09 April 2009
From Islington to Japan, three's company
Two-kid bikes are a safe and fun way of getting families around, as the young mum we know in the picture knows. She's got a Dutch bike which weighs a ton (for obvious reasons they have to have stands on them like oil platforms) and isn't the most convenient thing for train station stairs, but she obviously enjoys it, and so do the kids.
See? It is, astoundingly, possible to have a young family in North London and lead a normal life without a car.
Now it may be possible in Japan too. Or at least legal. Because Japan may be about to legalise three-person bikes. Like cycling on the pavement, it's illegal to carry two children on a bike there, but lots of people do it.
Now, report UPI and Japan Today, the law may be overturned, with face-saving reasons such as 'economic situation', 'falling birthrate', 'er, everybody does it anyway' being mentioned.
Japan is a fabulous country, and ludicrously underrated for cycle touring. Wonderful people, great scenery, hot springs and beer vending machines. I spent a few weeks exploring it on a Brompton - there's an amusing article about it all in on bikereader.com - and was only one beer away from falling in love with Chiyomi or Naoko or Harumi and getting married and living there.
In which case I'd be defiantly riding a bike with two kids on a Tokyo pavement right now. Ah, life's dice.