guest post: biking with baby with the christiania trike

Earlier this week, I wrote about my experience with the iBert child seat and the Burley bike trailer. Yesterday, I told you all about the Japanese mamacharis that can be ordered in the US now. And today, I’m excited to have London-based Juliet K. share with us her impressions of cycling with her baby using the Christiania trike. Whatever your biking needs, there are so many different set-ups and child carrying systems available and I hope that these posts inspire you to find the solution that will work best for your family’s needs! 

You might remember Juliet from her “cycling while pregnant” profile! It’s always great to get the follow-up, showing how pregnant and cycling mamas are transitioning into a pedal-powered motherhood. Thanks, Juliet, for sharing your experiences with us…

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When I found out I was pregnant, it wasn’t long before I realised that there would be a whole 6+ months after the baby was born when my cycling time would be limited to a handful of quick trips out without him. Before resigning myself to six months of public transport (we live in London, UK, and don’t have a car), I did a little research, and discovered that it is after all possible to cycle with a newborn: by strapping a car seat into a cargo bike. Perhaps not worth getting a cargo bike purely for those six months; but when we decided to get a one (a Christiania trike, specifically) anyway, Operation Cycling Newborn began.

We had an extra lap belt fitted to the floor of the cargo box, and acquired a second-hand car seat to strap in, parent-facing. After some experiments with a bag of rice, we packed it in with some polystyrene blocks to avoid any rocking (if I did it again, I’d borrow a few different car seats to see if we could find a flatter-based one). The first real-life experiment was when L was 5 weeks old, a round trip of just under 2 miles to the allotment. He slept on the way there, and stared out thoughtfully (or possibly, given his age, just myopically) on the way back. Success!

{Juliet’s son enjoying the ride}

Over the last six months, we’ve used the trike at least a couple of times a week, for journeys up to 3-4 miles. (More than that and L starts to get cranky; he is still very young.)

Being able to get back on a bike with my baby so quickly has been fantastic. I’ve been able to get a bit more exercise in, for one thing. But it’s also made some local journeys much more possible. A five to ten minute bike ride each way feels like much less of a mission than a twenty to thirty minute walk, and both our local shops, and my local breastfeeding drop-in cafe, are twenty plus minutes away on foot. I just wouldn’t have made it out as often without the bike, and I think I’d have suffered for it.

Leon has mostly seemed happy in it; our big problem has been the poor road surfaces round here, as he really dislikes bumps. I’m hoping that when he’s sitting upright he’ll find this easier to deal with. But I take things super-slowly to minimise bumping, and, reassuringly, he’s fallen asleep in the trike several times. The lack of shade in hot weather led to a grouchy baby once or twice (a muslin tied over the seat helped); as did my putting the rain-cover up when it wasn’t raining — it gets pretty hot in there, and L runs warm.

{The Christiana trike in action}

As of this week (nearly 8 months), he’s graduated to sitting up strapped in on the box seat, which is very exciting. I’m so glad we bit the bullet and got him in there as early as we did. It’s been great for me and I’m sure it’s a fabulous start for him to get used to cycling as early as he has!

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About simplybike

{Bikes, a new baby, and the story of us.}
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4 Responses to guest post: biking with baby with the christiania trike

  1. Good review.

    A thick foam mat to be placed under the car seat is a good idea to lessen the vibrations.

    BTW, the correct spelling is Christiania (three i’s)

    • simplybike says:

      Thanks for both those tips, I will promptly correct that spelling error!

    • Courage says:

      Really, great experience, best saciol ride ever! I had my three teenage sons with me (all of us on recumbents) and the crowd couldn’t have been friendlier, police and traffic were supportive, and a general nice atmosphere all the way around. We even thought it was a nice, slow pace. AND it was remarkably well organized whenever it seemed that there might be an issue, a volunteer appeared to bark out guidance for all. Even the Mary St. Bridge walkover turned out to be saciol and cool. Thanks so much for this we’ll definitely be back!

  2. Pingback: Transporting a baby « christiania bikes UK

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