What is your current family bike setup?
We are a family of three: two parents and a 9 year old. We have a fairly basic bike setup: boring hybrid bikes for mum and dad and a much cooler mountain bike for our beloved son. To transport groceries and other items we use low-cost, low-tech solutions such as panniers or a crate tied to a bike rack. To transport heavier or larger objects I have a flatbed trailer.
When our son was smaller we shared a bike, using various versions of Yepp bike seats. At first he was seated at the front of the bike, on the stem of the handlebars, then moving to the rear before graduating to his own balance bike (his first bike was an actual BMW convertible, btw).
How does cycling fit into your life?
Cycling has always been my primary mode of transport, in all of the 6 different countries I’ve lived in. We’ve never owned a car and so many beautiful moments in my life are inextricably linked with cycling. Cycling to Sydney’s scenic Bronte beach or Copenhagen’s fantastic indoor and outdoor playgrounds with my son are some of my most precious memories.
I really loved to have my child on my bike with me, either happily chatting about all kinds of things we’d see along the way, or him quietly dozing off with his head resting against my back after a busy day out. I’m very grateful for these wonderful moments that we wouldn’t have had if we’d have been in a car.
Why did you get involved in Kidical Mass?
If you had told me ten years ago that I would get into cycle campaigning, I probably would not have believed you.
Growing up up in Flanders, cycling was such a normal part of every day life that I never gave it much thought. Where I grew up, no family was considered to be a “cycling family”, every family cycled! As a child, I could visit friends and explore my neighbourhood by bike. My bicycle was a very important part in the development of my sense of independence.
Many years later we moved to the UK and even though I’m a very experienced cyclist, I still vividly remember how anxious I was the first time cycling on UK roads. Nevertheless, we still cycle nearly everywhere as a family for many reasons. It keeps us fit, it’s sustainable, and we don’t put others at risk, or pollute the air.
Here, my child isn’t free to cycle independently at all, though. Because of the dangerous UK roads, I constantly need to supervise him. I got involved in Kidical Mass because I want him to have the same freedom I had. I want him to have safe public spaces to explore. I want him to have clean air to breathe and a liveable future climate.
What is your role in Kidical Mass?
I only participated in my first Kidical Mass ride less than a year ago, so I’m a newcomer to the team. I’ve marshalled a few rides, I’m working with other organisers to obtain funding to support Kidical Mass and I’ve helped to spread the word about Kidical Mass by distributing leaflets.