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to send my child to nursery on the back of a bike

(38 Posts)
Christelle2207 Sun 17-Aug-14 17:55:48

We are a one car family, dd who is 1 goes two days a week to nursery. Usually she comes with me in the car as it is kind of on the way to work. However occasionally I have to work away or longer hours so we're looking into a bike seat so that dh (who normally wfh),can take her/pickup on those days, perhaps two or three days a month. Nursery is 1.5 miles away -there is a very busy road bit, avoidable if we take a slightly longer route. We live in a big city which is not cyclist friendly-very rarely seen a baby on a bike seat round here hence my concern. My dh is a very competent cyclist but obviously I'm worried about someone else causing an accident though acknowledge that with the right kind of seat dd would prob be safer than dh. We've agreed that in poor weather conditions they would take a taxi or possibly pram which would be the only other reasonable option other than the fact that it would be very difficult for dh to fit two round trip pram trips into his working day-we think the bike option would take half as long. DH is keener on the whole idea than I am, it doesn't sit very well with me but I'm not sure what the alternative is other than buying a new car which neither of us want to do though is inevitable in the long run. Many people seem to think we're bonkers, or at least very odd, to consider putting dd in a bike seat! Aibu?

redexpat Sun 17-Aug-14 18:00:26

I live in Denmark. At least 50% of the kids are taken to nursery either in a bike seat or a cycle trailer. It will be fine. Id get a helmet for DD though. It sets a good precedence.

ThatBloodyWoman Sun 17-Aug-14 18:04:18

I think its a risk putting a baby in a car.

I think its a case of assessing the risk for yourselves, ignoring the harbingers of doom unless they have valid points to assess.

Christelle2207 Sun 17-Aug-14 18:04:19

Ah yes a helmet is definitely going to be purchased. That's great that everyone does it in Denmark but I guess drivers are that much more used to cyclists than they are here. No cycle lanes etc. Here!

crispandfruity Sun 17-Aug-14 18:06:18

1.5 miles is like a 25 minute walk for a fit person. As a keen cyclist I wouldn't countenance cycling such a short distance to save time, especially with a baby on the back. By the time he would have got her (and himself) ready to go he could be halfway there with a pushchair. And then there's 'the stuff' your little one might need (nappies, change of clothes etc)

MewlingQuim Sun 17-Aug-14 18:07:52

I have cycled with dd a bit. We live in a big city and the traffic is heavy but it has been ok, remember most drivers are normal people who drive sensibly, there is only the occasional twat and even twats tend to be careful around children on bikes.

DD loves being on the bike. I would commute to work (nursery is near there) but I have nowhere for my sweaty clothes when I get there so we're stuck with the bus sad

whois Sun 17-Aug-14 18:10:04

Pretty common around my area of london to see little ones on the back of bikes or in bike trailers.

hairybabysmumagain Sun 17-Aug-14 18:14:07

I commuted with both my two to nursery...I used a trailer, a bike seat and a tag-along at various times. Never had any problems and both boys loved it. I used one very busy section but I found cars gave me a wide berth, especially with the trailer. I echo what the other poster says that most drivers are normal people, often cyclists/parents themselves.

I also found that actually the traffic, though heavy was actually either very slow or stationary so in reality it wasn't as bad as first impressions would seem.

pluCaChange Sun 17-Aug-14 18:16:20

I took DS to nursery by bike (London, Zone 3). He adored it, and it started his day off with him in a good mood! Naturally, all the caveats about safe cycling apply. We both wore helmets, and the route was pram-safe (just would have been v long by pram, as with your situation).

TheSkiingGardener Sun 17-Aug-14 18:17:02

A few children arrive at my childrens nursery like this. I guess only you know the route and the risks. Are there any quieter roads?

HelloDoris Sun 17-Aug-14 18:26:04

We do the 1.5mile cycle to nursery 3 times a week. My husband carries both kids on his bike, one on the front and one on the back. We do use wherever possible designated cycle paths, ensure we all have the correct safety wear, helmets, high viz etc, both my girls love it.

We also have a car and use it when the weather is bad.

lentilpot Sun 17-Aug-14 18:26:44

Is a car club an option?

Christelle2207 Sun 17-Aug-14 18:37:50

Was secretly hoping there would be some mumsnetters who did this. Its mostly my mother who thinks I'm being irresponsible she says how could I forgive myself if something happened etc but tbh I would think the same if something happened in the car.
crispwe may be wrong but don't think it will take longer to strap her into the bike as it would the buggy. It would take dh 2h to go there and back (twice) walking whereas 1h to go twice (we think)is obviously less. Stuff would go in rucksack behind dh or front wheel panier.
lentil don't know of a car club but you'd have to go and get it surely which would mean any time saving vs pram diminished.

