Upcoming: Kidical Mass FILMED–MiiR Flagship to Seattle Center

km-filmed

Saturday, August 22, 2015
11:00 a.m.
MiiR Flagship Store
Facebook RSVP

Cascade Bicycle Club is working with students from the Art Institute to create a video highlighting the Free Groups Ride programs and they’ve selected Kidical Mass to be one of the featured rides!

Meet outside the MiiR flagship store Coffee Shop/Bike Shop/Beer Garden! (3400 Stone Way North, Seattle, WA, in the Brooks building). MiiR has coffee, Mighty-O Donuts, other snacks, and lots of room inside. Read more about MiiR’s projects if you aren’t already familiar with them.

Our route is 4.3 miles and will start along the Burke-Gilman Trail, cross the Fremont Bridge, continue along the Ship Canal Trail, traverse the Westlake parking lots, and pit stop at MOHAI Cafe in case anyone needs a potty break and for some fun photo- and film ops. Then we’ll take one block of the Dexter separated bike lane to the gorgeous green Mercer bike lanes and along to the Seattle Center! We’ll park at the new Artists at Play playground.

There are many food options inside the Seattle Center Armory right next to the playground, and if it’s a hot day, think about bringing swim suits to get doused by the International Fountain or wade in the Dupen Fountain of Creation by the Vera Project (one of our favorites!).

The official ride is just one-way, but we’ll coordinate timing on heading back in small groups for those who want to ride in a pack at specific times.

Family bike camping 2015

It’s that time of year again–annual group family bike camping trip! Saturday, August 15-Sunday, August 16, 2015 (or longer).
We had a test run of sorts thanks to the Swift Campout over solstice. See my 187 photos on Flickr.

If you’re on Facebook, RSVP here and use the comments of the event page to do any coordinating (borrowing gear, riding to the start together, etc).

Routes:

Ride with us to the ferry from Fremont at 9:00 a.m.
– or –
Meet at the ferry at 10:15 a.m.

Group ride to ferry details:
9:00 a.m. Saturday, August 15th in front of Fremont KeyBank (601 N 34th St, the NW side of Fremont Bridge).
PCC Natural Market is a block away if you need to time your arrival early for groceries and/or potties.
*** We will leave very soon after 9:00 a.m. If you are running late, please text and catch us en route! ***

Saturday, August 15, 2015 – 10:35 a.m. ferry (ARRIVE AT LEAST 20 MINUTES EARLY)

Ferry information:
From the Bicycles on Washington State Ferries webpage:
“Bicyclists should arrive 20 minutes prior to departure time to be loaded at the beginning of loading process. If a bicyclist arrives after vehicle loading has begun, they will be loaded at the end of the load.”

So arrive by 10:15am. BUT if you’re late, they’ll still put you on–just after the cars load. I love how versatile they are with bikes! But it’s so super fun to roll onto the empty ferry so be early if you’re meeting us there. Plus we can socialize in the bike lane before loading.

If you have an Orca card, there is an automated tollbooth at the far right–no waiting behind the cars! Swipe your card and the attendent will collect additional fare for any kids six and over. Otherwise you need to wait in the rightmost car lane to pay.

To beat the heat, I recommend we eat snacks (BYO or purchase in the cafeteria) aboard the ferry and head straight for the campground. However, we’ll see what the collective mood dictates. After we ride off the ferry, we’ll ride a very short distance and regroup outside the Bike Barn to give the car traffic a chance to clear out, folks who boarded after the cars to meet up with us, and figure out if anyone needs to hit the grocery store in Winslow.

Our campground is in Fay Bainbridge Park which features a great playground (!!) and BEACH. There are outlets in the bathrooms and picnic shelter (which might be reserved) for those who need to charge e-bike batteries or other things.

Here’s a recap of last year’s summer family bike camping trip. And this year’s FLATTER route I found on my scouting trip.

Note: We’ve been doing group summer camping trips to Fay for several years now and haven’t had many kids riding their own bikes. This isn’t to say it’s not allowed, of course, but both the quiet scenic route of years past with its lack of shoulders or bike lanes and the highway we’ll take this year with its very wide shoulders but spots of 50mph traffic are not what I would consider exceptionally kid friendly. Bainbridge Island is very bikey with drivers used to seeing bikes on the roads, but it’s definitely busier (even the quiet, scenic route) and hillier (even the flat highway route) than my Seattle kids are used to.

