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 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!

Upcoming: Kidical Mass FILMED–MiiR Flagship to Seattle Center


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).


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
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.


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!


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 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 for more details!