Archive | April 2011

30 Days of Biking day 20: Two rides, two bikes

We tooled around town on the Bianchi this morning: playground, doctor, Whole Foods, Trader Joes. This was finally my first bike trip to Trader Joes! I’m pretty sure I can’t hang the Milano on the railing where the cool kids hang their bikes, but I did share a bike rack with a hipster bike out front. In order to fit my groceries in the basket, I had to take everything out of the bag, put the bag in the basket, and then repack it item-by-item. Not ideal, but better than no baskets.

In the early evening we headed off to our old neighborhood for a walk around the lake with a friend and her new baby. I didn’t want to walk all the way over there so I loaded up the double trailer: two kids, umbrella stroller, balance bike, snacks, toys, non-SPD shoes. I finally see where a trailer than converts to a stroller would come in handy. At the beginning of the ride I thought about looking for one on Craigslist, but as the big kid whacked the little kid in the face with 20 yards to go I decided I’m better off with my current Bobikes setup and normal double trailer for occasional use.

We made it around the lake at a fairly good pace. We started out with the big kid on the balance bike and the little kid in the stroller, but he got tired and wanted to sit in the stroller so I threw the little one on my back. We had to swap back and forth this way several times, but it kept us moving steadily enough that our baby friend stayed asleep the whole way around. I hadn’t been sure how I’d manage carrying the balance bike around if he didn’t want to ride, but it fit perfectly on the little stroller’s handles. Not sure we’ll make a habit of using the trailer for a while, but I might try cramming all this stuff in again in a month or so with some “gentle hands” discussion ahead of time.

Daily distance: 9.4 miles
Cumulative: 157.3 miles

30 Days of Biking day 19: Sick day

Today was supposed to be an Issaquah adventure by bike–bike downtown and bring the bike aboard the bus and use bike to explore the city after our dentist appointments. But I woke up feeling sick with a cold and bagged the whole plan. I commandeered my car and we drove over and came straight home afterwards. No salmon hatchery, no train playground, no lunch out.

Today’s ride was just a quick trip to the grocery store for soup. Not much of a ride, but I’m glad it was a proper ride and not just a run around the block for the sake of 30 Days of Biking. I just brought the small kid with me and used the big kid’s seat for carrying the grocery bag. It’s certainly easier putting one full bag in the seat instead of dividing things into two bags and cramming them in the baskets. I seem to be doing a lot of biking with just the one little passenger lately. Oh, and I figured out how to lengthen the straps of the rear seat. Shame on me for doubting something of Dutch design to be more style than substance. It was just a bit too design-y for me to easily notice the hidden button.

Daily distance: 1.2 miles
Cumulative: 147.9 miles

30 Days of Biking day 18: Space Needle via Waterfront fail

Today seemed like a good day to try our alternate route to the Seattle Center. It’s longer (10.2 miles versus 4.8), but it’s such a pain to cross Aurora downtown that it seemed worth it. Turns out, it’s not.

Not that this should influence my opinion of the route, but we got caught in a rainstorm. We took refuge in Me ‘N Moms kiddie consignment shop so the kids could play and I could shop. I found several items, including a nice rain slicker for the big kid. Much needed because we learned on the Kidical Mass ride to the Seattle Bike Expo that his old rain jacket isn’t very waterproof. I didn’t see any bike racks near the shop, but I wouldn’t have wanted to park exposed to the rain anyway. Instead, I tucked the bike into the covered entryway of the neighboring business. I felt bad using their space, but it seemed like a slow day.

The rainstorm passed and we exited the store to a beautiful blue sky. The ride through the locks and along the train tracks was fine. The kids loved it as always–one loves trains and the other loves school buses and there’s a portion of the Terminal 91 Bike Path with trains on one side and a school bus parking lot on the other.

I think the path is sporting new blue reflectors. There’s a chance they’ve been there for a while and I didn’t notice them on previous grey and/or rainy trips, but I’m pretty sure they’re new. I wouldn’t want to get tripped up on the train tracks, but the white line seems a little more restrictive than necessary, making the path too narrow for two-way traffic.

I chose Broad Street as my route from the Waterfront to the Seattle Center. I don’t know if there’s a better nearby street and I might not bother looking for it because Broad really sucked! It was two very steep blocks. I have no idea how I made it up them. At the top of the hill we rode by a dad walking with his two boys. The older boy said, “Dad, you should do that!” Those kids must hate their poor dad because I must have looked a mess after those rough two blocks.

