Motherhood

Biking With Kids

Biking With Kids

Toby, Anton and I bike everywhere — from the Dumbo carousel to the children’s museum to school to the grocery store. Since the last time I wrote about bikes was when Toby was a toddler, I’d love to share what we’ve learned about biking with two little dudes…

Biking With Kids

Back in my early twenties, I got my first bike in the city. It was a vintage Schwinn, and I remember feeling wobbly and nervous as I set out in the East Village. I felt like all eyes were on me! (Of course, no one cared.) But within a couple days, I felt strong and confident. You pick it back up so quickly.

Nowadays the bike makes the city feel small and navigable, and we all love the feeling of flying down the path with the wind in our hair. We have the SWEETEST conversations on the bike because we’re all so relaxed and chilled out. Anton is forever pointing out “ice geam gucks!” and, somewhat inexplicably, Toby often belts out songs from The Sound of Music.

Biking With Kids

In New York, you can ride with a child once they turn one, so we gave bike seats to the boys for their first birthdays.

If you have one young child, I would definitely recommend a front seat. You feel close and connected, since you can easily chat and point at things and see what they’re looking at. Plus, I find that having that extra weight in the front versus the back of the bike is easier for balancing. (Here’s a trick: Lean slightly forward and see how comfortable and in control you feel, and then lean slightly backward. It feels better to have that weight in the front, right?)

Once we had two kids on the bike, we put Anton in the front and moved Toby to the back. We chose the Yepp Maxi, which is comfortable and shock-absorbing. We also bought the seats at a bike shop, versus online, so that the expert bike guys could install them.

Biking With Kids

A few tips:

  • Make sure your own seat is high enough. It makes riding a million times easier. Your leg should be almost straight when the pedal is at the bottom. I often notice people with low seats, and I wish there were some way to tell them, “You would love biking so much more if you raised your seat two inches!” Another way to tell if your seat is the optimal height: You should be able to reach the ground on tiptoe with both feet at the same time.
  • Ease into it. If you’re new-ish to biking in New York City, you could start out riding in parks (Central Park and Prospect Park both have great loops that are regularly closed to cars) or on separate bike paths (like along the Hudson River Greenway) on your own; then move on to riding in the street; then move on to biking with kids. And you can always choose relaxed, not-too-crowded streets: Brooklyn riding feels a million times easier to me than midtown Manhattan!
  • Choose a chill route. Ride the City is a great app that tells you which streets have bike lanes. You can plug in your destination, and choose the “direct,” “safe” or “safer” route.
  • Accessorize. NYC law says you must have a bell, plus a white headlight and a red tail light if you’re riding at night. (We used to have this hamburger bell, which the boys loved!)
  • Protect your brain. Toby and I wear Bern helmets (adult and child) and Anton has a Lazer. It’s very important to make sure your helmets fit correctly; they should cover your child’s forehead and not slip back easily (for example, Anton’s is actually too far back in the photo above). Here’s a helpful video.
  • Take a class. If you’d like to learn to ride, you can take free classes all around the city. Most people learn to ride within two hours!

Biking With Kids

We also have a double kick stand, which helps keep the bike balanced when I’m lifting the kids on and off.
Biking With Kids

Biking together is our happy place, and Anton often begs to the point of tears to take a ride. It feels invigorating and breezy and magical, and it opens up the city in a wonderful way. After work, we can make it to the waterfront or a rooftop ice cream shop or Prospect Park. And apart from riding with kids, Alex and I often ride to dinner, down lovely winding streets; and I’ll ride to work and get to stretch my legs and feel energized before starting the day.

What about you? Do you ride with kids? Biking is so near and dear to my heart, so please leave any questions you have — about biking on your own or with little ones — in the comments and I’ll be sure to answer as best I can!

Update: To answer a few FAQs: I ride this Public bike; it’s a lightweight, seven-speed city bike. My dress is from the Sezane Madewell collection, although sadly I think it’s sold out!

P.S. Three great NYC bike rides, and Toby’s first “ride.”

(Photos by Christine Han for Cup of Jo)

  1. Catherine says...

    Hi! Love your post. Is the bike with the Yepp Maxi and child hard to ride? Is it very heavy and difficult to pedal? I’m considering the same bike and seat for my 2 year old.

  2. Pics are amazing and I can see the joy on your kids faces when they are on the bike with mommy. I started to take my daughter out riding with me and this post is a good reminder for bike safety with your kids. Thanks!

  3. jenny griffin says...

    What make is your bike? love it, probably can’t get it in the UK!

  4. There must be something about biking that makes kids want to sing from the Song of Music. My oldest almost always ends up singing, “Do Re Mi” and we all have the most interesting conversations. In Chicago, biking turned incredible for us with the opening of the 606 trail in June. We live a few blocks away and it’s so easy to zip around the neighborhoods on it. Check it out next time you’re in Chicago.

  5. Kate says...

    You look so sweet with the boys in these pics! It’s like a bike minivan! :-D We just found a used trail-a-bike on Craigslist for my 4 yo son but have been struggling to get it attached to my bike. (Ah, the perils of buying used!) Happy cycling!

  6. Have you seen these?
    yubabikes.com/mundo
    I love how kid friendly they can become, a little pricy though.

  7. Kathryn says...

    I have the same bike & bike seat, but in blue and orange. I was off it for about a year due to a difficult pregnancy, but broke it out last weekend to go to the kite festival with my daughter. About 1 block in she told me that she was so happy. It was an amazing feeling to be back on the bike with her and to have her comment on it. Now I just need to get a little bit more in shape, because that bike is a bit slow and heavy.

  8. oh Joanna! As per usual, perfect timing and great advice.
    My little one has just started daycare and it’s an okay walk, but I’d been thinking how great it would be to do the journey by bike. I was even going to send you an email to suggest biking with kids advice as a post. Ha! And here is it!
    I’m super inspired and hope we can give it a go in Sydney.
    Thank you!

  9. Judith says...

    Being from the Netherlands I definitely ride my bike with my kids! It all started when the eldest was 12 weeks old: I attached her car seat to a contraption on the back of my bike (try googling ‘maxi cost op fiets) and off we went to daycare. She switched to a front seat aged 6-7 months, then to a backseat aged 20 months when her baby sister was old enough for the car seat contraption. I have never worn a helmet when riding a bike and neither have my children. We have loads of designated bike paths and our traffic rules are cyclist and pedestrian friendly.

    I admire you for riding a bike in a non-bike-friendly country! Am very curious to know why kids have to be one year old before you can ride a bike with them.

  10. Meredith says...

    One thing I noticed on my recent trip to San Francisco was how biking is SUCH a thing there! When my husband and I got coffee every morning, we would sit outside and watch people heading off to work on their bikes, tons of them! There are even ads encouraging people to bring their bikes on the subway. Since the weather is so nice there of course it makes more sense but- I think NYC needs to take a cue from SF biking culture.

  11. Kaitlin says...

    I ride my Public bike all around Boston, too! I absolutely love it. Agreed that it makes the city feel different–more manageable, pretty in a different way, I live in Boston so riding around the Esplanade is just the best. I also love my local bike shops–they’re SO helpful! Definitely support local when you can because it comes back to you when you need advice or a quick tune up.

