J and I just returned from our first bike trip with Frankie. We traveled from our house in Vancouver to Vancouver Island via bike, bus, and ferry. We stayed off busy roads, taking our bikes on the bus for any busy sections and enjoyed cruising along the Galloping Goose Trail to get to Sooke (our destination on the Island). We used a Weeride bike seat for Frankie that was given to us by a neighbour and we loved it.
I was nervous to set out on our trip, mostly because I thought Frankie may have too many meltdowns along the way. He, of course, did have a few meltdowns, but none that were beyond standard fare for a typical toddler’s day.
Along the journey I learned some useful tidbits for traveling by bike and transit with a little one.
* Take breaks and let everyone stretch their legs off the pedals and out of the seat.
* Have side adventures while on the big adventure. Find a neat spot for a picnic or a quick snuggle or play. (We stopped every so often to pick and eat blackberries that were warm from the sun. So delicious.)
* Plan your route and have back-up plans.
* Work around nap-time as best as you can.
* Let your child hold a safe small toy that won’t be missed if it’s dropped and won’t cause any problems for other cyclists.
* Speak to your child and point out things you see as much as you can. It keeps them entertained, calm, and engaged.
* Pack light and prioritize room in your bag for your baby or child. (A happy child is worth wearing the same underwear for two days in a row, crazy but true).
* Snacks, snacks, snacks.
* Water, water, water.
* Sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen.
* Have lots of change if you plan on taking the bus (seems obvious, but we totally forgot).
* Be prepared to wait for buses as needed ( there are often only a few spots on the bus bike racks).
Our trip gave me more confidence in my ability to parent amongst the unfamiliar and “on-the-go”. I feel less prone to avoid trying new things with Frankie out of fear of how he or I may handle it. Most importantly, I decided the family bike-trip can be as ubiquitous as the family road-trip.