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AIBU to cycle to work/nyrsery with ds?

(29 Posts)
QueenRefusenik Tue 17-Jan-17 09:46:54

So... DS is now just over 12 months and has started full time nursery this week as I have gone back to work. After a lot of research, visiting and effort on my part I opted for the nursery right next to my work. All my colleagues with children have raved about it, excellent OFSTED, ease of pick-ups in case of illness etc. seemed to make it the obvious choice, and he's settling in well. However, my work/the nursery is just under 4 miles from our house. We don't have a car, and I wouldn't get a parking permit at work anyway as they're like gold dust. I was planning to get there by cycling with a little tow-along for ds and this was always at the back of my mind when choosing the nursery. I didn't specifically discuss that with DP, tbh, but then DP basically left the entire nursery selection up to me and opted not to come on any visits or look at any brochures etc. I did run my choice past him before signing up and his exact response was 'sounds fine'. He did know where it was, anyway! He works from home some days and has quite a long commute and overnights other times on an unpredictable schedule, so it isn't really feasible to plan around him doing any drop-offs or pick-ups.

Anyway, not long after I signed ds up he saw I was looking at tow-alongs online and told me he really wasn't happy about the idea of me cycling into work with ds. We generally work on the principle that each parent has a right to veto anything they absolutely don't agree with (though this is the only time it's come up, to date), so I grumbled a bit but didn't pursue it.

Two days in, and getting to work/nursery is a PITA. It's a 30 minute walk (not even a very nice one!) each way and so far the weather has been shit. There is a bus I could catch, but by the time we've walked to and from the bus stop at either end we'd only save about 5 minutes and it would cost £2 a day so I CBA, frankly.

DP's arguments are that the roads are too dangerous and tow-alongs are at perfect pollution height, and I do see his points. However, I don't think the roads are THAT bad here. We both used to live and cycle in London (and tbf he had a couple of reasonably serious accidents, but still cycles!), and now live in a large town, and my own experience pre-ds has been that yes, there are the usual morons and I have had a couple of near-misses, but generally drivers here are much more considerate than in London (I realise this isn't saying much!). Friends and colleagues cycle with their children here and report no major problems, and of course we are always vulnerable as pedestrians too! The cycle route would be partly on back roads (though admittedly quite busy back roads!), a busy urban stretch with some on-road cycle lane markings, and one stretch of off-road cycle lane.

I guesstimate cycling would save 15 mins each way. I know it doesn't seem much on a daily basis, but 15 minutes more time to get organised in the mornings and to spend more time with ds in the evenings in between the chaos of dinner and bed would be very welcome, and it adds up over the week!

So: AIBU to try and talk DP into letting me cycle?

QueenRefusenik Tue 17-Jan-17 09:48:06

Goddamm bloody typo in post title, grr!

SerialReJoiner Tue 17-Jan-17 09:50:09

Have you considered a seat on the back or front of the bike instead? I much prefer our bike seat instead of a trailer.

reallyanotherone Tue 17-Jan-17 09:51:23

Not u to cycle, but get a proper bike seat rather than a tow along, they're lethal on roads.

They're at a height where drivers can't actually see them once they get close, they are wider than the bike so easy to clip.

humblesims Tue 17-Jan-17 09:51:42

I wonder if it is safer to have a child on a seat mounted on the bike rather than a tag along? I dont know if it is but its another option. With a suitable helmet and safety in mind I think I'd go for it.

whippetwoman Tue 17-Jan-17 09:52:02

No, you are NBU to cycle, but instead of a tow-along, could you have a fixed seat on your bike either in front or behind you? My DS is 4, but as he's still small for his age he can just about fit into his bike seat which is fixed on in front of mine.

Lots of other countries embrace cycling it would be a normal way of getting children to nursery/school, although they are better set up in terms of cycle lanes etc. Honestly, it's fine to use a bike for this.

redexpat Tue 17-Jan-17 09:53:17

Seat on the back would do the job.

PuntCuffin Tue 17-Jan-17 09:56:31

4 miles with a towalong is a loooong way, unless it is completely flat and you have a tailwind! They are heavy. My DH did it with our DS1 for a while and had to get off and push up any hills. He was in the Army and very fit at the time.

Would a bike seat work? Not sure on the age restrictions on them, but it would probably be safer and easier.

BiddyPop Tue 17-Jan-17 09:57:55

DD was in a seat on the back of DH's bike from about 9 months of age, and cycled to crèche with him on a 10km commute almost daily for the next 4 years. She moved to a seat on the cross-bar at some point (but that was possibly once she'd left nursery and gone into junior infants in the local school - 3 minutes bike ride from the house!).

A good helmet, a baby high viz jacket, snow gear for winter (which wouldn't necessarily be needed in general here but the back of the bike on frosty mornings could be chilly) - and she loved it. You would see her head bobbing along as they headed off, and later on (when she was about 2ish) he noticed that she was copying his signals to traffic (he noticed first that he was getting more smiles than usual from cars passing him, then realized why!). When she was small as well, on tired mornings, she'd often just put her head down on his back and have a little snooze en route.

I see quite a few kids commuting this way, and all look as happy as larry!

Trooperslane Tue 17-Jan-17 10:01:09

Agree with seat on the back, NOT a tow along.

Way too dangerous - I shudder when I see them.

And helmets for both of you too.

DH quite often cycles but only with DD in a seat in front of him.