    • Sarah says...

      So glad to hear this! I just moved to Boston from NYC where I rode everywhere, but I am looking to buy a new bike and for an LBS here. What are your favorites?? Thanks!

  12. mims says...

    So glad to see you wearing a helmet, but please wear better shoes! I have a physician friend who signed off time of death in the ER for a bicyclist in heels who lost control and was hit by a car. Even sandals are not safe.
    Well secured shoes (that enclose your entire foot) are important safety equipment.

    Meanwhile keep cycling! Our family enjoys road biking and even loaded bicycle touring…its a nice way to spend time with teenagers and gets them away from the computer.

  13. When I saw your picture, it was like a mirror reflect!
    I bike everyday, everywhere in the city with my kids! I live in France, in Strasbourg, which is the most “bikefriendly” city in this country.
    My first son is 7, he can ride on his own bike. The second one is 5, like Toby. Sometimes he takes his bike, sometimes he seats on my bike, behind me.
    My daughter is 20 months and she seats in front of me, like Anton.
    When the weather is too cold or too rainy, I take the Croozer trailer. It’s also very easy to use it as a double stroller (perfect when we move (by car) on hollidays).
    Thank you for Cup of Jo <3

  14. How do you store your bike?! I’m moving to NYC in a few weeks, to a fourth-floor walk up with no storage. I’m scared to death to leave my sweet little bike locked up outside, even with a U-lock!

    • Ryan says...

      Although I don’t live in NYC, I would recommend that you carry your bike up the stairs to your apartment, or find out if there is locked bike storage in the basement of the building. Joanna has even noted that she’s had her bikes stolen 1 2 and recently the <a href="https://instagram.com/p/3XLyYbHoKx/"wheels stolen (while locked with a U-lock).

  15. Joan says...

    Your boys look so happy on the bike! My son is Toby’s age and rides on a trail-a-bike with me. He loves it and talks the whole time we are riding. And, if I’m lucky, he’ll even help by pedaling now and then. ;) How do you carry belongings (groceries, snacks, diapers, etc) when on your set up?

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      good q! we don’t do big grocery shops on the bike; we’ll just stop in for a few things i can fit into my backpack. and we put a diaper and a few wipes (in a ziploc) into the backpack, too. hope that helps!!

  16. Adeline says...

    Really nice photos.
    I also love to ride with my kids. I also used the weeride (luxe) seat with my son, and then my daughter. My 6 year old boy, Maceo, is now riding on his own with his “early rider” bike, a very light english bike. My daughter, Romane, 3,5 y.old, is know using a “do little” seat (new zealand brand). This seat is really nice for older children (from 3 or 4 y.old). We enjoyed long ride in the french countryside … Have a nice day.

  17. i love biking with my daughter! we have the yepp maxi and it was recommended to us that ladies have the seat on the back and guys on the front. i don’t remember why, but i didn’t feel comfortable with the seat on the front (felt too wobbly) so i’m glad we have it on the back. my 2.5 year old loves when we get to ride together!

  18. Miriam says...

    Jo – love your site so much but I’ve never commented! Any tips for clothes that hold up well to biking? Especially shoes and bags? I’ve dusted off my old Schwinn this summer and always end up wearing keds and a dorky backpack when I’m headed someplace on my bike. Thank you!!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      good q! i usually wear flat sandals or converse when riding. i’ve worn heels before but they can be a little more slippery on the pedals. for bags, i wear the storq black backpack or the fjallraven army green totepack, which you can wear as a backpack OR a shoulder bag: http://goo.gl/Z719TP hope this helps!!

      PS this is cute if you’re going to wear a skirt!
      http://cupofjo.com/2014/07/how-to-ride-a-bike-in-a-skirt/

  19. Laura C says...

    This post is nostalgia for me. Omg, I do really miss my bike and me while living in Italy some years ago!!
    I would like to ride again, but I can’t. Have no bike, have no place to keep it.
    xxx

  20. Rachel says...

    So glad you posted this, and good for you for managing both kids on your bike! I was never comfortable with the extra weight on my bike (so my husband carried them) but once they got older we got a trail-a-bike. I continue to tow my 6 yr old and my 9 yr old is confident enough to get around (in bike lanes) on her own bike. I think having them up high allows kids to be more aware of the road which is great for the long term.

  21. Katrina says...

    I love this! My three sisters and I all rode on the back of our dad’s bicycle until we were big enough to ride our own, and I’ve been riding ever since! I keep a record of the miles I ride using my iPhone- the boys may like to see a windy and curvy map of their adventure! I ended up logging over 3,000 miles just going to and from work, which is something I try to brag about as often as possible ; ). Can’t wait to bike with kids some day, it seems like a blast!

  22. I just got a bike and kids seat – the topeak – and my 2-1/2 year old daughter has stopped wanting to ride with me on it! She’s scared that she’s going to fall and it makes me so sad. I bought it so we could ride to the beach, the library, get ice cream… We live in Chicago which has great bike lanes! I’m bummed and trying to figure out how to calm her fears. I think the double kick stand might help!

  23. Susan M. says...

    I’m fascinated; great post and I’m learning a lot from the comments. Our kids are the same age as Joanna’s, but our daughter (just 2) is 30 lbs now, so she is just 3 lbs short of the weight limit for front seat riding, like Anton does. So now I’m not sure how to have 2 in the back. And our son is to tall to ride like Toby does. The tandem coupler one poster mentions sounds like an option, although a bit pricey.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      we’re working on a post with other multiple-kid bike options, coming up in a week or two!!

  24. Rikke ostenfeld says...

    I sure do :-). I live in Denmark where everybody ride their bikes with and without their kids. Love it!

  25. Anne says...

    What a wonderful post! I just rode my bike 525 across the state of Iowa so biking is on my brain and is also near and dear to my heart. :) Thanks for posting fun things like this… I hope it gets more people into biking!!

    I’m a longtime reader and love your blog. Thanks for always being so open and warm. :)

    Anne

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      WOW!!! good for you!! sounds amazing.
      ps and thank you so much for your kind words:)

  26. Aileen says...

    Great article! I cycled with my first daughter and loved it. I haven’t since the birth of my second daughter. I just don’t think I have the core strength to do it! I do miss it!

  27. Meg says...

    I just started biking with my kids but I don’t know what we will do in the winter. I know you said you are scared of the subway, so what do you do for transportation in inclement weather? Would love to hear. Thanks for the great post!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      I ride my bike when it’s just me, but when I have the boys, we either take a cab, walk (quickly!), or change our plans to someplace closer to home :) wish i had a better answer!

  28. Sonel says...

    We have two kids and ride everywhere together too! My husband and I each have a kid seat on the back of our bikes, but I’ve been wondering lately if I should get a front seat so I can take the kids riding while my husband is at work.
    I love that red bike! Do you have a link to it?

  29. Wow, I’m impressed!! It seems so difficult to balance two kids! I love riding bikes. My two kids have their own but we haven’t gone out for a ride in a long time. Traffic is horrible here but we should try and find quieter places to ride. I loved this post and I was hoping to read about your biking experiences! Pictures are lovely!!!

