Bike Decorating and Kidical Mass Bike Parade at Ballard Summer Parkways

Saturday, August 27, 2016 – 11:00 a.m.
Ballard Commons Park
(5701 22nd Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98107)
At the Family Bike Expo booth at the Sustainable Ballard Festival
Facebook event page

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Join me on a Kidical Mass ride for Familybike Seattle during Ballard Summer Parkways! Like last year’s huge Kidical MASSive at Ballard Summer Parkways event, we’ll start with bike decorating and then parade along the closed-to-cars streets.

Bike decorating begins at 11:00 a.m., bike parade happens at 11:30 a.m.
Find me and the bike decorating at the Family Bike Expo booth. This is also where you can volunteer to talk to families about family biking and/or leave your bike as part of the expo once we’re done parading! Sign up for that on the Family Bike Expo Volunteer Sign up Google doc, or if you can’t access the online document email morgan@familybike.org.

The parade will be short–probably just around the lower loop of the event–and move slowly–parents walking alongside kids on balance bikes will be able to keep up.

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The entire event runs from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. with oodles of fun stuff going on the entire time.

From the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT):

The second event in our series will bring the fun back to Ballard! We are partnering with the Sustainable Ballard Festival, Seattle Parks and Recreation and dozens of community partners to bring safe streets and sunny fun to Ballard. This route will highlight some of the beautiful natural areas and vibrant neighborhoods located in Ballard, such as Ballard Commons Park, Ballard Corners Park, Salmon Bay Park, Loyal Heights Community Center, Sunset Hill Park, Bergen Place Park and the myriad shops and businesses along Ballard Avenue.

Details about the 13th Annual Sustainable Ballard Festival from Sustainable Ballard:

Eclectic, artsy, earthy, urban and committed to a better future…you’ll find all this and more at the 13th Annual Sustainable Ballard Festival. You’ll encounter creativity, passion and community while learning about daily practices and big steps toward more sustainable living. In a time of uncertainty about our nation’s leadership, People Power has been chosen as this year’s festival theme as a reminder of what is still possible locally and as a model for all communities.

As always, the fest is FREE to the public and perfect for families. The Mayor is expected to kick off the fest and a bike parade organized by Seattle Summer Parkways. Seattle Summer Parkways There will be a creation station for bubble wands, musical instruments, and bottle cap flowers. Find skateboard lessons in the skate bowl, a family bike expo on the street, goats and chickens in the urban farm zone, live music on the solar powered stage, and birdhouse building with festival sponsor Built Green. Local businesses offer games, activities and prizes with a green twist. There will be food carts, of course, and a Tea Garden presented by Miro Tea, a fundraiser for the festival featuring local desserts and unlimited tea sampling for a $5 donation.

We invite all of our Ballard neighbors and friends to become more connected with each other by participating in Sustainable Ballard activities. When we engage, we become part of creating the thriving community and lifestyle we want and need.

Three days around Mount Rainier (and to Mount St Helens)

My friend Brad and I had some overlapping kid-free days so we left our Big Dummies and tandem bikes at home for a multi-day bike tour on single-occupant bikes. I’d never done multi-day/multi-site bike camping, and last year marked the first time the kids and I camped for more than just one night period (on Vancouver Island over Spring Break and at Fay Bainbridge Park in August).

Here’s the photo album: Three days around Mount Rainier (and to Mount St Helens) with Brad (435 photos).

And here are my Strava recordings of the trip to see the route:

  • Day one: 85.6 miles, 7:47:36 moving time, 6,593 feet gained
  • Day two: 109.3 miles, 11:43:18 moving time, 10,663 feet gained
  • Day three: 114.1 miles, 9:31:59 moving time, 4,057 feet gained

Brad and I usually ride with our four respective kids–like when we went bike camping at Manchester State Park last month. This trip was very different. I’ve known Brad for years through family biking, but he’s also a randonneur so I should have realized going into our trip that it would be really hard. Note to self: no more bike touring with randonneurs–it’s too hard! That said, it was also really fun, and I’m glad we went. But I’m glad we ended up coming home a day early and I’m REALLY glad we cut out two of the mountain passes Brad had planned. I feel a great sense of accomplishment at our miles and elevation biked, and the scenery was spectacular, but the best part was the people we met along the way.

