We released our new Hallo Velo print this month and it perfectly captures Zutano’s love of cycling during Fall in Vermont! Zutano’s founder and president Michael Belenky, delivered the very first Zutano prints to shops in New York City from the basket of his cruiser and cycling has been an inspiration for our designer Uli since childhood. Today we honor our Hallo Velo launch with The Griffin family, our Vermont neighbors who have elevated themselves above automobile culture and successfully integrated cycling into their daily commute as a family — to work, to school, to market.
We asked Burlington Dad Liam Griffin about the importance of raising kids in a ‘bike culture’ and we are happy to share his story!
A little over two years ago, with our second child on the way, we made the decision to move out of the Green Mountains of Vermont and find a place closer to downtown in Burlington. Living outside of town, we had to deal with at least an hour of commuting every day. That, combined with the general inconvenience of having to drive at least 15 minutes to get anything from a store, meant that moving to town would make things a bit simpler. The logistics of dealing with one kid getting dropped off and picked up at daycare every day was complicated enough, so we wanted to try and simplify our routine before the arrival of kid #2 by living in town, closer to work, schools & all the “big city” amenities.
For me, this meant I could finally figure out a way to commute by bike on a regular basis, but first I had to figure out how to integrate the kids into that plan. After researching a lot of different cargo bikes online, I settled on the Xtracycle Edgerunner since it had the capacity to carry multiple kids, plus gear, plus a whole lot of other things. We’ve averaged about 80 miles a week on the bike with the kids, doing pick up and drop off at school & daycare, trips to the farmers market & our weekend “tour de parks” — rides where we see how many playgrounds we can hit in one day (our record is 11!)
For the kids, the bike is just a regular part of the routine now. They’re both always excited to get on the bike, and getting geared up and packing the cargo bags is a fun part of our mornings. Family bike rides on weekends are the norm, and we even did a 3 day bike “dads & lads” camping trip with a crew of other like-minded friends. I can’t really remember any “epic” car commutes, but we get some really beautiful morning and afternoon rides on the bike with the kids that are just magical. The other day, Milo said “I love being on the bike, because we get to see the world.” Without the confines of the car, the kids are seeing things from a totally different perspective, with sights, sounds, smells and experiences that they’d otherwise miss in the back seat. Sure, it takes a bit longer to get where we’re going on the bike, but I’d gladly spend more quality time on the bike having a conversation with my kids instead of saving a few minutes and feeling disconnected from them in the car.
Lately, Milo has been getting a lot better on his own bike, so we’re starting to incorporate that into our rides as well. Luckily, I’ve figured out a way to strap his bike onto the back of the Xtracycle if he gets tired along the way so he can just hop back on with me. Soon enough he’ll be off on his own, but his little sister has a few more years as “living cargo” before she’s ready for her own ride.
– Liam Griffin, Burlington, VT