Sure, they have a minivan.
But it’s not the main mode of travel for Brittney and Tyler Rourke when they hit the town.
Instead, the Everett parents pile their two young sons, Reece, 3, and Bryan, almost 2, into the bike.
What’s up with that?
The kids get front-row seating in a wooden box. Seatbelts latched, legs outstretched, the boys kick back for the ride while Dad towers above and powers the pedals on the red bike.
“We ask ourselves before we go out to do something, ‘Is it bikable?’” Brittney said.
“If time allows and if it’s in a 5-mile radius, we try to bike it. We ride downtown for dinner, Snohomish to the bakery and Mukilteo to catch the ferry to Whidbey Island.”
Tyler modified the 52-pound Bullitt frame made by Danish bike company Larry vs Harry.
“It is marketed as a cargo bike,” he said. “Families buy them for kids as their cargo. Businesses have them for career work.”
His cargo isn’t limited to kids. A trailer in back carts the stuff, which ranges from groceries to crab pots and even a canoe. Sometimes all three at once.
It helps that Tyler is a strapping 6-foot-10 with mighty leg power to match.
“We get a lot of smiles and waves and thumbs up,” Brittney said.
Tyler, 36, a mechanical engineer, began the search for the right cargo bike when Brittney, 39, was pregnant with their first child.
Most expectant parents research what car will best fit their new addition, she said. “He would send me all these models of bikes trying to figure out what bike we needed.”
At first, Reece had the front of the bike to himself. “It was basically a car seat mounted where the box is now,” she said.
After Bryan’s arrival, Tyler made the wooden compartment with padded bench seat.
The family often bikes to the supermarket, library and waterfront.
The Everett farmers market is one of Reece’s favorite places. “We like to get different stuff,” he said. “And we always get a free cookie.”
The bike ride there is a breeze. Just ask Reece.
“It takes about 2 minutes,” he said. “By car, it takes like 35 minutes.”
The cargo bike is configured for Tyler’s legs. Brittney has her own ride, a Surly Long Haul Trucker touring bike.
“He gets in and we get the boys in and then I get on my bike and we go. It works out pretty well for me because he’s hauling all the weight,” she said.
Sometimes they head out on the bikes for several days. When she was seven months pregnant with Bryan, they did a bike camping trip with Reece to Port Townsend. That was just the first of many biking ventures.
It’s not for everybody. “You have to be committed,” Brittney said. “You can’t be afraid or someone who is timid.”
Still, safety comes first.
“We try to stay on quieter streets. We’ll go down Hoyt instead of Colby or Rucker. We stay to the right and cars can pass when they need to,” Tyler said.
He likes the boys being under his watch in front rather than towed behind. “That’s the last thing that goes through the intersection,” he said.
Tyler uses the cargo bike without the kids for errands. “I get front row parking at Ace Hardware,” he said. “I wheel it in the front and hop off.”
He has carted everything from bags of concrete to Pork Chop the cat, a stray who showed up one day.
He took the cat by bike to the shelter to find its owners. “He was not happy about riding,” Tyler said.
The family ended up adopting Pork Chop, but excused the cat from further rides.
Tyler commutes 16 miles round-trip to work at Electroimpact in Mukilteo by bike. Not the family bike, a one-seater. They’ve amassed a collection of bikes.
He isn’t a fair-weather rider.
“Looking at rain through a windshield is way more depressing than just getting a little wet,” he said. “Once the first few raindrops hit your face it’s a nice reminder. You’re feeling something.”
Brittney said he applies the same outlook for family rides.
“Tyler is notorious for thinking the weather is not really bad. It can be cloudy and drizzly and he’ll say, ‘Pretty nice day.’”
Andrea Brown: 425-339-3443; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @reporterbrown.