The Cycling Mum

I’m pretty noticeable around my local area, as I wear a high-vis vest with “mum” on it, and ride a long orange bike. Here I will answer some of the questions I am often asked.

That is an unusual bike, did you make it?  Is it electric?
I didn’t make it.  It is a Yuba Mundo cargo or utility bike from the USA.  You can get electric ones, however my bike is chocolate-powered.  We call it ‘Rocket’.

Where did you get your bike?
Daryl, from Maungaraki imports them and sells them from a cycle store in Upper Hutt.  I found his website, cargobikesnz, on the internet when I was researching my options.

What do you use it for?
I originally got it because I was sick of pushing a buggy around! I’d been doing it for 6 years and would estimate I was covering over 1000 km a year.  That is because I prefer to use active transport, like cycling or walking, for short trips.  I didn’t expect my young children to cover the distances I was, so needed something for them that I could power.  We have also used a kiddy bike trailer, but I have found the cargo bike much easier to use and park.  My kids mostly cycle and scoot themselves now, but I still use my cargo bike and love the fact that I can put so much on it, and thus use my car even less.

Why did you choose that bike?
It has room for my youngest child plus cargo like bags, shopping, etc.  Or I can take two kids on it.  You can hear us coming when that happens, as my son gets very very excited!  It is easier to use, maneuver and park than a trailer, although we did like the trailer for safety of toddlers and adventures.

How far have you cycled?
I mostly use this bike locally because it is hard to manage a puncture on the rear wheel.  But on other bikes I have had many cycling adventures in NZ and overseas.  I’ve cycle-toured in NZ, Australia, Slovenia, Scotland, Austria, Hungary, Slovakia, and Vietnam.  That was before kids!  With kids, we’ve done the Central Otago Rail Trail and the Hauraki Rail Trail, and recently I did the Nelson Great Taste Trail on my folding bike.

Where do you cycle?
On this bike I cycle around the Hutt.  I use my bike for school runs, errands, appointments, library trips, and my market shopping.  On my own I use the road and river trail.  With kids I will often use the footpath, depending on traffic and destination.

Why do you cycle?
Because it is good for me and for the planet.

Do you have a car?
Yes I do, but I prefer to keep it for longer trips and occasional use.  For short trips I like to use my feet or bike.  It is great not to have to bother with parking!  Plus I get fresh air, exercise and a greater sense of community.  I find it a bit sad when really little kids ask me “Don’t you have a car?”, it is like they have no concept of getting around other than driving/being driven.

Is it safe?
I’ve certainly had my moments, but mostly it is fine.  It is important to cycle confidently and be visible.  I wish there were more cyclists and more facilities for cyclists.  Anytime a motorist gets angry, aggressive or impatient, I just wish they would vent their feelings by campaigning for more facilities for cyclists.  If they don’t want me on the road then get me a cycle path!  There is a six-times return on investment for any amount spent on cycling facilities, so we all win!

Do you cycle on the footpath?
When I am with my kids I often cycle on the footpath.  I really don’t like doing this, but must put their safety first.  I’d like to invite anyone who doesn’t like cyclists on the footpath to send a letter to the council requesting safe, connected, separated cycle paths, especially around schools, train stations and the CBD.

What would you say to anyone who wants to try cycling more often?
I’d say get the right gear and give it a go.  There are great ‘Cycle Ready’ skills courses you can do.  You have nothing to lose and so much to gain!  And if cycling doesn’t appeal, just try walking more.  It is so good for you and your whanau.

What questions do you have about cycling with kids?  Please leave a reply comment with your question and I will endeavour to answer it.

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4 thoughts on “The Cycling Mum

  1. We have cycle lanes marked all over Auckland but they are ill thought out weird to use inconsistant in suberbs and very close to big buses trucks cars because they have less road as the cycle ways were painted on vehicle roads.
    With a few exceptions like roscommon road in Manurewa there is a footpath on both sides of the roads everywhere so the obvious thing would be to asign one side a bike path preference but walkers able to use but let the bike go first as in give way to bikes, all bikes must have a bell if using path and ring bell when approaching walkers 4 seconds before passing between 7am to 9am then again from 2 to 7pm. At all other times bikes much use with caution if dog walkers prams etc are using but still one side bike preference for wheeled self or power scooters
    It makes scence is only going to cost painted designated sides of roads.
    I would have used a bike over the last 30 years and still would but for the lack of a safe place to do so. There must be an investment in off road cycle ways to beaches to get bikes separated from fast vehicles especially like Auckland where so many beaches are available safely for cars only.
    Boxing filled with packed fine gravel would be fine..again years of not being able to take kids to beach via bikes that are 25 KS away all because I don’t want my kids to die.


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