    Alina
    http://www.eclecticalu.blogspot.com

    P.S. Beautiful dress!!

  30. Cindy says...

    I would like to hear more about how you deal with helmet-hair. I would love to ride my bike more but am constantly frustrated by the fact that it basically limits me to a ponytail or a bun once I arrive at my destination. I’m not a vain person, but I like options, you know?

  31. jen says...

    was hoping for a motherhood around the world post today :( they’re my favorite part of the blog!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      it will be back next week! we have a really good one coming up :)

  32. Isabelle says...

    Thank you so much for writing this. It’s so great to inspire more mothers to get out there and bike with their kids! We don’t have a car, which is rare where we live (Edmonton, Alberta), and I bike everywhere with our 3-year-old daughter during the nice weather (i.e. if it’s not snowing and warmer than about 10 degrees below celsius). That includes my morning commute to and from work where I drop her off at daycare and then pick her up on the way back. We have a super basic seat on the back of the bike, and I love having her up with me instead of in a trailer. Unfortunately around here you don’t see many seats. She loves it, and usually is singing too, just like Toby! Thanks for the double-kickstand tip, I might try to get one of those. She is still only about 30 pounds and I find if I stand on the edge of the kickstand I can get her in and out without the bike tipping.

  33. Danielle says...

    You look cool with your helmet on! Yay for helmets!

  34. Mindy says...

    Thank you for posting about riding with kids! We live in Chicago and try to bike commute to school, camp, activities and family outings as much as possible. My older daughter (nearly 11) rides on her own bike, but my younger (5) has a sweet ride on the back of my Yuba Boda Boda. I love the conversations that we have and how riding through the city makes you feel so much more connected to your environment than if you’re riding in a car or on the L.

  35. kelly says...

    This is a fantastic post!!!!!!! I just bought a bike about two weeks ago and it soooo fun, except when i’m on the super busy city streets.

  36. Amanda Brown says...

    Thanks so much for this post. We just got a bike seat for our one year old – a topeak back mount. My husband has been riding with her, and I really, really want to, but I’m nervous. I’m so afraid of the weight throwing me off balance. Do you have any tips? Do I just go for it? I can’t believe you ride with two kiddos!

  37. Veronica says...

    Hi, where do you keep your bikes? locked on the street or do you bring them inside? What do you do with the helmets when you arrive to your destination?What lock do you use? Thank you! I love biking but the US is much less bike friendly than Erope

  38. Love this! My problem is often the opposite of what you state–I’m so short, my legs rarely reach the ground (on most people’s bikes + all the Citi bikes I’ve tried to ride) so I have to hop on and off each time I stop and go, which is kind of tricky. I don’t have children yet, but when I do I’ll have to find a bike short enough for my little legs.

    • kelly says...

      Have you tried a larger youth sized bike??

  39. Angie says...

    Are you wearing Everlane sandals with straps that won’t stay on the heel?
    If so, I have the same ones. I had to take mine to the cobbler to get the back straps removed; I like them much better now!

  40. Stephanie says...

    I love how the three of you fit so easily on the bike! It’s adorable. I’m a big fan of Ride the City. I love getting out on my bike, but I’m not always a huge fan of riding through car-crowded NYC streets. My favorite route to bike and run is near the water on the West Side Highway. It’s especially calm on summer nights and is a great way to get outdoors.

    I’m a fashion blogger in NYC. To follow my adventures featuring the best of NYC’s fashion and food, check out sustenanceandstyle.com. Always looking to collaborate with new bloggers, so contact me! See you there xx

    – Stephanie

  41. I’m so impressed that you can keep upright with not one, but two kids on your bike!! I’m sure once you get going it’s a breeze, but I’m still amazed! You should give it a whirl in Amsterdam now, I think! ; ) And three cheers for bike helmets! It drives me crazy when I see people on the streets in Toronto cycling without helmets! When I first started riding downtown I didn’t wear one, but I picked one up a few years ago and now can’t imagine riding without it!

  42. Dena says...

    I bike to work and have been biking my 4 year old daughter to school across Central Park. We have the Topeak seat (which is nice because it goes up to 50 lbs), but man: it’s heavy! O urges me to “go faster, mama” as we go up the hills, and it’s a little embarrassing to see the runners passing me by. I wear a backpack (that may or may not stick right into my daughter’s face) and my chain lock around my waist, and bungee her bag to the back of the seat. It’s not perfect, but it works for a short trip. Side note: I kept telling the guys at the store where I bought my bike that I wanted my seat raised, and they just would not do it– and it’s true: I should have stuck to my guns because I’m much happier with my (non-child-beseated) Sogreni, which was made just for me. ;)

    • kelly says...

      How about getting a sturdy basket for the front of your bike and throw all the “junk” in there. You will feel so less heavy and weighed down. It made a HUGE difference for me.

  43. I can vouch for Bike NYC’s classes. They have a great method for getting rid of training wheels – I was shocked at how quickly my daughter was zipping around.

  44. Silly question, probably, but do you take the seats off when you ride with just Alex out on a hot date, or to work? We have the ibert and I feel so goofy when I ride it solo!
    Fantastic post!
    Xxoo

  45. This is so fun! Thank you for the helpful tips! If you ever come to RI to the East Bay Bikepath is very nice – there’s ice cream and delicious food in both Warren and Bristol :)

  46. Anne says...

    So glad to see you wearing a helmet. Hard to teach that lesson to our kids if we won’t do it ourselves. Plus, kids needs happy and healthy parents just like we want the same for our kids! Love these tips. I am anxious for my baby to turn one this fall so we can start biking again.

  47. Question: I would really to start biking to work or school but I find that I can’t wear a cute outfit without getting sweaty at the end of the ride. What are some good ‘biking outfits’? Also, the ‘carry-on’ situation… Any ideas for how to pack all your belonging for the day and still manage to get around comfortably?

    • maria says...

      I always ride to work (in Seattle) in my work clothes (skirt and walkable heels), if i start getting warm, i just bike slower. And i also have a pack of cucumber-scented make up remover wipes for emergencies at work, but I haven’t used them yet this summer. If you do ride warm, maybe wear a nice tank top and then change into something warmer when you get to the office?

  48. For anyone learning to ride in NYC, check out the kid and adult classes at Bike New York (they’re the ones who put on the 5-borough bike ride, the proceeds from that event go to creating free classes throughout the year).

    http://www.bike.nyc/education/classes/

  49. What a lovely post — thank you for sharing! Wanted to ask where your beautiful red bike is from — thinking of finally biting the bullet and purchasing a bike for city riding :)

  50. Sarah says...

    Love this article! No kids myself (yet, hopefully), but the thing that made me feel safe enough to start biking in Boston was seeing parents cycling with their kids in bike seats / trailers/ bakfiets.

    For older kids: a family at church uses a trail-a-bike (like so https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trailer_bike). It’s like a small bike, minus the front wheel, that attaches to the parent’s bike, so your little one is pedalling along behind you but won’t get left behind!

    And when they get even older, there’s always a tandem. I saw a family of five on a five-person tandem during last year’s Boston bike festival!