BringMeSunshine2014 Sun 17-Aug-14 18:38:08

I cycle. I think it's a lovely way to get around with small ones when the environment is safe to do so. From my house it would be perfectly fine in one direction and incredibly unsafe in the other direction. There's really no way we can help you decide this - only you and your DH can do that.

BringMeSunshine2014 Sun 17-Aug-14 18:45:37

Christelle - I can understand how your Mum feels. It was my gut reaction to your post too (when you said it was a busy city that isn't 'vyvle friendly') and she's not even my grandaughter. Risk always seems more risky when it's someone else taking it, because you have no control over it. I'd do it myself, but worry about someone else doing it and it's not because I think I am better, just that I have some control...

Most people aren't good at risk assessment.

Of course if anything happened you 'wouldn't forgive yourself' but really you can't live your life like that can you - as you say, you would feel the same if anything happened to her in the car/on the bus/crossing the road sad

I think it would be much quicker than walking too and I'd do it by bike myself if I had to choose between foot and bike.

How is DH with DD - is he very safety conscious or a bit on the lax side? That would probably be my biggest determining factor tbch.

Unexpected Sun 17-Aug-14 18:45:39

Depends on the route really. We lived in Amsterdam and cycled everywhere with small children on bike seats (front and back) and also from aged 4 our son cycled to school on his own bike. However, once we moved to the UK, we realised, after one trip out on a Saturday, how incredibly dangerous it was where we lived. There were no bike paths, no consideration for cyclists and the roads were too narrow. Never did it again.

UniS Sun 17-Aug-14 20:46:54

Dh took DS to nursery or childminders in a bike trailer for 3 years. Parked the trailer at nursery chained to the bike rack.
In an English city.

MinesAPintOfTea Sun 17-Aug-14 20:55:43

Dh took ds in the trailer when it was two miles. Now he goes to a closer childminder with no space to park the trailer one of us walks with ds in a back carrier, pushing the bike. Any bags are slung on the handlebars.

Then once ds is out, jump on the bike and carry on to work.

Purplepoodle Sun 17-Aug-14 20:57:24

I'm looking into a trailer so I can take my two to daycare then cycle into work - I'm getting fat from all the driving

CelticPromise Sun 17-Aug-14 20:59:29

I took DS on the bike seat fairly often before we moved opposite nursery! I am used to cycling in traffic and found it quick and convenient.

fluffymouse Sun 17-Aug-14 21:48:02

I did this a couple of years back.

It was 2 miles to nursery. Too far to walk, and by bus took up to an hour due to traffic. Cycling seemed to make sense.

I cycled for a bit, on the quietest route possible (city) but had an unavoidable busy road part. I stopped as no matter how good you are at cycling, there will be reckless drivers who put you and your dc in danger. Even with an obvious child seat on the back, and decked in high vis and lights I had cars who were very inconsiderate and near misses. I stopped and Tbh wouldn't do it again.

I think the difference between here and Denmark (or another bike friendly country) is the better provision for cyclists including dedicated cycle lanes, and cycling not being a minority activity means that drivers are more aware/considerate of cyclists.

In short I wouldn't cycle dc to nursery in this country, but would consider it in a cycle friendly country.

CelticPromise Sun 17-Aug-14 21:51:30

I find drivers are much more considerate when I have DS on the back than otherwise. I appreciate it only takes one idiot, but that is also true if easing or driving.

fluffymouse Sun 17-Aug-14 21:55:14

If you

Tigresswoods Sun 17-Aug-14 21:56:10

I've taken DS to both nursery & childminder on the back of my bike loads of times. He's now 4 but I've done it for well over 2.5 years in light, in dark, mostly but not exclusively in dry conditions.

We live in a busy town but there's back streets & safe areas for bikes.

I'm with your DH, go for it.

fluffymouse Sun 17-Aug-14 21:58:17

Posted too soon

If you do decide to go ahead I recommend helmets for all (obviously), the most expensive child seat. High vis stickers for the child seat. High vis for dh. Lights. Possibly also a baby on board sticker for the seat to spell it out to drivers.

Most drivers are considerate, however as a cyclist you notice the minority who aren't, and they can be very dangerous.

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