30 Days of Biking September 2015 recap

September was a quiet #30daysofbiking month, but good practice for the real deal next April. I had more instances of just riding up and down the street in front of my house than in any previous round of 30 Days of Biking, but any little bit of riding counts and it’s pretty fun to creatively squeeze a bike ride at the end of the day.

We had a pretty fun month:

  • We’re dogsitting and took our borrowed doggie to the Labor Day Cargo Bike Ride. She’s used to riding in a bike basket and running alongside a bike so she had fun and we’re having a blast having a dog in the house again after losing Bettie a year ago.
  • We took part in Kidical Massive, all the Kidical Masses leading a family bike on the same day (September 19th) and it was huge: 221 participants at our ride during Ballard Summer Parkways!
  • And I ended the month by kicking off a fun project…

It is a well-known fact that I love carrying bikes with my bike, be it multiple bikes or other cargo bikes. My Xtracycle FreeLoader bags make it easy to bag-and-drag (front wheel in the cargo bike, rear wheel trailing behind), and this even works with a bike in each bag, but it’s time to up my game. If I put a 20-inch wheel or bigger in my right-hand bag, it often pinches my rear derailleur cable, making it so I can’t shift. I have a triple on the front so it’s not that big a deal, but biking is more fun when I can shift freely. And now that the kids are on 24- and 20-inch bikes, that means if I’m carrying both of their bikes, I’m prone to the pinch. And also: that bigger bike with the 24-inch wheel takes up so much room that my bigger kid has to sit side saddle. It works OK, but it’s easier to carry the kids when their weight is more evenly distributed. And also-also: both kids now have quick-release wheels on the front so that opens up some possibilities…

So on the last day of 30 Days of Biking, I bagged-and-dragged for what may possibly be the last time! I stuck my Surly Straggler on the Surly Big Dummy and pedaled down to drop the Big Dummy off to Haulin’ Colin’ for a two-bike fork-mount tow hitch. I can’t wait!!


Now if you’re into online biking challenges and are sad that you have to wait until April for the next one, don’t despair! Today marks the start of the Coffeeneuring Challenge. My friend Marley and I kicked it off at the very first opportunity: we set out right at midnight, rode our bikes to Seattle University, chose a nice spot by the fountain, and made #coffeeoutside. I hope we were the first coffeeneurers in our time zone to get to it. I think my coffeeneuring theme shall be “Coffeeneuring with friends” so please let me know if you’d like to coffeeneur in tandem.


Seattle Kidical MASSIVE recap

Kidical MASSIVE–all the Kidical Masses on the same day!!!–was a HUGE success! I don’t know if there will be a tally or estimate of participants at kidicalmass.org, but there were about 50 different rides around the world!

Checking out the various cities is most easily done at the #kidicalMASSive twitter hashtag.

I think our Seattle ride may have had THE MOST PARTICIPANTS OF THEM ALL with 221! Of course we were also the only ride that coincided with an Open Streets event–Ballard Summer Parkways–so Seattle Kidical Mass can’t take full credit for the amazing turnout.

We even got to kick off the whole Summer Parkways event! Seattle City Councilmember Sally Bagshaw spoke onstage first, and then I had a couple minutes to tell the story of Seattle Kidical Mass (birthed in Ballard six years prior) and laud the changes I’ve witnessed to the streets in the area since then, making it safer for people of all ages and abilities to bike here. Then I wove my way through the throng of kids eager to ride their bikes and off we went!

I didn’t take many photos during the event because there were lots of photographers around, as well as videographers for the Less Car More Go cargo bike documentary.

Here’s a nice photo from Greenwood/Phinney Neighborhood Greenways:

And I got a great one as we waited at a red light:


Hopefully more photos will pop up soon.

We started the day with an hour of bike decorating before Summer Parkways officially launched.


And since the previous weekend saw Seattle’s very-first Summer Parkways in the Central District, I inherited Central Seattle Greenways’ leftover bike decorating supplies, along with this awesome sign:


I was able to add to my pipe cleaner stash (great for helmet antennas!) and CSG advised me to order more pinwheels, which was terrific advice. I will have to add those to my regular repertoire.

We biked 2.3 miles, covering just part of the 7-mile street closure, starting at Salmon Bay Park and ending at Ballard Commons Park and the Sustainable Ballard Festival. Some families continued exploring Summer Streets, but we stayed at the festival so I could set out the bike decorating supplies again while the kids rode skateboard and scooter in the skate bowl (they’ve gone multimodal–we have to bring bikes, skate, and scoot everywhere now), watched the Bubble Man, and spun every prize wheel at the many booths.

