I took my two girls (1.5 and 3.5 years old) to the shopping center today in our Madsen Cycles bucket bike. Up until today, I had only ever taken one child there at a time on a bicycle, and the bike had always been my Xtracycle. We took my normal route (about 2 miles), which involves one arterial (Alder/Pine St) and a brief, but steep, hill climb. Everything went swimmingly. We hit the Top Foods for incidentals, then PetSmart for a 35 lb bag of dog chow, the real reason for the outing.
I took a new route home that involved more sidewalks and backstreets in order to avoid the noise, traffic, and grades of the arterials. Gwen suggested a stop at the park, which was a slight detour. Great idea, Gwen!
On the way home, she grabbed the camera from the diaper bag and started taking pictures. I didn't figure this out until we were half-way home. Here is the unaltered and complete series of photos, from the school playground to our garage, so that you may see a bike ride through the eyes of a small, bucket bike passenger:
The other cool thing was the number of bicyclists we spotted on such a relatively short trip, including two tweeners on a red fendered tandem cruiser (not unlike this one). Despite the pilots age, she climbed out of the saddle like an old pro to smoothly negotiate the hill by the playground. It looked natural and effortless. Gwen chimed in with "Daisy, Daisy..."
Yes, it's a weekend, and we do have somewhere between 364 and 366 days of excellent cycling weather in Tacoma every year, today certainly being one of those days. But I'd wager that I saw more cyclists in four miles than I would have seen in 20 miles on a similar day last summer. And I'm not talking about a couple of kitted road riders, but over 20 of the plain-clothes variety that are going to the cafe or a friend's house or anywhere. Folks seem to finally recognize the value of traveling by bicycle and are doing something with that knowledge.
We certainly are.