Navigator kit

The theme for Thursday was navigation. I love leading group rides, leading individual friends around, and sharing route advice. But I also love getting swept along in a group ride and not have to pay attention to the details of the route. Thursday I did a bunch of riding alone and then got to hang in the middle of a group ride…which means I have no idea what route we took and am just estimating the mileage. But so fun!

I’ve also still got mountain biking on my mind so while cutting through the I-5 Colonnade Mountain Bike Park on the way to meet friends for lunch, I did some very bad mountain biking with the Straggler. Down a steep gravel trail was OK, as was back up, but the Limestone Loop was much too hard and I tipped over trying to navigate my way across a narrow wooden raised trail at the edge of the park.

I saw something kind of funny while heading back home. The Fremont Bridge Painting Project often has a BIKES DISMOUNT sign up, usually just during prime commute hours when one of the two walkways is closed. Most people dismount and walk their bikes, but this unicyclist found a loop hole! So very very sneaky.

Later in the day, I headed to Swift Industries showroom retail hours to pick up my navigator kit. I can’t wait for the Swift Campout, coming Solstice weekend (June 20-21). I’ll be leading a group of family bikers to Fay Bainbridge Park, just like last year, though along a flatter route I recently navigated :) And we’ll go again in mid-August for those who can’t make it in June.

Heading back from Swift I got to watch Bearcat push one of the State Route 520 pontoons through the Fremont Bridge. It was a blast to watch, even knowing I was running late for the start of my group ride. It’s so much easier to wait patiently at an open draw bridge on a bike than in a car!

The group ride was fun and headed south to Jefferson Park so it’s a shame I didn’t pay attention to the route. I don’t get down that way very often. I think the best part was getting to see the other pretty Straggler built by Back Alley Bike Repair. It’s the 650b version–neat to see our different tire sizes. My bike was awesome for one-day bike camping, but this one is a real-deal touring bike and will get to explore the Oregon Trail this summer. I didn’t notice before looking at my picture that we have the same Swift Industries water bottle, too.

Friday was supposed to be an exciting biking day, too, with plans to use the Big Dummy to tote my mountain bike and the kids’ two bikes to our Spring Break co-vacationers’ house to be carried to the campsite in their van while we bike over on the mamabike. But instead, she drove over to pick them (and our camping gear) up so my 30 Days of Biking ride was just a few feet down the driveway on my mountain bike to stick it in the van. Still counts.

30 Days of Biking stats

Miles biked Thursday: 31.1
Bikes biked Thursday: 1

Miles biked Friday: .001
Bikes biked Friday: 1

Miles biked cumulative: 174.8
Bikes biked cumulative: 5

Bike delivery day

I love getting to haul anything with my cargo bike, but especially other bikes! A visiting Detroitian (Detroiter? Detroitster?) was put in touch with me by 30 Days of Biking director, Patrick Stephenson. She asked if I knew how she could borrow a bike and once I determined we were about the same height, I made plans to bring her one of mine.

I haven’t done a lot of bag-and-dragging of adult bikes since swapping Yepp seat for Hooptie and so far it feels like the bikes aren’t in there as snugly. But I had added a toe strap from down tube to the back of the Hooptie and the bike hung on just fine, even down a very steep and bumpy brick block.

Check out the beautiful weather today! Here’s the view to the west while walking my bike over the Fremont Bridge. (Usually one can bike across the Fremont Bridge, but the Fremont Bridge Painting Project has people on bikes dismount depending on what they’re doing, though usually just during prime commute hours.)

I had planned to swap Big Dummy for Little Strugger for a lunchtime ride with friends, but once I found out one of them was attempting to drag a bike to the shop, I decided to keep the cargo bike out in case I could help. Turns out my bike wasn’t needed–the ailing Batavus hauled the backup bike just fine!

Though my FlightDeck made a great bench for my friends while we hung out at Dutch Bike Co. The Little Struggler sure can’t do that.

And hey, check out the new batch of Bikecaps at Dutch Bike Co. I was disappointed by the selection of just camo and skulls back when I needed one for the Little Struggler and convinced them to expand their offerings. I’ve got dibs on the forest scene–just kidding, go get it!

We lunched on amazing sandwiches from Other Coast Cafe with DBC manager Devin and learned the story of this gorgeous Soma. It’s a three-speed direct-drive, so a fixie (more or less) with an internally-geared hub. The woman who ordered it five years ago developed knee problems and couldn’t ride it so it’s on sale. If you’re close to my height (5’5″) and it sounds enticing, go check it out! I’ve never been on a fixed-gear bike before and found it fun, but would need to do a bit more practicing on it before doing more than spinning circles around the shop.

I thought that was it for biking today, but the kids and I biked 1.2 miles together after school. We fell prey to the age-old free goldfish from kindergarten classroom ploy and had to get supplies. I’ve never had the kids ride their own bikes across the freeway, but they did fine sticking to the sidewalk (which is what I do when I’m on the slow family bike with them on board anyway) for the four busy blocks of 45th Avenue.

