Archive | October 2011

Woodland Park

I made it up Fremont Avenue with just the front passenger! We stopped halfway up to watch a squirrel and take a picture of a cool mosaic, but I could have made it in one go. Looking at the picture of the bike, I’m feeling tempted to replace the black tire with a red wall to match. Poor sloppy Milano.

I thought we were meeting friends at the zoo for a leisurely stroll so I bungeed the stroller to the bike, but the plan changed to a ramble through Woodland Park. I hadn’t been to this part of the park since last year’s cyclocross race here. Last year we had one entrant in the kiddie category, but we’ll try to get them both on the course this year. I’m contemplating trying it myself, too–eek! I’ve heard beginners can borrow a bike. I’m not so jazzed about the fact that juniors race at the same time as beginners and ten-year olds will lap me as I struggle aroung the course.

This afternoon, we took advantage of the rare sunny day and headed to South Lake Union Park for Floating Farmers Market aboard our favorite boat, the Virginia V. This was our first visit since the fish taco (and other tasty items) vendor joined up. And my other favorite, Hart Coffee is still aboard.

Lunch and frolickng aboard the ship wasn’t enough Virginia V for the boys so on our way home we stopped in the Armchair Sailor on Westlake to admire the $650 scale model of her. Unfortunately, someone bought her and it was the last one. But even the disappointed boys couldn’t fault the sweet story–a man who’d been married aboard the ship (I’m imagining 50 years ago, but it’s probably much more recent) was overjoyed to see the model and had to have it.

Yesterday’s miles: 0.2 miles
Today’s miles: 14.4 miles
October cumulative: 92.1 miles
Days missed: 2

Improper raingear

Today was Bike Expo day all over again. A jacket I thought was rainproof proved to be no match for the deluge that hit within minutes of leaving the house. It’s twelve years old and has never faced more than a drizzle. It made for a miserable ride, but at least the kids were dry. Tomorrow I think I’ll trade my ladies medium for Mr. Family Ride’s mens large Endura Luminite Jacket I got for him from Ride Bicycles. Notice the tags are still on it. I got it eons ago and it’s time it got to go on a ride.

Yesterday’s miles: 9.0 miles
Today’s miles: 9.1 miles
October cumulative: 77.5 miles
Days missed: 2

Neighborhood Greenways

I finally made it to my first neighborhood greenways ride–in neighboring University District with the University Greenways group. (This video, Portland’s Bike Boulevards Become Neighborhood Greenways, explains neighborhood greenways.) We biked up bumpy, but quiet side streets and I got a nice feel for the U-District. I’m embarrassed to admit that my first time riding up The Ave was after the Safe Street Social Ride. What a vibrant neighborhood! And hardly uphill from home.

The kids and I thought this rain cover on Bob’s bike was so cool:

A few days ago on the bus a guy said my bike reminded him of the ones he’d seen in Japan, except they had umbrellas on them. Via On Our Own Two Wheels I found this great commercial for them:

Umbrellas make me nervous on foot so I’m not about to try one of these out, but they’re pretty cool! Except for the rear kid who gets soaked while mom and front kid stay dry, that is.

We didn’t stay for the after-party at Cafe Allegro and swung by Trader Joe’s on our way home instead. We saw the cutest be-tigered cruiser there. Is there anywhere else in this city with bikes as cool as those at the U-District Trader Joe’s?

In the afternoon we drove to a party at David Rodgers Park. We biked last time and I thought it was halfway up Queen Anne, but arriving from the south after an airport drop-off I realized it’s on Queen Anne. I can’t believe I got there by bike last time! Of course there was a lot of walking involved, but still. My friend who lives next to the park told me Florentia to 3rd is the easiest route so maybe I’ll try by bike again next time.

Yesterday’s miles: 0 miles
Today’s miles: 4.8 miles
October cumulative: 77.5 miles
Days missed: 2

Hat n’ Boots

I’m a sucker for oversized landmarks so when I discovered Oxbow Park on Monday, I couldn’t wait to get down there to check out the 22-foot-high cowboy boots and 44-foot-wide cowboy hat. We took it easy and biked to the Downtown Transit Tunnel and caught a bus most of the way there. The monstrous Americana was everything I’d hoped and next time perhaps we’ll bike all the way down.

On the bus back towards downtown, the boys caught sight of the King Street Station and suggested we get off there to see some trains. That led to a spin through Occidental Park where we watched Downtown Throwdown being setup. We’ll try to get down to see a bit of it tomorrow. On our way there we discovered Waterfall Garden Park which the boys thought was too cool, but I thought was rather funny: there was lots of seating and several groups of people in park, but it was SO LOUD I don’t see how anyone could enjoy the place.

We took the long way home through the locks and saw an airplane-fuselage-carrying freight train–one of our favorites. We hit up Dutch Bike Co (from here on out to be called “Dutch Bike Co Beeeenana”) for bananas. But even better, Travis caught sight of me and came running with an allen key to tighten various stuff up on my bike. It seems I’ve successfully demonstrated to him how incompetent I am.

