PORTLAND - On a warm summer day in Portland, Emily Finch and her kids ride across the Steel Bridge. Plenty of people turn to look. They're hard to miss, loaded into her Bakfiets cargo bike.
Emily's noticed the strangers who stare.
"Usually they're doing this, one, two, three, four, five, six, ha, ha, ha," she said, pretending to count children. Emily has six. They range in age from 11-years-old to 2-years-old. Five of the six ride in the cargo bike.
The oldest, Nathan, rides his own bike, following behind his mom. Emily Finch says she’s done this for the past three years. Why?
“Because I’m a little crazy, but in a good way,” she said with a big smile.
Finch sold her suburban and now the bike is her main form of transportation. A stay-at-home mom with six kids is always busy. Emily said the bike riding is the easiest part. Getting the kids ready?
“That is a tough part. Finding 12 pairs of shoes when you want to go somewhere and six helmets you know and then remembering to pack diapers and other important things,” she said.
Her husband is a surgeon who still drives his car. She'd rather ride.
“It's like my head space, just like if you're driving a car and they're strapped in and sleeping? You know? It’s like ‘me’ time. It’s the same on my bike,” Finch said.
Emily moved into the public spotlight through a chance encounter with Jonathan Maus, publisher of bikeportland.org.
“Our kids actually went to a summer camp together so she'd come to pick up her kids,” he said.
And she’d pick them up riding her cargo bike. He knew Emily represented an important safety milestone for the city.
“Women are, you know, the canary in the coal mine. If you have a lot of women riding bikes in your city, you are doing a good job to make the facilities efficient and comfortable for everybody to ride on,” Maus said.
Maus wrote a story and his readers shared it around the world. He believes Emily is part of an exciting trend.
“It's like a positive feedback loop. And the more people like Emily that get on the road with their kids, the safer it gets, so the more people do it and the safer it gets and more people do it," he said.