  51. Ris says...

    I’m so, so happy to read that you also wear a helmet! It drives me nuts when I see parents cruising around sans helmet but their kids are wearing them. Talk about mixed messages! Helmets are so crucial, for all ages!

  52. Holly mccormick says...

    hi, looking for suggestions for biking with my almost 5 year old twins, they are 90 lbs together & too heavy for me to carry in our trailer anymore and not quite ready to bike on there own. We previously had a WiKe trailer. Thanks

    • katrina says...

      We use a tag-along bike that attaches to one our bikes for our 4 year old if we are going somewhere really far, and I carry our 18mnth and 2 and a half year old in our bike trailer. We also used glider bikes to get our kids “biking” at age 2, and our four year old can also use a pedal bike with no training wheels…it’s a great investment!

    • Melissa says...

      You should Look at getting a FollowMe tandem (I’ve bought two from Bike Discount in Germany). You can attach one kid’s bike to it and then put your other twin in a rear seat on your bike. Another option would be a double WeeHoo but that’s going to be hard to manage and quickly outgrown. A third option would be a long tail cargo bike like the Yuba Mundo or Bike Friday Hauladay.

  53. I don’t have kids, nor do I live in NYC (nor do I own a bike, come to think of it), but this is one of my favorite posts of yours. So well done.

  54. Kai Parker says...

    I’m in love with this post!!

  55. Casey says...

    This is so neat to learn about you. I started biking when my commute changed to two public transit transfers. My boys are about the same age and my older actually doesn’t fit in the back seat anymore (our limit is 40lbs – what is the Yepp?? and how long do you think you’ll keep Toby back there – and then what?!?) I love the freedom of biking in a city with the boys and not having to worry about parking, loading and unloading from carseats, etc.

    Thanks for teaching me so much in this post – the double kickstand is genius and I was so conscious of how low my seat seems to be on my ride in this morning, can’t wait to raise it! My tip is make sure your tires are always inflated; I couldn’t believe the difference in riding when I finally got my tires adequately inflated.

  56. I loved this article, thanks! How do you do it during the winter? Does it get slippery?

  57. Anna says...

    Joanna, you are such a beautiful writer! You always inspire me, I just want to take my kids out for a ride right now (pity it’s the middle of winter in Australia!)

  58. Anna says...

    I’m curious. Can you please tell me why you opted for seats and not a trailer?

  59. This is a stupid question, but where is your nappy bag?? I’d be so scared I’d topple over too, I need more practice on my own first I think!

  60. Kim says...

    I was literally *just* looking at child seats online for my 18 month old and needed a break from my million tabs so I hopped over here and voila! I live in Tokyo where moms bike their kids everywhere. It’s nice to live in a bicycle friendly city because you feel safe and there are lots of bike/seat options -almost too many! Plus, you don’t have to worry about your bike being stolen because Japan is so safe. People don’t even lock them.

    I live in a hilly area of the city so we need an electric assist model (if you’re curious: http://lipit-mama.jp/?pid=70426206) . It. Is. So. Cool. I hope it catches on in the US because it’s such a life changer.

  61. Stephanie says...

    Love the bike! You look just like one of the Amsterdam moms where I live:)

  62. Tamara says...

    I love love biking with my kids. They are ten and seven and we have an extra cycle. Occasionally they both ride on the back, but mostly one of them rides on the back while the other rides their own bike. They switch back and forth and make room for the one who is most tired to ride on the back. It’s so fun and energizing, I love it. Thank you for posting about it!

  63. Kimkay says...

    You are fantastic! Loved seeing the pics of you with boys on board.
    I currently ride my bike to work (Library) and it makes me feel great.
    Was inspired to make more of a commitment to riding after a trip to the Netherlands. Boy, I would love to live there.

  64. I used to ride to work everyday. Then I got pregnant and I stopped riding. Then I started riding again with my little guy . . . until one day we almost got creamed by a bus. I haven’t been able to go out with him since – I only want to go on distinct bike paths without traffic (like down the west side highway bike path). What are your tips for feeling safe while riding with little ones?

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      That’s a great question! At this point, after 12 years of riding in the city, I know which streets are too busy and which are good. (Most thoroughfares, like 14th Street, Bleecker Street, Grand St, etc. are crowded with busses, delivery trucks, etc.; and I avoid midtown like the plague.) When I’m riding with the boys, I’m definitely choosy about which streets I’ll take, and where I’ll ride with them.

      Ride the City is a great app for figuring out which streets have distinct bike paths, which have shared bike paths, and which have no bike path. You could choose the “safer” route and feel pretty confident about it, and you could always try a route first without your little one before riding together.

      I love riding with them on the Brooklyn waterfront (like Jane’s Carousel to Pier 6). It’s so pretty and we stop for ice cream, playgrounds, outdoor art installations, etc. That’s a very low-key nice ride.

      Good luck, I hope that helps!! Email me or leave a comment anytime if you have any more questions!

    • Thank you Joanna! I’ll try the app. :)

  65. Laurel says...

    We have almost the exact same setup! I ride a Public too, same model in Orange and we have the yepp seat on the front. Our son is 2.5 yrs and has just about outgrown it, plus we’ve got another on the way so we will be upgrading his seat soon. Our son also has a balance bike and is so into riding it that it’s difficult to convince him to ride with us! Biking with kids is so fun. I love how my son has a constant dialogue going. Everything he sees he talks about.
    Yay for pedal power!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      I love the constant dialogue!!!!!! That is so, so cute.

  66. Daniela says...

    Bike rides make the best memories. My mum used to take my brother and me in her bike (an old english model made from cast iron!) along with backpacks and produce. Once there were four of us in the bike (mum, brother, me, and a puppy!), we slipped in a puddle and ended with our butts in the mud. 24 years after that we’re still laughing about it.

  67. kelly says...

    weird – is your dress from mango? i just ordered a dress that looks exactly like yours about two seconds before hitting your blog!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      It’s actually from Madewell — now I want to go check out Mango, too!

  68. Victoria says...

    My current bike is a Schwinn. The Public bikes are beautiful but I was unwilling to spend so much on my first bike in 16 years! Living on the top floor of a brownstone in bed-stud is nice but not for schlepping my bike. I’m only 5’1″ and the stairs are steep. I wish I could leave it locked outside but this nabe isn’t quite there. Neither was Bushwick.

    I admire you being out with the boys. I’m still nervous getting on the bike to hit downtown bk. my boyfriend and I rode to the McCarren Park Pool last week and that was fun!

  69. I’m in the market for bike seats right now! We’re in the US visiting family, and I’m dying to get out on the bike lanes here in VA…

  70. Christa says...

    I never* knew about a double kick stand! I just stared biking with my almost 2 year old. I am always most nervous taking him out of the seat.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      It makes all the difference!

  71. Dalia says...

    I love our Yepp Maxi!! It’s comfortable, not heavy, easy to install and I love that I can transfer the seat to my husbands bike. Last summer I pulled out my mothers 47 year old bike (vintage) that she got when she was 13 and had the Yepp installed on it. My mother got that bike at 13 years old, biked my sister and I on it and now I am biking my son on it! It’s the best way to get around town with a 3 year old!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      That is so sweet!!

