Thursday, August 13, 2015

Member Spotlight: Bicycle Mum

We love seeing our members live a life by bike, as it inspires all of us to find ways to incorporate bicycles into our daily lifestyle. We have chosen to start up a Member Spotlight to showcase them and ask for tips and advice to share with the rest of our members and our community.

Member Spotlight: Bicycle Mum

Bicycle Mum lives a life by bike with her whole family!  She recently organized a Bike To School Day in May, in honor of National Bike To School Day. Read about the day, what kinds of errands she runs by bike, her advice for others, and her favorite and most useful bike accessory!

1. SDCBC: What part of San Diego do you live in, Bicycle Mum?
Bicycle Mum: We are currently living in Eastlake, Chula Vista. We only arrived here in November last year, so we are newbies and still learning our way around, which is code for getting lost regularly! Haha! It is so beautiful here and looking out my window every morning seeing bikers and hikers going through the trails in the mountains, I am just really grateful that we get an opportunity to live in such a wonderful outdoor-loving area with the best weather for being outside! it really reminds me of where I grew up in Australia. 

2. SDCBC: Tell us about Bike to School Day!
Bicycle Mum: When we arrived at our school here in Chula Vista, I approached the principal with the idea of running a Bike To School Day on National Bike To School Day on Wednesday 6th of May. He was all for it and basically just told me to run with it. So of course I did. I approached a bunch of bike related companies and organisations for sponsorship and help, thinking that I would get a few stickers and some small trinkets, and they ended up sending me more than I ever could have imagined! These kids got some MAJOR swag - just for doing the very thing that kids should be doing every day - biking, walking, scooting, skating and having a great time going to school.
We currently have bike racks for 24 bikes at school, and we filled those and then a good section of the black-top. It was awesome! I had expected around 50 kids to participate, but instead we got nearly 300!!! It was incredible and the kids had so much fun! So this year I have organised 10 Bike To School Days throughout the year, as well as a Bike Rodeo which is coming up next Friday. Then we are holding a bike maintenance workshop for the kids and parents on a Saturday soon, so that we can all learn together the basics of bike up-keep. I have a lot to learn, too, so it will be great! I also have plans of regular Bike Trains out of the surrounding neighbourhoods and just really really want kids to enjoy coming to school outside, the way we used to when we were kids. I remember walking to school in elementary school and walking beside a golf course in the mornings with kangaroos everywhere feeding on the cool morning grass. I know that kids here will not see that, but when I asked the little kids what they saw when they came to school on their walk or ride, they told me about the bugs, the lizards and the flowers. You can not see that or experience that or smell that if you are in a car for less than 1 mile to school.

3. SDCBC: What kinds of errands do you run by bike?
Bicycle Mum: I do just about everything by bike. At Christmas I have gotten our tree in my bike trailer, I do supermarket runs, filling a grocery cart and then freaking the bagger out when instead of delivering the cart to my car, they deliver it to my bike.  Haha! The look on their face is priceless!
Last year in May, my older son broke his arm whilst we were still in the Netherlands, and therefore he could not ride his bike, so I borrowed a bakfiets (box-bike, it has a large box in the front for kids and loads) from a friend and I hauled both my kids and all their gear too and from school everyday, as well as shopping, events and local activities. I didn't want to give that bike back, it has to be the most practical bike ever built! My one regret is that I did not buy one in the Netherlands before we left. Sometimes riding a bike is faster, and 99.9% of the time it is of course, much less stressful than driving.

When we arrived here into the US from Europe, our car took a few months to arrive, so we chose a house within a 4-mile radius of the Olympic Training Center and a 20-mile radius of my husband's work. That also meant that we are very close to all the major shopping that we need, so that has been really helpful. My 11yr old son was training at Chula Vista BMX 3 times a week, so I would load my 5yr old and all the BMX gear into the bike trailer, and off we would go to his nightly training sessions. My husband also commutes to work ever day by bike, he has been doing this for most of our married life and obviously before. It is a great way for him to let off the "steam" of the day and also a way for him to stay in shape to both keep up with our kids and also race in the races that he has an opportunity to enter throughout the year wherever we are. 

We really live our lives no different to most Dutch families in the Netherlands, but here, our choice of lifestyle, seems strange to most, but that has never bothered us though and we don't plan on changing any time soon.

4. SDCBC:  Do you have any advice for people interested in doing more activities and errands by bike?
Bicycle Mum:
 Find a comfortable bike and if you find one that is not quite right, then modify it. Honestly, 99% of the time you will not be able to walk into a bike shop and buy a bike that is completely perfect for the purpose that you want it for. Everyone has adjustments that they need to make, things to add to the bike, things to take off, and sometimes you just need to tweak things. My husband is all about "light and fast" and I am all about practical and simple. I have water cages and a coffee holder on my bike, because coffee is SUPER important too me! I have ergo hand grips that support my wrists. I have a dog harness on my bike so that my dog can run with me everywhere and I always have the bike trailer attached. I have had the same bike and trailer for 12yrs, and it has gotten so much use! My husband built it up for me when I was pregnant with our oldest son, and I rode it until I couldn't thow my leg over it anymore. My bike is old, heavy and ugly, she is called "The Tank" for that reason, but I love her, and she is perfect (right now) for what I need to do with her, and yes - she is a girl.  :)

5. SDCBC: What is your favorite or most useful bicycle accessory?
Bicycle Mum: My favourite and most useful has to be the Burley bike trailer (and second is the coffee holder). I honestly do not know what we would do without it? We have taken it around the world with us and used it as a stroller and also as a trailer. It is the most practical accessory I have use I think.  If my kids are not in it, their stuff is! It always has a First Aid kit, bike repair kit, extra water, travel bowl for the pooch, frisbee, tennis ball, locks and miscellaneous "stuff". I also throw my backpack into it, so it generally weighs quite a lot to begin with!  hahaha Typical mum, it is more like a large rolling handbag than anything else!  hahaha

6. SDCBC: Great stuff, Bicycle Mum! Anywhere we can follow you, or if people have more questions?
Bicycle Mum: I am a social media fiend-
Facebook: Bicycle Mum
Instagram: Bicycle Mum
Twitter: Bicycle Mum 

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