Having a second child changes family life, should Glynis experience it. Seven months ago her son Loewie, three years and a half had a little brother Zjef. ‘As a young family, you do everything by car. That’s a shame, we thought. So we bought an Urban Arrow, a cargo bike for the whole family. It feels great to be able to ride a bike again.’
Cycling is important. For so many different reasons: the environment, your condition, your own health. ‘It’s a core value that we want to pass on to our children,’ explains Glynis. ‘But then you have to set a good example first, of course.’
And that’s not easy with two young kids. Then you quickly take the car for everything, you often can’t do otherwise. The children safely click in the back, the buggy in the suitcase, and drive: to the pool, the shop, the crèche, or the school.
“I was fine, but it wasn’t right,” says Glynis. ‘Then it’s much more fun on our cargo bike, with both kids in front. Nice in the outdoors, fresh in nature. The Urban Arrow has made our lives a lot more pleasant.’
The first steps in online teaching
Glynis is a computer science teacher at the Atheneum in Zaventem. Every day she commutes by car for 45 minutes from Nijlen to Zaventem, and back again. “At least, if I can leave early enough and there’s no accident on the track.”
Corona changed the situation. ‘I’ve been working from home since the end of October. And I teach distance education through Smartschool, online.’ That’s a bit of a adjustment, for the students and especially for herself. ‘During the first wave of corona, I was at home on maternity leave. So for me, it’s now my first online teaching.’
That works out nicely, although the dynamics are completely different. ‘Everyone signs up at the beginning of the lesson, you can see that. But what they do after that, you don’t have a view on that. Some of them are gone after a few minutes. You won’t know until they don’t answer your question. Or to their result of the quiz with which I often finish my lessons.’
The technology also sometimes fails. For example, suddenly the microphone is no longer working. Or that the internet connection is lost. ‘You do learn to live with these kinds of technical flaws. But they do make teaching completely different.’
Time for the kids, time for the bike
The advantage of homework: more time for the children. And also more time on the bike, now that the family has a new electric cargo bike since June. ‘Such an Urban Arrow is entirely tailor-made for young families. In the bin, Loewie sits on a comfortable bench. And in front of him, Zjef is in his Maxi-Cosi. Both securely fastened together, fraternal together.”
‘We used to have to go everywhere by car anyway. There was no way we could take the kids. That’s completely different now. We really use our cargo bike as much as possible. To go to the store, to the pool with Zjef, but also every week to my fitness and Zumba evening. For shorter distances, such a bike is ideal.’
Glynis chose an Urban Arrow Family, sleek in white. ‘Stylish and striking in traffic,’ she says. ‘Safety is my number one priority.’ The women’s bike is tuned to her body and riding style, but also her friend Olivier regularly rides around with it. ‘Then he puts the saddle and handlebar a bit higher: that’s how the bike fits for him too.’
‘Olivier chose the best composition for my bike: he knows a lot of it himself. Remotely drive of course: I hate dirty greasy chains. Which you look at and there’s already fat on your pants. And a belt like that never stretches. So I don’t have to worry about it falling off on the road, or that I have to slide the wheel backward every time.’
Glynis himself chose some accessories. ‘A Maxi-Cosi adaptor of course so I can safely snap the Maxi-Cosi. A mat in the front so our stuff doesn’t fly around. Everything stays neatly in place and does not clatter against the metal base plate. And a rain cap, so that Loewe and Zjef are always dry, and well out of the wind.
The best engine with the safest brakes
The bike also has strong Shimano Zee disc brakes. “The very best,” Olivier told me. Important, because I don’t like to tinker with my bike. The less maintenance for me, the better.” ‘That’s right’, adds Olivier: ‘Due to the heavyweight of the bike and the high speed, brake pads will wear out much faster. That’s why we chose sustainable disc brakes.’
The best brakes also include the heaviest engine: the super-powerful Bosch Cargo line. ‘When there’s wind on the rains, you immediately feel a lot of resistance. That’s why it’s a handy luxury to have a powerful engine that lets you crash into the wind without any problem. Although we don’t use heavy positions in ordinary weather, they are more than welcome when there is a lot of wind.’
Test drive: a new experience
Such a bike looks very nice, but did it fit? ‘Cycling Jurgen invited me to take a test drive as long as I wanted.’ Glynis opted for a test drive of a thick ten minutes, to test all parts properly. ‘And the bike especially to feel. I immediately felt that it was comfortable.’
‘A surprisingly pleasant experience, by the way, for the first time electric driving. It’s a special feeling when you’re not used to something like that. I was wondering in advance: do I want to, do I really need an electric motor?’ The test drive gave her an immediate answer. ‘That extra convenience feels very pleasant. A little luxury is sometimes allowed.’
To test as realistically as possible, Loewie was allowed to join us in the front bin. “He loved it,” Glynis gloats. ‘And he still thinks so. What’s more: Loewie can be really disappointed if we have to go somewhere by car, because we have to go a little further. Then he pulls a face and says, “I want to ride my bike!”
Education on two wheels
Loewie also recently got his own bike. ‘His best gift ever: if he can ride a bike, a big smile will immediately appear on his face.’
‘And that’s where we want to go,’ says Glynis. ‘In our upbringing, we don’t just want to pass on the fact that cycling is important for your health and for the environment. A bike also means your own freedom. That our children will soon realize that mum and dad are not going to take care of all transport all the time. But later on, they can also take the bike themselves to go somewhere.’
Personal composition of the bike
Glynis opted for an Urban Arrow Family women’s bike in June 2020. In white, with Bosch Cargo Line engine and belt drive.
- Brand: Urban Arrow
- Type: Family
- Color: white
- Motor: Bosch Cargo Line
- Drive: Carbon Gates CDX Belt
- Acviation: Enviolo N380
- Remmes: Shimano Sea disc brakes
- Light: powerful LED lighting
- Accessoires: Maxi-Cosi adapter, Regenhuif PLUS, Floor Mat
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