Brrr…how we deal with cold

Seems timely to write a post about bundling up for the cold. I forget much of what I know about rain and cold each year. I figure it’s a survival mechanism, not laziness (please humor me on this). We tend to underdress and hone our cold-weather or wet-weather layers as the seasons begin to change. Partially due to having to locate all the bits and pieces of gear, partially having to figure out what has been outgrown and needs to be replaced, and partially that intentional forgetting. If I’m on the cargo bike I don’t often get too cold since it’s heavy, most places are uphill both ways, and I’m a mom–I’ll suck it up and give every article of clothing to my offspring so they may stay layered up while I grin and bare (<- that was intentional, though I’ve never had to bare so much as to be indecent. But I would. Comes with the job.) it. But those non-pedaling kids need an extra layer or two.

So we’re still in the process of getting enough layers on when we leave the house, but we were just about there on Saturday for 40 degrees with rain:

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  • Merino wool base layer…
    …is not part of this picture because I’m too cheap for fancy base layers, but merino wool long sleeved shirts and leggings are awesome and your cold kids deserve them. Instead these guys had on their usual uniforms of sweatpants and t-shirts.
  • Rain pants.
    Better than nothing to help block the wind. I haven’t yet located their snow pants and it’s probable the bigger kid has outgrown his.
  • Sweatshirts…
    …are a good idea, and hoods fit under helmets, but neither kid wanted to wear a sweatshirt. However, my eight-year old has his Blue Angels flightsuit over his sweats and shirt so there’s an extra layer right there. ADVICE OF THE YEAR: OFF-SEASON COSTUME AS EXTRA LAYER.
  • Snow jackets.
  • Extra old adult snowboarding jacket as bonus extra layer (on the front kid).
  • Extra adult rain jacket as apron for extra layer over legs with added benefit of draping over feet clad in regular tennis shoes (on the front kid).
  • Feet tucked into Xtracycle FreeLoader bags (rear kid).
    I’ve seen photos off this as a means for having somewhere to put kid feet if one doesn’t have running boards, stirrups, or U-tubes down there, but it also seems to be pretty insulating. I need to find a pair of size 4 snow boots for the big kid and we’ll up our footwear game. The little kid has grown into the big kids size 3s from last year, but I think I need a pair for each kid before either will want to boot up.
  • Warm gloves. BUT I need to insulate my Xtracycle Hooptie. The metal conducts cold. I’ve heard bar tape and pool noodles both work nicely. I should do something soon.
  • Balaclava (just on the front kid). Call it a ninja mask if they seem reluctant to wear them–that always works. Um, except on the rear kid today.
  • Snowboarding helmets and goggles. The goggles don’t stay put very well with bike helmets so we switch to their snowboarding helmets when it gets cold.
    The rear kid is holding his away from his face because he picked all the foam off them a couple years ago. I remind him of this fact every time he says they’re uncomfortable.

But even with our almost-there rain-and-cold gear, I worried about dragging them all the way to our planned destination of the Seattle Center. They had wanted to ride their own bikes and miraculously I was able to talk them out of that just before we set out (even after applying BarMitts and BikeMitts to their little handlebars and pumping up the little kid’s slow leak I’m too stubborn to change and rather have been successfully reinflating weekly for the last three months…ha, I win, slow leak!). They’ve biked all the way to the Seattle Center in group rides in warmer weather and I can easily tow them if it gets dicey, but I just wasn’t feeling it, plus we had to detour by the library to return some books on the way and despite being a few blocks off the Burke-Gilman Trail, the Fremont Library isn’t very easy to access in a kid(s)-riding-solo way.

It had started out a little messy as it took me a good 20 minutes to get everyone settled on the bike and layered up (including running back inside for the old snowboard jacket to toss on the front kid). It was really too cold for us to be outside so long without moving. Fortunately, they conceded to my wimping out and we didn’t make it past the library, reading books and doing puzzles for long enough for my shoes to dry out. I, uh, was in ballet flats because I need to go get the zipper on my boots repaired. Then we walked (I walked the bike) around the corner for a late sushi lunch and that was our whole day.

I figured at least now I had everything figured out for a do-over on Sunday. And for the record our ride, small that it was, was very fun. The rain, wind, and cold were pretty intense, but we created a song: “It’s a perfect day if you’re a ______” with verses about dolphins, worms, platypuses, sockeye salmon, chinook salmon, coho salmon, etc.

