I finally named my cargo bike!

I have a lot of friends who name their bikes and I’ve always thought that was a fine idea, but I’m just not nearly as creative as I used to be, so I’ve been content with The Old Mamabike, The Mamabike, and The Tandem. However, I did name my most recent bike–Valentine, a single-speed cyclocross bike I got in February. I figured it was a fluke, but now…maybe there’s a chance I’ve still got it!

Oh, fun side story: my parents opted not to use our given names for my brother and me for the first two years of our lives. I can’t remember which culture if was from, but I remember it was borrowed from a culture not our own. I also remember my mom responding to my “BUT WHY WOULD YOU DO THIS TO US???!!!” with “Well, we heard about this tradition and I can’t remember the reasoning behind it, but it sounded neat!” Sheesh. (I’ll post an update if my dad emails me to clarify.) Anyhow, my brother was introduced to me as Little Brother, but I was a bit under two (ooh, and nameless also, I guess!) when he was born and the closest I could get was Yakoo Brooker. And so everyone called him Yakoo Brooker, Brooker for short. For a long, long time. Eventually–like last year…no, like when he was five, maybe?–he demanded we use his given name. Unfortunately for me, he wanted to use the whole damn thing so I stumbled over Alexander for a while. I imagine we either stopped talking to one another or he came to his senses and conceded to be called Alex. For decades we’d see people we hadn’t see since we were little who’d address him as Brooker and I’d giggle while he muttered “It’s Alex now.” Poor kid.

And so after nearly five years of not-so-intentionally not using my Big Dummy’s real name, she’s got a real name! But that also comes with a story…

After leading a Kidical Mass ride through a wind-and-rain storm to a nursery for pumpkins, hay maze, and mini baby goat petting, we returned home and I unloaded the bike formerly known as The Mamabike: I plucked the puking kid off the FlightDeck and carried him inside, removed the dog and all her stuff from the front basket, unhitched the puker’s bike from the back, lugged the eight pumpkins to the porch, and carried in the two bags of snacks and extra clothing…

As I returned to wheel my awesome bike deep into the carport to lock her up I took in her empty fork mounts and gaping FreeLoader bags–now containing only rain water and fallen leaves–ready for whatever we throw at her. And I impulsively said, “That’ll do pig, that’ll do.”

Meet Babe!




Yay Babe!

As always, stay tuned for the annual Big Dummy birthday post in early December in which I’ll recount the amazing things we’ve done over the past year so nothing of that nature right now.

But I do want to talk about another Big Dummy…one I love even more than my own (shh, don’t tell Babe!)

My celebration at the naming of my bike feels hollow knowing the life-saving Big Dummy of my friend Ginger was just stolen!

Here’s a clip from the local news. And @stolenbikespdx tweet:

The bike is registered with Bike Index and lots of eyes are looking for it, but add your eyes to the hunt and share the video, share the tweet, and register your own bike(s) on Bike Index RIGHT NOW if it’s not already in their database.

Kidical Mass to Celebrate Roosevelt

Saturday, November 5
10:30 a.m.
Mighty-O Donuts, Tangletown
(2110 N 55th St, Seattle, WA 98103)
Facebook event page
The route: 2.3 miles

The Roosevelt Paving & Safety Project is almost complete and it’s time to party!

Join Familybike Seattle for a Kidical Mass ride to this special free event.

10:30 a.m. – meet at Mighty-O Donuts in Tangletown. We’ll have coffee and vegan doughnuts and can pop across the street to the 56th Street Market to purchase new, unused toiletries (toothbrushes, shampoo, soap, etc) for the donation drive at the University District Food Bank, now in its great new location.

Our 2.3-mile route through Green Lake will feature quiet neighborhood streets, some of the Green Lake path, paint-separated bike lanes, and finally the new protected bike lane on Roosevelt!

Noon – Ribbon cutting with Seattle Neighborhood Greenways at the University District Food Bank. Kids and families will ceremonially ride onto the new Roosevelt Protected Bike Lane.

The event runs until 1pm with fun programming:

  • Transportation resource fair (SDOT resources, ORCA, Pronto, Vision Zero, etc.), activities, and food drive at the food bank.
  • Community passport: visit participating Roosevelt businesses and collect stickers. Completed passports entered into a drawing to win prizes.

