30 Days of Biking 2014 – Day 19

I didn’t drag the kids out in the rain today, but I got soaked enough for the three of us as I led Critical Lass rides to the Sky [Nursery]. I was so impressed that five people showed up! Our ranks included Rebecca of Seattle Bicyclist Portraits and Jennifer of Ballard Greenways. But most exciting was a Rebecca’s friend, Carol, out on a bike for the first time in years. Rebecca has as terrific knack for recruiting women to come on Critical Lass rides.

Our route was very straightforward, five miles north–from Neighborhood Greenway to Interurban Trail to cycle track to Interurban Trail again. I was dismayed to find two cars parked in the cycle track, but the rest was great.

Oh, except for the NO PARKING signs set up (and blown over) in the cycle track.

So I halted the ride and we moved them into the buffer zone. Critical Lass saves the day!

We spent some time drip drying at the Sky Nursery cafe, including holding our wet gloves and jackets up to the space heater. Some of us left with plants, including this Venus fly trap:

Heading home I ran into the Feet First Great Beer Hike. I offered to help carry a keg with my bike, but no one needed help. This was before I made a joke about hijacking a keg and after I said “I know a guy who did this by bike lat year!” So instead I rode alongside them for a couple blocks and played the Star Wars theme on my bike radio.

Today’s miles: 18.3 miles
April cumulative: 280.3 miles

Bikes ridden: 1
April cumulative: 7

Dogs: 0
April cumulative: 16

30 Days of Biking 2014 – Day 18

Hooray, the rain is gone! Our first stop of the day was the Greenwood Fred Meyer en route to a friend’s house. The building and very uneven parking lot were recently redone…yet it was decided to put the bike parking on a slant.

After a bit of time at our friend’s house we conducted a bike-versus-car race 50 blocks (which was a bit less than 3 miles in less impressive units) to a park and the bike won by 13 minutes. We got a tad of a head start while my friend had to load two small children and two huge dogs into her car.

We threw part two of the race to the dog park when we opted to stop and watch some demolition.

Come evening I ditched the kids and biked downtown with Jen of Ballard Greenways to meet up with Hum of the City visiting from San Francisco. Biking towards downtown at 5:30 was great–look at the gorgeous view from Dexter Ave:

But we got stuck in horrible traffic in the heart of downtown. This is one of the reasons we bike! The streets were packed with cars and the sidewalks were teeming with costumed Sakura-Con attendees so we went nowhere fast.

Here’s how we arrived, by the way. Hum of the City got to choose between riding on my FlightDeck and the Jen’s tandem. She chose the tandem.

Today’s miles: 22.8 miles
April cumulative: 262 miles

Bikes ridden: 1
April cumulative: 7

Dogs: 0
April cumulative: 16

30 Days of Biking 2014 – Day 17

More riding in the rain today. I don’t mind riding in the rain as much when it’s to go somewhere dry for long enough that our rain gear can dry out before heading back home. My four-year old stays dry thanks to his straitjacket–my husband’s old snowboard jacket I place over him backwards as a blankie (which has the nice side effect of keeping his stranglehands away from his brother’s neck). Usually it covers him from the neck down, but as of yesterday’s rainy day, he’s been tucking his head under it to stay extra warm and dry.

My seven-year old’s jacket gets a bit soggy, but I’ve got a line on a free poncho for him…though the friend handing it down to me is living it up in sunny and dry Mexico at the moment. For days like this I tie my water resistant jacket around his waist like an apron to keep his pants dry.

I wear my husband’s rain jacket (someday I’ll get my own) and the Rain Legs I’ve written about before. My usual outfit of choice is leggings with knee-length skirt–works best for nothing to rub against my chain or catch on drink cages. I didn’t think leggings and skirt would work with Rain Legs, but if I don’t fasten the upper leg buckle they work just fine. I think they still look normal-ish, too. Hooray for new discoveries.