The return trip
So…uh…I vehemently promised that this year’s bike camping wouldn’t coincide with Hempfest, but I lied. It’s my birthday so we’re going on August 15th! The Elliott Bay Trail through Myrtle Edwards Park is closed to through traffic August 14, 15, and 16. However, unlike last year, we’ve now got the protected bike lanes on 2nd Avenue so my route back will utilize that. After the solstice trip, many of us pit stopped at Peddler Brewing‘s beer garden on the way home and it was really fun. But since Hempfest will make it impossible to ride along the waterfront, I’ve routed us to Fremont Brewing for a similar experience.

My family will probably camp for two nights (or maybe even three!), though we’ll still have to deal with Hempfest cleanup and signs that require us to walk the bike if we want to use the waterfront route home. We generally have early and late Sunday departures, but stay longer, too, if you can!

Other stuff

  • There’s currently a burn ban so no camp fires, but s’mores by camp stove might work, right?!
  • Wanna join us by car? That’s OK, too! You can even reserve your car site ahead of time: “Sites can be reserved ten days or more in advance of arrival date by calling 206-842-2306 x118 Monday-Friday between 8:30am-5:00pm.” – Bainbridge Island Metro Park & Recreation District
  • We took a bonus camping trip last month (oh, notice my new tandem? I’ll blog about that soon!) and discovered campsite food delivery! We ordered a pizza from Westside Pizza and Tracey got Thai food. So that’s a nice option, burn ban or no :)
  • Did I miss anything? Comment below!

Upcoming: Kidical Mass to Bike Around the Bomb

Sunday, August 9, 2015
Noon
South Lake Union Park, outside MOHAI Cafe
(860 Terry Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109)
Facebook event page

Bike Around the Bomb looks awesome and kid-friendly: “Friends and families of all ages and sizes are welcome!”

Meet outside the MOHAI Cafe in Lake Union Park (snacks and potties, yo) at noon.
Need to play at the South Lake Union beach (our fave) or spray park first? Come early!
We will get pedaling at 12:15 so we’ll have time to play or lunch Seattle Center before the main event.

We’ll ride along a block of Dexter’s separated bike lane and the beautiful new green Mercer separated bike lanes (and then probably a block of sidewalk alongside the not-yet-opened portion of the green protected bike lanes on 5th) for a one-mile, mostly-slightly-uphill jaunt to the Seattle Center.

We’ll end at the new Artists at Play playground, and many food options are inside the Armory.
Hopefully we’ll be able to get all the kids to migrate to the International Fountain at 2pm for Bike Around the Bomb.

Here are the details from the Bike Around the Bomb Facebook event page:

What would it look like if a nuclear bomb was dropped on Seattle?

Join the international movement for the elimination for nuclear weapons as we commemorate the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. We’ll be biking through downtown Seattle, tracing the distance around the Nagasaki bomb blast in solidarity.

RSVP

There are still 15,000 nuclear weapons in the world today. Many of these weapons are ready to launch at a moment’s notice. It’s time we call on President Obama and other world leaders to stand down these weapons of mass destruction and join the fight toward global zero–a world without nuclear weapons.

Join us Sunday, August 9 for the “Bike Around the Bomb Seattle” event as we cycle the circumference of the Nagasaki bomb blast to symbolize what a “small” nuclear blast would look like in our city and what we stand to lose. Bike Around the Bomb Seattle will be one of the dozens of corresponding events across the world, from Seattle to New Delhi, from Chicago to Islamabad and beyond. Together, let’s remind world leaders that nuclear weapons are designed to wipe cities like ours off the map.

We’ll be gathering at 2pm at the International Fountain in Seattle’s Center, and cycle from there passed Seattle’s most prominent landmarks. We’ll have free t-shirts, posters, and more!

RSVP

This event is both FREE and open to the public. Friends and families of all ages and sizes are welcome!

Use the hashtag #EliminateNukes to connect online with other 70th anniversary events happening all over the world on this same day. Together, we can :#EliminateNukes

Contact Brigan at GlobalZeroSeattle@gmail.com for more information

Don’t own a bicycle? No worries! Seattle’s new bike rental service, Pronto!, has rental stations all over the city. Check below for a station map or visit prontocycleshare.com for more details!

