The Accidental Hermit recently commented:

“…how far can one feasibly travel while the children are small enough to be passengers? “Conventional wisdom” seems to claim that children who could fly to Australia must not, under any circumstance, remain any amount of time in a kid’s bicycle seat.”

I’m convinced our boys could happily ride in a Bakfiets until my legs fell off, but as you say, people have funny ideas about children on bikes.

Our experience is that kids tolerate a fairly long time on a bike, except when they’re tired or hungry, but that applies to cars and planes as I can attest having had the world’s smallest insomniac howl his way over the Pacific when he was just over a year old. Our boys get frustrated in cars because they have to be strapped -they’ve been known to unstrap their seatbelt and lie down on the back seat when they’re sleepy- they also complain that they can’t see anything, and they often throw up because of the bumpy ride.

Of course, people then say our boys “don’t travel well”…

Bikes have the huge advantage that when there’s something interesting to see, or small person needs the potty, you can generally stop. On Bakfietsen and Christiania types children are in front so they get a better view and you can talk to them much more easily, point things out and stop arguments from becoming a full scale war. The other advantage of these bikes over an Xtracycle (and cars, for that matter) is that with enough blankets, tired children can curl up on the bottom, and the movement and fresh air helps them to sleep. Much more comfortable than trying to rest in a seatbelt.

I guess the trick is to try it out and see what tolerance your small has for riding. It’s not like anything can go wrong: you can stop for a cuddle if she wants one, she’ll tell you when she’s bored, (Very unlikely, and if she’s bored looking at sky, try riding through a forest or town) and with the movement and fresh air she’ll probably fall asleep when she’s tired. In fact, that’s pretty well guaranteed to happen…

The only possible drawback is that all your kids friends will want to travel with you, and that your offspring will eventually start to clamour for her own bike like other kids want a car.

And with a bike, this will start ten years sooner…