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Combining commuting and the school run

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Article posted: 27/08/2013

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"I can't ride a bike to work today can I? I've got to take my son to school first". Wrong. If you've got the will, your friendly local bike shop was the equipment you need for the task. Rear mounted child seats easily attach and detach from the bike, meaning that you can leave the seat in the nursery ‘pram park' and ride a light, unfettered bike to and from work.

Above: Taking the step from the car based school run to smug, two wheeled eco-school run is as easy as 1-2-3...

Step 1 - Child seat

Obviously when using a child seat at the back, your rack/pannier options are limited, so you’ll have to use a pair of small front mounted panniers, a bar bag, basket or a rucksack. One benefit of carrying your gear up front is that it helps to counter-balance the weight of your ever growing child at the rear of the bike.

Step 2 - Trailer bike/kiddyback tandem or triplet

When your offspring outgrows the child seat you can upgrade to a trailer bike and follow the same process leave the trailer bike locked up outside nursery school and ride on, unfettered, to work. Less versatile but more efficient is a kiddyback tandem (or even a triplet). However, the latter option doesn't allow you to continue your journey to work on a standard, nimble, easily stowable bike.

Step 3 - Bike!

Pretty soon though your child may become more independent and want to travel under his or her own steam. That’s when the real fun begins – you can ride to school together, lock up your child's bike up at school and carry on to work. The great thing is that you get to ride together, every day... difficult to fit into a busy lifestyle any other way. Finding a child's bike that accepts mudguards and racks can be difficult but these features are just as desirable on children's bikes as their adult counterparts. Convincing your children that mudguards and racks are cool is another thing entirely...

Safety and comfort

Of course when riding with your children, their safety and comfort is paramount. Always choose your route carefully to avoid busy roads and dangerous junctions. Make sure your child is warm enough, especially for younger children riding in child-seats, on trailers or trailer bikes. You'll be working hard and warm-as-toast while their teeth with be a-chattering. Lots of layers, hats and gloves are de-rigueur on chilly autumn and winter mornings.

Compound journeys

‘Compound' journeys - e.g. home-school-work are the ones which usual have most people reaching for the car keys, but with a bit of determination and the right kit you can get that buzz from travelling under your own steam. Importantly, your children will be learning by example at the same time.

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