“Good or bad commute?”

by Prince Of Petworth March 3, 2016 at 2:25 pm 56 Comments


A reader wonders:

“I can’t tell if these kids love or hate this, but I see them regularly. Seems rough on a day like today.”

I have to say my old neighbors used to commute like this and the kids absolutely loved it. They loved it whether it was 25 degrees or 95 degrees out. The only negative I can recall was that going up big hills was brutal.

  • KenyonDweller

    Every kid is different of course, but, in general this is a good time.

  • nevermindtheend

    Was that photo taken from the driver’s seat?

  • TJ

    Rough on the guy pedaling the bike but probably fun for the kids.

  • Formerly ParkViewRes

    Oh man, nearly every morning on my commute I used to see a family just like this (maybe them?) on 9th St NW. I would think kids would love this and good work out for mom and/or dad.

  • stinger

    Kids, especially young ones, love being outside. Doesn’t matter the weather.

    Stop taking pictures while you’re driving. You’re the people people like me, who bike our kids around, can’t stand and are afraid of.

    • Traveler

      yes! No driving and phototaking, please.

    • Anonamom

      My kids take the bus and then walk to school nearly every morning. Do they like it every day? Nope! They don’t like it on hot days, cold days, rainy days, sunny days, and basically any day that ends in Y. But you know what? They need to get to school and this is how they get there. This is how this parent chooses to get their kids around. The kids are appropriately dressed and have the proper safety gear on, who cares if the kids love it or hate it. It’s called “none of your business.”

      • Anonamom

        Sorry, Stinger, I meant this as a stand alone comment.

        • stinger

          No problem.
          Mostly I was commenting on the reader’s assertion that it seemed “rough on a day like today.” Every time I hear a comment like that regarding biking places I just can’t help but think “Your ancestors must think you’re a damn wimp!” b/c really, it’s not bad, and people work, live, and play in all different types of weather. There’s no bad weather, just bad clothing choices and our clothing choices are better than ever for dealing with just about every condition possible.
          I guess what I’m trying to say is that kids are extremely resilient and they’re clearly dressed appropriately.
          I’d also wager that, in your case, while there may be days I’m sure your kids wish they could just sit in the back of a car, I’m sure they’d tire of that pretty quickly. Seems to me you’re setting them up to be capable, independent adults and I’m sure they’ll look back fondly on the trust you had in them to get to and from school.

  • Wobber

    what kind of bike is this? Where do I get one?

    • jonah

      Might be this Xtracycle Edgerunner: http://www.bicyclespacedc.com/cargo/

    • Look up the companies Yuba or Xtracycle. They run several thousand dollars; more expensive if you get an electric motor to power up hills. (I think they’re awesome; would’ve loved to ride like this as a kid!)

  • above7-11


  • PetworthMom

    1-I see this family often on my commute.
    2-My kids love to be outside. They don’t care how warm or cold it is.
    3-Put your phone away.
    4-It’s considered rude to put photos of someone else’s kids on the internet without their permission.

    • PetworthMom

      Clarification: I’m not side-eyeing you, Popville for posting the picture, but the taker for sending it in.

      • v

        it takes two.. one photo’d, one posted… please be fair in your side eye

        • PetworthMom

          Fair point.

    • textdoc

      You can’t see the kids’ faces.
      Why have parents become so worried in the past 5-10 years about having photos of their kids on the Internet? (Photos without identifying information on the kids, that is. It’s another thing if you’re identifying someone else’s children without their permission.) Is the concern that pedophiles are going to use random photos of kids to j*** off or something?

      • PetworthMom

        It’s completely different for someone to put a picture of their own kid on the internet than for someone else.

        • textdoc

          Right, but what’s the concern? Especially in a situation like this, where you can’t see the kids’ faces?

          • PetworthMom

            It’s not necessarily concern. Some folks just don’t like stuff on the internet.

            But especially in this case, the picture was sent in basically questioning the parent’s choice.

