Archive | October 2010

Halloween sharrow

It’s probably the last year I can dictate Halloween costumes, so this year Brandt was a sharrow. He got a few “What are you?”s, but for the most part it was smiles and thumbs ups. He escorted a family with an iBert baby seat across a street, but was otherwise a passive traffic marking. I noticed the covered bike rack at the Wallingford QFC has been moved from underneath the overhang, but that was the only bummer moment of the night.

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Rain bags

I attempted to ride up 50th for the first time since it kicked my butt a year and a half ago. I made it up that time, but just barely. Today it was windy out so I was tired before I even got to the hill. I gave up just before the tunnel under Aurora and pushed the bike a block. I haven’t decided yet if this beats cycling twenty blocks out of the way for the mildest hill. I should probably time both routes so I can better compare them…but that would mean having to tackle the hill again.

Anyhow, we went to the Woodland Park Zoo and I discovered a ton of covered bike parking at the new West entrance. It’s great to have covered parking, but it’s still a bit of a walk from the entrance to the indoor Zoomazium play area so I’m not sure this will be a recurring rainy-day activity. I am tempted to see if I can bungee my little trailer stroller (umbrella stroller that fits in the Burley) into one of my baskets. That would definitely help matters.

At the Phinney Neighborhood Center, I couldn’t squeeze the bike into my secret dry spot so protected our seats with classy plastic bags and locked it up outside. I think I need to find some prettier–or at least matching–bags. I could even use this as an excuse to go shopping.

New helmets

I noticed cracks along the top of Brandt’s helmet the other day and decided it was time for a new one. As luck would have it, REI is having a sale on Nutcase Helmets “Little Nutty” kid helmets. Only the eight ball design were on sale, but there’s nothing better than basic black for coordinating with a Celeste Green bike. I got one for each boy even though Baby Rijder is a teeny bit too small for his.

We almost didn’t make it out today because the garage wouldn’t open more than two feet. But I was tough and laid the bike down and lugged it out. Unfortunately the boys used that extra waiting-around time to drag their pretty new helmets around on the ground so they’re already out of pristine condition. But we finally made it down to Lake Union Park for the floating farmers market.

On the way back up Stone a station wagon pulled up along side me and the woman driving said, “You must be Scandinavian!” happily. I think I burst her bubble when I said, “My mother was Dutch.” But she kept smiling and said they were a Danish family.

Helmet-wise, Baby Rijder wore a cap underneath on the way down, but pulled it forward on his head. So on the way back up I put it over his hood, but he was able to pull that backwards. He’s got a hat that fastens on tightly so that’ll be the ticket.

Covered parking at SLU

I’m not sure if I didn’t notice this on previous visits or if it’s brand new, but there’s a covered bike rack at Lake Union Park! Either way, it’s fairly new. It’s on the SW corner of the park a.k.a. closest corner to the Space Needle for my fellow directionally-challenged friends.

Nothing extraordinarily interesting on the ride, though someone shouted “Happy Wednesday!” at us. I haven’t decided yet if that means more than just “have a nice day.” Maybe there’s some Seattle Wednesday phenomenon I’m not aware of. I have decided that I like riding home during rush hour. All those extra cars on the road all but guarantee I’ll miss one or both lights on my way up Stone. Also, it’s much easier riding up Stone when I’m just coming home from South Lake Union and not coming all the way from Kenmore.

Kenmore

Feeling wimpy for not attempting the whole Tour de Flannel, I decided to ride into new territory, past Magnuson Park. I chose Log Boom Park, the northernmost point along the Burke-Gilman and 14.5 miles from home. Google Maps said it would take 1:16 so I’m proud of myself for coming remotely close with 1:33. Plus that included two brief stops: one to grab new kid snacks from the “trunk” and two to double check my iPhone map to make sure I hadn’t gone too far (ha ha, we weren’t even close at that point). I keep thinking I’ve embraced the journey itself, but I find myself caring about how fast I’m getting there.

The ride was great and the path is beautiful past Matthews Beach Park. I was the only one to appreciate it, though, since the baby fell asleep and the toddler had his nose buried in a book. I appreciated the quiet, too.

At the park, a mother and her grown daughter admired my bike setup. She was hardcore and rode everywhere when her daughter was little, from trailer to rear seat to trail-a-bike and didn’t own a car until the daughter entered high school. I told her I’ve been thinking about biking everywhere, but haven’t wrapped my head around grocery shopping yet. She suggested hooking up the trailer (which we actually thought of last night when I was lamenting not being able to Xtracycle the Milano and not being ready for a different bike) or taking a taxi. I can only imagine the nightmare putting two carseats into a taxi, so the trailer it is! Or perhaps it’s time to enroll in Amazon Fresh like everyone else and avoid the whole issue.

Practice bus rack

We attended the Sustainable Ballard Festival today, first to volunteer for an hour at the CoolMom carseat recycling station, then to try the practice bus bike rack affixed to the front of a van. I tried twice, once as the first bike on and once as the second bike on…and I fit, Bobikes and all! But it is tiring work hefting the bike up there, and I’m not sure it’d go as well getting in the second or third slot with the baby on my back. But good to know for in-case-of-emergency situations.

There was a covered bike rack set up at Ballard Commons Park, but I’m not sure if it was just there for the festival or if it will be there always. I did discover a couple sneaky spots under the overhang at Joanne’s Fabrics, but it wouldn’t be cool of me to steal one and then hang out in the library or Tully’s.

Other interesting items of the day were learning a bike windshield is also called a fairing–this from the wife of the guy who cycles his chickens around in a mobile chicken coop! And I talked to the Undriving people and might be an upcoming featured Undriver. Woo hoo.

The kids were hungry by the end of the afternoon, but between the big one tossing his rainboot sole inserts down a storm drain and the little one discovering puddles for the first time and therefore riding home with no pants on, we weren’t exactly cafe-friendly. Plus I didn’t want to deal with de- and re-biking so we rolled into Dutch Bike Co. for a snack on wheels. So convenient! And as luck would have it, Fritz showed up while we were there so I showed him my rubbing fender which he promptly fixed permanently, with zip ties. Black ones, so the work doesn’t even show. I mentioned to him my bright idea to turn the Milano into an Xtracycle, but he warned me it might not work with all its parts, such as my pretty Celeste Green rear fender. So there goes that idea. Not to mention an Xtracycle wouldn’t fit on a Metro bus.

Fun with Google Maps

We rode to Ravenna Park for the first time today. I’ve poked around Bikely and Map My Ride, but primarily use Google Maps bike directions. I was impressed it found this trail in the park considering how rugged it was. I had figured Google only acknowledged paved bike paths. Once I was on the path, I got a bit turned around and thought Google wanted me to take the top fork, but when I saw that it led downhill, I was worried I wouldn’t be able to handle the uphill. It turns out I was correct to take the bottom fork, but at the playground I came up against four concrete steps. I can’t believe that’s the route Google had chosen for me! I had the rear kid dismount and was able to carry the bike and front kid up so it wasn’t too big a pain, but next time I’ll stick to the street. And next time I go somewhere new and twisty, I’ll think about printing out the map.

Yesterday we cycled down to Lake Union Park and checked out the inaugural Farmboat Fall Floating Market where I took the following glamor shot of the bike to put on the Bianchi Flickr group. I labelled it the “Milano Minivan.”