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I can’t help it. The thought being unable to escape the confines of child-proofed conversation topics, ranging from diaper rash to the latest car seat accessory, is terrifying. Also alarming is the idea of trading in the helium-heart feeling of pushing off for an epic bike tour for staying at home and making my own spirulina-kale baby food recipe (I would do that) or chasing a stair-crazed toddler around. Do I want a screaming baby to be the sound-track for two years of my life instead of the Alialujuah Choir and Feist in my headphones while pedaling a long deserted stretch of Eastern Oregon?

Lucy, Tony, and Oscar heading out on a 3-week cycle tour

Enter Portlanders Lucy Burningham, national journalist and beer writer, and Tony Pereira, touted handmade bicycle builder. And little Oscar, their 20-month old baby.

Ready to rock

I feel like I’ve witnessed the evolution of their family since the beginning: from encouraging Lucy to buy a stinkin’ pregnancy test, to massaging Oscar in Lucy’s belly, to observing the highly complex, adaptive, and nuanced juggling act of two independent business owners managing a giggling, inquisitive, way-too-cute-for-his-own-good little boy.

Everyone getting ready

Lucy is like me in that she is an adventurer at heart. She dreams of travelling in places where the food has unpronounceable names and indefinable ingredients. She would hitch a ride on a pick-up bed full of chickens or learn Merengue from Claudio at a beach disco.

Lucy mountain biking (tree hugging?)

So I’ve been watching her reconcile that wind-whipped, hostel-hopping part of herself with early motherhood. Closely.

Safety first

In the end, my helmet goes off to Lucy and Tony. Not considering—or really even referencing—the status quo, they choose to parent differently, and with an awful lot of pizzazz in my opinion. For three weeks, they are bike touring with Oscar in tow down Oregon’s Cascade Range, from their front door to Klamath Falls.

Leaving PDX

They will be mostly camping and aim to average 30 miles per day. Caroline Paquette of Little Package fashioned Oscar a mini-sleeping bag. Diapers and Oscar-food are stuffed into panniers. The family’s itinerary is loose and open to interpretation, ready for a long stop if Oscar has grumpy pants or long ride if he’s napping nicely in the trailer.

Oscar with his riding partner, Monkey

Tony’s bike will draw double takes and “Well, I’ll be’s.” As someone who thinks they’ve toured with a lot of weight, I am but a road racer carbon-fairy in his shadow. He is travelling with a handle bar bag, front and rear panniers, stuff on his rack, and a trailer full of baby Oscar (and Oscar’s monkey, which he doesn’t ride without). Lucy is carrying almost as much, sans trailer. Good thing their bikes were made well.

Tony’s bike

So, this post is a thanks to the Pereira/Burningham crew for inspiring me to ponder adventures equipped with a bike trailer and a stuffed monkey. May the wind be at your back. We are cheering you on from Portland.


Oscar waving “Goodbye”



No Responses to “Rad Parenting: Bike Touring with a Toddler Down Oregon’s Cascade Range”

  1. Paul Lieberman

    I’d like to know how they handle the sleepy kid – heavy helmet – head flopping around issue. I take my 3 year old granddaughter in the trailer a lot, but can never get her comfortable when she wants to nap because of the helmet. It looks like Oscar’s helmet sticks out as much in the back as ours does so they must have this problem too.

    PS Having kids will only make you better.

    • Ellee

      Thanks for your comment, Paul! I’ll volley the question to them. I don’t know how much technology they will be using on their tour, though. Hopefully, other readers can provide some good responses. Not my area of expertise ; )

  2. Chelsea Gale

    Lovely post, Ellee. I can’t wait to hear about their adventures on the road!

  3. mike

    It’s crazy when two people, the right people for each other, get together. Great things happen and shows what a true marriage can be like….should be like.

  4. Laura

    Great article Ellee! See, kids are fun! wink wink. No doubt that you and Joe would be equally as adventurous.


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