This post is part of a series (hopefully) of mothers who ride bikes with their children. If you’re interested in contributing send me an email or reach out on twitter!
This post was written by Ines, a mama from Mexico:
I use my bicycle almost daily, since I discovered that it is a way of transport that beats not only public transport, but also private automobile. I am never worried if there is gridlock: I always arrive on time to my destinations, and almost without stress. Also, I do not need to allocate extra time, to exercise or practice some sport to be healthy.
I have been a mom for 9 years, and I used the bicycle even during my second pregnancy. (Contrary of what my first gynecologist told me, the increasing weight wasn’t a factor to lose balance). I have continued to use the bicycle at first with one, and now with two children. Of course my activities and my responsibilities have changed, however, I have found means to adapt the bicycle for the new needs. When the second child arrived, I put a child-seat between mine and the steering wheel for the smallest one, and another one on the rear, for the older one. When my firstborn didn’t fit anymore on the child-seat, I bought a cargo bike (where I have carried up to 4 kids –my sister’s and mine-, or two children and a dog). It sure is worth all the money I spent on it. Almost like an investment, and no spenditure.
Every day I see expressions of approval, of joy, of tenderness, of sympathy, even of envy -the good one- from motorists or children, as well as pedestrians who see us pass by. I have also seen looks of disapproval, impatience and anger. But the amount of the kind looks exceed those of the nasty ones.
I cycle most of my transfers, either alone, or with my children.
We go by bike: to the school (and to my workplace), to the bakery, to the tortillería, to the market, to the supermarket, to the hairdresser, to the tailor shop. If we go downtown, we ride transit, and we only use the car when we go out at night, leave the city or when there are more people than usual.
To my sons, it is normal that the mean of transport selected to travel, adapts to the need of the moment. There are trips that can be done either on foot, by bicycle, or even on a scooter. We choose the mean according to the destination.
But I have thought of many children in the city. They do not know another way of transport beyond the automobile. For them, the normal thing is to be transported everywhere in that insulating and alienating machine. I do not blame the dads and moms who are full-time drivers. There are many important reasons why, nowadays, Mexicans choose private cars as their only means of transportation.
I am sure -because it has already happened to me- that more than one will wonder when they watch us enjoying the journey, if it is true, that “to be happy, you need a car”.
Little by little, paradigms change. Slowly there are more people who, in spite of the hostile conditions of the interaction with traffic in the Mexican cities, choose the bicycle as a way of transport. Because that means a better quality of life, savings, different experiencees, less stress, and so on.
I can not imagine a life as a working mother, without my bicycle. I simply would not have time to myself.