Seattle Family Bikers Swift Campout

swift-campout

Family bikers in Seattle, come be part of the worldwide #SwiftCampout!

Routes:

Ride with us to the ferry from Fremont at 9:00 a.m.
– or –
Meet at the ferry at 10:15 a.m.

Group ride to ferry details:
9:00 a.m. Saturday, June 20th in front of Fremont KeyBank (601 N 34th St, the NW side of Fremont Bridge).
PCC Natural Market is a block away if you need to time your arrival early for groceries and/or potties.
*** We will leave very soon after 9:00 a.m. If you are running late, please text and catch us en route! ***

Saturday, June 20, 2015 – 10:35 a.m. ferry (ARRIVE AT LEAST 20 MINUTES EARLY)

Ferry information:
From the Bicycles on Washington State Ferries webpage:
“Bicyclists should arrive 20 minutes prior to departure time to be loaded at the beginning of loading process. If a bicyclist arrives after vehicle loading has begun, they will be loaded at the end of the load.”

So arrive by 10:15am. BUT if you’re late, they’ll still put you on–just after the cars load. I love how versatile they are with bikes! But it’s so super fun to roll onto the empty ferry so be early if you’re meeting us there. Plus we can socialize in the bike lane before loading.

If you have an Orca card, there is an automated tollbooth at the far right–no waiting behind the cars! But otherwise you need to wait in the rightmost car lane to pay.

Once on Bainbridge Island we generally stop for quick snack and run-around break, but we’ll see what the collective mood dictates. There’s a grocery store in Winslow for any forgotten items.

Our campground is in Fay Bainbridge Park which features a great playground (!!) and BEACH. There are outlets in the bathrooms and picnic shelter (which might be reserved) for those who need to charge e-bike batteries or other things.

Here’s a recap of last year’s summer family bike camping trip. And this year’s FLATTER route I found on my scouting trip.

Note: We’ve been doing group summer camping trips to Fay for several years now and haven’t had kids riding their own bikes. This isn’t to say it’s not allowed, of course, but both the quiet scenic route of years past with its lack of shoulders or bike lanes and the highway we’ll take this year with its very wide shoulders but spots of 50mph traffic are not what I would consider exceptionally kid friendly. Bainbridge Island is very bikey with drivers used to seeing bikes on the roads, but it’s definitely busier (even the quiet, scenic route) and hillier (even the flat highway route) than my Seattle kids are used to.

At this point no concrete plans for when to head back Sunday. We’ll most likely have an early crowd and a later crowd. I’ll probably be part of the later crowd. Our slightly different route for the way back allows us to avoid the long line of cars waiting for the ferry as well as an uncomfortable uphill bike lane sandwiched between two car lanes before one of the intersections near the south end of the reverse of our inbound route.

Don’t despair if your June is booked! If this weekend doesn’t work for you, we’ll also camp at Fay Bainbridge Park August 15-16.

Bike Month check-in (and snacks, snacks, snacks)

Whew, Bike Month is so busy! I’m way behind logging miles, blogging about biking, and organizing future bike events. Instead of doing any of that, just a quick check-in about today’s bike stuff to feel like I’m accomplishing something.

I barely left the house today, yet it was still such a bike-filled day. I hosted a Family Biking Seminar run by Morgan Scherer of Familybike Seattle, so that brought three new bike friends and two current bike friends right to me.

But before the seminar, I had to get snacks (note: if you want to host a seminar–which you should! email Morgan: morgan@familybike.org–it is not a requirement that you provide snacks) so I made a quick trip to the grocery store. On the way back I had the pleasure of running into the Move Seattle levy walking tour. I’d meant to get my housecleaning and snack shopping done yesterday so I could join the beginning of the walk, but I spent all day riding bikes so it was great to still have the oppportunity to wave to Andres Salomon of Northeast Seattle Greenways, pull over and chat quickly with first Bob Edmiston of Madison Park Greenways and then Cathy Tuttle, Executive Director of Seattle Neighborhood Greenways, and ding my bell at City Councilmember Mike O’Brien. I saw them on a quiet side street, which of course was nice, but I’m sure my big bike full of groceries would have had more of an impact (not literally, though) if we had to share the sidewalk as I pedaled safely across the freeway between me and the grocery store.

