapy soon and I don't know if he will be at the same office or another therapy office.
We go to church twice weekly and that's 10-15 min away.
Then we have regular trips to the grocery store 15 min away. I try to buy enough to last us 2 weeks but we are a family of (soon to be) 5 and all boys, they eat a lot.

So, all that to say..we're moving this month. Haven't found a place yet.
Should we try to find a place closer to my husbands office and the therapy place or find a place closer to stores and such?
What if we can't find a place within biking distance?
With 3 young boys (4 and under) how could I manage the logistics? I've looked at cargo bikes for years but don't know if I can justify the cost..

James

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Re: New here..intro and bike question..
« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2013, 05:23:22 PM »
I would say the big money is in being close to the work location, with the daily trip to work I would make that my goal of being a bike-able distance.  (Depends on fitness and motivation, less than 5 miles would be good)

What is the distance between church and work?  We found biking to church (back when we still went) to be a great family activity.  Would half way between them be good?

It's hard to be very specific though because of the huge unknowns regarding neighborhood locations, prices, etc.  Finding a good central location is good, but sometimes you just need to pick one thing to be closest to.  Regarding cargo bikes, I would focus on just a decent trailer to get you started.
« Last Edit: January 22, 2013, 05:36:43 PM by James »

micah_mae_

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Re: New here..intro and bike question..
« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2013, 07:08:45 PM »
I would say the big money is in being close to the work location, with the daily trip to work I would make that my goal of being a bike-able distance.  (Depends on fitness and motivation, less than 5 miles would be good)

What is the distance between church and work?  We found biking to church (back when we still went) to be a great family activity.  Would half way between them be good?

It's hard to be very specific though because of the huge unknowns regarding neighborhood locations, prices, etc.  Finding a good central location is good, but sometimes you just need to pick one thing to be closest to.  Regarding cargo bikes, I would focus on just a decent trailer to get you started.

Thank you for your input! We have an area we have it narrowed down to and next time my husband goes to work he'll check actual distances. Being in the army he often has a bunch of army crap to bring with him so he might not be able to bike all the time. It might be better to aim for between the therapy place and church..maybe we can find a local grocery store close by..
Do they make trailers for 3 kids?

Paul der Krake

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Re: New here..intro and bike question..
« Reply #3 on: January 22, 2013, 07:31:03 PM »
Hey micah_meh_,

So I was sort of in the cargo bike business for a little while, and got to play regularly with the high-end dutch bikes that retail for an insane amount of money. Unless you live in an extremely flat area or have untold amount of time on your hands, I would stay away from those and stick to the trailer.

Why?
Cargo bikes are friggin huge. You can easily fit your three kids in one, but you will be pretty slow. I used one with a battery pack that would power it and it made things easier with cargo but those models retail for more than you should ever consider spending on a bike. Without the battery, even the slightest hill can be annoying, and this is coming from a 20-something dude who runs 10 miles on a whim before breakfast.

Assuming you must take the whole family with you every time you run errands, I recommend you find a trailer large enough to fit your two youngest safely, and have the 4-year-old use his own bike. Teach him how to behave on the road by riding in front of you and put flashing LEDs on everybody to be as visible as possible, even in broad daylight. Before long you will have three mini road warriors and you can lose the trailer.

micah_mae_

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Re: New here..intro and bike question..
« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2013, 06:20:32 AM »
Hey micah_meh_,

So I was sort of in the cargo bike business for a little while, and got to play regularly with the high-end dutch bikes that retail for an insane amount of money. Unless you live in an extremely flat area or have untold amount of time on your hands, I would stay away from those and stick to the trailer.

Why?
Cargo bikes are friggin huge. You can easily fit your three kids in one, but you will be pretty slow. I used one with a battery pack that would power it and it made things easier with cargo but those models retail for more than you should ever consider spending on a bike. Without the battery, even the slightest hill can be annoying, and this is coming from a 20-something dude who runs 10 miles on a whim before breakfast.

