Mom Of Six Proves You Can Be A Car-Free Family

This probably isn’t the first post you’ve read about the harmful impact of personal vehicles on the environment. It’s also probably not the first time it’s been suggested that you abandon your car for the cheaper, cleaner alternatives of biking, walking, or public transportation.

Just like all those other times, you’re probably already thinking about all the reasons why it just isn’t possible for your life. Maybe you work 50 miles from home. Maybe public transportation in your town sucks (or doesn’t exist). Maybe you’ve got four kids and just assume that biking is out of the question.

Those are all formidable challenges, but we recently stumbled across a mother in Portland, Ore., that proves the last one doesn’t have to prevent you from living car-free.

Emily Finch, 34, has a lot on her plate. She has six kids between the ages of 2 and 11, and doesn’t own a car. Instead, she and her bubbling brood pedal all around the city together in a massive bakfiets cargo bike.

As BikePortland reports, passenger placement is key to efficient locomotion: four kids in the front, another one in a child seat behind Finch, and another one on a bike attached to hers via the rear rack. Nathan, her 11 year-old son, rides a separate bike by himself. The bike attached to the rear of the bakfiets is a key part of the motor. “I rotate kids into pumping position to keep them fresh,” Emily told BikePortland.


It’s amazing that the petite Finch is able to power the bike, which often weighs several hundred pounds when full, but it’s even more incredible that, up until a few years ago, she never rode a bike at all.

Around the summer of 2009…Emily said, “I started looking at my life… I was living in a giant house and had a nine-person Suburban. I remember thinking, there’s no reason I can’t walk or bike around town. “I was really depressed before,” she shared, “But I was so happy after I got the bike. I just loved it.”

So, what was your excuse again?

Related Reading:

6 Tips To Free Yourself From Your Car

Generation Y-ers Are Driving Less And Sharing More

European Cities Create Anti-Driving Policies

Images copyright Jonathan Maus/Bike Portland


Laurence L.
laurence h4 years ago


Maddie Kehoe
amanda Kehoe5 years ago

Wow! That's amazing! Good for her.

Will Rogers
Will Rogers5 years ago

In Europe she would be applauded, but in the land of the lazy and the morbidly obese, she is reviled. Maybe if they had guns, was fat as a pig and lived in a mansion with one fat kid that saved energy because the only place it walked to was the fridge! Or she chose to live  over ten miles away from their schools, or the stores or the doctors! The fact that she chooses to live sociably, close to amenities and other people... That's the advantage with cities, while one ten mile pipeline of gas, electricity and water has to be pumped 10 miles for one country dweller. The same pipeline in a city can supply 100,000 people! Just because you live in the middle of the countryside, don't think that it makes you automatically green. A 5 litre pickup truck has an unnecessarily  large engine (a 2 litre engine would suffice as would a 1.5 litre engine) Driving to your nearest town in one of those gas guzzlers pollutes way more than a large bicycle. 
People on here cite their health as one of the reasons why they don't bike, well for half of you, if you did bike you wouldn't be so unhealthy! Most ailments can be cured by gentle exercise, of which biking is one of the gentlest, gentler than swimming! Instead some fools seem to think that bikes are road vehicles like cars and trucks, and deserve to ride in the middle of busy highways by the virtue of having wheels!! Teach kids to ride on the sidewalk, as well as adults when it's busy. And let's use this family as an example o

Lika S.
Lika P5 years ago

Good for her.

My excuse is my back won't allow me to have a physically demanding job AND to sit in a bicycle to peddle, and both knees are worn out, and peddling hurts me way too much.

Now, if we could have a free pool to visit year around, maybe I could actually get fit.

Sheri P.
Sheri P5 years ago


Valentina R.
Valentina R5 years ago

Alternative choice and woman!

Rin S.
Rin S5 years ago

Wow, amazing to hear! Thankyou

Todd F.
Todd F.5 years ago

As made clear in the original article, Emily does not bike to "be green," but because it makes her happy. Like 99.9% of historical, normative humanity, she chooses to live in a place within muscle range of all she needs. It's an appalling spectacle to see all the defensiveness and attacks from people who choose to live in places that entail motor dependence that she's not green enough, that they could never live like her "because of where they live," etc. as if that wasn't a choice. Concerning the environmental toll of being alive, be sure to check this super green solution coming to a strip mall sales lot near you:

Leigh E.
Leigh EVERETT5 years ago

This is very impressive, I must admit, and a GREAT way to keep in shape unlike a lot of Americans who take their car to the corner store (probably the same ones who are bitching about the environment).

I must add though, as indicated in the article that I personally don't live in a city (where all of this is possible) and in the countryside (around 32 miles from the nearest town and 3 miles from the nearest school) a car is a necessity to get from A to B. Of course we could cycle to school (it's only 3 miles after all) but that would mean taking care of three children on their bikes, one of whom is 4 years old, on a busy road and that 4 times per day being that they come home for lunch. Too risky for me. Sorry, I'm all for the environment but I'll make my efforts elsewhere.

Genevieve Esson
Genevieve Esson5 years ago

What a smart woman. She is a wonderful Mom and setting a great example for her children! Bravo!