Transporting Persephone

July 10th, 2008 by Editor B

In just a few weeks, Xy will start back teaching, which means we will be putting our infant daughter into daycare. Aside from all the other anxieties this engenders, I’m trying to solve the transportation puzzle.

See, I will be responsible for dropping the girl off in the mornings. The daycare is just four blocks from our house, a straight shot up a bumpy but relatively quiet street. I’d like to take her there and then proceed to work without doubling back to the house.

And, of course, I’d like to avoid using a car.

My first thought was I’d strap her to my body and ride my bike. She’s too young to sit in a bike seat. We’ve got a couple devices for strapping a baby to one’s chest, thanks to the generosity of friends, and one for the back too. Our pediatrician actually approved this plan, recommending we get her a helmet.

Shopping for a helmet gave me pause, though. They don’t make bike helmets for kids under the age of one, the general consensus being that kids that young should not be riding on a bike.

I’m not worried about traffic. I’m pretty tall, and I’ve got a big tall bike. If I were to fall over with a baby strapped to my body, she could be seriously injured.

Granted, I would be careful, and I haven’t wiped out on my bike for many years. In fact, I don’t think I’ve really taken a spill since I’ve moved to New Orleans, nine years ago.

I was contemplating this fact a couple days ago as I rode my bike home for work. Just as I was congratulating myself mentally, my left foot somehow got wedged between the pedal and the pavement, and I was jerked forward off the seat and very nearly lost the ability to procreate. (Good thing that mission is already accomplished.) I didn’t fall, but it was a near thing. The morning after next I woke to find a really nasty bruise on my inner thigh. It took me a while to figure out where it came from.

Anyway, that’s my long-winded way of saying I’m not sure my original plan was such a good one after all. So I’ve been considering alternatives.

They do make those trailers that trundle along behind the bike. That would be much safer, but I think she’s still too young. She’ll only be 5 1/2 months when daycare begins.

So now I’m thinking I’ll simply strap her on to my chest and walk my bike there. Then I can drop her off and ride the bike to work.

That’s the current state of my thinking, but I’m always open to new ideas.

25 Responses to “Transporting Persephone”

  1. Lee Says:

    You could strap her in a car seat in “one of those trailers.” Then when you get to the daycare possibly leave the trailer and car seat there, picking up when you return?

    Just an idea.

    When she’s older, I did see something that blew my mind. It’s a bicycle that attaches to your bicycle for kids to ride along. It has no front wheel, as the “fork” section attaches to the seat post on the primary bicycle.

    I do love how you use a bike whenever possible, as I wish I could.

  2. Frank Schiavo Says:

    What about riding the bus with the bike storage thing on it and then dropping her off and taking the bike the rest of the way to work…then back again the same way?

  3. GentillyGirl Says:

    Walk her there Darlin’. My dad used to pull me on a sled in Rochester’s winters and I was always falling off the thing (I was about 1 year old then).

    Play safe with your bundle of joy.

  4. chrissieroux Says:

    I say walk the bike there with the baby strapped to you. Those bike trailers scare the crap out of me. We have one but Cade’s the only one brave enough to use it–and Sydney is almost 3 years old. 4 blocks isn’t far–you could easily walk a bike there, even with an infant strapped to your chest. Worst case scenario, you have to double back and pick up the bike. Again, its only 4 blocks.

  5. lemming Says:

    I’d like to second (third?) the motion to walk the bike and carry the baby. It will take longer, but be faster – it only takes one moment for the worst to happen.

  6. Robyn Says:

    There’s no way I’d ride a bike with an infant. I’ve never actually fallen off my bike, but it only takes once. . . And your whole sense of balance will be off with a 12-pound weight strapped to your chest.

    Either walk her there and jog back home for the bike, or walk the bike.

  7. Anonymous Says:

    Lock the bike at the daycare at the evening pick up and pick it up in the morning when you drop the girl off?

  8. rickngentilly Says:

    man how times have changed since back in the eighties.

    my best friend had a three year old daughter that he used to ride around side saddle on the cross bar between the handle bars and the saddle.

    the crazy part was he was a teacher at the montessori school for infants and toddlers.

    she wound up being a gymnast but one pothole could have changed her life.

    walk the girl to daycare and ride the bike to work. think of it as bonding time and leave the house early so it doesnt feel like a chore.

    trust me on this one. when she hits adolescence and you guys start doing battle. those added moments will come back to you both with interest.

