The parent with pedal power! Mother ditches the SUV to do the school run on a bicycle modified to carry all SIX of her children
How about this for a voluminous velocipede An American super-mum has hung up her car keys and now does the school run on a modified bicycle that carries not just her, but SIX children as well.
Inventive Emily Finch, 34, of Portland, Oregon, cycles up to 20 miles a day around town with her three youngest (plus a friend) in a bucket on the front, one in a child seat and another towed behind on a bike. Her eldest, Nathan, keeps up the rear!
And there”s not a murmur of “are we there yet” from the young Finches Mary, Lucy, Ben, Olivia and two-year-old Maya.
Pedal power: Emily Finch of Portland, OR, does the school run on a modified Dutch bicycle that can carry all SIX of her children
Training for the velodrome Emily has already lost two stone carrying Mary, Lucy, Ben, Olivia and two-year-old Maya (plus a friend) to and from school every day
Emily manages to transport her toddlers with pedal power alone, despite a full load – complete with shopping – weighing in at around 40 STONE.
Sherises out of the saddle, grabs her handlebars like a weightlifter grabsa barbell, and stands over her pedals with a pumping motion that keeps her moving at regular biking speed among city traffic.
It must be hard going, the weekday-morning workout has helped her lose almost two stone.
Emily”s bike is modelled on a traditional Dutch “cargo bike” known as a bakfiets, created by fixing extra wheels and buckets to a traditional bicycle design.
Bakfiets usually cost upwards of 1500, but Emily insists it”s a money saver. “It”s funny how many people ask me how much it costs, if someone”s driving around with a $4,000 car, no one asks, “Oh, how much does that cost”. Really, it”s such a bargain in the long run. It”s amazing.”
“I started looking at my life, I was living in a giant house and had a nine-person car. I remember thinking, there”s no reason I can”t walk or bike around town.”
In 2009 Emily Googled “family bike” and discovered a bakfiets could be the solution to her travel arrangements.
She had been looking at SUV cars but broke the news of her new decision to neurologist husband Mitch one evening.
“It was at a time in my life when something had to change, when I saw that bike, I knew it. I said, “This is it. This is going to change my life.”
All aboard! Mary, nine, and Nathan, 11 finish breakfast while waiting to board their mother”s bike
Going Dutch: Emily”s vehicle is a cargo bike called a bakfiets, which she”s modified further by adding a child seat and a bike attachment
Is it a bike or a bus The head-turning contraption is well known in the local area
Emily ordered her bakfiets from a Portland bike shop that same night.
Hermodified mount quickly caused a stir. “I was already the town freak, I”d had three home-births and now this. People thought I”d had a drivingunder the influence conviction or something.”
“They asked, “is that a boat on wheels Are you going to carry your kids in that
“I was really depressed before, but I was so happy after I got the bike. I just loved it.
“At first, it killed me, I thought I couldn”t ride it. It was seriously exhausting.
“But I just kept biking I got used to it and I”m one with the bike now.
Emily hasn”t driven once in Portland since, and doesn”t miss being behind the steering wheel one bit. “Not having a car has pushed us to do a lot more than I would ever do if I had a vehicle sitting there in the driveway, especially when it”s pouring down rain and everyone”s angry.
“My kids have forgotten what it”s like to even be in a car.”
Of course, the chaos of the school run can never be completely calmed. “[The family car] had thick walls and tinted windows, and you could turn the radio up so that when everyone”s screaming no one could hear and nobody knows all the drama that”s going on in that bubble. But on the bike, it”s all out there, for everyone to see.
“I have literally bungee-corded my five-year-old to the back of the bike. He wouldn”t get on.
“Hewas screaming and everyone was staring, so I stuck him on the seat and bungee-corded him in and just started pedalling really hard. He screamedall the way home.”
All smiles…for now: Emily doesn”t miss her gas-guzzling SUV one bit, even though she says the bike hasn”t completely banished the school-run chaos