They insisted on riding one in front and one in back of me on the way home to be my lead and follow cars, protecting the oversized load that was the fish tank. Too cute. Yet also an example of just how much cars cars cars infiltrate our play.

30 Days of Biking stats

Miles biked: 19.4
Bikes biked: 2

Miles biked cumulative: 143.7
Bikes biked cumulative: 5

Three-bike day

Three jobs for three different bikes today!

It appears we might get to do some mountain biking over Spring Break so late last night I dug out my neglected mountain bike to clean the chain and air up the tires. I haven’t done any mountain biking since before the kids came along; nowadays, my mountain bike (ten-year old GT i-drive 2.0) comes out once a year when there’s excessive snow on the ground. Initially, I used it to tow the kids in the double trailer, like during Snowmageddon, but the trailer was stolen so we rode separate bikes in the snow last year.

Using it as a mountain bike today was really fun! I pedaled to Woodland Park, which I’m familiar with from the annual MFG Woodland Park GP cyclocross race. I tooled around enough to determine the bike was in working order, but heading home, I got distracted by the pump track. Holy cow, that place is fun! I went through a dozen times, starting on the smallest bumps, but I graduated to some of the middle bumps the last few runs. And the banked circular portion at the end is great! Mind you, I’m no mountain biker and usually go incredibly slow until my hands cramp from clinging to the brakes so tightly–and then I speed up since I have no choice…and I’ll admit it gets more fun at that point. I can’t wait to come back with the kids!

I almost brought my big messenger bag to grab groceries on the way home from mountain biking, but decided going in normal clothes on normal bike was better so I swapped mountain bike for Little Strugger (Surly Straggler). This is the first I’ve put a pannier on the newly-welded rear rack and it seems to fit fine. I opted to take the Straggler instead of the Big Dummy since I had a short shopping list and I’d rather haul 33 pounds of bike than 75 pounds of bike when possible.

And then the third bike of the day was the Big Dummy to bag and drag the kids’ bikes to school pickup. I’m afraid we may have hit a bit of an impasse. We had planned to go to the She Bikes Cascade launch party, which was on Capitol Hill, four busy and hilly miles away, and a destination to which I’ve always carried the kids as passengers. But my five-year old has been eager to ride everywhere lately so I met them with bikes with the understanding I’d get to carry them when I felt it was too busy.

Things didn’t seem to be working in my favor for getting us all the way to Capitol Hill today. The kids usually want to leave school immediately, but today of all days, they stayed to play with friends and then with each other and I didn’t want to tear them away. They don’t see one another during the school day so it was nice to see them connecting in the playground, where they’re used to having their own, separate routines. With the day disappearing, we made it as far as Waterway 15, the closest “beach” access. The kids did bike tricks as they careened towards the ship canal while I tried to keep my cool.

This dragging-the-feet trick is called “My Mufflers are Broken”

I don’t know what this is called, but it was pretty exciting:

And this is their first and favorite trick, “Super Trick!” standard version on the left, modified on the right:

And brand new today: “Evil Foot Fenders”

The only one they skipped was “My Tall Bike” which only the five-year old can do: standing on the top tube.

I still can’t believe none of us crashed today.

Miles biked: 8.2
Bikes biked: 3

Miles biked cumulative: 124.3
Bikes biked cumulative: 4

Bikes on bikes

Oh hey, I may not have mentioned I’m attempting to blog every day of #30daysofbiking. Probably because I’m not sure I’ll be able to keep it up–the blogging, not the biking, that is. And what a wonderful thing to have arrived at the point where it’s harder to type about the biking than to do the actual biking.

Anyhow, the theme of the day was “bikes on bike”. I toted two bikes today:

Normally I “bag and drag” bikes (here’s my Hauling two (and three!) bikes post with many “bag and drag” pictures), but these bikes haven’t been ridden in 20 years so I didn’t want to drag their flat rear tires around. The Hooptie is helping hold them in place, but it’s mostly the middle Xtracycle FreeLoader bag buckle connected from left bag to right bag over the FlightDeck holding them in place. But for good measure, I added a bungee to join their front tires and strap them down to the deck, a bungee through the backs of their frames to the deck, and a Yuba cargo strap around frames and Hooptie in the middle.

I hauled them a bit out of the way, past where I started yesterday with the bike speaker, looking for the little JBL faceplate I lost en route. I was prepared to retrace my steps all the way to Olympic Sculpture Park, but I found it a mere five blocks from Velotron’s garage!

After depositing the bikes at the shop, I took advantage of the ease in making extra stops when travelling by bike. First up, I grabbed lunch to go in Fremont and sat on my favorite bench by the ship canal to watch tug boats motor by.

Then on the 3700 block of Meridian, I stopped to watch the demolition of this house:

Yes, biking isn’t the only way to accomplish these things, but it’s just so much easier. A father, three kids, and a dog were sitting across the street watching, too, but no one watched from their car. This house had a ton of bikes on the side of it back in the day, and even at one point an S.U. Velo on the porch (now defunct locally-sold cargo bike) so it’s always been on my radar.