Brad plotted our route, including checking with other randonneurs about the status of washed-out roads, plus he was familiar with a lot of the area thanks to Seattle International Randonneurs events. So I just answered “yes” to any route questions posed to me, let all the details go in one ear and out the other lest the number of miles or mountains intimidate me, and blindly followed along. Now, I love leading rides and planning routes, but it’s so nice to take a break and not do any thinking about things every once in a while! He mentioned taking the bus to cut out the “boring miles” and get out of the city faster so that meant I had to take my road bike, since the front rack and basket on my Surly Straggler mean it doesn’t fit on the bus rack. I knew from a recent trip to Veneta, Oregon (which I hope to at least post photos of soon, if not also do a little blog recap) that I could fit my camping gear on my road bike. And I was happy to have my lightest bike along for the big ride, though that meant no room for Pixie so I left her behind with a friend.

My bike:

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2006 Specialized Dolce Elite road bike with:

My tires are 700c x 25mm at 110psi (max tire pressure is 120psi) and they proved uncomfortable on the miles and miles of bumpy chipseal. Perhaps the aluminum frame (versus steel) added to that, but it was probably more about my tires. My Surly Straggler’s (steel, btw) tires are 700c x 38mm and I keep them at 30psi. Big difference! But with that bike come two big panniers and a front basket and I tend to shove as much stuff as I can in all that room so it would have been much heavier.

Brad rode his Surly Long Haul Trucker with four panniers (two of which started out empty), a small frame bag, and a handlebar bag. He offered to carry a bunch of my stuff so I could better keep up, but I don’t think the small weight of my gear made any difference–I’m a much slower rider than him in general. But still, I let him carry increasingly more stuff: rain jacket on day one; rain jacket and sleeping pad on day two; rain jacket, sleeping pad, bag of extra snacks, and tent poles on day three. Had we kept our day four, I’m sure I would have ported over all my stuff.

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Day One:

Taking the bus (Sound Transit 578) to Auburn cut out 20 miles. We cut through the Seattle Center (Space Needle!) to get to the bus stop so at least I got a good little dose of city riding, since that is my thing after all. While most Seattle area buses have three-bike racks (all King County Metro and most Sound Transit buses can carry three bikes, I think), the 578 had a two-bike rack. So we were lucky there wasn’t already a bike on board.

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It was fun to recognize a couple places from my first big bike overnight, the Swift Campout to Ipsut Creek. First up was Enumclaw-Black Diamond Road, though Brad and I took it in the easier direction, and at the beginning of our day. Then we stopped for lunch at the Safeway in Enumclaw, our return lunch stop of the Swift Campout.

And this is where we made our first friend of the tour, Claire from Seattle, who had biked all the way from Capitol Hill on an old Schwinn mixte with a backpack and no firm plan, other than to take a few days to explore around Mount Rainier. We bumped into her two more times over the course of the day so that was really fun.

We took a look at summiting Crystal Mountain. I’ve never been there in the winter (I’ve been to Stevens Pass once and Summit at Snoqualmie a bunch of times) so it sounded exciting, especially since we could ride the gondola at the top. But there was no way we could bike to the top (six miles) in the hour before the gondola closed due to intermittent road closures for construction. However, we could have made it up in time were we able to catch a ride in the back of the construction truck. The friendly construction worker checked with her boss if it was OK to give us a lift up the mountain, but unfortunately she didn’t have enough time before the tar arrived at 5pm. Oh well. It was a fun almost-plan!

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Our next almost-peak was Sunrise, but with so many clouds in the sky, we weren’t sure we’d see Mount Rainier. So we biked down down down to the White River Ranger Station to check the conditions. Brad said the park ranger would be able to tell us about visibility, but the gate and ranger station were already closed so we flagged down a passing car to ask some fellow park visitors. Conditions were spotty so we decided to skip seeing the sunset at Sunrise. But we did learn that restrooms are now called “comfort stations” and we saw Claire for the last time as she arrived to camp at White River Campground.

So we biked up up up to the top of Chinook Pass. It was exciting to see the first bit of snow–proof that we were up high in the mountains! And I saw one marmot close to the top, but I didn’t get a picture of him. And then we biked down down down to Ohanapecosh Campground.

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The descent from Chinook Pass to Ohanapecosh was ridiculous! You know when Bugs Bunny falls down a hole and screams and flails for a long time and then gets bored of screaming and flailing so he sits in an easy chair and reads the paper…and then he makes a cup of tea…and then he yawns and puts on his jammies, sets the alarm, and goes to sleep…and then the alarm goes off and he jumps up and starts screaming and flailing again? It was like that. Sooooo loooooong.