Assuming you must take the whole family with you every time you run errands, I recommend you find a trailer large enough to fit your two youngest safely, and have the 4-year-old use his own bike. Teach him how to behave on the road by riding in front of you and put flashing LEDs on everybody to be as visible as possible, even in broad daylight. Before long you will have three mini road warriors and you can lose the trailer.

Thank you for this! I really appreciate the info about the cargo bikes for sure. Unfortunately my oldest probably won't be able to bike on the road for several years, he's autistic and a "runner"..I hesitate to think what that could translate to on a bike! But maybe I could get one of those infant things to put in front of me and put the other two in the trailer..hmm...

GuitarStv

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Re: New here..intro and bike question..
« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2013, 06:45:16 AM »
The other way that you can go is with racks/baskets/panniers.  Personally, I don't like bike trailers (they're heavy, harder to secure, and do funny things to the steering when carrying heavy load going down hill), and prefer to do our grocery/Costco shopping with front and rear racks and a basket/pannier combo.

If you want tons of room, something like a Wald 535 basket on the rear (18 x 7.5 x 12 inches):

coupled with a front basket or milk crate:

works pretty well for carrying lots of heavy stuff.

If you want to be able to take all the baskets off the bike (for commuting or whatever) you can get folding baskets or go with removable panniers and front/rear racks.

TomTX

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Re: New here..intro and bike question..
« Reply #6 on: January 23, 2013, 07:22:03 AM »

Thank you for this! I really appreciate the info about the cargo bikes for sure. Unfortunately my oldest probably won't be able to bike on the road for several years, he's autistic and a "runner"..I hesitate to think what that could translate to on a bike! But maybe I could get one of those infant things to put in front of me and put the other two in the trailer..hmm...

What about a tandem bike (if you can find one reasonably priced)? - He'll get to participate/be active by helping pedal, but you get to adjust speed and steer!

twinge

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Re: New here..intro and bike question..
« Reply #7 on: January 23, 2013, 07:23:48 AM »
Given that your oldest has autism, and you have three so young, I think I would focus on getting close to your husband's work and working out a bike trailer solution that could carry his army crap if possible.   Hauling "stuff" has many easy solutions--hauling 3 kids is trickier, especially given the special needs situation of your eldest. If he's not into that idea, even moving closer and driving will cut down daily gas costs and he may gradually embrace biking.

On your end, I would just try and plan as well as  possible to go grocery shopping less often, combine it with trips to church/therapy if possible etc.  Read on-line about batch cooking, strategies for shopping less etc. 

If you do try out biking, I would make sure you have your eldest try out all the gear he will need (e.g., put on the helmet, get in the trailer or on the trail-a-cycle, put on all straps) and do serious test runs.  As I'm sure you know, the sensory issues that are often associated with autism may cause extreme resistance to some required aspect of biking safely (alternatively he may LOVE the feel of his helmet or love the scenes rushing by while riding etc. and fight you when it's time to get off the bike etc.).  I have a friend with a son who is on the autism spectrum and he loves riding in the trailer but SCREAMS whenever the bike stops, and fights getting out etc.  You probably want to figure all that in when deciding what will work best for your family.  Good luck!

tmac

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Re: New here..intro and bike question..
« Reply #8 on: January 23, 2013, 07:33:39 AM »
Given that your oldest has autism, and you have three so young, I think I would focus on getting close to your husband's work and working out a bike trailer solution that could carry his army crap if possible.   Hauling "stuff" has many easy solutions--hauling 3 kids is trickier, especially given the special needs situation of your eldest. If he's not into that idea, even moving closer and driving will cut down daily gas costs and he may gradually embrace biking.

I think this is key. If he's leaving for the gym at 5:30am, he may find that he can actually save some time by getting some or all of his cardio on the bike.

micah_mae_

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Re: New here..intro and bike question..
« Reply #9 on: January 23, 2013, 08:25:32 AM »
The other way that you can go is with racks/baskets/panniers.  Personally, I don't like bike trailers (they're heavy, harder to secure, and do funny things to the steering when carrying heavy load going down hill), and prefer to do our grocery/Costco shopping with front and rear racks and a basket/pannier combo.

