Baby Doll Seat for Kids Bike
Biking with kids is all the rage in Portland these days, but biking with six kids between the ages of 2 and 11? That's something I never would have thought possible before I met southeast Portland resident Emily Finch.
Finch, 34, is a powerhouse. Watching her pedal her bakfiets cargo bike with four kids in the front, another one in a child seat behind her, and another one on a bike attached to hers via the rear rack, is a sight that not only inspires — it forces you to re-think what's possible.
A few days ago, I rolled over to the Finch house in Ladd's Addition to join Emily and the kids on a trip to the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI). I pulled up to a scene of five kids (and one doll) already strapped into the bakfiets and three others milling about. Hey that's eight! I thought to myself. It turned out Emily invited a few neighborhood kids to come along.
Before we rolled out, I met the young Finches: Nathan, 11; Mary, 9; Lucy, 7; Ben, 5; Olivia, 4; and Maya, 2.
Emily's usual set-up is three kids up front, one on the child seat, one pedaling an attached bike (usually Mary), and Nathan riding by himself. As we set off toward OMSI, I got to observe the Finch-mobile in action. It was massive and it was alive with sounds and movement. Heads and arms bobbled while music blared from the on-board sound system.
"I thought I'd made the biggest, stupidest, most expensive mistake in my whole life. I thought I couldn't ride it. It was seriously exhausting."
— Emily Finch
Emily was wearing a dress, a black leather vest, a Bern helmet with built-in visor, and stylish, open-toed shoes. She's a relatively small woman, which made her command of the vehicle — and the style with which she operated it — all the more impressive.
Faced with pedaling several hundred pounds (she once estimated a load of groceries, kids, and gear at 550 pounds) she has perfected a technique to deliver maximum power to the pedals. With that large a load, just sitting down won't do. When needed, Emily rises out of the saddle, grabs her handlebars like a weightlifter grabs a barbell, and stands over her pedals with a pumping motion that keeps her moving at regular biking speed among city traffic. The bike attached to the rear of the bakfiets is a key part of the motor. "I rotate kids into pumping position to keep them fresh, " Emily tells me.
As we ride up a slight incline, Emily barks orders to her rear, "Pump Mary, pump!"
For someone who looks so comfortable commandeering this large, wheeled contraption, it's hard to believe Emily never really biked at all in her adult life until a few years ago. How she ended up here — both in Portland and as captain of a human-powered mini-van — is a story worth sharing.
Emily grew up in a Catholic family, with what she described as a "very conservative" mother. She got married, started having kids in her early 20s, and settled down in the small central Pennsylvania town of Williamsport. When she was 28, Emily re-kindled a relationship with her father whom she'd last seen when she was only 12. It was his influence that steered her life toward a different course. "I didn't get to know my dad until my late 20s, " she shared, "And he was like totally left-wing and telling me about peak oil and everything."
Around the summer of 2009, with her father's perspectives firmly ingrained, Emily said, "I started looking at my life... I was living in a giant house and had a nine-person Suburban. I remember thinking, there's no reason I can't walk or bike around town."
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Oh, poor baby!!! He2010-03-28 17:48:05 by Naomi10
Says, "Da*n, what do I need pajamas for with all this fur?"
My little brother used to try to catch my kitties (and all my pets, in fact) and make them wear doll clothes. Funny -- he also used to cry because none of my pets "liked him"!!!! He was always like a bull in a china closet.
Now he's an alcoholic bull(y) that abuses women. Bless his heart. I have not had to be around him in nearly 10 years. Thank you, Lord.