Ohanapecosh was a great campground! We arrived at night and chose a walk-in site, which is not like the hiker/biker sites I’m used to, but rather means you park your car in a parking lot and walk a few extra steps to your site. And the walk-in site area doesn’t have a bear box like the other areas do so we stashed all our food in one pannier and stuck it in the bathroom, not having a bear-proof vehicle like everyone else. This would definitely be a great campground to rent a car and come to with the kids (or bike to when we’re all up to this long of a journey). The visitor center was great as was the variety of programming in the amphitheater.

Day Two:

We started our day with a long climb to Paradise. I’ve been once before, but by car, so it was really exciting to arrive by bike!

It was a long, slow ride, but filled with tremendous views. The first of the three Reflection Lakes reflected Mount Rainier perfectly, though someone piloted a drone low over the lake, creating ripples.

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On the way up, we stopped to let a mom and daughter cross the road from the Cowlitz Divide Trail. We stopped to talk and learned the mom is a tribal leader of the Cowlitz Tribe and in the space of ten minutes, we learned a ton of history. Here’s a tidbit for you: the Cowlitz word for Mount St Helens is Lawetlat’la.

It was also neat to use Strava FlyBy to identify and “give kudos” (that means clicking the thumbs up on someone’s Strava recording) to the fast guy who passed us as we crawled up Paradise.

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For heading down from Paradise, out of Mount Rainier National Park, and into Gifford Pinchot National Forest, Brad took us on a great forest road/service road/dirt road cut-through he’d ridden before. It led to the lovely Skate Creek Road, which is apparently Jan Heine’s (randonneur extraordinaire) favorite road. So while bike touring with a randonneur will make the miles and elevation really add up, it can lead to some great stuff. It also led to us finding our way to Cline Road to avoid busy highway 12 which was quiet with a few rolling hills, but we were chased by four dogs! So now I’m scared of farm dogs. Granted, one of those dogs was a tiny Yorkie.

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We stopped for lunch in Packwood and while stocking up for dinner and breakfast at the grocery store, a guy confided in us that the town is run by elk. I was kind of relieved to hear that because it explained all the NO SHOOTING signs. He said they know exactly where the signs are and keep on the right side of them. And when he has to open the pizza place early in the morning it often takes him an extra half hour because they’ll block his car in the middle of the road and only move aside when they’re ready. Brad didn’t seem convinced, but I’ve had a healthy fear of elk since I was a kid camping in Oregon and Washington and took the warnings to stay away from elk because they’re assholes (that might not have been the exact word the park rangers used) very seriously.

It was late by the time we got into the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. I’m not sure if it was the result of the long day of biking or if the grades of routes 25 and 99 were really steep, but I had to slalom back and forth to get up the hills. It was too dark to see Mount St Helens, but the clear sky and half moon meant we had a terrific view of shooting stars from the Perseid meteor shower.

Day Three:

Getting to see Mount St Helens and view the distinct flora (and lack thereof) of the blast zone in all directions in the morning was amazing. We met a few people setting up an aid station for the Bigfoot 200 Mile Endurance Run along the Truman Trail at the Windy Ridge Viewpoint. Oof, I can’t even imagine.

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Even with our less strenuous day planned, I was having trouble finding my groove. It may have been the two big days in a row, or having spent almost 12 hours in the saddle on day two, or something else (or all three!), but even on the descents I was moving slowly. After many sluggish hours, we stopped for lunch in Elbe at the Mt. Rainier Railroad Dining Company and that fixed everything. Elbe is also a place I’ve been to before, but only by car.

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We didn’t have a set plan for days three and four, but were tentatively thinking about aiming for Orting where we’d either have to pay for a hotel or “free camp” (a term we learned from some nice bike tourers we met on highway 12 or 7…it was before lunch so I can’t remember where we were). Somewhere along the way we realized we could make it all the way home a day early, most easily done if we caught the bus again. Sound Transit 578 starts in Puyallup, but Sumner was closest to us if we could make it there by 9:19 p.m. So I rallied and we picked up the pace and we arrived to Sumner Station at 9:03–a whopping 16 minutes early to snack and unload our bikes. This bus also had a two-bike rack, but the driver told us the last bus of the night will allow excess bikes inside.

