Great article, Thank you ‘Be a Fun Mum’ and Rob & Edwin!
“I like to think we’re creating memories he’ll keep with him for a long time, and we’re getting the shopping or kinder pick up done at the same time!”
This is Rob and Edwin. They live in Bendigo, Victoria, and you’ll often find the duo exploring the city together on a Cargo Bike.
I first became aware of these bikes from a BAFM reader, Emmy, who founded Dutch Cargo Bikes, the number one seller of European urban bikes in Australia. I adore the concept; it reminded me of when my dad (a builder) used to take me for rides around in his wheelbarrow, although the cargo bike is much more sophisticated! Emmy also had special memories from her childhood in Holland and being ferried around on a beautiful cargo bike. After moving to Australia, she wanted the same experience for her own children. I was interested to see how these bikes added value to family life, and that is how I found Rob and Edwin. They shared with me what a day looks like on a weekday/weekend with a cargo bike.
I asked Rob about how the urban bike added value to family life.
“The bike has added a lot to family life for us,” he said. “It adds another option for travel, riding is super reliable, and I get my daily physical activity. But the best part is the time Edwin and I get to spend together. We talk about our day, sing songs (or he tells me to stop singing…), and observe and explore our city together. I decorate the bike every so often with painted ply wood cut outs inspired by his imagination or events like his birthday or cultural events. The bike has been a pirate ship, a mobile library (for readings with children at the Botanic Gardens at our monthly community ride), a tram and the batmobile (for Halloween). I like to think we’re creating memories he’ll keep with him for a long time, and we’re getting the shopping or kinder pick up done at the same time!”
I like to think we’re creating memories he’ll keep with him for a long time.
The model Rob and Edwin use the Bakfiets Classic Cargo Bike which is electric so you can even get up hills with ease. It’s designed to be a car-replacement option for urban living. Below are some of the features.
Along with the connection and exercise benefits, Rob also acknowledges the bike has been a valuable asset for fostering sustainable living in every day life. Rob’s educational background is in urban planning and community development, and this has influenced how he sees the world. I’m always fascinated by people who seek to live intentional lives, and I asked Rob to share a key factor in fostering sustainable living in family life. Where do you start?
“Try things that add to family life; involve your children in the process; have great conversations about things going on around you. It can start with growing some veggies together or walking/riding to school or shops once a week.”
Have great conversations about things going on around you.
I appreciate that focus: the focus on value — relationship and connection — and then allowing the flow from there rather than centering on a big list of things to tackle. Rob started with walking/riding to work, then growing veggies, raising chickens and installing solar in the home. When his son was born, it added an entire new dimension to enjoying and living life.
“We all have that nostalgic feeling from childhood about riding to school and playing outside with your imagination,” Rob said. “And I wanted to share that spirit of adventure and exploring with him, and create memories he’ll keep, and we’ll share forever.”