We think biking is cool and dads who bike are extra cool. With Father’s Day just around the corner, we asked extra cool dad and photographer Gabriel Harber from Oakland, CA about biking with his two kids, Ellis and Zelda. We learned many tips for biking with kids in our interview with Gabriel. Namely that the key to getting your kids interested and excited about riding is, quite simply, to keep it fun. For tips on biking with your kids, read the rest of our interview with Gabriel below. And for even more how-to’s on family biking check out our post on moms who bike with their kids.
PUBLIC: You live in the urban city of Oakland. How does biking with your kids fit into city life?
Gabriel: Biking in a fairly flat city like Oakland just makes so much sense. It is fast, fun, economical, and makes me feel like I am doing a tiny bit to help make the world a better place. Biking with my kids is easy and fun. They love to see and smell all the interesting stuff around us. Instead of being stuck in a car seat separated from the people and environment around them, they get to interact, experience, and positively add to their surroundings.
PUBLIC: How many kids do you have, what are their ages, and how do you get your kids interested about biking?
Gabriel: My son, Ellis, is almost 5 and my daughter, Zelda, just turned 3. Ellis started riding a balance bike when he was 2 1/2. He is now working on mastering a pedal bike. Zelda is a beast on the balance bike. We try to make biking fun. Kids like fun.
PUBLIC: How has biking with your kids changed the way you understand or interact with them?
Gabriel: My daughter loves to sing on the bike. My son points out smells and we talk about construction projects that we pass by often. They both love emergency vehicles. It is great being able to converse with them, share experiences, and to realize how much they are aware of and the depth of their curiosity.
PUBLIC: Where do you like to go biking with your kids?
Gabriel: We bike everywhere. We recently biked/barted/and biked some more to the Makers Faire in San Mateo. I rode over 30 miles that day. It was an epic adventure. We have biked out to the port of Oakland and across town to Codornices park in Berkeley. We have biked to first Friday a few times. We go to the park, to the grocery store, and the farmers market by bike. It is fun to bike around town and stop in at friends’ houses unannounced.
PUBLIC: What are your top tips for parents who have not started biking with their kids?
Gabriel: My kids are pretty young and are easier to bike at certain times. I have two bike rigs; one that carries the kids separately (one in front and one behind) and one where they ride together. It is easiest for me to have them separated so they don’t mess with each other. When they are on the bike where they sit next to each other it is easiest riding with them in the morning before they are amped up and tired. A bike with a step through frame will be easier to mount if you are carrying two kids on your bike or one in back. The more simple you can keep your initial set up, the more likely it is that you will start biking with your kid/s. I started with an ibert front carrier on an old Italian road bike and then added a Yepp rear seat when I began biking both kids. The road bike was not suited for carrying myself and two kids so I moved their seats over to a Public bike and replaced the rear wheel with one that could hold the extra weight. You can put a kid bike seat on most any bike. Don’t hold out for the perfect setup. Wear a helmet. Use lights at night. Biking is fun, easy, and will make you and your kids feel awesome.