      • Anonamom

        My kid had her picture taken with a prominent politician and became instant internet fodder. There’s nothing like googling your child’s name and finding various Tea Party blogs calling your 5 year old and her classmates all manner of vile names because she went to school one day. However, unlike this parent, I signed a waiver with DCPS allowing her picture to be taken. I sincerely doubt that this parent had any choice in the matter of thier children’s picture being taken and it being posted on a blog.
        I don’t think it’s right to take a photo of a child without their parent’s permission, whether it ends up on the internet or not. Sure, it can be completely innocent, but in this case, what exactly is the purpose of posting this photo? The person wasn’t saying, “oh hey, cool bike!” they are opening the parent up to criticism for doing absolutely nothing wrong, and for no other reason than because they can.

      • Andie302

        Maybe this is my paranoid side but by the time my kids (if I ever have any!) are growing up then facial recognition software should be even better than it is now. Creeeeeppppyyy! My ex worked in security and was blown away with what information could be gleaned from one posted photo – much of it embedded.

        • Formerly ParkViewRes

          It honestly creeps me out how many photos people post of their own kids on Facebook, Twitter, IG, etc. Here and there, update photos, etc okay, but people post multiple photos/videos a day and I feel a little bad for the kid when he/she gets older.

          • Andie302

            I always wonder what happens if the kid grows up and wants to be in a top secret job.

    • This is Awkward

      If you, or your kids, or your dog, or your goldfish are in public (the legalese on that would be “a place without a *reasonable* expectation of privacy) your/their/its photo can be used. You want to control every aspect of your kids’ lives/interactions with the world? Do a Blanket Jackson and make them wear masks or stay inside all the time.

      • Marty

        Seriously. Some folks are just control freaks.

  • Nicky

    For folks who use this type of bike with their kids, what are the size constraints? My 4 year old is very tall 48 inches or so) and I worry he’ll outgrow riding on this expensive bike soon! Is my fear justified?

    • anon kingman park

      I don’t have one, but I see these all over Capitol Hill, and have seen them carrying kids who look 8 or 9.

      • j

        I have a tall 9 yo on mine. Size of kid is not the issue. Momma power is the issue.

  • TJ

    I don’t understand the concern. It isn’t cold outside – it was probably above freezing when the photo was taken and there was no wind this morning. And I am assuming the ride is probably just a few blocks, not to Reston.

  • Jon

    That’s me and my kids. They mostly like it. I’m out picking them up from school now but I’m happy to provide more details later.

    • Andie302

      I saw you guys the other day and they looked like they were having a blast! Not going to lie, I was jealous!

  • barb

    I’m the mom of these kids, and I can assure you they prefer the cargo bike to the car and the bus. They normally wear balaclavas when it’s cold, but they decided not to this morning. I asked them mid-ride (I was trailing on my own bike) whether they were cold, and they assured me they were not. They have great foul weather/cold weather gear (better than my own!), and some days they choose not to wear it. The school commute is only 15 minutes.

    • FridayGirl

      I think you guys seem like seriously awesome parents.

      • Jon

        I think you seem extremely intelligent and a great judge of character.

      • barb

        +100 thank you

      • Truxton Thomas


      • SydneyP

        We see this family (I think) and others like it, in Shaw. It warms out hearts, each morning, for so many reasons. The education these smiling kids are getting, on their way to or from school, includes respect for the environment, love of the outdoors, physical fitness, and a tangible sense of the rewards of social responsibility. We salute you and thank you for your tremendously good example. I bet these kids won’t grow up to be city-dwellers who think parking is the most important thing in a community. I suspect the school they attend is equally top-notch.

    • Zora

      You do seem like a good mom. I can never get my kid to wear a coat, even when it’s cold.

      • barb


  • E

    Hi viz and a flag PLEASE!!!!

    • stinger

      Hand in your license if you can’t see this bike. Seriously, hand it in. You shouldn’t be on the roads.

      • Ryan

        Amen. If you somehow manage to miss a bike that big, that has lights, and that is properly placed in the lane, then you need to get off of my neighborhood streets and HIE THEE BACK TO MARYLAND.

  • This is Awkward

    IMO its not totally clear if this photo was taken from the driver’s seat. They could be leaning over, but given the sticker placement it seems at least possible that it was taken from the passenger seat, in which case, maybe everyone could take it down a notch with the photographer outrage.