Good bye, sweet house!

Miles biked: 13.3
Bikes biked: 1

Miles biked cumulative: 116.1
Bikes biked cumulative: 3

Easter Cargo Bike Ride 2015

Hoppy Easter! Easter means Easter Cargo Bike Ride and this year I replaced kids on the FlightDeck with an enormous bike speaker, borrowed from Velotron. (He rode with it last Easter.)

Sadly, I had to give it back after the ride, but I’d run the battery down anyway. And despite having lost the JBL cap on the back (which I will go search for tomorrow!) I’m allowed to borrow it again, woo hoo! Here are its exciting innards:

This year I got to play Easter Bunny so I snuck ahead of the ride before we crossed the Fremont Bridge to hide 100 eggs, filled with gummy snacks, water balloons, and temporary tattoos. I think the hunt was a success, but the kids would like more candy next year (<- note to self).

I didn’t take many pictures since my iPhone was plugged into the speaker, but there were a whole bunch of bikes (maybe 20?), most of which were cargo bikes…though it’s not a requirement to be on a cargo bike for these rides. But here’s the best one: Janet’s patch says “Bike Love Forever”.

Miles biked: 13.1
Bikes biked: 1

Miles biked cumulative: 102.8
Bikes biked cumulative: 3

#30daysofbiking group ride

For this first weekend of 30 Days of Biking, I co-led a group ride. There were 20 of us!

The group ride was 10 miles and I took the cargo bike so I could carry my floor pump along, but later I swapped big bike for little road bike to attend a birthday party. No pictures, but it was very bikey: a surprise party for which the birthday boy was kidnapped, blindfolded, and carried to the party in a cargo trailer.

Miles biked: 22.1
Bikes biked: 2

Miles biked cumulative: 89.7
Bikes biked cumulative: 3

New Cap Day

Today was seized! I wasn’t quite as adventurous as I had planned to be: originally I was going to bike camp on Bainbridge Island, but my friend who was to come along had to work. Then I was going to camp solo, but the weather forecast scared me off from that. Naturally, it turned out gorgeous today so you all have me to thank for that!

Here’s my modest day-trip bag of stuff:

This post is titled “New Cap Day” on account of my new MEOW cap from Back Alley Bike Repair, picked up 30 minutes before the ferry came. I have one that says BABR on the brim, but I’ve wanted a MEOW one for a long time, and Ben just got a new shipment.

Going back to MEOW caps, Back Alley Bike Repair, living for the now, and my mention of a friend in the hospital in my 30 Days of Biking 2015 begins post, Ben’s girlfriend, Shannon, is the friend in the hospital and one of the coolest people I know and I’d love if you visited the Sonsie Pals website they just set up for her. Send her your thoughts/prayers/good vibes and if possible, a donation for rehabilitation. Thank you!

I rode the ferry with two visitors from Germany. They flew in yesterday–and coincidentally had visited Back Alley Bike Repair. We looked at maps together and they told about their planned trip biking down to Los Angeles. Today they were just going to Port Angeles. It put my little trip to Fay Bainbridge in perspective. They also said it wouldn’t rain today.

It rained today.

That’s my friend Maritess behind me, on her new single-occupant bike! She also rides a mamachari with her son.

Fortunately, the rain stopped by the time we reached Fay Bainbridge Park so I showed her around the various camping spots and we played at the beach a bit, but mostly hid in the picnic shelter and ate my snacks.

My purpose of the trip was to find a better route back from Fay to the ferry for summer bike camping with kids and I think I’ve done it! Still flatter than the scenic route, but not as congested at the end. And it still includes Frog Rock.

I was so sure we had dodged the rain and Seattle was grey and miserable, but a peek through the ferry window proved me wrong:

Obligatory “Watching Seattle loom closer silhouette shot” of Maritess. I insisted a friendly passenger allow me to take a photo of him in the same pose with his phone. It’s the best!

While the weather was camping friendly, I’m glad we were back in civilization because we were able to hook up with a friend, just in town for a day, from Los Angeles. I got to see baby pictures on his phone that aren’t on Facebook and hear about his new bike trailer:
Boyd: “We haven’t used it much yet, but it’s the most popular one.”
Me: “Oh, the Chariot! Yeah, people here get that one because you can add a cross-country skiing attachment.”
Boyd: “…”
They’ll just be riding a couple miles to the beach.

Just to include some talk about camping in the day, I met up with my friend Alyssa at Chuck’s Hop Shop (yes, I made kissing noises when I touched our bike tires for the picture below). We looked at maps and planned out our two-family bike camping Spring Break trip. Can’t wait!

And finally home, alone with my new cap! For a day I had expected to spend completely alone with my thoughts after dropping the kids at school at 9:30, I had very few moments to myself. All in all, a perfect New Cap Day.

Miles biked: 32.6
Bikes biked: 1

Miles biked cumulative: 67.6
Bikes biked cumulative: 3