Sunday started with dry skies, but I was feeling a little skittish about tackling our colder colds so we took the bus. Also, with three destinations planned (Space Needle, ice rink, model train), I didn’t relish having to drag around a bag containing our three helmets and all our extra layers. We don’t do any busing outside of our once-a-month orthodontist visit, but I wouldn’t mind incorporating it a bit more.

Here’s some even colder cold last year in full gear and no complaints. But he also rode his bike part of the way and had a couple months of acclimating under his belt by this point:

Setting out with bikes for more bike

I think we might do Chilly Hilly on the tandem and trailer bike this year and I’ll most likely get some chemical heat packs for them if we do.

Do you have any great cold-weather family biking tips to share?

Happy fourth birthday, Big Dummy!

How time flies, the best bike in the world is four today! And on this special day comes the obligatory gear/accessory updates, recap of the past year of mamabike-related exploits, and a summary of our deeds of the day.

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Ch-ch-ch-changes: After three years of procrastination, I finally got the Xtracycle Hooptie! And will post about it at some point.

But the bigger news (well, more unique news) is my new two-bike tow hitch! No more bag-and-drag!! Bag-and-drag is AWESOME, for the record, but 20 inch and bigger wheels take up all the cargo space. It’s gotten hard to carry two kids, two bikes, and still squeeze in our other stuff (snacks, toys, bike event craft supplies, impromptu groceries).

(Picture of bag and drag above, tow hitch thingy below)

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Made by Haulin’ Colin at Cyclefab (p.s. nine days until A Very Open House at Equinox Studios Creative Industrial Complex where Cyclefab resides–you should go!), it’s a custom job, but I’m sure he’d make more. So why the hitch? While the kids (8 and 6 now) are riding their own bikes more and more, I always ride the mamabike in case of exhaustion or tantrum so I’m towing as much as always. Also, the kids have recently each moved up a bike size (20″ and 24″ Islabikes) which means they both have quick-release front wheels now! And if I put a wheel of 20 inches or bigger in my right pocket, it often pinches my rear derailleur cable. This isn’t an extremely big deal since I have a triple on the front and can make do with the range it provides, but I prefer to access to all my many gears. And now that the kids are both sitting on the deck, a wheel 24 inches or bigger means the rear kid needs to sit side saddle (see the bag-and-drag picture) which isn’t horrible, but also isn’t ideal. Now if they both sit side saddle, it’s noticeable and takes more muscle on my part to manage…although I joke it’s the only core strengthening I get.

Three themes for the year:

  • Camping! There was a lot of camping! I don’t consider myself a practiced bike camper (or any kind of camper), but whereas in past years we went once each summer, and only for one night, this spring and summer we went a bunch of times and twice for multiple nights! We took the Clipper to Canada again for Spring Break Victoria, BC multi-day bike camping! However, our friends brought our gear to the campsite and back so this should be considered “supported bike camping”. We also led a family bike camping trip for Swift Campout (photos on Flickr here) that had 65 people and 2 dogs! And the kids did an S24O (sub-24-hour-overnight) when I fetched them from swim camp at 3pm and whisked them away to Fay Bainbridge, only to wake them up at 5:30am to deposit them back at swim camp by 9:00! However that involved me riding to and from Fay Bainbridge Park twice (the hell I was gonna pack up camp by 5:30am! I’m like the slowest tent un-pitcher in the world). And that was the day I realized that while Fay Bainbridge is relatively close for bike camping, it’s farther than I want to bike to twice in one day. I don’t think I can claim S24O for myself due to my extra time spent away from home versus the kids’ time spent away from camp.
  • Kidical Mass family bike rides are still going strong in Seattle. We led a ride on the same day as all the other Kidical Masses for Kidical MASSive…and ours had 221 participants!
  • Carry all the things! I carried some exciting stuff this last year: huge bike speaker, teeter totters to a Kidical Mass and PhinneyWood Summer Streets, 300 potatoes after DRT (first home from the Central District with a bunch of other stuff, but then just the 150 pounds of potatoes to FamilyWorks), our new tandem bike, lawnmower, tradeshow booth, two Christmas trees, dogs! (if you noticed the dog in the bag-and-drag photo, we’ve been dogsitting two small dogs, separately, the last couple months)

But back to today…
Today’s biking started after I walked the kids two blocks to school. I recently started hosting a weekly #coffeeoutside called #coffeeoutsideforher (but everyone is welcome, not just women). Currently, we meet every Thursday at 10am in the Gas Works Park picnic shelter. I post a reminder to my Instagram each Wednesday. It was drizzly at the time, but earlier rain meant there were some fun puddles. Uh, note that I always caution the kids not to ride through puddles because you never know what might be lurking in them…like a pothole that could toss you over your handlebars. Although last time I tried this argument my six-year old said, “But Mama, I’m a pro.” I can’t argue with that.

