A Bicycle for Two: Biking With Kids

Happy Cycle September!

Fall is in the air, temperatures are down, and it’s a beautiful time to be on a bike.  

Like many people, my interest in biking began as a car-less college student.  What started as a necessity soon became an enjoyable hobby.  

After so many of my other interests were swept aside in the overwhelm that is new motherhood, I was excited to reclaim this piece of myself as something I could do with my son.  

A Bicycle for Two: Reclaiming My Pre-Mom Hobby Biking

The only problem was, I had a bicycle built for one!

The first setup we tried was the classic bike trailer. 

And by “tried” I mean bought second-hand but never actually attached to my bike!  I liked using the trailer as an all-weather double stroller, but with it riding so low to the ground I felt too disconnected from my son and was nervous about the handling.

Next, we tried a rear mount bike seat. 

I had been drooling over the Thule Yepp Nexxt Maxi and was thrilled to snag one off Facebook marketplace.  With a few small modifications to my bike (a double-leg kickstand for stability, chest clip, and rear-view mirror), we were off!  It was a great arrangement for biking with one young child.  I loved being able to talk with him about what we were seeing, reach back to comfort him or adjust straps, and smoothly transition from sidewalk to street without worrying about extra wheels.  

The bike seat did have its drawbacks.  My bike could only accommodate one seat, having him so close behind me limited what size backpack I could use, and as my baby grew into a full-sized toddler, I really started to feel each rolling hill!  

Enter the MADSEN, a cargo bike with an electric assist motor. 

After researching family bikes I made the mistake of following the company on Instagram.  My feed was soon filled with beautiful pictures of happy kids being pulled by their equally happy parents.  I was intrigued by the possibilities of the bucket too– it can hold over 600 pounds!  Four kids?  Check.  Kids + adult? Check.  Kids + gear?  Check.  Kids + groceries?  Check!  Can you guess what happened next?  Yep– I found a used one on Facebook!

Mama, we biked 100 miles in the first week!  My son loved the freedom of a simple lap belt, I loved the help from the motor, and the additional cargo space opened up so many opportunities to ride.  Grocery store?  Splash pad?  Babysitting?  Let’s go!  Not to mention the all-weather canopy that gave me permission to worry less and ride more.

Finally, biking was fun again!

Are you looking for a place to start?  Linn County has so many amazing trails!  Electric bike or not, the trails are a great way to get out and explore.  Here are our favorites from this summer:

Grant Wood Trail + Waldo’s Rock Park

A hidden gem, Waldo’s Rock Park has a cute little pond (with fish to feed!) dwarfed by a giant granite boulder from the Ice Age.  It is connected to a paved section of the Grant Wood Trail running through Marion.  Google Maps is not quite up to date on this one– it shows a break in the trail between 35th Street and 51st Street.  Don’t worry, there is a trail there!

Cedar Valley Nature Trail

I’ve only explored half of this 67-mile trail so far, but it is a great one!  It runs from Waterloo to Ely through the heart of Cedar Rapids with so many fun stops along the way.  Highlights include a loop around Cedar Lake, the Cedar Rapids Library, and Dan and Debbie’s Creamery!

Boyson Park/ Thomas Park Trail

This is our favorite trail for park hopping!  In addition to Boyson Park and Thomas Park, you can also access Donnelly Park, Willow Park, and Hanna Park.

Whether you’re new to biking or reclaiming an old hobby too, riding with your kids is an opportunity for adventure. 

So strap on your helmet and hit the trails!  Maybe I’ll see you out there.

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