Meanwhile, I got to do a quick interview for Less Car More Go, as Kidical MASSIVE will be featured at the end of the documentary. I can’t wait for it to come out!


Upcoming: Kidical Massive Seattle Ride!


Saturday, September 19, 2015
Salmon Bay Park
(2000 NW Sloop Pl, Seattle, WA 98117)
Bike decorating starting at 10:00 a.m.
Ride at 11:00 a.m.
Facebook event

Come be a part of history:

Kidical Massive
Kidical Massive is ALL THE KIDICAL MASSes at once: “The biggest global family bike ride EVER!! Join us as THOUSANDS of families around the country go for a bike ride together. We’ll be showing that Kids are Traffic Too and that cities that plan for family biking are more livable, sustainable, profitable, and FUN! Make a ride in your community happen; register your community and start planning your event.”

Kidical Mass was born in Eugene, Oregon in April 2008 and the birth of Seattle’s Kidical Mass was May 15, 2009–from Ballard Summer Streets. Full circle, y’all!

Ballard Summer Parkways
Ballard Summer Parkways is an Open Streets event with seven car-free miles of music and activities.
Here’s the overall event map:


UPDATED SIMPLER ROUTE (but I’m leaving the original details below because riding 67th is cool): East along 70th from Salmon Bay Park, right on 17th, left on 58th, U-turn at 6th, back west along 58th to Ballard Commons Park. Boom.

We’ll follow the blue line south from Salmon Bay Park, including the two-block jog east along 67th that cuts through Salmon Bay School, which I remember thinking was so cool and sneaky when we rode it as part of Seattle’s second-ever Kidical Mass in June of 2009. Then we’ll follow the NW 58th St Greenway (I used to call this “The Ballard Greenway” but now that there are two Neighborhood Greenways in Ballard, I’ll have to clarify with a street name!) all the way east to 6th (since it’s the sixth anniversary of Kidical Mass in Seattle)…but if the kids aren’t feeling it and don’t want to do the last uphill-ish block, it’s cool if we turn around at 7th (since it’s the seventh anniversary of Kidical Mass proper). Then we’ll head back west along the 58th St Greenway to Ballard Commons Park for the Sustainable Ballard Festival.

We’ll officially end at Ballard Commons Park, but continue to explore Summer Parkways–we’ll only have covered part of the whole event with our ride.
Or if you’re in need of doughnuts, I have a feeling a lot of us will backtrack along 58th to 17th to head south a couple blocks to the brand new Mighty-O Donuts. They accept Bicycle Benefits! And then we’ll most likely migrate a bit farther south to kid-friendly Peddler Brewing which has indoor and outdoor seating so it will be fun in any weather.

But wait, there’s more! At 4:30, head over to the nearby Summer Social for Familybike Seattle (you’ll need to be a member of the Seattle Family Biking Facebook group to see the details of this event).

Arrrrrggg!! SO MUCH FUN I CAN’T WAIT! Oh yeah, it’s also International Talk Like a Pirate Day and some of our fellow Kidical Masses are rolling with a pirate theme. Please feel free to come as pirates if that’s what floats your boat.

Labor Day Cargo Bike Ride 2015 recap

The Labor Day Cargo Bike ride was great! Alex of 20/20 Cycle came and led the ride, which I recorded and included a map of at the bottom for future reference. Alex was an excellent ride leader and provided tons of commentary and history along the way with several “Val would have wanted you to know this”-es and a “This is a Val route!”

Our ride featured:
1 Bilenky cycle truck
2 Larry vs Harry Bullitts
2 Surly Big Dummies
1 Xtracycle EdgeRunner
3 regular adult bikes
2 kid bikes
2 kid passengers
1 dog
* Note: cargo bikes are not required. From the RideYourBike.com event page: Cargo bike not required! Val would note that every bike is a cargo bike. “It is hauling YOU isn’t it?”

I have a bunch of photos below and some additional ones here on Flickr.

I started with a bit of an extra load since the kids and I are dogsitting 20-pound Marley for a few weeks. She’s used to riding on a bike (and running alongside a bike) so our five-mile ride to 20/20 was easy-peasy. Marley got a ton smiles and I got called a superhero for carrying her. Fun!


This was the kids’ first time riding their own bikes on the new Montlake Boulevard walk/bike overpass so that was fun, too. We rode it recently with a group of friends, but it’s different when we’re all on one bike (that was the ride in which Tom of Seattle Bike Blog called me a “well-documented bad ass” and I didn’t even have a dog in my basket!).


We made it about 15 minutes before the kids demanded a snack stop. I’ve mentioned it’s fun to ride separate bikes more and more, right? It’s also very slow going, though.


