Biking the city with kids in tow

Two weeks ago, I finally did it: on a sleepy Sunday afternoon I brought my bike in toWastyn Cycles bike shop on Fullerton and Western and asked them to kindly set my pink Schwinn 3-speed up with a baby seat.

My poor bike had been collecting dust in the basement for more than a couple of years. After the birth of my baby girl in late 2009, I put biking on hold. Mainly because every time I’d expressed my desire to get myself (and her!) back on a bike, I was met with the usual “You’re crazy!”s and “In Chicago?!? Too dangerous!!”s.

But you’ve heard it once from me and you’ll hear it a million other times: Life is too short. I’d always wanted to ride with my baby girl on my bike, and I’m a city dweller so it will have to been on the crazy streets of Chicago. My son, 10, also adores bike riding, and has been begging me to get my bike ready to go on trips beyond his limited neighborhood jaunts forever. So the friendly folks at Wastyn’s set us up with a fancy Topeak bike seat for baby Chiara and matching pink mother and daughter helmets.

My nervousness faded as soon as I pedaled away with Chiara in her bike seat and my son trailing behind. Freedom!

Since that first ride, there have been many others. Today we rode for about two hours from our home to the lush green expanse of Humboldt Park. We biked over bridges, stopped to look at the ducks and geese, circled the ponds, stopped to play at the park. We rode into Bucktown for a sandwich lunch at Sacco Bruno, then biked on home for naptime. It was a lovely morning, but boy are my legs tired!

Funny that Chiara, my almost 2-year-old, is terribly restless in her carseat but loves her bike helmet and sits peacefully in her bike seat. She points out the passing trains, dump trucks, and sometimes brings along her dolly for the ride. My son downloaded an app on our phone so we can see how many miles we’ve biked; He’s eager to go farther and farther afield. My husband is going to get in the game too–he’s looking for a new bike this weekend.

Exploring the city with the wind blowing at my face and my kids having a blast (and getting some exercise!) alongside me — does it get any better than this?

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