  9. rickngentilly Says:

    p.s. those kiddie bicycle trailers freak me out only because of the driving habits of neworleanians.

    good luck to you three.

    keep posting.

  10. David Says:

    Walking the baby and the bike over sounds like the best idea. Four blocks isn’t a long walk.

    If you were going to ride though, I’d think putting her on your back is safer. In a crash, you’re more likely to land on your chest.

  11. Sean Says:

    Having been in a few bike spills myself, and I’d say do the walk until she grows into a helmet.

    @David – Dunno about landing on the chest thing. I landed on the back of my shoulder in a front flip when my tire got caught in a streetcar track. Same could hold true for a pothole, sewer grate, etc. that stops the front wheel. That sent me to the hospital.

    Another memorable spill my pedal hit a concrete ledge trying to stay out of traffic. I was really surprised how stepping down and hitting my pedal on something could throw me off the bike so easily. That threw me on my side into the street. A car screeched to a halt and with a car tire a few feet from my face. The woman jumped out and said I scared her… “I scared YOU?”

    Point is, I really wanna say go for it, but unexpected things happen when a car forces you to make a quick decision. It’s ok to let fear dissuade you for a handful of months.

  12. PJ Says:

    I won’t speak to the appropriateness of the trailer for her age, but I will speak to the fun and convenience associated with one. It’s easy to load up with all kinds of stuff and I believe that they are safer than a seat on the bike.

    All of my accidents I lay the bike down and my body hits the pavement or grass. A trailer with a spring will remain upright for most typical bike accidents and a big orange flag will help with visibility.

    Using less trafficked side streets are a must for ultimate safety and slow riding is advised too. Abe loves his and always stays strapped in and helmet on, with room for stuffed animals or food or groceries.

    Finally accidents are less likely if you bike at non-peak periods. I know you have a lot of control over your schedule so working an 8 -4 would help that. I would be more worried about the heat, but the trailers have easy to use screens to enhance ventialtion.

  13. barbawit Says:

    Be sure to get one of those “baby on Board” signs. I would walk the bike with the kid. Being a biker in New Orleans I know from experience that the unexpected has become the expected. Anything can happen and your conscience would be unbearable if anything did happen.

  14. Frolic Says:

    I’ll add to the chorus recommending against ridding the bike with the baby strapped on.

    The American Academy of Pedestrians says “Never carry infants in backpacks or front bikes on a bike.” In the book, that “never” is in italics.

  15. PJ Says:

    And remember that the stop signs with the white border are always optional.

  16. MED401 Says:

    Please, Please, Please, walk the baby and the bike the four blocks to daycare-I was a Peds ICU RN for too long to tell you to do it any other way. Even a helmet when she gets big/old enough is not enough protection. But, of course, I think kids should be wrapped in cottonwool and protected until they are 18 yrs old and can be responsible for themselves…

  17. Scottica Says:

    just walk dude, what the fuck!

  18. Garvey Says:

    I bet your daughter would rather one of you stay at home with her.

  19. Mike Kane Says:

    With Persephone…… please walk….. I am a biker. M.

  20. spab Says:

    I would avoid carrying her, then when she’s old enough, get one of those baby bike trailers.

  21. Sally Says:

    I like your walking the bike and Persephone’s being toted. Add a cool little kite to fly above the both of you. Not the kind you would have to control, the kind that attaches to those fluorescent bike flags. Entertainment for Persephone and another tall item for drivers to spot.

  22. tami Says:
  23. liz Says:

    my little one is a month or so older than yours and i’m curious to see what you’ll decide. when i was attempting to figure out a greener solution to transportation, i inquired about putting kit-kat in the wrap on my person and just riding. no one seemed to think it was a good idea…my friends, her doctor, our bike shop guy, my partner. personally, i’m not a fan of the trailers, you can’t see or hear the kidlet very well all the way back there. and according to the info the infant seat is not to be used prior to the first birthday. i’ve settled on keeping her in the wrap and hoofing it.

  24. ebc Says:

    I am shocked that your pediatrician approved your initial plan!

  25. Peris Says:

    Just walking carries its own risks, and walking a bike is quite awkward, at least for me.

    Just ride slowly, and see how it feels. Trust your fatherly instincts to do the right thing.

Leave a Reply