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Next up I realized shortly before the kids were done with school that I wanted a Square credit card reader for my iPhone and I wanted it now. I opted to take the Straggler instead of the Big Dummy, which goes against the rules of The Big Dummy’s Birthday, and that must be the reason I confused the two mail stores and went uphill the wrong direction to the UPS Store and had to turn around and head to the closer and woulda-been-flatter FedEx Store. I think had I been on the 80-pound Big Dummy rather than the 35-pound Straggler, I would have thought things through and not mistaken one store for the other. Hills, man.

Finally, we had planned to attend the Seattle Neighborhood Greenways #Party4OurStreets 5:30-7:30 p.m., but things seemed to conspire against us. We set out early, kids reluctantly on the mamabike rather than their own bikes because I don’t want them riding through downtown to Pioneer Square, especially in the dark and rain. It was dry and not very cold when we headed out so our rain gear was stowed in a bag and we only planned to ride to South Lake Union for a very early dinner before the event. But then we got a phone call and had to head home to quickly help a friend. On the way back the rain started up, but the kids didn’t want to stop and don rain gear. It’s hard to get back into the swing of cold and rain after summer and we’re still getting back into the groove of layering up out the door and stopping to add rain gear as soon as rain starts. 10 minutes from the venue (and still on time at this point!), my six-year old finally admitted he was cold so I pulled over to help him put on his balaclava, rain pants, and shoe covers. My eight-year old was shivering, but just wanted to push on. I figured we’d all dry out over the two hours so I didn’t force the issue.

A block later we came to the first block of the 2nd Avenue protected bike lane…or rather the construction tunnel taking the place of the first block of the 2nd Avenue protected bike lane that none of my friends will ride through. I have only taken the lane in the safety of group rides and otherwise slowly navigate the tunnel. Today I had my Xtracycle WideLoader on because I was carrying a box of books to sell at the party (oh hey, Urban Cycling: How to Get to Work, Save Money, and Use Your Bike for City Living is out now!) which caught on the one tunnel post that protrudes into the bike lane. And we tipped over. By the way, this has happened once before–coming home from bike camping a year or two ago when I caught it on a car parked sticking a foot into the Dexter bike lane. I think I don’t ride with it often enough to clear unexpected obstructions. Though I’ve had a hundred successful rides with it, on many of which I avoid certain favorite routes due to very narrow spots.

So bummer! Sorry kids! They were unscathed, of course, but were unhappy. And freezing. Had they not been freezing, I think they would have wanted to still go to the party, but I took one look at their little faces and said we could go home if they wanted. And they wanted. We stopped in Westlake Park to get a hot dog for the six-year old, but the eight-year old just wanted to go straight home to a hot shower. Not too surprisingly, we all had fun on the ride home. An Uber driver rolled down his window to laugh and say hi as he saw me holding the hot dog out for my six-year old to take his “red light, hot dog bite!”…and then zoomed forward as the light turned green so he could pass us from the right-turn-only lane on our right and continue straight into the bus-only lane before merging to the left. Grrr. We admired the parked boats by MOHAI as we biked through South Lake Union Park…and had to dodge a Vespa on the path. That can’t be legal! Grrr. As you can tell, I’m a tad grumpy after the crash. Of course there was the obligatory brother-on-brother pummeling when they couldn’t agree on the lyrics to the “red light, hot dog bite!” song, but stopping to watch a barge go through the open Fremont Bridge helped distract them.

I look forward to reading details of the party. I heard I won something! Of course we’re all winners when we choose to ride bikes…we’re just more winning when we keep the rubber side down.