En route to Sumner I recognized Orting from having passed through in the other direction during Swift Campout. We raced along the Foothills Trail, though not as fast as the world’s fastest ElliptiGO rider (stepper?). He slowed his roll for a bit to chat with us. Turns out he’s doing the High Pass Challenge (a ride from Packwood up Windy Ridge–where we just were!) and will probably be way faster than a lot of the bike riders.

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Ta da!

318.5 total miles (adding in my Seattle miles on either side)
21,313 feet climbed (not adding in my Seattle elevation because I didn’t Strava that and don’t know how to calculate it easily)

Aches and pains:

I wish I’d brought my fingerless gloves along because by day two I was getting a bit of chafing on the sides of my forefingers where they rested against the hoods of my drop bars. I bought the gloves for biking the McKenzie Pass while visiting Eugene in May, but didn’t need them, nor did I use them for biking from Seattle to Portland shortly after that. So it didn’t occur to me to bring then on this trip. I ended up with a blister on the heel of one hand by the end of day three, but it wasn’t painful.
And I got “hot foot” (a fancy term for an achy foot from being trapped in a tight cycling shoe all day) halfway through day three, but stopping for lunch and taking my shoes off while eating meant I could make it through the rest of the day relatively discomfort free.

Donate to parks and forests

In addition to having a tremendous time in Mount Rainier National Park and the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, we did so very cheaply. We arrived too late to pay one entrance fee and a nice park ranger decided to waive our fee at another gate. So I settled up by donating, both to Washington’s National Park Fund (WNPF)–you can select the specific park–and the National Forest Foundation–you can’t select which forest, but you get to see how many trees your donation will plant.

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To REI on separate bikes

We’re in a fun place where the kids are strong enough and predictable enough to ride their own bikes a lot more than ever before. Also, they’re a lot heavier than they were last summer and it’s a treat to offload them! I still take the Big Dummy when we go out on separate bikes because I like to be able to carry one of both of them (and their bikes) should they get tired, injured, grumpy, hungry, etc etc etc.

We needed camp stove fuel from REI so this seemed a good opportunity to ride somewhere new with three bikes…though it was probably really based on my not wanting to carry them up the a big hill on the Big Dummy and not being ready to lock the tandem up for an REI-visit amount of time.

I should have plotted our route carefully ahead of time because my kid-riding-separately routes are generally pretty different from my normal routes (which also differ if I’m carrying kids or not and if I’m on an empty cargo bike or regular bike), but I mentioned the I-5 Colonnade Mountain Bike Park when I presented them with the plan and they agreed that riding their own bikes was a terrific idea so I couldn’t turn back! We took the route I would take to REI were they not riding solo (which is the route I would take with them riding solo to the Colonnade, but not the route I would take with them all the way to REI): over the University Bridge and along Eastlake a few blocks before climbing one block to a quieter street and crossing under the freeway via the I-5 Colonnade and then crossing back over the freeway on Lakeview. I still have trouble wrapping my head around the idea of climbing higher than need be just to go back downhill, but the route is quieter and the hill is less steep. Here’s my Strava recording of our route.

Getting to the Colonnade worked well. We took the sidewalk for bits–uphill on 40th until we met Roosevelt to cross the University Bridge and then again once Eastlake grew a parking lane.

We took a breather at the Colonnade…or rather, I took a breather while the kids ran around the mountain bike park.

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At this point I realized I had no idea if Lakeview had a sidewalk and if it did, was there one on both sides of the street? I saw a bit of sidewalk, but thought it didn’t go all the way through on the west side so I had us ride on the east side (towards traffic, not generally the side one should bike on on the sidewalk) because I didn’t want them to ride uphill on the fast arterial with just a sharrow. But we were soon blocked by blackberry brambles (note: obviously this is a problem unique to this time of year).

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And the sidewalk does indeed go all the way through on both sides of the street so we waited a long while for an opening to cross (nope, few people driving on fast streets wait for even little kid street crossers) and crossed back over where there were still lots of blackberry bushes, but the overgrowth wasn’t quite as bad.

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Yum!

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We stuck to the sidewalk for the Lakeview freeway flyover. Terrific view from up there!

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And after a couple more blocks of Eastlake sidewalk we were safely at REI. The bike parking is perfectly fine, by the way, I’m just always nervous locking up the newest bike in the fleet. I really do want to take the tandem + trailer bike out more for normal things because we usually just ride it for bike camping and it’s SO HEAVY and I’d love to enjoy it in a svelter situation.

