Need to haul a tree? #Bikescansolvethat
Just before Labor Day Weekend 2016, our family purchased our green Yuba Mundo lux. Since then it has become our primary method of transporting our kids, getting groceries, making library trips, and running errands. The folks who work at the local Aldi are very amused and supportive. And the boys love riding on the Yuba.

We used to fight the seat belt war every time we got in the car. I would use all my creative juices to try to make it a fun game but it could rarely be done quickly and without stalling, a protest, or tears (usually mine!). With the Yuba, the whole process is usually much easier and more fun. They climb on or perhaps allow us to help and away we go, spending time outside together while we travel and chatting about the things we see on our way. A bonus is that now the car seems like a novelty and a treat. So, it's a lot easier to load up there too.

The downside of the Yuba is they're not strapped in, so when it's time for bickering they can get right at each other. That's when the bike comes to a full stop and all the conflict management/parenting skills come out (and bribery--bribery works too!).

Some people have expressed concern about the lack of seat belts for the boys. It does have cushioned seats and "monkey bars" that keep them safely confined and supported (You can check out all the other cool stuff you can get on the back of such a bike at yubabikes.com, including Yuba's age and safety recommendations. You're tempted aren't you, gearheads?). Honestly, if we were hurtling down the highway at 55mph I would be more concerned about the lack of seatbelts too. Since we're only traveling around 8-10 mph and mostly on quiet, slow moving neighborhood streets, I am not so concerned. After all, I am not wearing a seatbelt either.

Gradually, we have worked our way up to moving more and more things by bicycle. In the past year Parker has biked home a small desk, a chair, our pets from the vet, numerous human passengers, and now a second Christmas tree.

There he is. Handsome devil. 
Last year about this time, we decided to get our tree from the parking lot of Ziegler's Ace Hardware because our local hardware store is close by, helpful (just like the tagline says!), and a portion of the proceeds benefit the Ecker Center for Mental Health. I showed up with our Mazda and the boys in their car seats to meet Parker on the Yuba Mundo. I expected one of two things would happen. Either the boys were going on the Yuba and the tree was going in the back of the car, or the boys were staying where they were and the tree was going on top of the car with Parker pedaling himself home. Long story short, I was wrong. Apparently an eight-foot Christmas tree will fit on the back of a Yuba Mundo just fine. I mean it will hang out the back a bit but it's perfectly workable. And that's how Parker, the Yuba, and the tree ended up in an international photo collection of folks biking home their Christmas trees on Modacity's Facebook page. That's right we're not the only crazy ones out there. Not by a long shot.

All over the world people are using their cargo bikes for grocery shopping, taking kids to school (and daycare, and sports, and music, and art camp, and and and), for courier work, for transporting musical instruments, for moving DJ equipment, for camping, for getting kayaks to the launch, for going to the beach, for hauling Christmas trees, and even moving living locations.

Take the train into Chicago, and you'll find a lot more families like us. We even have a lovely support group on Facebook called Chicago Family Biking. Folks share tips, talk routes, swap gear, promote Kidical Mass Rides (more on that to come), tell stories, and offer support for this cargo bike family life. It's meant a lot to me to know we're not the only ones, even if other folks are deep in Chicago or scattered throughout the metro area like me.

This year the boys got the tree without me (don't worry I got to help decorate!). They pedaled down with little guys and little guy bikes on the Yuba, picked out a modest five-foot frasier fir, and then everybody pedaled home (as you can see from the top picture, we've got one pedaling his own bike and another who keeps up pretty well on a balance bike). Thanks, John from Windy Hill Christmas Tree Farm, for taking the picture and thanks for remembering my family from last year (I'm telling you, even the tree lot folks are helpful there!).

Want to see more Christmas trees on bikes? Get out the egg nog and check out that Modacity Christmas Tree by Bike 2017 collection I mentioned. It will not disappoint.

And if you are a little birdie who makes with the tweets (#confession #Ionlytweetatchurchconferences), check out #bikescansolvethat and it's big sister #cargobikescansolvethat then be prepared to set down your device, get out of your seat, and perform the long slow standing clap 'cause the stuff they post on there is bananas.


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