Ever since they have had the neck muscles to hold their cranium above their shoulders our kids have been on human-powered wheels: on seats on the back of our bikes, in bike trailers, on scooters, pedal bikes, roller blades, skateboards, and tricycles.
One big reason why we never became a car family is that we are connected by an ever-expanding cycle network in Vancouver. Most of these are quiet and traffic-calmed residential streets and alleyways, but there’s also a growing number of completely separated bike routes.
It’s sometimes easy to forget how important these safe routes are for kids, until you start biking across the city to daycare, school or, in this case, on a shopping trip 5 kilometres away.
I always carry a camera with me but I didn’t realise at the time of this particular trip that my three-year-old was going to ride his tricycle the whole 5km to Costco on his own steam. We were over a kilometre into the trip when I had the idea to document it, and then I just kept shooting.
No physical help was provided to the rider, but in the interests of entertainment I’ve made a few embellishments to the footage.
Along the way
The trip started from our home at Penticton Street and 8th Avenue in East Vancouver, but I pick it up just after the Renfrew skytrain station on the Central Valley Greenway.
Plump little legs pumping furiously, the determined 3-year-old navigates his red, Louis Garneau tricycle under the skytrain line between Renfrew and Rupert skytrain stations, under the Trans Canada Highway (aka Highway 1), crosses the municipal boundary from Vancouver to Burnaby (where he gets his passport stamped). The route then detours over a bridge over Still Creek – a creek that has recently seen the return of spawning chum salmon – and then on to Costco.
This video was shot 3 years after the greenway officially opened on June 27, 2009. The footage sat on my computer for a long time, but with my son now almost a teen, I felt the urge to celebrate his impressive childhood feat.
Needless to say this wouldn’t have been possible without the existence of the Central Valley Greenway, a route which our family still uses all the time. The 24-kilometre pedestrian and cyclist route runs from Science World in Vancouver out to New Westminster. Too far for this tricyclist, but worthy of a possible sequel featuring the grown-up kid on two wheels.
The soundtrack is Lunar Phases by Monkey Warhol.