Today we took our first bike-on-bus trip with full beach gear. I did better with choosing a bus stop this time. I’m not sure I’ve figured out the best way to choose a route/stop, but the Metro Transit site seems pretty useless so I’ve been relying on Google maps transit directions. I usually find a route that involves a transfer and bike to the second bus. This time I was smart enough to examine the route of the second bus and choose the stop closest to the bike path, rather than the stop closest to home. I don’t completely trust Google maps since last time it directed me to a stop and time that the unexpected express bus skipped over.
The bus was late so we were late for our chiropractor appointment, but things seemed busy enough that it didn’t matter. It probably wasn’t wise to not leave any wiggle room between the scheduled bus arrival and our appointment, but I like the stop and route we chose so I scheduled our next visit for 30 minutes later and we’ll keep everything the same. There was a pregnant woman on a bike with toddler in trailer at the chiro today. She didn’t cheat and take the bus over. Hard core.
Now for the fun part–we took the short trip to Matthews Beach. Side note: this is such a nice beach! The Lake Washington water isn’t too cold to swim in and there’s a real locker room with warm-water showers. The playground was redone in the past year and is really nice. It’d be nicer if it was closer to the beach, the way things are set up at Golden Gardens, but it’s still great. We stayed and played at the beach and playground all day long.
A great part about staying out so long is getting to ride home during commute time and see so many people out on the Burke-Gilman. This evening we saw three Xtracycles. We also saw a guy on a folding bike with plastic bags hanging from each end of his handlebars. He looked jealous of my baskets and big load of stuff. I would have offered to carry his little bags for him, but he was going the other direction. Near campus we saw a twenty-ish kid pedaling with just one foot. We caught up to him at a red light and asked what was going on. My big kid likes to occasionally push his balance bike with just one foot to be silly, but I figured this wasn’t just for fun. He said something was stripped and he’d just put the pedals on in his garage without checking. They had toe clips so I can’t imagine what the problem was, but he wasn’t cackling the way my guy does when he one-foot balance bikes so I think he wasn’t doing the funny-monkey-one-footed-crazy-race.
We are bike shopping right now and one of my challenges is finding a family style biking situation that will allow us to continue to use the bus. The Xtracycle is great, but I can’t get it on a bus bike rack! (I saw you were recently lamenting that everyone in Seattle had a long-tail but you). Yet I can’t get three children on one bike without the long-tail. Three because our fourth would ride independent and only two bikes to a bus. Do you have any pictures of your bike on the rack of the bus?
Thanks for keeping up with your blog. I have been reading for about a month and you have served as inspiration and a fabulous resource.
Hmm…I think an option would be normal bike with front seat, rear seat, and small kid bike attached behind you with FollowMe Tandem (I think a Trail-a-bike or Trail Gator would not fit on seat post with rear seat already there) and then unattach small attached bike and carry it on the bus, assuming that’s allowed. And/or move biggest kid to a folding bike (yeah, this is getting pricey now!) that can be carried on the bus if attached bike for next-biggest kid needs to take up the other rack.
Here in Seattle all our buses recently changed from two-bike racks to three-…but apparently a lot of them are breaking so that might not be something to hold your breath for in Huntington.
This is a picture of my bike on a “practice” bus rack: https://familyride.wordpress.com/2010/10/10/practice-bus-rack/ It’s one of Metro’s older two-bike racks that they keep on the front of a van for people to practice on. I make a point of folding up my baskets every time, but I’ve seen bikes with big baskets (and sometimes with stuff in them!) on buses.
And yay–I want love to be an inspiration! OK, today finally I will figure out an RSS reader b/c I’m incapable of reading anything if it doesn’t show up in my inbox, but I want to read more blogs, too. You’ll be my first subscription :)
That is certainly a set up to think about. Our buses do not allow even a child’s bike to be carried on, I called and asked. Considering how empty they are, I am not sure why :). Price is a huge factor. Investing in the follow-me-tandem (which has been on my consideration list), a folding bike, and a new adult bike, as well as child seats… oy vey! Something to work on, or to add to a wish list for fairies who grant wishes. I will be adding this idea to my options, as it’s a good one that I hadn’t considered yet.
I know what you mean about email. I like one central information location. I use Google Reader for my RSS feed b/c I use gmail, and the tabs make it easy peasy…we also use a joint G-calendar and my Picasa album is linked to make blogging easy too…I should own stock! I hope you figure it out, and thanks for checking out my blog as well. I am very new to this whole gig, but loving it.
Well one thing my suggestion doesn’t include is the new bike for you :) But you do deserve a new bike! If you had a cargo bike with electric assist would you be able to avoid using the bus by any chance? I’m not sure the motors are strong enough to haul all four kids, but in your Yuba Mundo setup, you could have iBert on the front, two kids sitting behind you, big kid attached with FollowMe Tandem for the hills.
And noticed your latest two posts just now thanks to Google Reader!
Do you know if a follow-me tandem will attach with the bike and child on it, to either the Xtracycle or the Yuba? I emailed Madsen about the possibility of this as well.
Riding the bus is more for longer distances (Target 10miles, mall/Khols 12miles, soccer fields 13miles, bigger cities 50+miles, outdoor pool 13miles–all one way and usually not on bikeable streets, even by my more relaxed standards). Getting to the bus stop is .8miles at least, depending on the bus. It’s usually flat, but with children it can take 25minutes by foot to cover that distance, depending on their mood. So having the bus/bike option is better, but we can live without all those places.
Using the bus for shorter distances can be circumnavigated by having a better bike, yes. We have been using the bus as a physical break for the children and to get out of the heat after school.
Thank you for your help. We are getting closer to a purchase!
I think FollowMe Tandem will attach just fine to Xtracycle or Yuba. But I don’t think Madsen has room for one. However, wouldn’t Masden hold everyone? Smallest in iBert and other three in bucket? As for the X and Yuba, I’d recommend you contact Clever Cycles in Portland by phone or email. When I eventually get mine, I’m going to take my bike on the train down there and have them install it. They know everything!
Another thought I had was Adams Trail-a-bike Tandem on your normal bike plus iBert…if you could bring the folded trail-a-bike on the bus. Here I think anything that will fit under the seat goes.
Does it help at all if you ride the 0.8 miles to the bus stop and lock up there and don’t have the bike with you?
I’m excited for your new purchase, whatever it may be!
I couldn’t see any way on your blog to email you, but I was curious about all these 30 days of biking tweets (and I don’t twitter yet). I love little challenges and participation events and wondered what the details were? TIA :)