January Cyclist of the Month: Julian Davies
Occupation: Pediatrician, University of Washington Medical Center
Hometown: North Carolina
Wheels: MADSEN cargo bike, Dutch Azor Transport, Specialized Globe Live 02
Ditch your trailer. That is Julian's advice to parents who want to ride with young children. You may wonder what type of Kool-Aid Julian is drinking, but you have to listen to a guy who can transport four kids on a bicycle.
Julian loves biking with his three-year old daughter, Drew, upfront -- instead of in a tow-behind trailer. "We have some of our best conversations up there, and she gets to see more than my backside. It is much more enjoyable than listening to her cry or complain in a trailer."
Solutions besides trailers do work. Like the Bike-Tutor from the U.K. that mounts on the top tube. Or the Bobike Mini, which mounts on the stem, for children aged 9 months to 3 years. Julian recommends both products as superior child carriers, but is also partial to cargo bikes like xtracycles, Dutch bakfietsen ("box bikes"), and MADSEN "precious cargo bikes."
Julian has also installed bench and bucket car seats, complete with five-point buckle system, onto his MADSEN cargo bike. I ask how heavy the bike is. "Heavy? Are you calling my bike fat? I prefer strong-boned. She's as heavy as she needs to be."
NOTE: Julian points out that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that infants not ride on adult bikes until one year of age, when they can safely wear a helmet and have adequate neck and trunk control.
That said, how long did he wait? 7 weeks, with an infant car seat in a trailer, and then his custom MADSEN infant seat with head/neck support.
Julian started commuting on a RANS Rocket recumbent during med school at the University of California, San Francisco; during his residency at Seattle Children's Hospital, fatigue turned Julian into a fair weather commuter. Today, he commutes year-round on a Dutch bike or Globe city bike daily between Ballard and the U. District. The UW Medical Center provides an indoor bike cage and showers - although Julian prefers the endless supply of baby wipes at his pediatric clinic.
The family appreciates the convenience of step-through frames, available on many cargo and commuter bikes. This feature means Julian, 5'9", can share the MADSEN and Globe with his wife Kim, 5'2."
Julian is also a fan of "ridiculous bike lights." His favorites are Rock The Bike's Down Low Glow and MonkeyLectric's spinning Monkey lights - a 32 full color LED-ensemble for your spokes. Stylish and safe, given how many car-bike collisions are broadsides.
Diagnosed with Obsessive-Cycling Disorder, Julian started a blog called www.TotCycle.com where families with similar conditions can share information. You can find a wealth of information on TotCycle.com, including the next monthly Kidical Mass - a fun, safe, easy-going family bike ride for kids of all ages.
Julian joined Cascade Bicycle Club to support its education work in schools, and its advocacy work. Julian worked with Sustainable Ballard and Friends of the Burke-Gilman on a rally for the Missing Link. He has also attended a Ride Leader Certification session and hopes to lead tot rides for the Club in the future.
What's the largest haul Julian has accomplished on any of his cargo bikes? He humbly claims that carrying a 6-foot Christmas tree from St. Alphonsus Parish was just an obligatory bike blog photo opportunity.
"The MADSEN is an epic grocery getter," he says. "My largest run to-date is $211 worth of Trader Joe's." (I don't ask if that weighs more or less than four kids in the bucket seat of a MADSEN.)
If you are interested in family cargo biking, Julian recommends Aaron's Bicycle Repair in West Seattle and Dutch Bike Seattle in Ballard, as well as Clever Cycles in Portland.
Julian looks forward to coordinating a Fiets of Family Cycling (fiets is Dutch for bike) next year, based on the French constructeur races. "We'll hold silly cycling contests -- like the dropped toy, the diaper change, synchronized signals, and fancy dismounts - like pull right over sibling fights.
The next Cascade Ride Leader Training is scheduled for March.
Scott Marlow was marketing director for Cascade Bicycle Club from 2001-2005. The Club record-holder for the shortest commute (under six seconds), Marlow works from his home office in West Seattle.
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