Car-free With Kids

Front bicycle seat

More and more people are getting around Cambridge with their kids without their cars. You don't have to get rid of your car to take advantage of walking, taking transit, and biking your kids around. Here are some tips.

Walking

Carriers: Carrying your baby is a great way to get around. Click here for a website with information on choosing a carrier.

Strollers: A good urban stroller is key to a great walking experience. It should be as compact as possible. Some that look like jogging strollers are very long and difficult to navigate in small urban spaces. A front/back double stroller is better than a side-by-side model. Click here for a website with information on choosing a stroller.

Transit

Strollers are allowed on subways and buses. Most MBTA buses are "low floor" meaning it is easy to get a stroller on a bus. Elevators make taking strollers on the subway easy (Click here for MBTA elevator service alerts.) Click here for MBTA's Trip Planning Tool.

Child Bike Seats

Biking with your kids is fun and a great way to get around. Generally those already comfortable bicycling in an urban environment feel comfortable cycling with their kids on more major urban streets. If you're relatively new to cycling, consider getting starting biking with your kids on the paths along the Charles or the Minuteman. The carrying options include: front bike seat, rear bike seat, or a trailer. Click here for a nice overview of front bicycle carriers for children.

Cargo bikes

More and more people are using European-style cargo bikes to bike their kids around. Known as Bakfiets in the Netherlands, they are becoming more popular in the US, and you can see a few of them biking the streets of Cambridge!

Getting your Kids to Bicycle

Don't wait until they can pedal. Connect a child carrier to your bike, strap in your child and go for rides regularly. Show enthusiasm for the activity on every ride. As they become more comfortable and their bodies become better equipped to handle physical activity, progressively move children to bikes that offer greater degrees of independence. Few motivators will generate greater enthusiasm for cycling within a child than a growing sense of self-sufficiency. Balance bikes have been shown to be a great teaching tool to prepare toddlers for bike riding. Click here for a nice article by REI on your child's bike progression.

YES! Magazine Article

Click here for a 2011 article, "How to Be a Car-Free Family," by authors in Cambridge. You can also click here for their Blog.

For more information

For more information contact Jeff Rosenblum at jrosenblum@cambridgema.gov or 617/349-4615.

To see more about getting around car-free with kids, check out CitySmart Kids.