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I don’t have a favorite route from REI to South Lake Union and take slightly different routes each time. This time, our route was dictated by riding past an exciting-looking construction site (big hole!) and then needing to detour around a different construction site road closure.

Solo-riding kids are also useful for popping up on the sidewalk to push beg buttons! Even quicker than having passenger kids hop off the Big Dummy deck to run over and push the button and run back.

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Now even though I didn’t end up having to carry either kid at any point during our voyage to REI, the Big Dummy came in handy while we were hanging out at the Lake Union Park beach: I was able to quickly ferry a wet barefoot kid to the potty at MOHAI. I’m not sure how soon I’ll switch to riding a regular bike rather than the cargo bike. Probably when I can’t keep up with them on my heavy bike. I can keep up with my nine-year old, but not my six-year old.

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Then we took our familiar route home. The Westlake Cycletrack is a bit more completed than last time!

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And, of course, there was one last blackberry stop because no prior agreement about having already stopped three times for blackberries and a promise to go picking first thing in the morning will make a stop on the homestretch unnecessary apparently.

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Monthly multimodal orthodontist trip

Nothing too special this Monday, just our usual monthly check-in at the orthodontist (20 miles away in Issaquah) to which we generally take bikes and bus. But just to make it extra difficult this time, we brought Pixie the dog along, so I may as well record it here for posterity. For busing we use the Old Mamabike, a Bianchi Milano city bike with Bobike Junior kid seat (blog post with lots of photos here, and most of our multimodal trips to the dentist/orthodontist can be found here). The Old Mamabike doesn’t have a front basket for Pixie to ride in (and if I ever did put something on the front, it would be very small so it could still fit on the bus rack) so Pixie rode in the Timbuk2 Muttmover backpack. Dogs are allowed on Seattle buses, by the way. Dogs are not allowed inside the orthodontist so we took turns hanging outside with her.

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Our 10am bus had the new Sportworks Apex 3 transit bike rack! So much easier to use than the yellow claws.

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And the bus was super crowded so we were stuck standing at the front and had a nice view of it in action:

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Having the bikes along isn’t critical on the Seattle side of things–we ride half a mile to the first bus and then a block between buses…but it is pretty fun to bike downtown with kids!

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Once in Issaquah we ride a mile and a half to get to the orthodontist and then around to a variety of places in town. Today we used our bikes to visit Bicycle Center of Issaquah. Sadly, Dillon the dog wasn’t at work today so Pixie didn’t get to meet him, but they aired up my incredibly low tires (oops) and the kids fought over–I mean played with–the stationary kid bikes.

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And we all pretended to mount the penny farthing. I haven’t worked on Pixie sticking her head (and just her head, not also half her torso) out the side window of the Muttmover yet so you’ll have to take my word that she’s chilling in the backpack.

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Then we pushed along to the Issaquah Brewhouse because they have a DOG MENU!!! Pixie ordered bacon and treats made from used hops. Other items on the doggie menu were peanut butter and jelly sandwich and cheeseburger. I assume those are the same as the human versions, but I didn’t ask. Her meal came on a frisbee, just like the kid meals.

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This trip was also different from those previous because I had my six-year old ride the separate bike and carried my nine-year old. I probably won’t do that again. The little guy did fine on the way there, and was happy to ride the five miles home from Belltown, but things got a little messy at the end.

We always take two buses on the way there and are 50/50 on taking two buses on the way home. It seems more worth it to have had the bikes along if we use them (duh), but it takes longer to ride the whole way home from the end of the 554 line. But it costs more and I have to lift the bikes on and off the bike rack an extra time. Hooray for having options, I guess!

We started on the sidewalks (legal in Seattle), but moved to the street once I deemed it safe enough. Part of that was in a door zone bike lane and I grimaced as my little wild child bunny hopped and skidded repeatedly behind me (thump…screech…thump…screech). I’m happy he has so much fun on his bike, but I instituted a new rule: NO BUNNY HOPPING OR SKIDDING IN DOOR ZONE BIKE LANES. I later added NO BUNNY HOPPING UPHILL as he swerved slightly while hopping his way ahead of me. The guy on the bike he swerved near laughed loudly at my hollering so I’m not sure that lesson stuck.

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Once on the Burke-Gilman Trail, my small racer zoomed ahead to hang with the faster commuters, generously waiting for me to catch up at intersections. And there was the obligatory blackberry-picking stop because now that it’s blackberry season, all trips take an extra half hour.

