My goal is to get to the point where I can ditch my car for 6 months and travel only on my Nihola Cargo Trike everywhere I go. I have been preparing every needful thing to make this as smooth and easy as possible. I got new helmets for the boys, made a shade canopy, and got Pannier or Saddle bags for my bike to carry extra stuff. But the more I ride around Fresno and scout out possible routes in my car, the more I am starting to realize that I may need to rethink this objective. There are many places in Fresno where it simply would not be safe to ride with my babies on a bike. Ever since I became interested in riding a cargo bike with my children, I have been on the lookout for good, safe bicycle routes in Fresno and Clovis. While there are many places that I would feel confident and safe traveling on, I have also become very aware of the places that I do not want to ride with my children at all. For instance, I drove my children to the Fresno Chaffee Zoo last week to scout out a possible bike path that I could ride on in the future. There was not one, or at least, I failed to fine it. Shaw avenue and Herndon Avenue are far too busy with no bike lane and I would not take my kids on it. I did find this PDF map published by the Fresno Council of Governments of bicycle routes in the city of Fresno.
I am heartbroken at the possibility of failure before I even begin, but I have to be realistic about being safe while riding with 3 children on a bike through Fresno. I love them enough to do everything in my power to make riding with them as safe as I possibly can make it. Yes, I realize that a distracted driver can cause an accident no matter where I go, but I have to do my part and be diligent in taking routes that have adequate bike lanes and less traffic. I was talking with my husband and he said that his heart would not be able to handle a phone call telling him that his children and wife were injured or killed in a car accident. I understand his worries, and so I strive every day to make sure my children are safe, not just in riding with them, but in all things.
There was a big bike ride this last Wednesday that I was dying to go on called the Mall to Mall ride and it started at the Manchester Mall all the way to the Fulton Mall. This ride had a police escort and there were literally hundreds of riders on all different types of bikes riding leisurely down Blackstone Avenue. It was the perfect opportunity to meet fellow bicycle enthusiasts, and show off my awesome Nihola 4.0, the only one of it’s kind in Fresno, to people who would actually be interested. However, I could not in good conscience ride with my babies down a busy and dangerous street to the Manchester mall, there just was not a safe way to get there, not to mention that they would be exhausted and crabby after so long a trip. It just couldn’t be done. Here is the local ABC news coverage of the event, doesnt it just look like a fun time?!
Perhaps I gave up too easily, I really regret not having done the ride, especially after I saw videos of it on the news that night. What I really need to do is get a little trailer that I can hitch up to the back of my SUV and tow my cargo bike to places so that I can still participate in these types of events in the future. I want to go to them and be apart of the Fresno and Clovis bicycling community, I just do not want to travel dangerous routes with my children to get to them.
I will continue to contemplate and work through this dilemma for the time being. I have hope that I will be able to figure it out.