I got pretty lucky in terms of kid carrying. I carried one kid for the first half of Interlaken Park and just after he decided he wanted to ride again, the other one wanted a lift. Carrying just one kid and one bike is so much easier than both. Then they both wanted to be carried for the last (flattish!) three quarters of a mile so I arrived looking like a stud.




The ride made the obligatory stop at Dick’s Drive-In.


And we spent a perfect afternoon in Ravenna Park.


The kids were game to keep riding their bikes after the picnic (which is good because they’d poured water over their heads for most of our downtime and probably would have been too cold if they weren’t pedaling) and then something very cool that isn’t all that new happened: they both walked their bikes up our last hill (I think it’s 700 feet at 6.5% grade if I’m using the Veloroutes hill grade calculator correctly…though it’s not drawing the line in the right spot). If they’re not tired they can ride up this hill. They generally ask to be carried on other hills, but for some reason, they are fine walking this one. And thank goodness…I often have to rest halfway up this hill if I’m carrying them both these days.


And here’s my Strava recording of the ride and screenshot of the map:


Unexpected rain

Really, it doesn’t always rain in Seattle as you can hopefully tell from the images on this blog. I’ve lived here seven years now, but I’ll probably always identify as a Southern Californian and I seem to forget everything I know about rain if it’s been clear for a couple days. I figure it’s a survival mechanism.

Anyhow, yesterday started out clear with a forecast of 70 degrees and some clouds here and there. Perfect last beach day of the year. I packed up Shade Shack, picnic blanket, swim suits, beach toys, extra clothes, and snacks. The kids opted to ride their own bikes, which is happening more and more these days, but I went light on toys in case I had to tote them both at the same time. I ended up only having to tote the six-year old after he jumped off a Google step too high (as I was saying, “Hey, that’s too high to ride down!” of course) and banged his shin on his pedal. I love when they ride their own bikes, but it’s also nice getting to carry one of them because we move more quickly and I only have one trailing kid to worry about staying out of trouble.


The beach was a little cool and cloudy. I didn’t pop up my Shade Shack and soon needed to put on my sweatshirt…and that’s when I realized I’d forgotten the kids’ sweatshirts at home. But they were fine playing in swimsuits, as were all the other kids at the beach. The clouds got thicker and thicker, we heard thunder rumble in the distance, and the multitude of boats out in the sound quickly made their way back into the marina.


Fortunately, I thought to check my favoritest app: Dark Sky. I don’t have a ton of apps on my old iPhone and rarely shell out for non-free ones, but Dark Sky is worth the $3.99. I saw we’d have light rain in three minutes, lasting for 25 minutes, so we walked over to a sheltered area for snack. Dark Sky doesn’t always get it right and the light rain was more of a heavy rain and the wind blew it into our overhang so we darted for the ladies restroom and the kids changed back into regular clothing as we waited out the accurate 25 minutes.

My six-year old was content to keep riding on my bike so I wrapped him in our picnic blanket, rubber band holding it closed in front of him. He stuck his hands into his spare socks for make-shift mittens.


I sacrificed my sweatshirt to my eight-year old a few blocks from the beach when he said he was cold, but I was OK in just tank top, shorts, and flip flops. Having a heavy bike really helps at times like this, although I would have been cold if it was all downhill.


We stuck to our original plan of dinner at Red Mill Totem House, getting hit by a bit of drizzle on the way there. I had expected it to be empty, but it was full of people taking refuge from the storm…including a family of four on bikes–one parent with a rear kid seat and the other with a trailer bike–figuring out how to get home to Capitol Hill. I heard them wondering about getting the trailer bike on the bus. I told them they’d probably be able to carry it on, though it was at the discretion of the bus driver and volunteered to carry it home to Wallingford on my cargo bike if they found themselves in a bind. I assured them I love carrying things for people, but they ended up getting on with no problem.

I was very impressed by them. It’s one thing for everyday riders to get stuck out in the rain five miles from home, but this family had “done this ride before” so it wasn’t a regular thing. Not to mention what a hassle it can be to put both bikes and little kids on a bus! I hope they had fun getting home. I was quick to declare, “What an adventure!” to my kids as the drizzle hit and fortunately they agreed. Dolphie the dolphin rode on the rear rack of my eight-year old’s rack and his chauffeur declared, “Dolphie hopes it starts raining!” but fortunately we didn’t encounter any drizzle for the 45-minute ride home. Lots and lots of puddles, though. Thank goodness for fenders!


30 Days of Biking, September 2015

Hooray, 30 Days of Biking is back with a September round again! Not as big as April, 2016 will be (SO SAVE THE DATE), but still lots of people adding #30daysofbiking comments and photos to Twitter and Instagram.