I love when I can park the bike under cover, but there aren’t a lot of places like that in Seattle (which makes no sense!) so I protect my seat with the BikeCap which is always connected to my seatpost and cover the kid seats with a couple of Ikea FRAKTA shopping bags which I don’t stow on the bike and need to remember to carry along on days like this.

We returned home shortly before a beautiful double rainbow appeared, but Lake Union Park is still pretty, even in the rain:

Today’s miles: 9.3 miles
April cumulative: 239.2 miles

Bikes ridden: 1
April cumulative: 7

Dogs: 0
April cumulative: 16

30 Days of Biking 2014 – Day 16

It was rainy and hard to get out of the house today. Oh, it’s Spring Break if I neglected to mention that before–no school commute forcing us into action at a specific time. My original plan was to hit Seattle Center for Whirligig, but the four-year old was hungover from all the excitement and sugar yesterday and in no shape for bounce houses. He didn’t even have to walk the mile between Sounder and Rainforest Cafe yesterday…but I forgot our stroller there so he’ll walk everywhere from now on! It was a handed-down umbrella stroller–the “Free with $99 purchase” from Babies R Us–so no big loss. But a trip to Seattle Center would have also served the purpose of route testing for next month’s May 4th Star Wars Day Kidical Mass so we’ll somehow sneak a trip over soon.

Instead we did a bit of errand running, and our first stop was G&O Family Cyclery to return the Rolling Jackass center stand they very generously loaned me while mine was being repaired. And I found a new favorite route there! Previously we went over the top of Green Lake, but since 83rd is just a tad too steep west of Aurora I’d ride an awkward block of the Aurora sidewalk before entering the DO NOT ENTER bottom of 84th…or else take the sidewalk of 46th up from Stone Way. I appreciate that it’s legal to use the sidewalk here in Seattle, but I prefer to use routes where I don’t feel the need to do so.

En route to Value Village to look for Star Wars craft supplies (and we found some great stuff!!!!) we stopped at Chuck’s Hop Shop where I found Star Wars Pez dispensers! I’m not sure how I’ll utilize them, but we’re excited about them.

Today’s miles: 9.7 miles
April cumulative: 229.9 miles

Bikes ridden: 1
April cumulative: 7

Dogs: 0
April cumulative: 16

30 Days of Biking 2014 – Day 15

Big day today–my bigger bike passenger turned seven! All I was interested in was route testing for the upcoming Critical Lass ride and I figured I could sneak it in somehow. Scratch that, at first all I was interested in was this box spring around the corner from our house, mocking me. The box spring fiasco still haunts me. I’ll have to do something about that some day, but there was no box spring toting today.

We started the day with a Mighty-O doughnut and I noticed the other two bikes at the rack were locked with Kryptonite Fahgettaboudits. I have a bigger Kryptonite with cable, but the kids need locks and I wouldn’t mind an even better one. I like the Abus Bordo–and the thought of matching keys.

Next up, we played with friends at Greenwood Park for a while and since this was coincidentally the starting point for that Critical Lass ride I suggested we go check out Sky Nursery for a cookie and Venus flytrap. Lucky for me, the kids were amenable. So we heading north on the Interurban Trail with its great art installations.

And the Linden cycle track:

The Venus flytrap fit perfectly in my Portland Design Works Bar-ista:

With bike locks on the mind I noticed the silly lock job on this Micargi:

Then we dumped the bike at home for a ride on the bus to the Sounder train and a mile-long walk to the mall. It was neat to be on the other end of the Interurban Trail.

Mr. Family Ride met us at dinner with the car, by the way, so it was a much less involved trip back home. Happy day!

Today’s miles: 18.6 miles
April cumulative: 220.2 miles

Bikes ridden: 1
April cumulative: 7

Dogs: 2
April cumulative: 16

30 Days of Biking 2014 – Day 14

We started our day with a quick spin through the I-5 Colonnade Mountain Bike Park which was much too hard and we mostly just walked our bikes around.

But our real destination was Cal Anderson Park to meet up with other family bikers–the Colonnade was a not-very-restful rest break on the way up. Our short-notice play date didn’t attract a big crowd, but Davey Oil and kids came on Blooey, the amazing one-of-a-kind Xtracycle EdgeRunner cycle truck conversion with Stokemonkey e-assist.