If you want tons of room, something like a Wald 535 basket on the rear (18 x 7.5 x 12 inches):

coupled with a front basket or milk crate:

works pretty well for carrying lots of heavy stuff.

If you want to be able to take all the baskets off the bike (for commuting or whatever) you can get folding baskets or go with removable panniers and front/rear racks.

Thanks for that info, I'll look into those baskets for sure..seems like they could be multipurpose..

micah_mae_

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Re: New here..intro and bike question..
« Reply #10 on: January 23, 2013, 08:25:58 AM »

Thank you for this! I really appreciate the info about the cargo bikes for sure. Unfortunately my oldest probably won't be able to bike on the road for several years, he's autistic and a "runner"..I hesitate to think what that could translate to on a bike! But maybe I could get one of those infant things to put in front of me and put the other two in the trailer..hmm...

What about a tandem bike (if you can find one reasonably priced)? - He'll get to participate/be active by helping pedal, but you get to adjust speed and steer!

Oh good idea I'll look into that too!

micah_mae_

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Re: New here..intro and bike question..
« Reply #11 on: January 23, 2013, 08:29:01 AM »
Given that your oldest has autism, and you have three so young, I think I would focus on getting close to your husband's work and working out a bike trailer solution that could carry his army crap if possible.   Hauling "stuff" has many easy solutions--hauling 3 kids is trickier, especially given the special needs situation of your eldest. If he's not into that idea, even moving closer and driving will cut down daily gas costs and he may gradually embrace biking.

I think this is key. If he's leaving for the gym at 5:30am, he may find that he can actually save some time by getting some or all of his cardio on the bike.

Well even if he does get cardio by riding he still has to do PT, he's in the army and it's mandatory.

micah_mae_

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Re: New here..intro and bike question..
« Reply #12 on: January 23, 2013, 08:31:08 AM »
Given that your oldest has autism, and you have three so young, I think I would focus on getting close to your husband's work and working out a bike trailer solution that could carry his army crap if possible.   Hauling "stuff" has many easy solutions--hauling 3 kids is trickier, especially given the special needs situation of your eldest. If he's not into that idea, even moving closer and driving will cut down daily gas costs and he may gradually embrace biking.

On your end, I would just try and plan as well as  possible to go grocery shopping less often, combine it with trips to church/therapy if possible etc.  Read on-line about batch cooking, strategies for shopping less etc. 

If you do try out biking, I would make sure you have your eldest try out all the gear he will need (e.g., put on the helmet, get in the trailer or on the trail-a-cycle, put on all straps) and do serious test runs.  As I'm sure you know, the sensory issues that are often associated with autism may cause extreme resistance to some required aspect of biking safely (alternatively he may LOVE the feel of his helmet or love the scenes rushing by while riding etc. and fight you when it's time to get off the bike etc.).  I have a friend with a son who is on the autism spectrum and he loves riding in the trailer but SCREAMS whenever the bike stops, and fights getting out etc.  You probably want to figure all that in when deciding what will work best for your family.  Good luck!

I hadn't thought about this but that's probably what would happen. Sigh. I think we'll try to relocate closer to DHs work and maybe I can do grocery shopping with just 1 kid...

twinge

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Re: New here..intro and bike question..
« Reply #13 on: January 23, 2013, 08:37:28 AM »
Quote
I hadn't thought about this but that's probably what would happen. Sigh. I think we'll try to relocate closer to DHs work and maybe I can do grocery shopping with just 1 kid...