My first three days were off to a slow start, but that’s part of the fun of 30 Days of Biking–any bike ride counts, even an 11:59pm spin through the kitchen in pajamas.

September 1
Dentist and orthodontist day in Issaquah, 20 miles from home. We usually bike and bus there, but today we walked and bused. We did this once before, two months ago, because the kids were in the process of moving up a size in bikes and both wanted to use the middle bike (of course!). So it seemed easiest to just leave the bikes at home. This was kind of the opposite: in the past two months the kids have both embraced the bigger bikes, but we’ve also been riding a lot more on our three separate bikes so they both wanted to ride their own bikes to the bus–or they both wanted to sit on my old mamabike to the bus. I couldn’t get one of each. And I didn’t want to ride three separate bikes to the bus and use up all three bus slots…or risk being met with a bus with at least one bike already on the rack.

So we walked 0.8 miles to the first bus, two blocks between buses, and then 0.8 miles to the dentist. Then we walked 0.8 miles to lunch…where we were met by friends who biked over with their toddler in a trailer (yay!). And to get home: one block to the first bus, one block to the second bus, and two blocks home.


We don’t do a lot of walking so it feels awfully slow, but it’s wonderful not needing to worry about having two (or three) bus slots open on the buses. Not needing to lift the bikes up on the rack is nice, too. As is boarding the bus all together, though it’s also fun for the kids to get to board ahead of me while I wrangle the bikes up on the rack. Oh, and we can take the escalator out of the downtown transit tunnel rather than wait for the elevator. Maybe this will help ensure these kids won’t go through a phase of being terrified of escalators like me.

So my biking happened at 11pm in my pajamas, up and down the street in front of our house. I elected to take out my minibike, Gran Furismo (he’s covered in blue fur).


I don’t think I’ve mentioned Gran Furismo or his brethren on the blog before. They moved into our basement last winter, when a friend in the neighborhood was giving away his freak bike fleet. Here’s a better shot of Gran Furismo:


September 2
Yesterday we took it easy near home with a small excursion to the schoolyard two blocks away. I rode my skateboard and the kids rode their bikes. We did some wheel swapping at school and I took a few laps on my eight-year old’s Islabikes Beinn 24. It was pretty fun, even with the saddle all the way down (and he really could stand to raise it a bit…we’ve kept it low while he was getting used to the new, bigger bike, but he’s ready to ride with it at the proper height now). It’s so fun I’m tempted to start a crew of moms riding their kids’ bikes. Still working on the catchy name (ideas welcome).


September 3
Today we returned to the dentist (a couple fillings for one and a couple sealants for the other this time–boo!), again just by foot and bus. So today’s bike ride was a spin up and down the street on my six-year old’s Islabikes Beinn 20 Large, just to keep mixing things up.


I’m a little curious if anyone has used a different bike for each of the 30 days of the month for any round of 30 Days of Biking. I don’t think I’ll attempt to do that, but maybe I’ll try to ride every bike in the household over the course of the month. That could be a fun theme for this round. Not that a theme is required, but I like to have one…though generally my theme reveals itself near the end of the month, so this could all change.

Tomorrow and the rest of the days of the month will most definitely feature longer bike rides. Three days of barely riding have left me feeling lethargic.

Happy 30DoB, all!

Upcoming: Labor Day Cargo Bike Ride

a.k.a. Posse’s on Broadway Cargo Bike Picnic Ride
a.k.a. Val Kleitz Memorial Ride

Monday, September 7, 2015
Facebook event page

2013 Labor Day Cargo Bike Ride

Annual recurring info from Aaron’s Bicycle Repair:

Cargo bike not required! Val would note that every bike is a cargo bike. “It is hauling YOU isn’t it?”


Start at 20/20 Cycle, 2020 East Union on Capitol Hill.

End at Cowen/Ravenna Park. We are going down the trail to the big shelter in the middle of the park for a BBQ picnic. It usually takes an hour to an hour and a half to get to the park. Cargo rides go slow! Plan on being at the park from 2-ish to 5 or 6 pm.

Cargo hauling is fun especially if you or your kids ARE cargo! Bring kids!

Here’s our approximate route. Big hill at the start, but not too bad after that until the nice gravel climb through Ravenna Park at the end. And in the middle:

Here are some pictures and recap from 2013 and 2011. Sadly we didn’t have a big enough crew to safely ride on Broadway last year, but you’ve got a whole week to plan so save the date, come on out, and let’s do it right again this time!

And bring a friend: 20/20 has side-by-side toilets in the restroom (I think it used to be a hair salon with two stalls and the divider was removed when it became a bike shop?)–my kids love it!