In reviewing last year’s birthday post, I see I spent a lot of time talking about my then-new Surly Straggler (who also just had a birthday, but it didn’t get celebrated because that only happens for the amazing Big Dummy! But still totally loving the Straggler.) This year we got a new bike, too, which I fully intend to post about at some point. It’s a previously-owned, locally-made Rodriguez tandem to which I hook a Burley Piccolo trailer bike. It’s awesome! Two of our camping trips were taken with it. The kids don’t do a lot pedaling yet–which I knew would be the case because we see other kids on tandems–but overall the bike weighs about ten pounds less than the Big Dummy so it’s more pleasant to take hilly bike camping. I think we’ll gradually use it more and more because I can’t imagine the kids riding their own bikes many places in this city still, but rest assured the Big Dummy will never leave our fleet.

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I also see that a year ago labeled myself “car free” with the car title still in my name for “a little while longer”. LOL, that “little while longer” finally came a few days ago so now I am car free. For real this time. The last time I used my former car was when I borrowed it two summers ago for Portland Fiets of Parenthood. I can’t remember the time I used it before that. So the Big Dummy is even more my One Less Minivan now. As a family, I feel that we’re less car free than before which weighs on me. To explain: the car left with the-former-Mr.-Family-Ride 16 months ago. So while I enjoy the freedom that comes with never having to think about a car, the kids now spend every other weekend in a car. I feel a bit inauthentic when I think about being car free. Like the much bigger adjustments this change to our family entails, I think it will just take time to get used to the new normal and maybe at some point I’ll feel comfortable using the term “car free”. But either way, I’m ecstatic not to need to deal with a car now.

So since this is a blog and not, like, a wiki, I feel obligated to provide a teensy more info for human interest purposes. (Being a blog and not, like, a wiki is also why I can use “like” so freely…and I wish I could find a link to the brilliant, but scary, piece I heard on NPR a few years ago about “like” becoming part of the lexicon of professionals–like lawyers and doctors! Not to mention so. Many. Exclamation. Points. And periods after each word in a sentence for emphasis.) Anyhow, to answer your questions:
1) The kids? They’re totally fine! Phew.
2) Me? I’m “profoundly sad”. I’m not sure if that was a diagnosis or an observation, but it fits. UNLESS I’m riding bikes, that is. Or talking to people about bikes. Or thinking up group bike rides. Or writing about bikes. So basically, way more often than not I’m perfectly fine. Because bikes are magic and make even profoundly sad people happy. And I’ll eventually be fine 100% of the time, of course. Also, while I find it difficult to be without the kids every other weekend, that does mean 100 less pounds on my bike every other weekend so I can ride a lot farther. And ohmigosh it’s really easy to travel as just one person with one regular bike! I’ve taken the train to Portland and Vancouver to hang out with family biker friends. It takes like (like!) five minutes to pack and I don’t need to go to three different grocery stores to get the appropriate train and travel snacks. So there’s that!
3) If you have any other questions, I don’t know that I can answer them, but contact me anyway! Advice always welcome.

3rd Annual Kidical Mass to Olympic Manor Holiday Lights

Let’s do this again! And on winter solstice again! Check out last year’s recap or just go straight to last year’s Flickr album.

Monday, December 21, 2015
Meet: 4:00 p.m. Loyal Heights Community Center playground
Roll: 4:45 p.m.
Tour: Olympic Manor neighborhood holiday lights
End: 5:30 p.m. Grumpy D’s Coffeehourse
Length: Exactly three festive miles

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Come to the park at 4pm to have time for playing, stringing lights, and taking photos of our lit-up rigs while there’s still a bit of daylight left. We’ll roll out at 4:45pm. I’m chopping off that last hilly block from last year so this year will be even more fun!

Here’s the route. (And see image of map below…I can’t seem to embed with my route adjustments staying put at the mo’.)

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We’ll finish up at Grumpy D’s Coffeehouse around 5:30 p.m. There’s a warm fireplace near a group of comfy chairs, plenty of table seating, and toys! Hang out a bit for peppermint hot chocolate and other treats.

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Join Familybike’s Sustainer Circle for #GivingTuesday!

Commit to a small monthly donation, the price of a fancy coffee or lunch, and support Familybike in making transportation cycling accessible to all Seattle families!

My first experience with Familybike was in June of 2009 when we drove our bikes down to check out Bicycle Sunday. Riding along Lake Washington Blvd, 35 weeks pregnant with my second baby, barely still fitting on my city bike with first baby in the front bike seat, I came across the most amazing thing: a Family Bike Expo. This was the day after Seattle’s second-ever Kidical Mass so I had seen a couple cargo bikes, but I was amazed to see so many in once place! I parked my bike to meet and talk to Morgan Scherer.

