30 Days of Biking – day 7

It’s April! That means 30 Days of Biking and biking every day and hopefully blogging about it each day.

Today wasn’t half bad. Everyone slept through the night, day two of school from home went well, and we got on our bikes.

This year, like last, I’ve got an elementary schooler and a middle schooler. Last school year I escorted them each to school and back, one mile to elementary, 4.5 to middle. This year working full-time had made it impossible for me to bike to either school in either direction. The elementary schooler was biking to and fro on his own while the middle schooler caught the school bus around the corner. Next year they’ll both be at middle school and my younger son is eager to learn the route. I think we’ll need to do a lot of test runs and this is certainly a great time to do ’em. There are a few busy, uncontrolled intersections so this practice is just as much familiarizing the kids with the route as it is getting me comfortable with the idea of them biking so far without me. I Strava’ed our rides and clocked us at 31 minutes there and 39 minutes back. I’m the slowest in the pack on my cargo bike, but my older kid’s lack of regular riding lately had him walking up the one hill on the way home so I suspect our numbers will improve if I switch to a zippier bike and as they get used to riding this much.

Given that it’s only the second day of classes moving online and schedules are still being finalized, I didn’t know until just before we left home that my middle schooler had a social studies class meeting an hour out. I didn’t want to cancel our bike excursion so I brought the laptop and he attended class at a picnic table at school. I was impressed that his teacher recognized the background right away and asked, “Wait, are you…at school right now?” I was even more impressed at my kid’s deadpanned, “What? I thought we were starting back at school today.”

The ride to and fro was a success. There were lots of people with dogs on the school grounds (most area school grassy fields turn into unofficial off-leash dog parks when school isn’t in session) but everyone kept their distance from one another. I’m not sure when we’ll sneak in another practice commute, but hopefully very soon.

On this day in 2013 my younger son learned to ride a pedal bike. We were invited to join a learn-to-ride class at Cascade Bicycle Club where my then-five-year old would be a ringer and my then-three-year old would be a regular student. They needn’t have invited us because the class was well-attended despite a downpour. Everyone started biking, including my little guy!

Pedaling! And puddles.

30 Day of Biking – day 6

It’s April! That means 30 Days of Biking and biking every day and hopefully blogging about it each day.

I’m still worn out and my stressed-out kid had another rough night, though not as rough as the night before. Online school started up today and it went well for both kids, hooray. I got out for a ride with Joe to visit his cats. He’s good at going on bike rides for the sake of riding, but I prefer having an errand attached so this kind of fit the bill for me. It still felt extravagant given the Stay Home, Stay Safe order (though I know exercise is encouraged) so I’m still not sure I’ll be able to keep biking daily if I can dream up a suitable reason each day.

Later on there was the usual twosquare on the sidewalk as well as some bonus longboarding. Pixie doesn’t like being left out of anything so to make up for her barking greetings at us nonstop through the window during twosquare we brought her along for the skate. A canvas Trader Joe’s shopping bag makes an excellent chiweenie shoulder bag, btw.

On this date in 2014 I led a Kidical Mass family group bike ride in Seattle. My kids were 4 and almost 7 at the time and mostly did their own pedaling, though I always brought my cargo bike in case I needed to carry one or both of them and their bikes. I noted they were becoming stronger pedalers and we didn’t need to stop for water-sip breaks quick as frequently.

2014 Kidical Mass Seattle

2014 was the year we were also tallying dogs we saw while out and about and we saw zero dogs that day. Today we skated by friends walking their big dog with Pixie in the shoulder bag so despite not getting enough sleep and ending the day with a pesky headache it was a banner day, considering.

Today’s miles: 7.6
Total April miles: 33.1

30 Days of Biking – day five

It’s April! That means 30 Days of Biking and biking every day and hopefully blogging about it each day.

After being up half the night with a stressed-out kid I wasn’t up for much of anything today, but we made it out to the schoolyard to play some foursquare. During our last visit we discovered much of the play area was strewn with little pieces of broken glass so I brought our big broom and swept the foursquare court clean.

On this date in 2011 we lived in Seattle but tagged along on a day trip to Portland with my friend Kerri so she could buy a bike like mine. At that point I had a little city bike with front and rear kid seats and though I had never been to Clever Cycles, I knew they’d be able to match her to a bike. She ended up with a terrific little Breezer with front and rear kid seats. Meanwhile, I test rode a longtail for the first time…though I already knew I wanted to eventually upgrade to one before that.

Today’s miles: 2
Total April miles: 25.5

30 Days of Biking 2020 – days three and four

It’s April! That means 30 Days of Biking and biking every day and hopefully blogging about it each day.

I’m still ambivalent about biking for the sake of biking in general and apprehensive about biking right now specifically so I’m not sure I’ll be a good 30 Days of Biking participant this round. Yesterday I made it out to go grocery shopping, but didn’t bother taking any photos or posting about it so it’s clear I won’t be keeping up that end of the bargain.

Today I biked 11 miles round trip to retrieve a package from Bricks & Minifigs–an early birthday present for my 12-year old from his grandfather. Bricks & Minifigs is delivering locally and allowing pick ups. I had hoped to bring the kids with me, but I am feeling extremely worn out today–not too worn out to do the bike ride myself, but too worn out to drag kids on a ride that’s much farther than they normally go. But Pixie and Joe came along so I had company. We saw a lot of other bikes out; also two roller bladers and two one-wheelers.