  72. Christa says...

    I knew about a double kick stand! I just stared biking with my almost 2 year old. I am always most nervous taking him out of the seat.

  73. Martha copestake says...

    Your set-up seems so great! We are also big riders. I started with my first daughter in an ibert seat (goes on the front). When number 2 came along, we got an xtracycle, which is a long tail on the back of my own bike. It has huge panniers and bars for the kids to hold on to. For a while it was little one in front seat and big one on the xtracycle. When little one was 2 and a bit, we moved her to the back. We’ve had the 2 of them on the long tail for a while now. The BIGGEST change has happened recently, though…. My eldest now rides her own bike!!! We are 2 weeks into this new life. I’m so excited and happy about it. She’s been so into it! But I am mourning my time riding everywhere with both girls on my bike. Everyday it felt like we were in our own private adventure. :) Check out the xtracycle for when Anton gets a little bigger – besides our ergo carrier, it’s my best kid investment!

    • Helen says...

      We love our edgerunner by xtracycle – it’s been pretty life changing. It was a big investment, but I’m so glad we did it.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Thank you!! That’s a great tip. Very curious/excited about the next steps with both boys. I can imagine feeling nostalgic for this phase for sure!!! You feel like such a little unit ;)

  74. Hi Joanna,
    When I purchased my bicycle @ Bicycle Habitat(…love them!) and talked to the employees there about baby seats, they all felt very strongly about babies riding in the back. They shared that most bicycle accidents happen with forward motion, meaning if the babe is up front he/she is more likely to get hurt.

    I’ve tried to research this more, but it seems likes camps(…online at least)are fairly divided on front vs. rear seats for the little ones?

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      I’m going to look into this today, thank you so much, joanna!

  75. Sara says...

    I’m debating getting one of these: http://rideweehoo.com
    It isn’t very safe to bike where we live, (busy highway) so I’m not sure I can justify the cost. I am also afraid to get a seat that goes right on the bike like you have, because I am nervous of becoming unbalanced. All of my worries are not leading to fun bike rides!

  76. Myndi says...

    We bought a Madsen bucket bike in the spring and it has been the best purchase we’ve made for our family! We hardly use our car and our girls feel like boring errands are a grand adventure. I’m still trying to get comfortable on busy streets! I only wish I’d started biking with them sooner!

  77. Jane says...

    This is a bit of fantasy of mine to bike around the city. I’m such a worrier about this kind of thing though and haven’t really biked since I was a kid. I so want to be able to get around with my 16 month old. I think she’d love it and it would be great to not feel so stuck in our little area of Brooklyn like I do with her stroller. Thanks so much for letting us know about the classes! I just signed up to take one, just to get some practice and feel really prepared. One question I have is what do you do about storage? I feel like I’m always carrying around so much stuff with a toddler.

    • Storage is totally an issue! We have an Azor long tail bike http://www.urkai.com/portfolios/twins-long-tail-bicycle-by-azor/ , so both boys (2 and 4) are in the back. We have a front basket for a backpack or whatnot, and I can totally manage a trip to the pool with both boys including toys, swimsuits, towels, lunches, and lifejackets. Sometimes I tie a little (light) bag to the back seat if I run out of space, but you don’t want it to get too back heavy. On weekends, my husband takes the Azor and I ride our other dutch bike with two big saddlebags and a front basket, so we bring all the stuff we need for the whole day (including a cooler!).

    • Martha copestake says...

      If you go for an xtracycle long tail you can get the panniers for it and they are huge and amazing! I can fit anything I’d ever want to bring for myself, my two kids, and husband – for picnic, beach/pool, school/work, groceries, etc.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Omg a cooler is an amazing call!! When we just had one child on the bike instead of two, I had a metal wire basket on the back that just hooked over the back wheel thing. Then I could remove it when we went grocery shopping or into the park etc. I’ll try to google it!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Ps my brother used to volunteer-teach those free classes and thy were awesome. You start off on bikes with no pedals so you can get used to the feeling of gliding and balancing. It’s a smart system!

    • kelly says...

      You can do it!!!! Be brave. :)

  78. Kate says...

    My husband and I moved to Chicago this winter and bought our first “adult” bikes a few weeks ago. We are obsessed with riding them everywhere and it’s been a great way to see the city. I’m a little embarrassed to say it but I didn’t even think to look up the biking laws here…I wonder if I need a bell too!

  79. Thanks for this post! I have been a little nervous about the idea of riding with kids. I think my husband made me nervous when he mentioned falling or the kids getting hurt! I have always wanted to though so this is SUPER helpful! Do you have any recommendations on bikes or where to get one? I definitely would need a new bike and I have no clue where to look! :)
    http://www.sweetlytattered.com

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      We really love public bikes. They’re made in San Francisco and they mail it to you in a few pieces that are really easy to put together (seriously, we are the least handy people in the world). We have tried a few different types or city bikes and found that public is the nicest ride. Hope that helps!!

    • kelly says...

      I’m brand new to biking and i found a great little Schwinn at Target for less than $200. It’s not the best bike in the whole world but it’s cute, efficient and affordable. And, online has GREAT clearance sales that you can pick up totally assembled at your local store. Might be worth a try when you’re a beginner. :)

  80. Maryann says...

    Hi Joanna –
    I love this post. We were such huge fans of the bobike seat. I second the awesome on-the-bike conversations. Nowadays our kids mostly ride their own bikes, but we have a cargo bike too and they can both sit on the back of that bike as well. That is super fun…and super heavy when both 6 and 9 year old are on board.

    Related, when our kids were quite young and we were biking all over town, I started to get self-conscious from the friendly (and not-so-friendly) questions that we would get about safety. One day I asked my husband if what we were doing is “right” or ethical and joked that we should write to the NYTimes ethicist. And he did! And one of the NYT ethicists at the time wrote back! I’ve always loved his response, especially the part about the lessons we pass on to our kids: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/12/magazine/12FOB-Ethicist-t.html?_r=0
    Happy riding!

    • Jenny says...

      Oh my, I read the reply from to ethicist to the question below your response and I think I love that response even more!

  81. We are just about to buy our first kid seat–our son turned one yesterday!–and I am debating between front and back seat. Love the idea of a front seat but worry about the lack of head/neck support on the seat itself. What do you think? I’m a big biker, but also a huge worry wart.

  82. Emily says...

    What will you do when Toby’s a little older? I was going to get those bike seats for my girls, who are the same ages as your boys, but my daughter’s almost at the weight limit for that back seat (I think it was 45 lbs?). So I’m thinking about saving up for a mid or longtail bike like xtracycle.

    • Trish O says...

      I wonder the same. My sons were big and tall. By age 4 they were way too big for the bike seats. We used a tag a long Might be an option.

  83. Casey says...

    Oh, Red Hook. The site of my first (and, thankfully, only) spill off my bike. Those Belgian blocks sure make the street look cute, but they are TOUGH to ride on.

    Thankfully, a bunch of scruffy artist dudes ran out of the nearest warehouse to help me up ;)

  84. Tristen says...

    Woo hoo!! Can’t wait. I have a five month old and am counting the days until he is old enough for the bike seat.