As Morgan and I were outside cleaning up bikes after the seminar, Henry of LionTail Cycles and Maya happened to bike by. I lured them in with the promise of leftover snacks. Naturally, it worked! Snacks are important.

My family biking friends, Suzi and Diane, just made a video called “Family Biking: Stories, Challenges, and Tips” as part of Cascade Bicycle Club’s Advocacy Leadership Institute (I graduated from the first round of ALI–it’s awesome and you should sign up if you’re in Seattle) and a friend teased me about mentioning snacks so often. I intend to keep a close eye on his snack intake on future group rides.

And just one last little snack plug! Yesterday I participated in Streets + Beets, Alleycat Acre’s annual fundraising bike ride. A couple miles into the ride, I met Megan of the road spoke and we pedaled the whole thing (plus an extra bit to see the gorgeous Maury Island Marine Park overlook) together. She’s just starting out on an amazing journey, but I didn’t realize until getting home and checking out her website that she appreciates the importance of snacks, too! Her first post mentions “snacks, snacks, snacks” as one (well, three) of the necessities of life.

Hey, you look a little hungry. I’ve got a raspberry fig bar in my messenger bag–do you need it?

Come to a Family Biking Seminar!

Hey, I’m hosting a family biking seminar in two Sundays! Email Morgan now to sign up, we need at least five participants or we’ll reschedule with more notice :)

Sunday, 5/17/15, 1pm-3:30pm
Fee: Sliding scale, $5-35
Wallingford, Seattle home location
Pre-register by emailing Morgan Scherer, morgan@familybike.org

Here are the details from Familybike Seattle:

Are you interested in biking more with your family, but not sure how to get started? Or have you been doing it awhile, and want an infusion of excitement and information? Are you tired of the line of cars during preschool/school drop-off? Do you have questions about safety, equipment, practicality, or whether you can “do it”? This highly participatory 2 1/2 hour seminar is for you!

Bring your questions, concerns and curiosity for a lively session of information and discussion. Learn: What are the biggest hazards, and how to avoid them. What equipment is out there and what are the pluses and minuses of each. What to do about hills and rain. What resources are available to support you on your journey, and more!

Taught by veteran family-biker Morgan Scherer in an in-home setting, this session is relaxed and supportive of all questions, levels of fitness, and goals. Get the information and support you need to make the best transportation decisions for your family. For the last half hour we will be outside looking at different family biking setups, and trying them out. Bring your helmet if you have one (there will also be helmets available to borrow).

Pictures from the last seminar here:

Presentation and Q&A

seminar4

Family bike expo

seminar5

Test riding

seminar7

Bring the kids! I’ll keep them busy with fun activities while you learn from Morgan

seminar3

Spring Break 2015 Recap

Spring Break week was awesome! We’re all exhausted, sunburned, and happy to be back home. What better indicators of a successful vacation?

Following is a quick-ish recap of the week, with miles and bikes tallied for 30 Days of Biking at the bottom. See all the pictures in the Flickr album–warning, mostly kids (the human kind) and kids (the goat kind), but also lots of bikes.

Saturday, April 11
The only biking the first day of Spring Break was a trip with the kids on the bike to the grocery store to stock-up on snacks for our camping trip. Despite Alyssa carrying lots of our gear to the campground in her van, we still had quite a bit of stuff to bring with. I loaded the bike Saturday night since we had to hit the road at 6am. Clockwise from upper right: rollie bag of raingear, two backpacks of kid clothing, Ikea bag of snacks, the sleeping pad I couldn’t find the day before, and blue bag of my clothing.

Sunday, April 12
Kids and messenger backpack added to bike and we were out the door, just 20 minutes behind schedule. The Victoria Clipper was great and uneventful. It’s not cheap, but it’s amazingly convenient!

Once in Victoria, much of the 22-kilometer ride to Goldstream Provincial Park Campground was along the Galloping Goose Trail. The highlight of the ride was probably getting to watch a guy training his dog to ride a skateboard. It was only the dog’s second attempt and we thought he did a pretty good job, considering.