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All was good until that last hill when he decided he’d rather walk his bike than downshift (whereas my nine-year old still doesn’t seem to have the knack of shifting gears, my six-year old figured it out in five minutes, but thinks it’s better to mash uphill in gear seven rather than slowly–“Too slow!” glide up in first) and then he fell over and refused to move. I unloaded his big brother and was able to lure both kids into walking uphill by oohing and aahing at the sight of our school playground’s preliminary construction as I took turns getting both bikes up the hill.

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We have a bonus orthodontist visit in two weeks, but scheduled in the afternoon after bike camp, so it will be a different, even tired-er trip. Sure to be another adventure!

The Pleasant Revolution Biketopia Music Festival special show at Gas Works Park!

We had the most magical day yesterday, watching and participating in the Pleasant Revolution Biketopia Music Festival! I’ve heard of the Pleasant Revolution before, but never seen them and was sad to think I’d miss them during this visit due to late shows and early bedtimes Friday and Saturday nights and a too-far-from-home show on Sunday. But as luck would have it they played a surprise show as part of Bingo or Bust Alleycat put on by Bicycle Benefits to kick off Seattle’s first Bike Bingo six-week event (I have $2 cards benefiting Familybike Seattle if you still need one!).

We were lucky to know about the surprise show ahead of time so even though we didn’t make it down to Gas Works Park early enough to cheer on the alleycat racers, we headed down a bit later for a doggie playdate and hang out until the show started.

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The show and the bikes were amazing! I knew ahead of time that it’s all pedal powered, but I didn’t realize it was pedal powered by longtail cargo bikes! We saw Matt and Omar in the park scoping out performance sites on an Xtracycle FreeRadical conversion and Kona Ute. Most of the bikes are Xtracycle FreeRadical conversions, but there was also one Surly Big Dummy (yay!), a Yuba Boda Boda midtail, a Yuba Spicy Curry (the only e-assisted bike, I think), and at least one regular bike. The show was atop Kite Hill which was the best possible place it could have been!

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There were several bands so the show lasted a couple hours and I pedaled for a few songs while the kids bombed down the side of the hill over and over and over again. Really, a perfect venue! Here’s a video of Ian announcing the winner of the alleycat (yay Zach!) prefaced by 15 seconds of kid hill bomb:

The kids were able to help a bit, too! The Big Dummy is the older swoop-frame model so it has a fairly low standover height. My six-year old (almost seven) had to stand in the pedals and my nine-year old could sit and pedal:

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The littler kid tried one of the Xtracycles later, but the top tube proved too uncomfortable.

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I wish I’d memorized what one of the performers said word-for-word because it was terrific. Similar to what I see on the Band page of Bicicletas Por la Paz: “We bike tour to promote peace, bicycles and empowerment! We are working to change the collective consciousness, gearing it towards an alternative form of transportation, using our bodies as the medium.” but there was also something about challenging the idea of inconvenience of bicycling for a touring band.

Go see them play if you can! Upcoming shows as listed on the Pleasant Revolution site:
Sunday, July 17 (today!) at noon in Seward Park
Tuesday, July 19 in Olympia, WA
Saturday, July 23 in Portland, OR
Sunday, July 24 in Portland, OR
Saturay, July 30 in Eugene, OR

I only biked 3.2 miles on my bike yesterday–and that with no kids on board–but my legs are tired today from working the band bikes! One last bit of magic from the Pleasant Revolution site:

Some principles of the Pleasant Revolution:

  • slow is beautiful
  • local is profound
  • sustainable living is richer
  • we can free ourselves from the culture of fear that drives our consumerism and apathy
  • fundamental change is necessary and possible
  • to change the world, we must change our own consciousness and lifestyle
  • humanity now, perhaps more than in any previous time, has an opportunity to create a new, saner, more loving world
  • the bicycles liberate

Vive la revolution!

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Sunrise Coffee for FREE BIKE Festival

It’s July and that means it’s Seattle’s first FREE BIKE Festival. It’s a crowdsourced festival of bike fun, running July 1st through 10th and I’ve put four events on the calendar, including a Sunrise Coffee Club this morning.

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I got up at 3:30 a.m. to leave the house at 4:00 a.m. and get to Madrona Park before 5:00 a.m. since sunrise would happen at 5:16 a.m. I didn’t expect anyone else to show up, but there were eight of us! Thank you to Ian, Anne, Claire, Ryan, Tom, Chris, and Taylor for getting up so early!

