Moms on Bikes: Elly Lensch

 How do you transport your child? Seat or Trailer?
Definitely a Burley Solo trailer. They are highly rated and I feel safe that my baby, now toddler, will not be exposed to flying rocks, the elements and I feel it is much safer than a seat. If I biff my bike, my baby girl is strapped in with a harness strap and will not risk injury. And, since the Burley can hold up to 100 pounds, she can ride a long time, or, when she gets older, I have a carrier for groceries, etc. at my disposal. The seats, in my opinion- just look unsafe, although without personal experience with them, that’s all I’ll say. The nice thing about a Burley is that you can ride rain, shine, wind, and the child is in their own little world. Have super perfect weather? Just open it up so everyone gets the same enjoyment you are getting! 

What added precautions do you take when transporting a child? (How do you keep your child safe and what do you avoid?)
When I have my girls with, it’s the Burley for the toddler with a helmet fit specifically for her for sure. Since we bike primarily for enjoyment and exercise, rather than transportation (since we live on heavily traveled gravel road) our only precaution is that our ”girl bike time” is considered “paved trail time.” I keep the toddler out of mainstream traffic as much as possible. We always lather on the sun screen, as that is a key staple and bring it and water with to keep from getting dehydrated. And when travelling in town, I have been known to slowly pedal the sidewalk (where allowable of course, as I’m a rules girl), so as to keep off the street.

What is one thing you would like to see different about bike safety/transport in general that would make you feel safer transporting your child via bicycle?
I think if more cyclists obeyed the rules of the road, I think that more motorists would respect cyclists and would make the cityscapes more appealing to families with young children and trailers. I just worry that since the trailer is wider than my bike, she will get side swiped.

Have you ever had any close calls while biking with your child? If so, what happened and what was the outcome? Were you fearful to ride with your child again? How did you overcome?
I have not had any close calls while biking with my children. Thankfully. Having been run over by a car that didn’t see us back in 2000 and having been chased down by farm dogs, I don’t think having an incident would keep me from biking. There is always that initial anticipation of “wonder what will happen” but you have to just get up and try – and over time, that anticipation goes away.

What were the biggest challenges you faced with biking at different stages of pregnancy?
Did you stop biking at all during pregnancy? Why?
I did not ride when pregnant. Primarily because I did not think I was ever having more children. Having had a lot of problems with pregnancies in my younger years... when I did get pregnant, considering it was somewhat risky, I just treated it as a gift and protected it.

What products do you recommend as a bike riding mom and why?
·         Padded shorts or skorts are really nice.
·         BPA free water bottles for everyone. Getting a small one just for your child helps them feel important and part of the ride.
·         I really like my CambelBak because I can take a few little extras with, snacks, etc.
·         Having a spare tire and the knowledge to fix is important.
·         Helmets for everyone. If your helmet is more than 5 years old, get a new one. Helmet technology does change and the foam used in helmets does break down.
·         A comfortable saddle (seat) is essential.
·         Whenever you can upgrade components to carbon, do so. Pulling people can make a ride rougher, so if you use upgraded components (seat post, etc.) you’ll enjoy taking the kids with more. Overall, a quality bike is going to be more fun for you.
·         A good bike lock, in case you decide to get off the bikes and play at the park for a while.
·         Rain gear, just in case.
·         And a camera of course, because every ride is a memory.

What are tips/suggestions you have for starting a bike riding routine with your child?
Life can be busy and hectic. Schedule it, and then just do it! Biking is one of those life-long skills and enjoyments that will keep the future generations healthy. 

What tips would you give for introducing bike riding to kids? 
Get them on early. Make sure they safe, know the rules of the road, and ride often. :-)
I think training wheels vs no training wheels varies per child. Some kids need them to build confidence and some don't. My older child is more hesitant. I think she had training wheels until she was nearly 6. But my younger one, I think she will probably not need them, as she is fearless and daring, just like her dad.
I think the biggest thing for me is to incorporate biking into as many activities as possible, which is why I bought a quality 4-bike rack. If we go camping, bikes come with. It's just that simple. It does take some planning sometimes, so leave a rack on your vehicle if you live in the country so you can just go when you need to.