    Until then, do you have any tips for riding with a child under one year old, or is that off the table? We live in San Francisco, and while most of the biking kids I see are 1+, I have seen babies in carseats in bike carts/bakfiets, and babies in front/backpacks while the parent rides! Is that crazy-town? For the record, I’m not talking about jostling around town with a newborn– I’m talking about 6-8 months and up, or whenever the pediatrician says it’s safe to use the jogging stroller (which has a similar motion so I assume requires comparable head control).

    Thank you!

    • Amy says...

      I also have a 5 month old and am curious about biking with him before one.

    • Bess says...

      I have a 6 month old and am ticking down the days too. I don’t think it’s really possible until about a year – maybe a month or 2 earlier if your kid is strong/big. Mine is small for his age and I live in a cold climate so I figure it’s not going to happen till spring for me (when snow is reliably clear he’ll be like 14 mo). So impatient!

    • Taylor says...

      Once our son was sitting up on his own we put him in a front seat. He enjoyed it, and would often fall asleep. The most difficult thing was finding a small helmet- he has a tiny head as it is! Our pediatrician was fine with it, as he didn’t think there was a difference between jogging/biking. Obviously, we avoided the brick roads/notoriously bumpy roads!

  85. Awesome, thank you so much for posting this, I feel like it’s great advice for biking in general. Actually, a few years ago some guy flagged me down while I was biking by pulling his car over a block or so ahead of me and got out and held his hands up for me to stop. He told me that he had seen me a bunch of times and he just had to tell me my seat was too low and that if I didn’t raise it I would have knee problems in the future. He even adjusted the seat for me. I’m still so grateful to him!

  86. Amy says...

    My husband commutes 30km (18 miles) every day on his bike. He has a rear bike seat for one of our kids but we never got one on the front because our bike store doesn’t recommend front seats (actually, they say ones mounted on the main frame are fine, but they don’t like the ones that mount on the handlebars or handlebar post). Their reasoning is that if the kid suddenly leans over to point at something, it can steer you where you don’t want to go – and in traffic, that can really count! I agree that a front mounted seat does ‘feel’ more protective as a parent, though. The Yepp Mundo cargo bikes look really tempting – but since I’m pregnant with the third, I’m giving up on the idea of biking around with my kids. I know it’s possible, but I’m just not up for it in our hilly area! I like to think I make up for it by cooking just about everything from scratch – we all have our strong points, right? ;)

  87. How cute are you guys on the bike?? And how cool that you bike with both of them. My little two year old guy and I LOVE biking around Portland. We have a Yepp seat on the front, and he narrates the entire ride (river!, boat!, train!, bridge!). It’s the sweetest thing to sit right behind him and hear his little thoughts. Hope you get some biking in with the boys during your Portland visit!

  88. Great post! The photos are beautiful! I’d be scared to ride in the city, especially in areas with a lot of traffic.

  89. Paige says...

    i love your shoes! Where are they from?

  90. Patryce says...

    When I was on vacation in New York last year, my boyfriend and I decided to check out Brooklyn. As we got to the end of the Brooklyn Bridge I saw you riding by and was so excited! My boyfriend however, was less concerned about “Jo, the blogger I read everyday!”
    Over here in Toronto, I was always terrified riding around downtown and I’m only now getting used to it. Still a bit too scared to ride all by myself though.
    Stay safe out there! :)

  91. Laura says...

    Love this set up, but where do you put or how do you wear your diaper bag/purse??? It’s great to travel and ride to places via bike. I have my toddler behind me and our diaper bag in my basket up front. Don’t see one in any of your pics.

  92. Liz says...

    Oh my goodness. Joanna, this is odd, but when my husband and I rented bikes on Block Island, I too inexplicably belted out the Sound of Music soundtrack as we biked towards the lighthouses on each side of the island. Riding bikes is so wonderful. I can’t wait to get a bike after our move. I miss it! Enjoy all the wonderful memories you’re making with your family.

  93. Laura says...

    What do you do with your bike when you’re not using it? Do you leave it locked to a gate outside? I love biking, but hauling my bike up and down 3 flights of stairs every time I use it is such a hassle, I hardly do it. I live in your neighborhood (Cobble Hill actually) which is admittedly very safe, but it’s still NYC and I’ve already had one bike stolen!

  94. I’m curious what do you do in the winter?

  95. Siri says...

    This is adorable, I’m completely psyched by your bike, Joanna! Actually, I don’t think I’ve ever seen this solution before, ever!
    If we’ve got more than one kid to ride on our bike in Norway, where I’m from, we all take our kids in the same kind of neon coloured strollers with a little flag on, attached to our bikes. It looks like this: http://www.xxl.no/sykkel/sykkeltransport/sykkelvogn-og-tilbehor/sykkelvogner/bits-twinkid-trailer-sykkelvogn/p/1108899_1_style?gclid=CP-H66Ku_MYCFULjcgodvAIIsg

    Your bike with your kiddos on it looks so lovely and elegant though, and you’re so close to both of them that way. Love it!

    • mona says...

      Yes, (also from Norway), this is what we use. Your solution looks a lot easier, Joanna. Because pulling this behind you up and down the hills here in Bergen… it’s a work out session of it’s own kind… not exactly a relaxing, cozy trip :) However practical it is in our rainy, windy weather… and the kids love it

  96. janelle says...

    Have you had any bumps or crashes? Hopefully not, but it would make me nervous with extra passengers. I have had two, myself only, since picking up biking again a year and a half ago. Although its possible I’m extra clumsy :). Kudos to you for managing both boys on your bike!

  97. This is great! I have a two year old and have thought about getting a front bike seat but I was afraid his 30 pounds would be too heavy and awkward. We have a trailer that I pull him in sometimes and my husband pulls him in often. Your post makes me really want to try a seat for him on the bike.

  98. Alex says...

    I used to bike to work most days from Gowanus to Williamsburg, but have gone on a hiatus because first there was winter, then I got pregnant (8 weeks to go!). Can’t wait to start riding again – Question – what age did you start your kids in the bike seats?

  99. Jacqui says...

    Your bike set up looks wonderful! I will get a second seat once we have another child for sure. I also love the double kick stand, genius. My daughter and I ride all over the place here in Brisbane (Australia). It is very bike friendly here with bike ‘motorways’ and paths everywhere. However it is very hilly!! And in Summer riding is pretty rubbish in general unless you’re heading somewhere for a quick splash to cool off. Love this post :)

  100. Sarah says...

    This is adorable, and wonderful. That’s all!

    • Mallory Miller says...

      Seconded!

    • Charlie says...

      Third-ed!! ;)

  101. Marit says...

    Hi I don’t know if you have any experience with citi bike–but I was wondering if you would choose your own or getting a membership?? I have pros and cons for both and can’t decide!

    • Casey says...

      I would get your own! I had CitiBike membership for a year, and they are HEAVY bikes. I am not a weak girl, but I had trouble maneuvering them quickly (a must in Brooklyn). The docking stations are also a little bit tough, as well. And you absolutely cannot ride with kids.

  102. Soooo sweeet! We love it too! Wheres mommys helmet?😁

    • Vanessa says...

