Unusual Bike Commuting Needs

In some past lifetime, long ago, in other words, before I had a child, bike commuting was pretty much what it sounded like: riding my bicycle to get from point A to point B and back again. I used racks and panniers, front and rear. Simple.

Then I had a child. And bike commuting looked a lot more like this:

Commuting with Adams Trail-A-Bike
Commuting family-style on the Adams Trail-A-Bike

Now that my daughter is 6 and in first grade, and now that I am working on my Masters degree, bike commuting suddenly looks more like this:

I know, I know. Don’t say it. Don’t post it in the comments. I realize I am driving my commuter bike on my roof around town. It is totally ridiculous. I get it.

And yet…it works. Twice a week I put my bike on the roof. I load my child in to the car. We pick up our neighbor for carpool. We drive to school. I kick the kids out of the car. I unload my bike from the roof. I put on my second pannier. I ride to campus and take classes about climate science and climate solutions. I ride back to the kids school. I take my second pannier off. I reload my bike on to the roof. I get the kids. We drive home.

Panniers on rack
Panniers on Racktime Addit Rear rack & ready to head to campus

The kids need to get to school. I need to get to school. It takes 35 minutes to ride the trail-a-bike there. But I can only take one kid. Our carpool (who drives my daughter the other half the time) would have to drive to school if we rode, so there would still be a car going across town. Might as well do my share of the driving so that I dont have to drive the other half of the time.

But in order to put my bike on the roof, I had to get my front rack off because it was interfering with the fork-mounted roof rack. So I got the Racktime Addit Rear Rack . It is sufficiently light, plenty strong, easy enough to install, and far less expensive than most of the other racks I looked at ($50.99). It has the Snapit system, but I have no idea about that because I dont have the attachments that make it possible to Snapit to the Addit. Looks like a great idea though.

I also still often need to attach the trail-a-bike for other commutes we do, and fortunately the Racktime Addit left plenty of clearance for the trail-a-bike and hitch mount.

Bike commuting has changed for me. I’m sure it will change again as my daughter gets older, and especially when her school moves down the street from my house like they have been planning to (for heavens sake move already!). In the meantime, Ill keep loading my bike on the roof and being grateful that I get to ride at all.

 Dara Marks MarinoFormer top pro mountain bike racer Dara Marks Marino now coaches cyclists and triathletes through TheMindfulAthlete.net. Most of her commuting these days is with a trail-a-bike.

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