On this day in 2014 my small pedalers and I biked to Gas Works Park in Seattle. It was their first time going up Kite Hill on pedal bikes, though they’d scooted up on balance bikes and been carried up on my bike before. My then-4-year old on a 16-inch bike had to walk up the switchbacks, but I could tell he’d be pedaling the whole way up before long. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have made it up that hill today.


Today’s miles: 11
Yesterday’s miles: 2.4
Total April miles: 23.5

30 Days of Biking 2020 – day two

I’m on a roll! I wasn’t sure I’d make it out on a bike today, but an errand presented itself and saved the day. I didn’t bring the kids along, but they got their exercise via dog walks, twosquare, and a rainy family jog earlier in the day. For the errand, Pixie the chiweenie and I biked to my 7th grader’s English teacher’s house to pick up a couple books from her porch. Online learning starts for Portland Public Schools students next week.

The streets were nice and quiet and it was the first time I’ve seen the parking lot next to Assembly Brewing empty so we stopped to admire the great mural by Ashley Montague.


Today’s flashback is to April 2, 2015, when we lived in Seattle and the viaduct was still up. The deep-bore tunnel bore, Bertha, had finally been extracted from its long clusterstuck. My older kid used to wear a Blue Angels flight suit every day back then, awww.


This day in 2015

Today’s miles: 4.8
Total April miles: 10.1

30 Days of Biking 2020 – we’re doing it

When last we “spoke” five days ago (Are you biking during shelter-in-place? Us, not so much) I wasn’t sure I was up for biking more than the bare minimum (groceries every couple weeks), but I hoped that writing about it would inspire me to get out daily. No promises, but I think it worked. The kids and I definitely need to get outdoors more; we’re playing quite a bit of foursquare on the sidewalk right outside, but it’s not enough. So hopefully we can take some small yet adventurous rides for 30 Days of Biking.


Today we biked to my 10-year old’s elementary school to play foursquare in a marked court. There were several other families around, keeping their distance from one another, so that was a pleasant sight.

We took a circuitous route home and discovered a bike tower near school!


Since it’s the 10th year of 30 Days of Biking, I thought it’d be fun to highlight a past day-in-common each time I post. Today I’m flashing back to the first day of our first 30 Days of Biking 10 years ago when the kids were 3 and 1. We took a 1-mile ride to the grocery store. My rear kid normally held the groceries for me, but he was full up with a banana in one hand and a leafy branch in the other so I tucked the groceries in my ring sling and wore them like a baby, ha.

First 30 Days of Biking ride

Our first 30 Days of Biking ride 10 years ago!

Today’s miles: 5.3
Total April miles: 5.3

Are you biking during shelter-in-place? Us, not so much

Virtual high fives and hugs to all. I hope you’re faring OK during the COVID-19 pandemic. Oregon is under a Stay Home, Save Lives” order as of Monday, but I haven’t worked since the 15th. (However, my company has just started a bike-based service delivering locally-roasted coffee if you’re in the Portland area!!)

Portland is home to some of the mellowest drivers in America, but already a couple weeks ago I noticed that while there were fewer people out in their cars, those that I saw were driving faster than usual and more erratically. I’ve read on Twitter that people on bikes in other cities are experiencing this, too.

Wednesday’s grocery run (no toilet paper to be found, though)

But that’s not why we haven’t gotten on our bikes. I love bicycling and it usually keeps me happy and healthy, but I get that fix through transportational cycling–getting from point A to B. With points A and B both being home, very few errands, and no kid activities to get to, there’s nowhere to go. We’re allowed to bike still, but other than getting groceries a couple days ago I haven’t been on my bike. Even though we of Team Family Ride are not getting out on bikes regularly, there are a lot of other people still commuting to essential jobs, running errands, and biking just for the sake of biking.

Before the Stay Home order we were walking to the park near our house, but now we’re staying even closer to home, spending time in our yard and playing two square on the sidewalk, but otherwise staying indoors getting our exercise from P.E. with Joe and Cosmic Kids Yoga.

Do you find yourself able to get out on your bike for recreational purposes (or essential errands) without it adding to your anxiety? Here’s a nice article on Bicycling.com: How to Ride Safely Amid Coronavirus Concerns if you’ve been pondering it. Portland parks bureau just banned driving in 10 parks to create more room for social distancing while walking and biking which is great. My kids have never biked to the top of Mt. Tabor so I’m toying with the idea of taking advantage of the quiet roads and getting them active doing that. Maybe. Staying home is taking a toll on our moods and adding a daily bike ride would probably help that, though it does increase our risk of exposure.

30 Days of Biking

Banking by bike
Banking by bike during 30 Days of Biking ten years ago

If I can get myself comfortable with the idea of spending time outside biking, I’ll be able to participate in 30 Days of Biking (“pledge to ride your bike every day in April–any distance, any destination–and share your adventures online”) starting April 1st. It feels silly to worry about a virtual bike game, but it’s long been a favorite event of mine and I credit it for turning me into an everyday bicyclist. Over the years I’ve enjoyed getting out on my bike every day of the month for 30 Days of Biking, even when it’s sometimes been just for the sake of getting out on my bike and not for an errand or work. But I’m not sure I’ve got it in me right now. This year so many events are postponing and 30 Days of Biking is no different, adding a second round in September just like they used to have the first few years of the project. So I have that to look forward to if biking beyond the bare minimum in April doesn’t pan out. However, I’m hoping having written about it will bolster me. We’ll soon see.