Moms on Bikes Series: Patty

Patty with her daughter
Patty had lived in Milwaukee and biked a lot by herself before moving to Des Moines. She found it was much safer, so she had more options of biking with her kids. 

"I would say last year I probably did over 200 miles with both kids, maybe closer to 300, would have to do some math.  And then a lot more without them.  Last summer my kids were 6 and 4.  I would have my 6 year old on a tag long and then my 4 year old in a trailer attached to the tag a long.  Our normal trips were 15-20 miles."

How do you transport your child? Seat or Trailer? 
Seats are more dangerous to transport your child in so I always try to warn parents not to use a seat no matter how much your kid loves it.  Trailers are quite a bit safer, plus kids love to nap in the trailer.  If you are worried about the safety of a trailer and cars not seeing it because it is down low, make sure to use the safety flag(s). Get a helmet that fits.  Because bicycle helmets are bulky I actually have my youngest kid while in the trailer use a multi-purpose skateboarding type helmet, that is approved for bicycle use. It is by Bell, so a company that cyclists trust. The back of the helmet is flatter so the kid in the trailer is more comfortable and their head isn't pushed forward straining their neck.

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 wish that tag-a-longs had better balance capabilities. For people that are concerned about balance you can purchase an attachment from the company Adam that attaches to the child's saddle and has a back rest and a buckle to clip them in so they are a little more secure.  Just make sure, as you would for any bike, that the child's feet can touch the ground when you are stopped.  Also the Weego bike trailer looks like lots of fun for kids too.

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 been lucky when I have been with the kids so far. 

What were the biggest challenges you faced with biking at different stages of pregnancy and being a new mom?
Because both of my kids are very early summer/late spring babies and I only own a road bike in the Midwest, I don't have much experience with biking while pregnant.  During the early part of my pregnancy while it was still nice out, I still biked, but not nearly as much as I usually did.  I actually started running more cause when you are a mom you find out that biking takes a lot more time and effort when the kids are little so putting the kids in a stroller is a quicker workout, and it's all about time management when you are a new mom.

What products do you recommend as a bike riding mom and why?Snacks and water; I like to have a purpose/destination when going out with the kids.  Sometimes it is a new playground, other times it is going for ice cream.  The kids choose the destination.  We always try to get at least 15-20 miles, so quite a bit less then when I bike kid free. Also, make sure you have a bike pump and spare tubes for all the bikes

What are tips/suggestions you have for starting a bike riding routine with your child?
Relax and make it fun. Start out just doing short distances and progress from there. Don't forget the older kid on the tag a long may need a pair of bike shorts too.