Recap: Kidical Mass rides to Swansons for pumpkins and baby goats

Hooray for hearty Seattle family bikers who came out for Kidical Mass rides to Swansons for pumpkins and baby goats! despite every Seattleite being extremely worried by the SUPER STORM forecast. A large group–17!!!!–gathered at G&O Family Cyclery for free espresso (thanks!!) while the kids played in the awesome toy corner.

Photo courtesy G&O Family Cyclery

Photo courtesy G&O Family Cyclery

Here’s our 4.1-mile round trip route from G&O Family Cyclery to Swansons Nursery and back to Flying Bike Cooperative Brewery. Google maps calls it “mostly flat,” but the slight hills are noticeable on heavy bikes and kid bikes. We crossed to the south of busy NW 85th Street for the flattest possible route, and carefully chose our northerly wiggle for relatively easy crossings of 85th and Holman Road. Coming back was a little more straightforward since the “mostly flat” was the downhill sort of “mostly flat.”


We had light rain the whole time, but only felt a bit of wind as we turned the last corner to the nursery. It was a great opportunity to test rain gear for many of us. I was OK in rain jacket, rain skirt, shoe covers, and no gloves (though I brought two pairs just in case). My kids wore rain jackets and rain pants, but really wanted to wear regular shoes instead of boots so they ended up with wet feet. My older kid pedaled and was OK, even without gloves (he finds it easier to shift without them), but I carried my younger kid due to an upset stomach and his feet were pretty uncomfortable. As were his hands, wet despite his gloves. We have two sets of handlebar mittens–one Bar Mitts and one Portland Pogies–and I love them and recommend them to adults all the time (and Bar Mitts Stroller Mitts for Xtracycle Hooptie/Yuba Monkeybars/Haul-a-Day Whoopee-Deux rails), but my kids aren’t used to shifting with them yet. This is reason enough to take the tandem + trailer bike on our next cold ride.


Swansons was great! The goats were adorable! With awesome names: Buttermilk Pancake, MegaMan, and Tootsie Roll. And the kids enjoyed the hay maze and peeked at the partially-assembled holiday model train display (I hear it’s going to be a cross between Halloweentown and Whoville this year).


Unfortunately, the day didn’t go quite as planned–Swansons warned us they needed to close early, at 2pm, due to the impending wind storm, but our end spot, Flying Bike Cooperative Brewery was closed until 3pm for a special event. That didn’t really matter for my family, though, because my kid with the upset stomach vomited by the pumpkins so we headed for home as soon as we could.

But we got our pumpkins! We agreed ahead of time on each kid selecting one big pumpkin, one medium pumpkin, and two mini pumpkins. One kid wanted all ghost pumpkins so we ended up with a cool-looking bike load.



A few families coordinated drying off at a nearby house together so I’m relieved an after-party/playdate still happened. We biked off with one other family which was fun for our two puddle splashers (and their littler kid is the one who gave me a shell and told me I looked pretty during one camping trip so he’s my super duper favorite even though he doesn’t seem to remember our special moment).


See all the photos by me and S J from G&O Family Cyclery in this Flickr album: 2016 Kidical Mass to Swansons Hay Maze – October 15, 2016 – 70 photos.

Happy fall!

Kidical Mass rides to Swansons for pumpkins and baby goats!

Saturday, October 15, 2016
Outside G&O Family Cyclery
(8554 1/2 Greenwood Ave N, Seattle, WA 98103)
End at Flying Bike Cooperative Brewery
Facebook RSVP


‘Tis the season for Fall Adventures at Swansons! Note: this is the weekend before the big Fall Festival, but we’ll still get all the best stuff without the crowds:

  • Kids’ hay maze
  • Adorable visiting baby goats!
  • Pumpkins, gourds & fall decor

Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, the cafe recently burned down and was rebuilt. Everyone is fine (including the koi!) and it’s renamed Barn & Field Kitchen & Bakery. We’ll probably grab a snack there while spending a couple hours negotiating how many pumpkins we need to buy because we can’t possibly live without them once we’ve named them all!

The routes:
2.2 “mostly flat” miles there
1.8 flat and downhill miles back


We’ll meet up outside G&O Family Cyclery at noon so go early (they open at 10) if you need bike stuff.

We’ll loop back and end at Flying Bike Cooperative Brewery. There are really good sandwiches by Munch Cafe right next door (and OK to bring in other food) and fun for kids inside.

And hey, I never recapped last year’s 2015 Kidical Mass to Swansons Hay Maze so I just put the photos on Flickr: 2015 Kidical Mass to Swansons Hay Maze – 31 photos.