Our route took us along the south side of Langford Lake on the Ed Nixon Trail which was all gravel and on a Sunday, filled with dog walkers and joggers–and one guy on a cyclocross bike. Two spots were a bit too steep and as I lost momentum, my overloaded bike tipped to the side. The kids opted to walk after the second toppling and while there were no steep spots after that, it certainly was a lot easier to ride minus 90 pounds of weight. I’ll soon post a more detailed post about the routing to the campground.

It was a long trip, more slightly uphill than down-, but soon enough we arrived to the park, met the camp host, and found the playground where we hung out for a mere 30 minutes before our friends arrived by van via two ferries and a bit of driving. And with them came our bikes, tent, and sleeping bags! My mountain bike ended up being merely my “campsite bike” but it was still fun to tool around on a sub-75-pound bike as much as possible.

Monday, April 13
On Monday I hung with the kids at the campground for four hours while Alyssa and Dave biked into Victoria to shop for supplies at Canadian Tire (I’d never heard of this place before, sounds awesome!) and MEC (I like to call MEC “The Canadian REI”). The kids and I filled our time with a lot of bike riding, ball playing, slug finding, and picture drawing. It was fairly cold and drizzly so we ate lunch in the large heated bathroom and hung out in the van before it felt too small and Thunderdome-like.

That evening, Dave discovered the trick of using his bike floor pump as a bellows for the campfire. Brilliant! And the kids loved patiently waiting in line to take turns. They plan to always camp with a floor pump now.

Tuesday, April 14
We rode back into Victoria, this time along the north side of Langford Lake for more busy roads, but passable gravel to meet up with Eunice of Growing up Bike on her Xtracycle FreeRadical and Amanda on her Xtracycle EdgeRunner. We had arranged to meet at the Switch Bridge, where the Galloping Goose and Lochside Trails meet. We were a bit early and checked out Recyclistas Community Bike Shop right there and fell in love with the place.

We biked to the Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary to check out the various creatures indoors and the walk the trail and feed ducks outdoors.

After we biked more and lunched together, the kids and I braved the shopping mall by the Switch Bridge and I entered a Wal-Mart for the third time ever for the essentials: s’mores supplies, potato chips, tortilla chips, gummy bears, drawing paper, scented markers, and 10 minutes of free wifi. The American Dream…courtesy of our friendly neighbor to the north.

Shortly after we arrived back to the campground, we were joined by our third family of family bikers, Brad and two kids, who also came by van with normal-sized bikes while cargo bike stayed at home in Seattle. This brought our numbers up to four adults, six kids, 12.5 bikes (the half bike is a Burley Piccolo trailer bike).

We were low on a couple staples so I borrowed Alyssa’s Surly Cross Check to ride up the hill out of the park to the grocery and liquor stores. She just swapped her drop bars for Surly Open Bars (same as I have on the Big Dummy) so it felt like a sprightly Big Dummy. Adults got beer and kids got Kinder Surprise (illegal in the US, A-OK in Canada!) and order was restored. And I got to add another bike to my monthly bike tally.

Wednesday, April 15
Wednesday saw we 10 campers on 9.5 bikes for a short ride to one of the trailheads.

Then the kids and I rode bikes around the bigger, closed-for-the-off-season, campground loop. I got to do a bit of a loop alone with my newly eight-year old during which we took a pleasant snack break and discussed slugs, salmon, and bears.

Later we hitched a ride in one of the vans (I’m a bit disappointed to not have kept the trip car-free, but it was nice to be a passenger!) into Langford to play at a playground, have birthday sushi dinner, and pick up a birthday cake.

Thursday, April 16
Thursday marked four days of sleeping in a tent. This was a record because previously I’d only camped one night at a time since having kids. Woo hoo! But we ditched the tent for the last night in favor of a hotel in Victoria.

All this went home in one of the vans. Now I understand supported bike touring!

Our light load consisted of a big bag of snacks and our three backpacks containing our remaining clean clothes.

We met up with Brad and kids at Recyclistas where I bought stickers for the kids–5 stickers for $5!–and they looked in vain for the big shy fish in the fish tank. We biked to Beacon Hill Park where we hung at the petting zoo long enough to see the goat stampede. It was amazing!

We got caught up in horse-drawn-carriage traffic on the way out, but that’s probaby par for the course in Victoria.