I was surprised when a browsing mom wanted to test ride my bike. Just a regular old bike with a basic front seat like every single mom in the Netherlands has. And just like that, I became a part of the movement. Especially once the new baby turned one and migrated from the bike trailer to that basic front seat and his brother moved to a new seat on the back. I brought my “regular old bike” to several Family Bike Expos. Morgan liked having an example of a normal bike that carried two kids.

There’s much more than Family Bike Expos, too…

  • The Kidical Mass family bike rides Morgan and I lead each month
  • The amazing and affordable rental fleet
  • Get-Started Family Biking and Biking in the Rain workshops (So much great info–I don’t think there’s a program like this anywhere else!)

You don’t have to be a world leader or a billionaire to give back. #GivingTuesday is about ordinary people coming together doing extraordinary things. Join the Familybike Sustainer Circle to support families in saving the world by getting out on bikes!
Give between $5 and $25 a month
Familybike Seattle is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation, and all donations are fully tax-deductible!

You also GET STUFF for joining the Familybike Sustainer Circle, like fabulous prizes, a 10% discount at G&O Family Cyclery, and A BIG PARTY at the end of January. See all the details on the Familybike Sustainer Circle page.

Donating a small amount monthly is unnoticeable to you, but has a big effect on Familybike Seattle’s effectiveness.

There’s nothing I love more than family biking and I’m proud to be on the board of Familybike Seattle. Our programs reach a lot of families and your contribution will mean we can help even more people and save the world that much faster :)
We at Familybike Seattle believe that biking as a family increases our individual, family, and societal quality of life, while at the same time moving toward sustainable lifestyles and communities.

Join the Familybike Sustainer Circle!

Family bikes at Bike Expo 2013

Ride in the Rain with Kidical Mass

Sunday, November 29, 2015
10:30 a.m. (ride at 11:00 a.m.)
MiiR Flagship
Facebook event

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Whether or not you registered for the Ride in the Rain Challenge with Cascade Bicycle Club, pull on your rain gear and take a 7.5-mile spin with the family!

Since I’m not leading our regular Thanksgiving morning ride around Lake Union this year (but please, someone else, lead one if you’re up for it!), we’ll do a similar ride…except we’ll start and finish out of the rain so just the actual riding is in the rain, not the waiting. You’re welcome!

Meet at the MiiR Flagship (3400 Stone Way N, Suite 4, Seattle WA, 98103–in the Brooks building, entrance on Stone Way). Come at 10:30 (or earlier!) if you want coffee, snacks (including Mighty-O Donuts), and/or potties, because we’ll start the safety briefing and bike going-over at 11.

We’ll ride clockwise around Lake Union, and last year’s Thanksgiving map has details and photos. There’s one steep climb. We’ll stop a block before that and give everyone a warning and space ourselves out. It’s rideable, especially if you build up speed in advance. And, of course, it’s fine to walk up!

If the rain is light and kids are in need of getting wiggles out, we’ll stop at the playground at Waterway 5/by Daniel’s Broiler. But this isn’t a planned stop this year–only if the weather and wiggliness of wee ones dictates.

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We’ll take the obligatory five laps around the model boat test pond in Lake Union Park and if anyone needs to use the potty, the MOHAI Compass Cafe will be open.

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And then we’ll finish up at the Fremont Brewing Urban Beer Garden (which is right across the street from our start point). There are pretzels and apples, but if you want to stay for lunch, you can order it in from a book of menus or bring food with. It’d be nice to hang out for a bit and compare rainy riding stories and talk strategies for bundling up (especially bundling up non-pedaling kids) as the weather gets colder.

Note: Saturday November 28th is Greet the Season at Lake Union Park so some of us might have back-to-back Lake Union Park days.

This is a Cascade Bicycle Club Free Group Ride and all participants are required to wear a bicycle helmet and sign a waiver.

More about Kidical Mass Seattle.

Halloween Kidical Mass (and #bikethevote)

OK, here’s the deal: Halloween is on a Saturday! Obvs this means costumed Kidical Mass! And hitting some neighborhood business trick-or-treat events. And voting (as in #bikethevote, not a costume contest–everyone’s a winner when it comes to biking in costume!).