  • Jon

    Yes, the bike is an Xtracycle Edgerunner. We got it from Bicycle Space. Yuba and Surly and others also make longtails. Yes, it was kind of expensive (about $2300 including the roll cage and the large cargo bags). However, this is my minivan. We’ve put more miles on the bike in 2016 than we have on our car. Our ride to school is 2.5 miles each way, and we bike it almost every time. I don’t ride with the kids if it’s snowy/icy but otherwise we’re out there. If it’s really cold, they’ll turn around to cut down on the wind.

    @Formerly ParkViewRes – yes, we go down Sherman to 9th, so it probably was us. Sometimes my wife is riding the bike with the kids, too.

    @Nicky – my kids are 5 and 7. The 7 year old is very tall and occasionally complains that she doesn’t have enough room for her legs, but mostly she’s fine so I think it’s just something that bugs her when she’s in a bad mood already.

    As for someone posting my kids on the internet – I think @This is Awkward is correct on the legal aspect. I don’t mind it. I mean, the first thing I did when I saw it was share it on Facebook. I’m fairly certain that if I complained to Popville they’d take it down. We have no reasonable expectation of privacy on a public street. That said, I think it’s fairly clear when a picture is inappropriate, and a reasonable person should be able to draw the line. When in doubt, don’t post it.

    And as for the kids liking it – I had to pick up my wife and younger daughter from DCA right after school drop-off, so I drove the older kid. We were maybe 3 blocks from home when she started complaining about how long the ride was. They would, however, rather be riding their own bikes, which we let them do when possible. Not usually to school, since it takes forever and we have to take sidewalks (until they put in the protected lanes on 6th St NW…).

  • anon

    I’m convinced kids don’t care what the weather is like, hot, cold or raining they love being outside, at least the ones I know. It’s adults that worry too much about the conditions. My parents used to play in the snow all day when they were little in (wet) wool gloves and gear that wasn’t gore-tex and survived just fine.

  • C_petworth

    My mom had something like this. It was a bike cart and it had two wheels and attached being the bike. As kids we loved it. Mind you this was in RI where we commuted on bike trails. I wish I felt comfortable taking my kids out like this. I was hit by a car while biking. I was being aware, alert and following all the rules. It was a bad accident and sadly has left me too spooked to take kids on the road.

    • Jon

      I’ve been hit, too – cabbie u-turned through the PA Ave cycletrack before they put in the barriers. It does worry me, but I’m more careful with the kids. I take roads with less traffic. I’ll take the sidewalk (slowly, yielding to pedestrians) when necessary. I’m more than happy to go for a ride with you (or anyone else who wants to bike with their kids, or bike in general) and share my experience.

  • SWDC

    Better than the guy in SW that makes his 5-6 year old kids chase after him as he rides his segway at full speed down sidewalks and across intersections.

    • DF

      That sounds AWESOME! Would love to see pics. Oh boy, hilarious.

    • SydneyP

      How does it compare to the guy in Minneapolis who roller blades (or wears roller blades, at least) while his dog tows him around the block ten or twenty times? The dog is a Siberian Husky, by the way.

  • anon

    Well, I could be the age of the parents of the anon above – walked to school in below freezing, snow, rain, sleet, heat, and back, every day, with wool mittens, no goretex, no balaclavas, just boots and clothing, and hats and scarfs, raincoat or umbrella, thick clear plastic bag specifically made to keep schoolbooks dry (never saw a backpack then, they were for hiking), 15-20 minutes or so each way – hard to say, time seems different as an adult, and little kids walk slower. Kids are not hothouse flowers, or shouldn’t be.

    Everybody walked, in both the bigger city and small city that I lived in growing up. Main reason for kids not to walk today is safety – from traffic and people – and the reason it isn’t safe is because everyone isn’t out doing it like they were then. I think it would be a good think to get back to, but some schools are further away.

  • Andy

    Great way to commute!

  • WeinDC

    Thank you for the shout out for the protected lanes on 6th neighbor!

  • DE



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