Trooperslane Tue 17-Jan-17 10:02:02

BIddypop - DD does the hand signals too - it's so bloody cute grin

TheNotoriousRBG Tue 17-Jan-17 10:06:54

The tow along really isn't safe at all on the roads but a seat on the bike would be fine.

knaffedoff Tue 17-Jan-17 10:14:36

I wouldn't get a trailer tbh, my dh used one once and complained how heavy it made the bike particularly on hills!!!!

I used to sit on my mums seat and get a coggy to school, it was better than walking!!

Some of my school mums have a tricycle with seats attached for go to 2 kids to go in. Looks like fun !!

CycleOnTheLEFT Tue 17-Jan-17 10:21:46

Having cycled a lot with two kids (to nursery), I'm going to break with consensus here and say I think the tow-along (properly adorned with reflectors/lights/maybe a flag) is safer than a bike seat - and I have used both. My reason for saying this is that if you have an accident and fall over with a tow-along, the tow-along will stay upright.
Having said that, on balance I preferred bike seats, and happily used a rear-mounted bike seat from before 12 months old. The tow-along was necessary when we had two kids, the oldest not yet safe on their own bike.
But either way, and whichever option works best for you - YANBU - it's perfectly reasonably, safe and do-able to make this journey each day.
If you want to splash out you could get a "Kangaroo" bike. Safer than the other options, but your wallet won't thank you.
Let me know if you have any questions about cycling kids/babies around.

CycleOnTheLEFT Tue 17-Jan-17 10:23:05

sorry I meant "...reasonable, safe..." not "reasonably, safe..."

Cheekyandfreaky Tue 17-Jan-17 10:25:28

My DD loves rear bike seat- she is 2 and has been using them for about 6 months. We have a detachable one (maybe they all are) which means we can mount it on my bike or DHs. It really feels sturdy and DD hates all car seats but loves her bike seat.

Cheekyandfreaky Tue 17-Jan-17 10:27:18

Also our seat is apparently designed to go up to age 4 so they do last a while

SILfoundmyusername Tue 17-Jan-17 10:31:18

I saw a front bike seat for the first time and thought they were great. All weather overall thing/snowsuit and bike helmet, bag on your back, would your DP be happy with that?

AcaciaYou Tue 17-Jan-17 10:34:17

SIL in Holland transports her three kids to school in a bakfiets: www.mrbdutchbikes.co.uk/Troy-Bakfiets-Green-bicycle?manufacturer_id=14
They are hugely popular over there. Hers is a power assisted one, and although something of an investment as they are not cheap, it is used every day and this will continue for a number of years yet.

Plus you can fit adults in too (and it's fun!). Someone I know has one here in the U.K. and he has used it on occasion to cart drunk friends home from the pub...

VeryPunny Tue 17-Jan-17 10:36:55

I have a double trailer and pull my kids all over the shop, but I live near Cambridge where they are very common. I would be a little more hesitant to use a tow along trailer in a non-cycling friendly city. However I would use a child seat without a second thought, ideally one on the front of the handlebars. Trailers can be hard work to pull - you may want to think about a change of clothes at destination.

Second a PP who recommended a Kangaroo or Dutch bike - worth the investment if you are going to be a regular cyclist, as well as weather protection.

SheepyFun Tue 17-Jan-17 11:05:22

We looked long and hard at the options for cycling with DD - we weren't happy with a trailer as they are hard for cars to see, and can flip over if your route is potholed (this happened to a friend). I've seen people cycle with trailers round roundabouts here, and it's really dangerous because of the visibility to cars.

We eventually went for an adult trike with a hamax bike seat mounted on the back of it - it's a bit more stable than a bike with a child seat. If you go for the seat on the back of the bike, you might want a really good kick stand so the bike is stable while you put your DS on it - if you lean the bike against a wall, DS may push against it and have the whole bike over.

But I do really recommend cycling with DS; it's improved my life no end as we can get to places much quicker than walking, and I don't have to park!

NavyandWhite Tue 17-Jan-17 11:09:10

I wouldn't let DH take my DC out in a tow along or whatever they're called. No chance.

Can you get a car?

clumsyduck Tue 17-Jan-17 11:12:41

Seat in the back as others have said

Iv seen a few people around here with the trailers I think there insane especially to have around here the one I saw the other week weaving around parked cars during busy rush hour traffic I felt scared for the Dc in the back shock

amusedbush Tue 17-Jan-17 11:13:10

My heart always drops when I see those tow alongs, they just look so, so dangerous.

Look into a seat on the bike by all means but not a tow along. I'd actually be nervous about cycling with a child at all because I know too many people who have either been clipped by a car or have slid on a manhole cover, etc.

QueenRefusenik Tue 17-Jan-17 11:15:04

Thanks for all the useful comments guys! Lots of support for cycling, and people generally seem to recommend a bike seat rather than a trailer - I'd kind of dismissed that as I felt it looked a bit wobbly but obviously they're pretty popular so perhaps I should reconsider! If the trailers are really heavy too that's another strike! The kangaroo bikes look awesome, if pricey - how practical are they though, really? They look incredibly unwieldy!

Hmm. I wonder if I spun a bike seat to DP as a compromise - look, an alternative to the trailer! - if he'd go for it? Worth a try! I don't suppose anyone knows of any organisations that hire any of these so I could get a feel for the differences before committing?

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