West Seattle Summer Parkways and DRT recap

Seattle’s third and final Summer Parkways of the year happened last weekend, in West Seattle. The event also hosted a half marathon and the Seattle Disaster Relief Trials.

Much like our experience at Ballard Summer Parkways last month, I didn’t get to see everything so I’ll need to try to make time to explore the whole event next year. I spent most of my time in one spot–running the kid bike decorating station and working DRT registration and finish line.


Whereas I had a bunch of kids for the kick-off bike parade in Ballard, there weren’t many around for this event. I heard from the event organizer that things happen a bit differently in West Seattle and people would show up later in the day. Had I not been busy with DRT the rest of the day, I think I could have declared a later parade time and gathered people at 2pm or so. Things to know for next year! Our small parade was my one chance for seeing some of the event, like the small bike polo court (cool!) and a bounce house. I ended the parade once I got back to my booth so I didn’t get a chance to see the bike rodeo put on by West Seattle Bike Connections on the other side of us, but that was also running all day long.


At least DRT was huge! Here’s the photo album from DRT Seattle DRT 2016 (it might grow bigger, but at this point it’s just my 78 photos). DRT was a roaring success with many competitors and fun had by all…and the world saved from disaster, of course! The Seattle DRT website will post a full recap soon.

Alex Kostelnik, owner of 20/20 Cycle and Electric Lady Bicycles was the first to finish on his beautiful Bilenky cycletruck that has turned into some kind of monster since I saw him last. He thought we were joking when we said he had won the E-assist class because Haulin’ Colin had spent the majority of the race right behind him, heckling and relying on Alex’s navigation skills only to zoom ahead when he knew where he was going.


We figured Colin must have had a mechanical failure of some sort and indeed he did! He had an exciting tire blow out that ground his bike to a halt, but he didn’t crash and the eggs (representing fragile medical supplies) in his teammate’s shirt pockets survived just fine. His rim was shot so they rolled in on a bare rear rim. He was able to pack Shamu, his semi-recumbent tandem extra-extra-longtail cargo bike, into the Bike Works BikeMobile at the end of the day.



There was also a pretty epic trailer tire flat that rolled in duct taped to the max:


And I found Morgan Scherer, DRT organizer and Familybike Executive Director fixing a trailer flat as I headed home. She surmised that the rough terrain part of the course was her undoing as she pulled four thorns out of her tire. Those other two flats were bigger blowouts and cannot be attributed to mere thorns, though.


Here’s her rig in all its glory as we parted ways before I went over the West Seattle swing bridge and she took the Duwamish Trail. She also has a Surly Big Dummy. Hers is named Xena and has a Stokemonkey e-assist and is pulling her cargo trailer named Zombie Bernice with her awesome new e-bike trailing behind.


I just carried pinwheels, pipe cleaners, and a tiny dog. Not nearly the same as the 300 potatoes I hauled home after last year’s DRT, but this year’s food was carried by van to a different food bank nor was I part of the organizing crew so I just did my small bit of day-of volunteering.


And one more flat…
Even after a day filled with cargo bikes, I needed more cargo bikes so I met up with my friend Velotron who had been at the football game on his cargo bike so we could ride home together. He’s got an e-assist and I don’t so we took the new Westlake Cycletrack(flat) rather than Dexter (uphill both ways) so it’d be easier to travel at the same speed. I fared fine, but Velotron picked up a carpet tack and got flat a few blocks from home. That makes twice I’ve been with people who picked up tacks (also on my Critical Lass ride the day before) so I think I’ll avoid Westlake for the time being because surely my own luck has run out.


But before the tack worked its way into his tube, I grabbed a great video of Velotron’s lights (that’s Pixie whimpering at the beginning because she doesn’t like not being first…not sure if it’s a rescue dog separation anxiety thing or a pack leader thing):

Seattle Kidical MASSIVE 2016 recap

Yesterday Seattle took part in the second annual Kidical MASSive–Kidical Mass on the same day, everywhere–thousands of families around the world going for a bike ride together!

Kidical Mass shows that “Kids are Traffic Too” and that cities that plan for family biking are more livable, sustainable, profitable, and FUN!


Despite a rainy forecast (yet no rain!) and a lot of wind, 20 people came out for our Seattle ride. This is a hard time of year to motivate to get outdoors…summer disappeared too quickly and we’re not yet used to the oppressive grey. It wasn’t an epic spectacle like Seattle Kidical MASSIVE 2015, but that was a day with gorgeous weather and it overlapped with Ballard Summer Parkways.