      Look closely at the last photo :)

  103. Lashley says...

    Hurray for bikes! We also have the Yepp Mini for my 1 year old. He spots his helmet by the door and pats his head when he wants to go for a ride. He just started doing this and it’s the CUTEST.

  104. S says...

    Any safety tips? I stopped riding in NYC bc almost everyone I know who commutes has been injured bc of other cars. And that biker who was just killed near Altantic Terminal in Bklyn is completely awful, not helping with the anxiety.

    Also I know unless you bring bikes indoors at night they’ll likely be stolen–is your bike super light? Any tips on easy to carry and store bikes?

  105. katie says...

    I love this! My husband is an avid cyclist and cannot wait to get our 10 month old on a bike. We’ve got a nutcase helmet ready to go and it’s SO adorable. We see bakfiets around our DC suburb and it’s his dream to eventually get one… thanks for making it look less intimidating! (The point about leaning forward/back to experience weight distribution is great – hadn’t thought about it that way.)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      bakfiets are AMAZING!!!!!

  106. Nicky says...

    Looks amazing. I’m jealous. It feels really dangerous cycling in London. We have to share the bike lane with buses!

  107. Rosalinda says...

    Absolutely agree with wearing brain buckets (helmets)!

    While keeping your noggin covered is no guarantee, it provides better protection than none. Make sure it fits properly, of course.

    Also – watch out for those car doors opening!

  108. Eleanor says...

    This is great! I’m picking up my bike from the shop this evening and can’t wait to take longer rides to the beach and along the Hudson now that it’ll be in mint condition again.

    PS where is your dress from? Two thumbs up!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      how exciting!!!!!!!

      thanks, my dress is from the sezane madewell collection: http://cupjo.co/1MaI4fQ

  109. Awesome! Believe it or not, I barely knew how to ride a bike until about 3 years ago, when I married…a cyclist, of all people! I’m so glad I let him teach me and help me gain confidence, because I get to share in something that brings him so much joy–and now I love it too! We are expecting our first baby in January and will definitely want to ride with him or her as soon as we can…the double kickstand is brilliant and something I wouldn’t have thought of! (Though I have wondered how people balance while putting the kids in). One of the main reasons I was determined to get comfortable on a bike was I knew I didn’t want to be left out of family bike rides once we had kids!

  110. Kimberly says...

    Today’s posts were on the money for me! I’m reorganizing our living room and my son’s room, mainly-toys! I’ve been internet browsing the last week through every shop to buy toy bins you can imagine! Well, actually, you had a few I hadn’t seen. I love the line Three Sprouts for a child’s room, check it out!

    What bike lock do you use in the city? We have a Thule trailer that we can use as a jogging stroller, too. I have been wondering about the children’s bike seats and how safe they are, etc. we are expecting baby number two in December!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      congratulations on your baby news:) we use a kryptonite U-lock mostly: http://amzn.to/1S9q21e

      it has worked well for us! i’d actually love to get a bike lock holder, too.

  111. Jaclyn says...

    I’m 31 years old and just this spring decided to raise my seat about FIVE inches. I could never figure out why my legs would be so sore after riding when I’ve been a regular rider so long now. I was fiddling with my seat one day and left it really high and gave it a test ride and it was such a revelation!

    I’ve ridden in some pretty congested cities and towns but I’m not sure I could handle NYC!

  112. What’s your advice on locking your bike? What lock do you use and where do you lock it up to when you are out? Thanks and loved this post!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      i use a kryptonite U-lock: http://amzn.to/1S9q21e

      i just lock it anywhere — bike racks, sign posts, whatever! :) i wish i had good advice for locking up a bike, but i just kind of lock it up and cross my fingers!

  113. Taylor says...

    I mentioned biking with kids to a friend the other day and she looked at me like I was the worst person ever and proceeded to lecture me on the dangers. Suburban Houston :(.

    My husband and I are passionate bike people (he rode for our college’s road racing team!) and biking with our future kiddos is one of the things we talk about most when we dream about starting a family. I’m saving these great tips for the near future!

  114. Stephanie Matos says...

    I was literally just looking at bike seats online when I came to the site! Serendipity :) Anyway mine is 3 years old and about 26 pounds and I am feeling very nervous about biking here. We live near San Fransisco in the east bay area, and I am afraid biking in the suburbs may prove to be a bit challenging. You can’t ride on the sidewalk, but you have to stay in a bike lane so close to cars…it makes me incredibly nervous! Do you have any suggestions/encouragement?

    • Christine says...

      We live in the east bay and have a bike trailer for our 2 year old. She loves it and is so excited to see everything. I feel like the east bay is pretty bike friendly (depending on your city). I worked in the berkeley/Emeryville area with families for years and had tons of families bike their kid(s) to school and home, in bike seats, trailers, and other bike attachments. There are good bike lanes all over! Just research and find the good streets and routes to take.

    • Anna says...

      I live in the East Bay, and we have an xtracycle Edgerunner that I ride with my 2 kids (2 and 4). I like that they are up on the same bike frame with me, and very visible, and there is a railing around them for extra protection. The bike was pricey but for us it’s taking the place of a second car. I highly recommend it, it’s been wonderful.

  115. CN says...

    You’ve made me want a bike… What kind is yours?

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      we have public bikes. they’re great!

  116. ColineL says...

    Thank you Joanna! That was so helpful. I bike everywhere and I was wondering how having a baby would affect my way of getting around. We live in Paris and biking is by far the best mode of transportation.
    My boyfriend is American, I’m French. We’re getting married in City Hall in NYC this fall and I would love to send you pictures and tell you the story behind this moment, if you’d like to hear/see !

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      i would LOVE to see photos!!! a city hall wedding in new york sounds wonderful. my email address is hello at cupofjo dot com xoxoxo

  117. Amanda says...

    Great article! And, I love your bike – what kind is it? The curved top tube is beautiful!

  118. Zywie says...

    Wow Joanna, what timing!

    Just yesterday, I was at the bike store, trying out bikes. And “wobbly and nervous” is exactly how I felt. I was so bummed as I enjoyed biking everywhere during school years. Now at 35, it felt so alien.
    Your post wants me to give this another try.
    What bike do you have, if you don’t mind sharing?

  119. Kate says...

    After living in the burbs of Milwaukee for the past 8 years, I just recently moved to the city, and by far, the highlight of my new place is the fact that I can bike nearly everywhere. (Oh and shout out to vintage Schwinns! My mom and dad bought one another bikes for their wedding in 1975 and I’m borrowing my mom’s :))

    Also, I’m so glad you wear a helmet! (And I’m glad the boys do too!) I know there’s many schools of thought but you have a fabulous brain and it should be protected :)

  120. Natalie says...

    My baby is 18 months, and my mother’s day gift this year is/was a bike ( I have yet to pick it out :), so this post is very helpful. Are both Toby and Anton’s seats from the same company? And how did you decide to do two child seats versus a bike trailer?
    Thanks!

  121. Laura says...

    You are so right! We got a front mounted iBert for our 15 month old, and Giro helmet. I thought he would hate the helmet, but little man loves bike rides so much that I don’t think he even notices the helmet. Plus, he looks so cute like a little mushroom head!