I opted to take the normal route home. It wasn’t all that great, either. I don’t like taking the sidewalk on Broad to get past Aurora and today’s construction meant I had to take the wrong side of the sidewalk. It was a little disconcerting to face oncoming cars while tunneling under Aurora.

But a bit of good news: I made it up Densmore without the Spokespeople pacing me up. Again, I have no idea how I did it. The white noise of my rhythmic panting lulled the baby to sleep. Good for him, but I was the one that really needed a nap after today!

Waterfront route to Seattle Center

Normal route to Seattle Center

Daily distance: 15 miles
Cumulative: 146.7 miles

30 Days of Biking day 17: Birthday party by bike (and car)

With better planning I probably could have made today work carfree. But as it was, the boys and I took the car out early this morning to post our “reserved” sign on our picnic shelter, pick up the birthday cake, and fetch bagels. Then the baby and I biked down to the park with decorations and craft project while the birthday boy and dad drove to pick up the coffee and bring everything else to the park. In retrospect I should have accepted the help of friends and had people already planning to drive over get the food. I think we could have fit everything else on my bike and in a kid-less double trailer attached to my husband’s bike.

Two other families came by bike (and from farther away than us) so that was really cool! And since the day was sunny (though still cold!) there were tons of biking families at the park.

I just took the little kid home with me so I randomly chose a street to bike up from the Burke-Gilman: Latona. It was steep! I made it, but it was a grind. I didn’t have the helium balloon with me, but I can’t imagine anything would make that hill pleasant.

Daily distance: 2.4 miles
Cumulative: 131.7 miles

30 Days of Biking day 16: Half load

We divided and conquered today: big kid and dad drove to the grocery store for birthday party snacks while the little kid and I biked to QFC to have two train balloons inflated. I hadn’t put any thought into transporting two inflated helium balloons, but the grumpy florist took care of that by tying the string so loosely that one escaped as soon as I exited the store. Doh! One balloon fit perfectly in the Bobike maxi.

We also swung by the UPS Store to mail the Cabby’s wheel lock key back to Alternabike. I’d love to have a wheel lock for quick trips just like this, by the way. Last time I hit the UPS Store I didn’t bother to lock my bike and this time I grumbled while locking my bike to itself. I’m not sure if there’s room for a wheel lock on my bike, but I think I’ll look into it as my next add-on.

Since I was only carrying one kid, I thought about heading down to the Burke-Gilman Trail to see if I could make it home with my half load–I can make it up the hill alone, but not with both kids–but I was just too tired. I think I’m having trouble adjusting to being back in the grey and rain (and hills). I wonder how many helium balloons it would take to make it easy to cycle up these hills. Now there’s an add-on idea!

Daily distance: 1.2 miles
Cumulative: 129.3 miles

30 Days of Biking day 15: Growing pains

Did a gazillion errands this morning, easily accomplished by bike: park, bakery, bike shop, craft store, drug store, grocery store.

My stop by Dutch Bike Co was to see if they could lengthen the shoulder straps on the rear Bobike seat. It appears we might be outgrowing our current setup. Weight-wise, they’re both fine in their seats so I’ll have to get creative with the short straps. I thought I had a year left to figure out what to do next, but that might not be the case. I’d like an Xtracycle or a trail-a-bike. Or both!

I attempted to ride up 7th Avenue from the Burke-Gilman Trail, but it didn’t go so well. A week away from the hills has left me a little soft and I had to walk two blocks.

In car news, the big kid turns four today and we flipped his car seat forward facing. The recommendation has just changed from rear facing for one year to two years, but I got a car seat with a high rear-facing weight limit (the Sunshine Kids Radian 80) so he could stay safely rear facing even longer. He’s still light enough to stay backwards, but we’ve just gone down to one car and the Radian is incredibly tall and my husband doesn’t fit in front of it. More reason to use the car as little as possible. I might still turn the seat backwards if I take the kids and car alone.

Daily distance: 9.7 miles
Cumulative: 128.1 miles

30 Days of Biking day 14: Spring? in Seattle

Goodbye, sunny San Diego. Hello, rainy Seattle. It was sunny while we were away and apparently the locals haven’t noticed the small preview of Spring is over: the bike rack at Whole Foods was packed. I usually have it to myself.

