Working in TANDEM (guffaws a little) with Public Transport

By: Imogen Church

Published: September 11, 2017 (Updated: September 11, 2017)

Hello chaps, sorry for the silence… unless of course you enjoyed it and are more than a little bit bummed out to have to read more of my ramblings… in which case… stop reading and go and look at the passing clouds, I bet there are some really nice ones out today, in fact I can see one right now that looks like a Badger on a unicycle wearing chaps. Actually, that is AWESOME! Sorry… back in a minute…

I’m back! I love a good cloud.

Now, the gap between this and the last blog was, of course, the school holidays, that loooooong summer full of fun and romps for the children and soul-crushing exhaustion for the parents. Needless to say, this summer was full of opportunities to get out and about with the 8Freight (or “The Tandem” as my son calls it). I used the 8Freight to make a concerted effort to get him in the swimming pool without clinging to me like a Spider Monkey facing the apocalypse. I took him once every week and I’m pleased to announce that with regular jaunts to the pool he was then able to start his first official swimming lessons by the time he went back to school. The bonus of these trips in the 8Freight was also that it kept my cycling fitness vaguely up, because I tell you what, that first week back at school with the school run is TIRING on lazy legs that have not towed a small rugby player up hills every day. I do recommend getting out with your cargo bike through the holidays to help the return to the school run… plus, you know, amazing thighs and all that. Speaking of which, did you see the Wonder Woman film yet? She would totally have a cargo bike.

We also did trips into the city to visit the castle, cathedral, market, library etc. Cycling him in instead of getting him to cycle himself, meant we could stay out for a longer day and he would not get too exhausted and grumpy by the end of it. At the close of the day I could just roll him into his Cargo Bay and pump iron all the way home. We had a long summer of bicycling fun!

I also wanted to talk a little bit about the 8Freight as a Transfer Vehicle. Obviously there are tons of places you can take your 8Freight (play dates, parties, swimming pools, museums, libraries, your local Hellmouth) but it is also a great pair of wheels for Transfers. No, I do not mean the transfers I was obsessed with in the 1980’s (although, if anyone has access to any Rainbow Brite transfers, I would be ALL OVER THAT), but rather, as the means of getting you to public transport that can then get you much further than your average cyclist-towing-second-human could manage. Over the summer we hopped in the 8Freight, pedalled to Norwich Train Station, then hopped on a train to Diss, to go to a mammoth soft-play (a very large soft play, not a soft play for mammoths). Norwich station has abundant and decent cycle storage and I maintain that the 8Freight would be a tough fence for bicycle thieves as it is such a weird bike! We left our baby locked up all day and no harm came to it (our 8Freight, not our child). Although I hope I don’t need to tell you not to try and put it on one of the floating top racks… if anyone has ever succeeded in getting a cargo bike into a top rack, please let me know! Of course, you can also opt to take your bike on to most trains in order to have your Transfer with you at the other end too. Some trains have more room than others; the London train has a whole carriage for bikes! We also Cargoed to the train station for the Great Yarmouth beach and museums. And we parked it up at the bus station for the open air pool in Beccles via bus. Haven’t done the airport yet but who knows…

It works the other way round too, if you were bussing it in to Norwich and you then needed a transfer somewhere, you can hire a Brompton folding bike at the station! Lots of places do this, Oxford to name but one. And Norwich train station allows you to hire a full sized bike if you arrive in the city and would like flexible travel, as does London. Remember, when you are on a bike you can park RIGHT OUTSIDE YOUR DESTINATION FOR FREE!!!! We still get our small (ish) one on his bike or trike when we are going somewhere a bit closer to home, because he loves it, its good exercise and it helps build his own road awareness and confidence, but when they are small, allowing them to sit and loll their tongues out in the breeze does help conserve their energy for a long day…. which, let’s face it, will save the tears and tantrums and your sanity in the end.

Mmmmm, time to go back to the chocolatey brownie I started because I can because I cycle every day.

Sigh… the perks just never end…

So long Internal Combustion Engine… and thanks for all the fish…


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