All my pictures on Flickr: Kidical MASSIVE Seattle – September 17, 2016 – 43 photos, 1 video. And check out many participating cities via the #kidicalMASSive twitter hashtag.

We met at Husky Grind at Mercer Court, right on the Burke-Gilman Trail. One family with a UW parking pass parked on campus which allowed the to attend from far away, one family partially bused over, and the rest of us biked. Unfortunately the cafe isn’t open on weekends until next weekend (note to self: find schedule here), but it was still a convenient meeting spot and we made use of the new Bike Fixation bike repair station…both as a fun toy and by two parents for real stuff.


As Kidical Mass rides go, this was atypical in that we spent most of our time on the Burke-Gilman Trail. It’s important we ride on streets, too, so we can demonstrate family biking as a means of transportation in our city to people who won’t see us tucked away on the multi-use trail as well as take advantage of the safety-in-numbers thing and give our families valuable safe and fun practice biking on city streets. But the Burke-Gilman Trail is a wonderful and useful corridor that some use for recreation, but a lot of us use to get from point A to point B.


There are many businesses lining the trail. We stopped at Counterbalance Bicycles to use the potty, pick up a replacement helmet, and make an impulse purchase of kid biking gloves.


Of particular note: our ride took place on PARK(ing) Day Plus+. We didn’t hit any PARK(ing) spots, but we rode through Seattle Neighborhood Greenways’ PARK(ing) Day 2015 Design Competition honorable mention at NE 40th Street (Bryant/4th project listed). A year later, there are spray paint markings implying SDOT might install curb bulbs or flexi posts to make this dangerous spot easier to cross. Our Kidical MASSIVE ride splintered into a few groups to dart across during lulls in traffic, but I’m hopeful someday crossing here will be easier.



We left the Burke-Gilman Trail to take Seattle’s first separated bike lanes at NE 65th Street.


The cycletrack spit us out at an awkward two-crosswalk crossing to get into Magnuson Park, but then we shared quiet roads to get to Cascade Bicycle Club for their Unveiling Party celebrating:

  • The first-of-its-kind Traffic Garden, a small-scale, European-style streetscape where people can practice riding bikes in a safe and comfortable setting;
  • The Fix-it Garage, a fully stocked new learning space where riders can stop and do their own quick fixes; and
  • The Ride Leader Welcome Pavilion, our new front welcoming space that offers plenty of seating, shade, water bottle fill-ups and more—all made possible through generous donations of the Cascade Ride Leader team.

The Ride Leader Welcome Pavilion is great! There’s a bike repair station, covered seating, and covered bike parking! After filling our plates with lunch food and listening to announcements in the auditorium, we enjoyed cake and ice cream outdoors.


The Traffic Garden is awesome and kids all took part in a bike rodeo. Bikes and balance bikes were provided to kids who arrived without wheels and one little friend even worked on learning how to ride a bike.


I’m looking forward to seeing what fun events happen here in the future!

#coffeeoutsideforher is moving to 8:30 a.m.

Yes, #coffeeoutsideforher is still going strong! Just a quick check-in to let you know we’re shifting times: now at 8:30 a.m. (was 10:00 a.m.)

Thursdays 8:30 a.m.
Gas Works Park

Plaza in the southeast edge of the park
…or if it’s rainy at the covered picnic tables in the play barn at the east side of the park
Reminder on the @familyride Instagram every Wednesday

More about coffee outside in my original post and the February check-in post.

Here are some pictures from last week’s final 10am gathering…

We started out with a professional photoshoot:


Just kidding! We arrived to find a company taking fancy pictures at our spot. But they seemed to be finishing up so we hovered for a few minutes rather than relocate. We’ve also had to work around sports shoe photoshoots and Real World filming this summer. But usually it’s not so exciting.

We had a fairly big crowd with 11 attendees, including a family with a toddler, a visiting dad on a borrowed bike, and a guy from New York who happened to ride by on his Pedal Anywhere rental bike and we called over to join us.


Everyone is welcome, regardless of gender, and there is no need to bring anything. Traditionally #coffeeoutside means everyone brings their own camp coffee setup and brews in tandem, but I’m happy to make coffee for everyone. Bring snacks if you’ve got ’em, or just help eat what’s there.

See you Thursday!


Lindsey Bikes!‘s bike looking lovely at our scenic spot.