  122. Love the idea of this–but wondering, do you get nervous being in/around traffic with the kiddos? And is it hard to stop and start with all that top-loaded weight? I imagine that in time/with practice, any anxiety would lift.

  123. Jo says...

    Thank you for this insightful post, Joanna!

    I’ve actually tried biking in and around the Central Park in the hopes of riding around with my boys one day, but it doesn’t feel easy at all! Maybe it’s the thought of biking alongside traffic/in a busy street (instead of quiet suburban neighborhood streets that I’m used to!) or something…

    But this post is so encouraging and has definitely helped me rethink that. I really needed this post! Thank you! xoxo

  124. Michele says...

    We just moved from and urban area where we walked to everything to the suburbs. I hate getting in my car everyday and would LOVE to travel more by bike. We also have two small kids. How do you manage groceries with the set up you described? I had been looking at Dutch style cargo bikes but I think they would be too large for the few areas I’d need to be on a path/sidewalk…

  125. Nicole Kaufmann says...

    I am glad to see two wheels on that bike! I love these tips. I’m inspired. Would you put a 2 year old in front if it was one child only?

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      i think it depends on the child’s weight. bobike’s website says the front seat goes up to 3 years old: http://bobike.com/product/cat/frontseats/

      good luck!! xo

  126. Coralie says...

    I’m living in Montreal and I’m pretty afraid to bike, but your post makes me want to try it so badly! I should give it another try this week, thanks for the advice. ;)

  127. I bet Toby sings The Sound of Music because of that scene in the movie where all the kids and Maria are cruising down the lane, under the trees in their matching outfits!

    Big-city biking has always intimidated me, but it’s encouraging to hear that you adapted in just a few days. And, if you can do it with two kids in tow, I can certainly take just myself out on the road. I bought a new helmet and bike lights this summer, so now I just have to get myself to hit the streets in the busier areas!

  128. Maria says...

    Where is your dress from?? It’s lovely!

  129. Sadie says...

    Love this, and I love your new bike! Great tips. One more: Some hospitals have a “safety store” that sells child safety gear at cost– meaning, much lower than retail. Ours also sells bike helmets. We paid $25 for a bike helmet for my son before finding out they sell the same ones for $7 at the safety store!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      what a great idea!!!

  130. I think I wouldn’t be strong enough to carry two children!

  131. Amy Lauree says...

    That sounds soo lovely it almost hurts! It hurts because the city we live in is actually pretty awful for cyclists so it’s something I’m way too nervous to do here. They are trying to implement bike lanes, but around our neighbourhood we are surrounded by incredibly busy narrow major arteries and the thought of jumping on a bike even by myself is terrifying. But I am curious, how do you get the boys out of their seats on the bike, do you just put down the kick stand and the bike stays balanced while you pull them out one at a time?
    Most people here put their kids in Chariots (like an enclosed carrier) behind them instead of in seats like yours.

    By the way, I love your dress!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      i usually put the kickstand down AND lean the bike against a railing or gate while i get the boys off. it was tricky to learn at first, but now i have the hang over it. although sometimes if the sidewalk is slightly inclined, i’ll ask a passerby to hold the bike while i get them off!

  132. Taylor says...

    I completely agree about the front seat! I’d read your praise and some other blogs when making the decision to do front vs back. So glad we did. My son begs to go on rides, loves to point out trucks, dogs, etc in our ride and I like the closeness. We initially had the ‘wee ride’ and while I enjoyed how it balanced his weight between seat and handle bar it didn’t provide much room to get on/off the bike. We now have the Thule front seat because we can switch it between my and my husbands bike within seconds.

  133. Meg says...

    How do you handle winter and other weather, like rain?

  134. My husband and I both have beautiful bikes but rarely ride them, as we live in a third-floor condo with no elevator, and no ground level storage. I’m sure for an NYC resident this sounds totally normal, but I had only ever lived at ground level until this home, so I didn’t factor in the weight of my bike and having to lug it up and down three flights of stairs (actually, four flights out the back of the building, where our bike path is) when I purchased it.

    Even when we did ride more often, I never really got the hang of city riding. We would go from the house to a nearby greenway, but that only required a couple of pretty quiet streets. To actually get anywhere like work, or dinner, or to meet up with friends, required lots of traffic on narrow roads. Our city is not terribly bike friendly, and I just never got confident enough to brave it more than once or twice.

  135. Kelly says...

    Great article! Quick question: what model Public bike is that? Looking into getting one!

  136. Ellen says...

    I LOVE to bike and even better with kids. Being a Dutch girl in LA i always missed cruising around on bikes. Luckly lately this is changing here, we even see now an occasional imported ‘bakfiets’. In the Netherlands it’s normal to go grocery-shopping with two kids, all on 1 bike (even in the rain ;-(). And all kids are very comfortable riding on their own bike by the age of 4. My daughter is ten now and one of her favorite activities is riding our bikes together as a family.

  137. Rebekah says...

    We love to bike with the kids too! We live in Minneapolis, which is a great city for biking. Could you tell me what kind of bike you have? Can you make it up hills easily with both boys? I have an older bike and it’s so heavy I can’t pedal it up hills…it’s embarrassing to walk it up, but oh well. We still bike. :)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      hills are tough, i agree! luckily brooklyn is pretty flat, but riding over the bridge, i’m always huffing and puffing. i’ll tell the boys not to talk to me until we get to the top haha.

      i have a 7-speed public bike, which is lightweight and great.

  138. Tamara says...

    This is a very helpful article, and I really appreciate the safety measures that you included! I have a front seat for my almost one year old, and my husband has a trailer bike for our three year old, but I am always bummed that I can’t take them both on my own. I am definitely going to look into the seat you use for Toby! And if you feel confident maneuvering the city streets with both of them, I am sure I could manage both of mine on my neighborhood streets :-D Also, I have been on the hunt for a helmet that is less dorky than the one I currently rock, thanks for the link!

  139. Love! The pictures are great. I wrote about NYC biking with the boys not too long ago, too. I love it so much, and agree with everything you say. The conversations on the bike are the best. The boys talk and point and see so many things. We literally go everywhere on the bikes…Central Park, Coney Island, and everywhere in between. It’s opened up the city in ways I couldn’t have imagined and makes us all feel so happy and free. On a funny note, my first bike (in my 20s) was also a Schwinn, and I started riding it around the East Village as well!

    https://brooklynboysblog.wordpress.com/2015/04/26/biking-ftw/

  140. Lily says...

    I started riding with my daughter shortly after she turned two and I always kicked myself for not getting her a seat sooner. We lived in Vancouver at the time, so it was very bike-friendly. And you’re right, it makes it seem like everything the city has to offer is yours for the picking!

    My little one is three now and still loves taking bike rides. Sometimes when we’re coasting down a big hill, she’ll pipe up from her seat, “Say, ‘Wheeeee!’, mama!” and then hold her arms outstretched a la Jack in Titanic.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      omg that is so cute!

  141. Jennifer says...

    We always used a Burley when my boys were young. Your idea is so much better. The boys can see everything.

  142. Laura says...

    On a completely unrelated note: Could you share where you got the adorable dress you’re wearing in the photos?