They called it the Bike Year.
On March 27, 2017, Stephanie and Bill Brodegard got rid of the family car. The Minneapolis couple decided that for a year, they would get themselves and their three young kids around mainly by bikes, documenting their experiences on a blog.
Bill pedaled about 20 miles a day round trip to his job in Bloomington, where he’s director of food safety at Schwan’s. Stay-at-home mom Stephanie used a Yuba multi-seat, electric-assist cargo bike to haul Grant, 7, Darcy, 4, and Lewis, 1, to school, church, the YMCA and grocery store.
During the winter, they used studded tires and built a tent-like structure on the bike to shield the kids from the elements and sleeping bags to keep them warm.
“Everyone survived. We didn’t crash,” said Stephanie, who estimated that she and the kids pedaled nearly 3,000 miles.
“We had a ton of fun,” she said. “We did it for the adventure, and I definitely would say it was an adventure.”
But their experiment is at an end: They bought a minivan, albeit a 14-year-old one with 180,000 miles on it.
Stephanie said Grant’s face lit up when he saw it. “He said, ‘Wow, this is a nice car. It’s so cool. It’s so fast. And it’s warm.’ ”
The family still intends to get around a lot by bike. But right now, they’re doing something they haven’t been able to do for a year. They’re taking a road trip to Florida for spring break. □