Unfortunately, there was no dramatic entrance by the sun due to low cloud cover, but it was still a great morning: birds serenaded me the whole ride down, eagles flew back and forth while we sipped our coffee, and Mount Rainier looked pretty as a postcard.

See all my photos here.

Next up for the festival is the FREE BIKE Kickoff Ride at 6pm, starts at MOHAI, ends at Peddler Brewing Co. I think I’ll try to rally the kids to join. If we can time it right, we’ll play at the Lake Union spray park and South Lake Union beach all afternoon until the start of the ride and join for the first half, but peel off to the east when the pack heads west.

Happy FREE BIKE, all!

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Seattle Kidical Mass Bike Camping Sat-Sun July 30-31, 2016

CAMPSITE UPDATE: We will be camping in the hiker/biker sites which are on the north end of the beach (close to where we come in). Pay per bike at the kiosk and clip your receipt to the post by the site(s) (unless the camp hosts are around and says they want to hang onto receipts to keep track of our numbers). My family needs to get rolling by 10am on Sunday, but there’s bound to be a later group leaving, too!

Let’s go camping! Time for our annual summer bike camping trip to Fay Bainbridge Park: Saturday, July 30th to Sunday, July 31st, 2016.
Facebookers please RSVP on the Facebook event page.

fay

9:00 a.m. Saturday, July 30, 2016 – meet by Fremont PCC Natural Market (on the south side of 34th Street)
This will give us time to watch one another’s luggage-laden bikes to pop inside for last-minute supplies and potty breaks and be ready to ride at
9:30 a.m. we ride! Promptly at 9:30 a.m.! (Which means 9:40, but for real we are leaving by 9:40!)
– or –
11:00 a.m. meet us at the ferry (inside, in line).
11:25 a.m. ferry sets sail (ARRIVE AT LEAST 20 MINUTES EARLY).

Routes:

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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 11:05am. 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 and regular bike, 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. Current fares are $8.10 for adults, $4.05 for kids six and up, and $1 for bikes.
Trailers, cargo bikes, tandems, and trailer bikes are sometimes charged an extra $1 bike fee so families with bikes of that ilk should hit a ticket booth. If the ticket agent seems confused, it’s helpful to say, “Last time families with bikes like this paid [fill in the blank].”
For example: for our tandem plus trailer bike carrying one adult and two kids age six and up, they’ve been charging me for one adult plus bike, one kid plus bike, one extra $1 bike charge. We can compare notes at PCC before heading down.
The Bainbridge-to-Seattle direction is free.

Once on Bainbridge Island, we’ll ride about a block uphill within the ferry terminal area to Bike Barn Rentals and hang out while the car traffic clears. Generally, we push directly onward to the campground, but there’s a grocery store in Winslow for any forgotten items. During our June group trip, we used this stop to divide into three groups:
– Group hitting grocery store and then taking scenic route
– Group taking scenic route
– Group taking direct, highway route (this is the group I, Madi, will lead)

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.

Hiker/biker camp spots are $7 per person, though sometimes the camp host is OK with us paying $7 per tent (essentially making kids free!), so we always check in with the camp host first. Also, we’re often given permission to camp in the kayak-in area, which we’ll try to do again this year as we like that side best! Payment happens at a kiosk between the restrooms and the camp host. Keep your receipt handy so we can give them to the camp host and help them keep track of our big group.

Here’s a recap of our recent June family bike camping trip or go straight to the Flickr gallery of 194 photos.

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Note: We’ve been doing group summer camping trips to Fay for several years now and we’ve gradually been seeing more kids riding their own bikes–we had four in June! 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 own Seattle kids are used to…however, they’re going to ride their own bikes for the first time this trip! I’ll take my cargo bike just in case I need to carry one or both of them and their bikes for part of the way.

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. We can try to have energy to head to Peddler Brewing Company or Fremont Brewing for a Seattle-side hangout before going our separate ways. Our route from Fay to the ferry is a backtracking of our Saturday route over and here’s the route from the Seattle Ferry Terminal to Peddler Brewing Company and the route from the Seattle Ferry Terminal to Fremont Brewing.

New to bike camping or bike camping as a family? Feel free to ask questions in the comments or contact me. The Seattle Family Biking Facebook group is also an excellent resource–many families have borrowed gear via that group! Do you want to come, but don’t have the right bike? Check out the Familybike Seattle Rental Fleet.