Will your eldest be attending school next year?  If so, your needs/routines may change considerably.  He might outgrow the speech therapy or therapy might be provided in-school etc.  And maybe you'll just be carting around 2 kids during school hours and have a little more options to work with just a regular bike trailer.

micah_mae_

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Re: New here..intro and bike question..
« Reply #14 on: January 23, 2013, 01:49:34 PM »
No we are home schooling since it was made clear to us that he will not be getting a good education in public school.

jnik

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Re: New here..intro and bike question..
« Reply #15 on: January 26, 2013, 08:31:07 AM »
Well even if he does get cardio by riding he still has to do PT, he's in the army and it's mandatory.
Check on the details. I know the local AFB allows 3 hours a week of paid leave for exercise. Might be for officers only, might be different in different services, but if that commute time can count towards duty time...

Kriegsspiel

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Re: New here..intro and bike question..
« Reply #16 on: January 26, 2013, 08:49:08 AM »
Well even if he does get cardio by riding he still has to do PT, he's in the army and it's mandatory.
Check on the details. I know the local AFB allows 3 hours a week of paid leave for exercise. Might be for officers only, might be different in different services, but if that commute time can count towards duty time...

That's the Air Force.  The Army doesn't tolerate such things :D

Your husband could check to see if there is an area he can store his gear on post.  There is almost ALWAYS a closet, extra barracks room, toughbox, etc where you can store a bunch of gear.  I rode a bike to post most days (when I lived about 2 miles from post), stored the gear I needed most often in a closet.

micah_mae_

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Re: New here..intro and bike question..
« Reply #17 on: January 26, 2013, 02:07:29 PM »
Well even if he does get cardio by riding he still has to do PT, he's in the army and it's mandatory.
Check on the details. I know the local AFB allows 3 hours a week of paid leave for exercise. Might be for officers only, might be different in different services, but if that commute time can count towards duty time...

That's the Air Force.  The Army doesn't tolerate such things :D

Your husband could check to see if there is an area he can store his gear on post.  There is almost ALWAYS a closet, extra barracks room, toughbox, etc where you can store a bunch of gear.  I rode a bike to post most days (when I lived about 2 miles from post), stored the gear I needed most often in a closet.

Thanks that's awesome, I'll ask him about that! I see you're in Texas, are you at "The Great Place" by chance?

Kriegsspiel

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Re: New here..intro and bike question..
« Reply #18 on: January 26, 2013, 02:54:40 PM »
Nope, I'm actually out of the military now.

micah_mae_

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Re: New here..intro and bike question..
« Reply #19 on: January 26, 2013, 04:49:47 PM »
Nope, I'm actually out of the military now.

Ah freedom. :) My DH has 6 years in and he thinks he'll go career. I was raised an airforce brat so I've never lived a "normal" life and I can't wait.

Kriegsspiel

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Re: New here..intro and bike question..
« Reply #20 on: January 26, 2013, 05:10:06 PM »
Yea, both really have their pluses and minuses.  Sometimes I miss the military, then I remember the things I hated, and it kind of goes back and forth.

frompa

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Re: New here..intro and bike question..
« Reply #21 on: January 31, 2013, 05:10:15 AM »
I'm reviving this thread because I think the trailer issue was dismissed too easily.  I've used one for years, on long and short trips, and I've also used panniers to carry stuff.  All these tools have their place.  I can't carry a case of beer in my panniers, I can easily do so in the trailer.  For a big grocery shop, the trailer outperforms the panniers every time.  I live in a hilly area, and haven't had any issues with the trailer affecting the performance of my bike.  So keep this in your arsenal as one more appropriate tool. 

GuitarStv

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Re: New here..intro and bike question..
« Reply #22 on: January 31, 2013, 06:56:59 AM »
I'm reviving this thread because I think the trailer issue was dismissed too easily.  I've used one for years, on long and short trips, and I've also used panniers to carry stuff.  All these tools have their place.  I can't carry a case of beer in my panniers, I can easily do so in the trailer.  For a big grocery shop, the trailer outperforms the panniers every time.  I live in a hilly area, and haven't had any issues with the trailer affecting the performance of my bike.  So keep this in your arsenal as one more appropriate tool.

That's why you put the beer on the top of your rack, securely bungeed between the panniers.  :P