Sometimes a Bicycle is More Than Just a Bicycle

Headed up the Harlem Valley Rail Trail this weekend, I came across a family riding bikes together. When the weather is nice, this isn’t uncommon. More than the social aspect of riding together, what caught my eye was that one of the adults was pedaling a cargo bike. Also sometimes referred to as “Dutch SUVs”. In Dutch, it’s called a bakfiets.


I’m used to seeing cargo bikes on the streets of NYC, though such sightings are still more rare than ubiquitous. This was the first time I’d ever spotted one upstate. I pedaled to catch up with them -better to chat and take pictures.

Once I caught up, I was in for a heartwarming surprise. A brother and sister were enjoying the cockpit of the bakfiets. The brother has cerebral palsy. His father explained to me that “S” has very little control of his arms and legs, so basically he’s quadriplegic. The Bakfiets gives “S” the ability to enjoy being on a bike, even if he can’t power one himself. Plus, it gives the family an opportunity to spend some quality time together. As you can see from “S’s” big grin, he clearly loves being out and about in the cargo bike.


So you see, sometimes a bicycle is really something more than just a bicycle. Either way, it’s all about freedom and independence- however you may experience it.


About bikepeacenyc

Just another NYer who is happier when on a bike. Gezellig fietsen. Advocate for Liveable Complete Streets.
This entry was posted in Bakfiets, bicycle upsate, bicycle upstate NY, bikelobby, cycle chic, dutch bicycles, kidsonbikes, social cycling and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Sometimes a Bicycle is More Than Just a Bicycle

  1. Yes! My son has Down syndrome so can control his limbs but wouldn’t (yet) be able to follow the rules of the road. Someday. Until then we have our bakfiets. I feel sometimes that the disability community rolls their eyes at me, but really you can get out on your bikes and ditch your car. Or you can keep your biking lifestyle despite a surprise when your child was born or a scary prenatal diagnosis. It’s nice to see I’m not alone.

    • bikepeacenyc says:

      Kathy, so happy this post strikes a chord for you. I worked with special needs kids for a few years. I wasn’t sure I would be able to handle it, but the kids were so amazing I just fell in love with them. I empathize with the difficulties that not only the children face, but also the difficulties that parents face in raising them. Your son is lucky to have you for a mother, some one who can think out of the box and makes decisions with both her heart and her head. Keep it up. You’re not alone. When the US finally wakes up and makes people on bikes a priority, you’ll have plenty of company.

  2. (Second comment so that I can check the “notify me of follow-up comments” box. WordPress only likes logging in through Twitter 95%.)

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