Saturday, October 31st, 1:30 p.m.
Greenwood Library
(8016 Greenwood Ave N, Seattle, WA 98103)
Facebook event page
Costumes not required, voting not required

Start your day as early as noon for the 2015 Hunger Goblin/Phinneywood trick-or-treat event that benefits the VOAWW Food Bank. All businesses with Hunger Goblin flyers in the windows will have treats for kids, as well our buddies at G&O Family Cyclery who didn’t have a flyer last I checked. Bring $2 or a can of food to donate at one of the VOAWW boxes along Phinney and Greenwood Avenues and receive an awesome Hunger Goblin sticker!

So trick or treat for an hour and a half and then convene in front of the Greenwood Library at 1:30 for THE COSTUME RIDE.

We’ll parade 2.8 miles from the Greenwood Library to the Ballard Library and those of us who have ballots will drop them in the ballot box for an awesome, costumed, photo op!

Then we’ll continue the parade into Fremont for Trick or Treat in Fremont, the biggest neighborhood business event, with over 150 places participating! It runs 3-6.

Note: Sunset will be 5:53 p.m. in case you want to time things to arrive home for trick-or-treating in your own ‘hood at “go” time (which I imagine will be 6:00 p.m.). We live in Wallingford and I hope we can make it to the Wallingford Center before 5pm for their Wallingford Center Halloween Trick or Treat which is also having a food drive, to support FamilyWorks.

Here’s our route (except no jog off the 58th Ave Greenway at 15th as suggested by Google Maps–we stick to the Greenway there and back, woo hoo Greenway!). It’s a one-way, 5.8-mile ride, but if you need to get back to the start point or any other spot, please check in for route advice or for assistance in finding other families heading your same way. Personally, I’d take 6th Ave NW (a proposed Greenway) back up, were I to head back to Greenwood. NW 75th Street is the first street I’d dare take towards the east to crest the ridge.

Costumes are not mandatory! Please come ride, even if you don’t dress up.

Here’s some information from Cascade Bicycle Club about the Move Seattle Levy, Proposition 1:

If Seattle is going to reduce traffic fatalities and build out its bikeway network, it needs to pass the Move Seattle Levy on the ballot this Fall.

Cascade strongly supports the levy. Cascade and our Connect Ballard team would like to see the funding for Ballard Bridge maintenance, seismic retrofits and long-term replacement study to be retargeted to near-term solutions for the safety of people walking and biking across the bridge. In addition, Cascade supports an increase and prioritization of Safe Routes to School funding for schools where more than 50 percent of the students are in the free and reduced lunch program.

This is a Cascade Bicycle Club Free Group Ride and all participants are required to wear a bicycle helmet and sign a waiver.

Kidical Mass to Swansons Hay Maze

[First of all, if your kids don’t have their hearts set on a hay maze like mine, attend the Celebration of Life for Jerry Baker at 1pm in Magnuson Park.]

But here’s what we’re doing on Saturday…
Saturday, October 17, 2015
1:00 p.m.
Flying Bike Cooperative Brewery
(8570 Greenwood Ave N, Seattle, WA 98103)
1.6 miles to Swansons
And back

Flying Bike is conveniently located a block away from G&O Family Cyclery which opens at 10am if you need bike stuff or train table time before the ride.

[update: I tested the route and will add pictures if I have a chance, but for starters, this is the route there and this is the route back.]

We’ll take a nice, slow, mostly-uphillish-1.6-mile ride to Swansons Nursery Hay Maze. I’ll do a route test before the ride, but just looking at Google Maps, this is what I’m thinking (and it certainly won’t take anywhere near as low as 12 minutes!):
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  1. West on 87th
  2. North on 12th
  3. West on 90th
  4. North on Mary to cross Holman with the stoplight
  5. West on 95th
  6. North just a bit on busy 15th

I know many of you are more familiar with this area than I (we’ve only biked to Swansons a few times) so if the other side of the graveyard is more interesting–or if it’d be safer to stay on Mary longer and hit Swansons from the north–please let me know.

Psst…I happen to have insider information on the theme of this year’s holiday model train. Ask me at Flying Bike and I’ll tell you. It’s a good one! Maybe we’ll repeat this ride in six weeks for the Swansons Reindeer Festival if there’s any interest.