This morning I had forgotten about my broken FreeLoader bag strap and carried one of the kid bikes by tying a knot and reinforcing with a bungee cord. The other day, Davey mentioned he had extra straps at the shop–G&O Family Cyclery–so I was going to try to make it in this week, but he gave me one of the straps off his own bag. What service!

Tom of Seattle Bike Blog came by, too, and we all rode to City Hall together to watch the City Council vote on the Bicycle Master Plan.

There were balloons and cake!

And it passed unanimously! The kids celebrated by biking up and down in front of City Hall–today on the sidewalk, but perhaps someday while they’re still kids in a protected bike lane.

But for the time being, our downtown travel is like this, everyone on the mamabike:

I let the kids ride their own bikes again when we got near the Elliott Bay Trail. We took a break to climb on the Parking Squid bike rack across from the Seattle Aquarium and I saw my friend Rebecca ride by. I feel bad hollering at and distracting friends while they pedal by, but I just can’t help it. Rebecca looked back and made a very safe u-turn to come hang out for a bit. By the way, she’s got a great project: Seattle Bicyclist Portraits. If she doesn’t find you and snap a picture, submit one! 10″x10″ 100 dpi photos sent to rebeccabikes[at]gmail[dot]com

We rode together a bit and just as I was telling her I’m much more relaxed about riding with both kids at the same time, they slammed on their brakes right in front of us. They heard the Sounder train coming and wanted to be ready to cover their ears. Rebecca convinced them to wave, too–cute!

The six-year old rode the whole way home–9.8 miles! The four-year old was off and on the mamabike. They both made it up the bridge in the rail yard. I was more impressed that the four-year old went down the other side. He said he wanted to walk, but changed his mind (I may have planted the seed that it wouldn’t look as steep once he got there and took a look) and coasted very slowly and cautiously.

He made it up the hill out of the rail yard, but that was enough riding for him and he insisted on hopping on the FlightDeck before I had a chance to realize I didn’t want both kids riding on 30 mph Gilman Avenue.

Did you notice the bicycle ballet leg above? There was a lot of that. And a lot of feet up on the frame. It was an incredibly slow ride home. I am a much more patient person now than ever before, but I did my fair share of urging him to pedal more.

I took a little video of part of our Elliott Bay Trail trip because those tiny legs spinning on those teeny cranks crack me up. It was funnier when he was on the 12-inch bike with even teenier cranks.

Today’s miles: 17.3 miles
April cumulative: 201.6 miles

Bikes ridden: 1
April cumulative: 7

Dogs: 0
April cumulative: 14

30 Days of Biking 2014 – Day 13

I was supposed to stay home and get stuff done, but it was much too pretty a day. So while the kids and Mr. Family Ride were at the beach (by car since he’s too tall for my cargo bike and doesn’t have his own…yet) I snuck out on my road bike to route test for the upcoming CycloFemme ride with Critical Lass and Kidical Mass. We’ll start at Flo Ware Park on May 11th–save the date!

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It feels weird adding dogs to the monthly tally when the kids weren’t with me, but the tiny furry pup was hanging out in the street so I made friends with him and tried to lure him to the sidewalk while a car slowly drove by. I guess it’s a sign of a good group ride route when small dogs feel safe to hang out in the middle of the road. His owner was gardening at the opposite corner and called him over after the car went by so I didn’t leave him stranded. And the bottom dog was tied to the bike rack when I exited the coffee shop. He looked a little skittish so I chatted with him a bit before approaching my bike. I’d like to think only friendly dogs get tied to bike racks, but he didn’t look so friendly up close.

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I wanted to take a picture of my bike and a pretty tree on the way home, but it’s not so easily done without a kickstand. I guess this works.

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Today’s miles: 19.7 miles
April cumulative: 184.3 miles

Bikes ridden: 1
April cumulative: 7

Dogs: 2
April cumulative: 14