The Prospects: How Did We Get Into Cargo Biking As A Family?
In short, Mr. Prospect found an amazing way to maintain a two-wheeled life with kids.
I really should have been sleeping when my wife texted me around midnight, “can you come upstairs? Promise me you’ll stay calm.” At a subconscious level, I knew what events were about to unfold. But I was in denial. In denial that we were about to drive to the hospital and go on a rollercoaster of emotions. I knew what’s next because we’ve done this twice before.
The baby delivery room was quiet and the lights were dimmed. During a period of relative calmness, I dosed off on an old boxy recliner. Then like a surprise party, the room lit up and what seemed like a dozen nurses walked in cheering and generally being way too enthusiastic for that hour in the morning. I was hurried out of the recliner half asleep. “Alright dad, you stand over here!” Next thing I knew, I was saying things like, “you can do it! Keep breathing! Keep fighting! One round at a time!”, like a boxer’s coach. I was more irritating than helpful.
The Forgotten One was born at 6am and I called to buy our first cargo bike at 10am. If this sounds insensitive, it’s not. Once the commotion settled and mom and baby were doing well, there was a lot of waiting, sleeping, paperwork, and more waiting. I was reading about cargo bikes on my phone during the down time, unable to ignore my latest obsession. Finally my wife said, “just call and order it.” In her moment of weakness (and drug induced euphoria), she gave the thumbs up so I pounced, afraid that her permission was fleeting.
So it began, our cargo biking life. A few months later, we got our second cargo bike and were then ready to take the plunge and sell our car (but keep our van).
I always liked riding as a kid. Something about the speed and wind in your face were unlike anything else. It was faster than walking, and yet I was more connected with the surroundings than I would have been in a car. Most of all, I loved the freedom of not asking my parents to drive me everywhere. During college and the first years of working, I took a hiatus from biking. I was probably too busy chasing girls and a career. Looking back, they feel like wasted years now (not biking that is).
The idea of cargo biking came about when my wife was mid-way through her pregnancy with The Forgotten One and we were discussing the new logistics of kid pick-up and drop-off. Somehow with just two kids I was still able to maintain a bit of a two-wheeled life. Due to some luck with everyone’s schedules, I got to ride to work on my scooter or motorcycle a few days a week. However, it was apparent that with three kids, this arrangement wasn’t going to work. The realization was depressing. Say goodbye to the two-wheeled life for a decade and then proceed to do something dumb and desperate during my midlife crisis, how cliché.
Then one day, I saw a dad riding in my neighbourhood in what looked like a bicycle-canoe combination. I was confused yet intrigued, much like some of the reactions we get now when we ride our kids around town. It was a blur but I thought I saw kids in that bicycle-canoe thingy! As soon as I got home, I Googled and Googled and months of obsessive research ensued. I read everything I could about cargo biking and watched hours upon hours of people (mostly Dutch and Danes) riding their kids around in bikes with the casualty of pushing a stroller. I was hooked. I was obsessed. After weeks of showing my wife “just one more video”, she banned me from talking about it.
I visited bike stores, phoned up places too far to visit, and talked to anyone who knew anything about cargo biking. I even cornered a poor dad at a playground and interrogated him about his cargo bike as his two kids waited patiently, and his poor wife looked like she was about to punch me in the face. I was admittedly selfish with their time but cargo biking families are rare in Toronto. I’m just glad I had enough self-restraint to not jog alongside them as they rode away.
During nap times, I would go test ride whatever cargo bike that I could get my hands (and butt) on. I started off romanticizing about one type of cargo bike but ended up buying two that were very different from what I originally lusted for. I tend to over-research even modest purchases so my investigation with cargo bikes was on an unhealthy overdrive. I learned a ton throughout the process and will share what I learned (and our adventures) in this blog. If you’re interested in joining the cargo biking fun but find the research daunting, hopefully I can be a shortcut for you
Make sure to check out their blog here: www.prospectquery.com