We started our day with the short bike ride to the doctor to get the sick kids looked at. I chose my midwife/ND because she was close enough to bike to. As it turns out, most everyone I know sees her, too, but I was brand new in town when I found her. Now that we’ve moved she’s slightly farther away, but she’s moving, too! To Wallingford/Fremont (Wallingmont?). Now if only I could get the dentist to move over here from Issaquah…

Daily distance: 3.5 miles
Cumulative: 118.4 miles

30 Days of Biking day 13: Bye bye beach

I only had time for a little ride this last morning at the beach. We met a friend for breakfast (at Kono’s, of course). She admired the Cabby and I have a feeling she’ll be a proud cargo bike owner before long. She currently crams her kindergartener and toddler into a double trailer and she’s been talking about Madsens for a while now.

I’m going the miss the Cabby! It has made this week so much fun. I don’t think I’d be able to manage one in Seattle, but it was perfect in the flat parts of San Diego. We drove to Balboa Park one day (and to and from the airport), but everything else was by bike. I still like that both boys are in front of me in the bin, but they sat so low that they couldn’t always see what I could see. It’s still much better than the car, in which they’re both rear facing.

Daily distance: 2.8 miles
Cumulative: 114.9 miles

30 Days of Biking day 12: La Jolla

Someone put a hill between Pacific Beach and La Jolla. It was perfectly flat back when I lived here. Granted, that was on a 21-speed mountain bike toting only a bag of swim stuff.

This morning we made a couple little stops along the way to La Jolla–Kono’s Cafe, Tula Ru kiddie consignment shop, and Rusty Spokes Vintage Bicycles where I test rode a rear suspension beach cruiser. It was really cool! I didn’t want to give it back because four days on the Cabby’s unfamiliar seat has taken a small toll. Rusty Spokes also makes exhaust pipe kickstands. Heh. When I told the kids we were going to swing by a bike shop, the older one asked, “Bike shop with Legos?” Thanks a lot, Clever Cycles! You’ve ruined all other bike shops for him.

The ride to La Jolla went well. I even found the La Jolla Bike Path, which I’ve never before found on my own. It probably wasn’t the flattest route and I had to get out of the saddle to make it up the hill, but it’s great getting away from the car traffic. Plus the boys hopped out and discretely peed on the palm tree in the picture below. Yet another reason to choose bike path over busy road.

The baby fell asleep (yay for cargo bike naps!) by the time we made it to the Children’s Pool. I could have sat there and watched the seals for hours, but the big kid was irritated that children weren’t allowed on the beach so we moved along to the La Jolla Cove.

I was worried about getting up from the shoreline without walking, but we found a flat enough street. However, I did have to walk the Cabby five feet to get up to the La Jolla Bike Path. All in all, not too shabby.

Daily distance: 16.1 miles
Cumulative: 112.1 miles

30 Days of Biking day 11: Cargo bike naps

One advantage of cargo bikes and trailers over bikes seats is their nap-inducing magical properties. With kids of napping age, I think that’s reason enough to own a cargo bike as well as a normal bike. I really should get one! I’d love not having to rush back from a bike excursion for nap.

The baby caught a stomach bug last night so I bundled him up in a sweater and beach towels and he happily came along for a little bike outing. We started out with a visit to the Bahia to see Billy and Gracie in the seal pool and walk around with the baby ducks by our wedding gazebo.

Next stop was dog beach in Ocean Beach since we thought the sight of puppies would cheer up the sick baby. He got out of his comfy nest, but decided the dogs were too big so he hopped back in and we rode around OB a bit before heading back. Both kids fell asleep on our way back up the Ocean Beach Bike Path.

I made it up the Glenn A. Rick/Mission Bay Drive bridge (pictured below) again! I think it’s steeper heading into Mission Beach. Yesterday I saw a woman walking a beach cruiser up and a man walking a mountain bike. Today the roadie who passed me was panting louder than I.

I had to keep the bike rolling to keep the kids asleep so I headed around Mission Bay and over to Law Street Beach. I also discovered it’s not a good idea to ride a Cabby over soft grass. It seemed a good alternative to a twenty-point turn to get headed back the right direction. I didn’t get stuck and no one woke up, but it required even more muscle than getting up the bridge!

Daily distance: 14.9 miles
Cumulative: 96.0 miles