Day Two: Kindertransport

A mum was telling me this morning about an opera called Kindertransport.

My first thought was, ‘Someone’s written an opera about sustainable transport for children!’ but she then explained… Anyway, it still makes a good title for Day Two of my car-free adventure, and you can turn it into an opera if you like (or into half a dozen films if you’re Peter Jackson).

My main problem is, I don’t have one of these:*

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(Image pinched from a very relevant blog post – thank you bikeablerichmond.com.)

Getting myself around without a car is not, as I proved to myself yesterday, a problem. It’s getting my kids and other people’s kids around. Today the Cutester had a friend come home after school. With the friend’s mum’s permission, we all got home under our own steam by scooter (in fact I was the one holding everyone up because I was on foot). So far, so good. The friend’s mum was also happy to come and pick her daughter up, but that’s where I felt bad – she had two other littler ones at home and I’d have preferred to drop the friend home myself so she didn’t have to come out.

But dropping the friend home, all of 1.5 miles away, would have meant a car journey. I’d have my own children with me; there is no bus route connecting our homes in any sensible way; if we went on foot it would be an hour’s round trip, and probably raining. Compare and contrast to maybe 6 minutes in a nice sheltered car, all the children strapped safely in singing songs from Frozen together (actually that part is less appealing). This example is one of any three or four child-related logistical issues that take place every week in my world, in which I like to help other parents out, and find the over-sized Volkswagon rather useful.

Unless, unless, unless…  Google maps says i could cycle to the friend’s house in 10 minutes. If I could get my hands on one of those cargo bikes – with a rain cover – I’d fit in three children no problem, and it would be a 20-minute round trip.

Or can you only do that if you have loads of these?

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* For more info on cargo bikes, read this and weep: www.sustainablecitiesnet.com/models/cargo-bikes

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10 thoughts on “Day Two: Kindertransport

  1. My daughter’s best friend’s family also doesn’t have a car (and they don’t bike either), and there’s no bus between our houses (they were nursery friends, so at diff schools too). We often arrange to meet half-way for hand-offs. So, we will run her up the hill to theirs for a play, but when we pick up, they walk her halfway down, and we meet at an agreed spot/on the route. Works better for a full-day play than an after-school one, I guess. We didn’t plan this, it just kind of happened, and works well. The kids honestly never see the joint walk as a chore – they’re with their friends, they have fun chasing each other etc. And it’s usually good post-nap/pre-dinner exercise for our toddler. When our friends take their son home from ours on their own, especially when it’s at night, he does sometimes complain about having to walk home up the big hill, but if they’re all together it’s not a big deal.

    • Aha! So sorry, when I replied it was to only the first sentence of your comment, because I was looking at the wrong bit of WordPress (ahem, bit of a novice!). I love the joint walk idea. That could actually work for us and it would never have occurred to me. It’s definitely a mindset that I’m suffering from…

  2. oh, sorry. i wasn’t clear. we don’t have a car either. but we mostly bike. don’t think our distances are as big as yours though. pool and library just a few mins walk away (other, better ones a bit further, but cyclable…). also school catchments in edinburgh mean most kids friends fairly close by.

  3. I’ve got a blogpost in mind about this – definitely easier in that people just know we don’t have a car – but before i can write it, I need to figure out some distances…

  4. Go for it! Maybe you could also explain how cycling can be done in hilly Edinburgh – whenever I bring up cycling in Holland, I get told, ‘Ah, but Holland is flat.’

  5. Pingback: Vehicularity! | Subversive Suburbanite

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