Brad and his kids headed home, Alyssa, Dave, and their kids headed farther north to camp one more night, and my kids and I hit the hotel swimming pool.

Friday, April 17

Friday was more proper eighth birthday celebrating. We started the day meeting up with local family bikers at a coffee shop and then all got a tour of the Victoria Police Department, courtesy of Community Mike (he has a Surly Big Dummy, too, which you can see half-way down my post from last summer, Victoria, BC with family bike).

He even arranged for his coworker to come by with his motorcycle, though we had to wait while he ticketed someone across the street on his way in. The kids found this awesome, of course.

And then an RCMP motorcycle officer happened to drive by and let the kids sit on his motorcycle, too! Very fun, though I’m worried the kids now prefer motorcycles to bicycles.

Once we learned everything there was to learn about policework, we rode bikes to Cook Street Park, where the zipline was sadly in for repair, but the kids still had a blast. This is Eunice on her Xtracycle FreeRadical, Amanda on her Xtracycle EdgeRunner, and Kristy on her Bullitt.

Amanda’s husband arrived a while later on his Xtracycle FreeRadical making five cargo bikes total!

We caught the Clipper home at 6pm and I enclosed the kids in the full Hooptie for the first time (oh, half-a-Hooptie blog post coming at some point soon), figuring they’d fall asleep on the way home.

We got home at 10:30 and they slept a bit on the way, but an accidental sleep headbutt led to some punching and crying so we’ll have to figure out sleeping positions if we expect to be out so late again.

Saturday, April 18
It was nice to come home on a Friday night and have what felt like a bonus weekend of Spring Break staycation. This meant we got to attend a friend’s fifth birthday party at the Olympic Sculpture Park beach and since they couldn’t carry all the party supplies on their mamachari, I got to help haul stuff, which is my favorite thing ever. We also carried what was left of the party back to our friend’s house and I was able to retrieve my road bike. I’d been lending it to a visiting Detroiter, but since I left town a day earlier than she, I arranged for her to drop it off with my friend. It seemed to all work seemlessly.

I hadn’t carried a big bike with both kids since swapping the Yepp Maxi seat for half-a-Hooptie and things are a little different now. My five-year old was very mad (as you can tell from the picture) about having his space invaded, so I’ll have to figure out a better system next time. I’ll probably have my eight-year old sit sidesaddle.

Sunday, April 19

And on the last gorgeous day of Spring Break, we hit our favorite beach, Golden Gardens. The kids rode their own bikes and just when I started thinking, “Wow, maybe I don’t need to bring the cargo bike because they can ride the whole way!” my five-year old stated he couldn’t manage any more pedaling and had to hitch a ride for the last little bit.

The beach was awesome and the bike rack was full. As was the parking lot, but I don’t find that as worth noting. Someone burned part of the jumping log which is a shame, but it still works fine.

Heading home we had about 20 swaps between “I want to ride on the mamabike!” and “I want to ride my own bike!” by the five-year old, but thankfully he wanted to hit the last hills home. And my eight-year old had learned about zig-zagging up a hill on the camping trip so he made it up more quickly than usual. The five-year old on his 16-inch single-speed bike is a much better hill climber than the eight-year old on his 20-inch seven-speed bike. And as you can tell from the vantage point of my picture, I am the slowest hill climber of the family.

30 Days of Biking stats

Miles biked Saturday, April 11: 1.6
Bikes biked Saturday, April 11: 1

Miles biked Sunday, April 12: 22.9
Bikes biked Sunday, April 12: 1

Miles biked Monday, April 13: 1
Bikes biked Monday, April 13: 1

Miles biked Tuesday, April 14: 29.9
Bikes biked Tuesday, April 14: 2

Miles biked Wednesday, April 15: 1
Bikes biked Wednesday, April 15: 1

Miles biked Thursday, April 16: 16.7
Bikes biked Thursday, April 16: 1

Miles biked Friday, April 17: 9.3
Bikes biked Friday, April 17: 1

Miles biked Saturday, April 18: 13.2
Bikes biked Saturday, April 18: 1

Miles biked Sunday, April 19: 13.8
Bikes biked Sunday, April 19: 1

Miles biked cumulative: 284.2
Bikes biked cumulative: 6