While waiting for the bus north, I saw a tweet by Totcyle about the Hilliard’s Brewery grand opening featuring Skillet Street Food so we crashed the party. The can-shaped glasses (third picture down) were adorable, but I don’t know if the drinkers got to keep them; my root beer came in a small plastic cup. A four pack of cans came home with us (in my bag, not in the kid’s lap).

Yesterday’s miles: 4.2 miles
Today’s miles: 25.4 miles
October cumulative: 72.7 miles
Days missed: 1

Walk to School Day

We made it to Lake City without the car today. Happy International Walk to School Day to us! Not so impressive when you look at the numbers: bike 0.8 miles, bus 4.6 miles, then bike another 0.4 miles. I’m not sure it’s possible (for me) to bike all the way, given the hills and the busy streets, but I’m going to look into it. There was only one other bike on the bike rack today, but last week when the weather was better there were four (not including us–we drove).

We found a third bike parked in the dry zone under the eaves. It was a really cute Marushi. I’m sure the supercool art teacher rides it all the way from her SoDo loft.

After class we rode half a mile to Seattle Gymnastics Academy for open play and a major dose of Bike Trumps Car. The parking lot and surrounding street are closed to parking while they put in sidewalks so the already abysmal car parking situation was even worse. There’s no bike rack, but I’ve lately appreciated this as excuse to choose a dry spot to park and not feel guilty about it. I parked under the eaves near the front door while everyone else trudged several blocks in the drizzle.

On the way to the bus stop we passed the coolest bike rack at Kaffeeklatsch. I’ve been meaning to check the place out and now I can’t wait to park at the forkin’ awesome bike rack.

A second bike joined us on the bus bike rack home. This was the first time we haven’t had the rack to ourselves. We got off first so it made things that much easier upon exit, not having to close the rack. I’m sure it’ll happen one of these days, but I’m in no rush to experience being the second bike to the party and learn what it’s like to squeeze into the second slot from the street side.

Today’s miles: 4.7 miles
October cumulative: 43.1 miles
Days missed: 1

New helmet

My 2003 Giro Venus II helmet finally gave up the ghost. I was hoping to hold out until spring because Interbike yielded some cool helmets on the horizon, like the Giro Reverb and Nutcase Metroride. The boys want me to get a Nutcase 8 Ball, too, but I tried on a Nutcase on a few days ago and discovered I’m the one person in the world who looks funny in them.

Dutch Bike Co carries Bern helmets and I tried on the Bern Berkeley in gloss white and was sold. I’m happy to have a visor again, both for sun and rain, but I’m not sure how well the white fabric will hold up. I should start an office pool on how soon it’ll be covered in little peanut butter fingerprints and pretend puppy gnaw marks. At the shop, they told me the story of a guy who had just been in to replace his Bern–he’d left it on his bike and mounted them on the bus rack (unintentionally, I’m guessing). It fell off and was dragged under the bus tires for two blocks before it exploded. Strong stuff!

The second picture is just to commemorate that it’s mitten and underhat season. I always start out neglecting to bring my own gloves for a couple weeks while I get adjusted to the change in seasons.

Today’s miles: 13.5 miles
October cumulative: 38.4 miles
Days missed: 1

Brought to you by the letter B

Bamboo, Bespoke, bananas, Big House, Bob

I finally saw Geoff’s homemade bamboo bike at Trader Joe’s. He’s going to make more of them, too! But he’s not going to whittle any fenders so you’re on your own there. “Why do I need fenders if I’m going to get wet anyway?” Hardcore.

In the afternoon we swung by Hub and Bespoke, where I saw more bike seat rain covers–$17.50 pretty Basil ones. Natuurlijk, a Dutch product, like the Bike Cap I bought yesterday.

We paused on our way by Dutch Bike Co to watch them unload a big truck of inventory sent back from the Chicago store, which just closed. Sad situation, but the Seattle store is doing well…thanks in small part to the amount of bananas we buy, I’m sure.

We headed up 20th into Ballard which looks very gradual, but its mile hill felt longer than the mile up Stone. We stopped along the way to check out the Church of Trike–or as I just learned it’s called, The Big House in Ballard.

From little trikes to little bikes: we ended our ride at Salmon Bay Park, which is across the street from Bicycle Bob (NW Sloop Pl and 19th Ave NW) where our friend just got a $18 little pink Trek.

I decided to ride home through Phinney, thinking it’d be nice to get the hill out of the way at the beginning rather than the end of the trip. I think I ended up with more overall altitude gain, but compared to last time I made this trip, it’s certainly easier in cool weather than hot.

Today’s miles: 16.3 miles
October cumulative: 24.9 miles
Days missed: 1

Bike Cap

I stopped by Dutch Bike Co for a Bike Cap to keep my seat dry come rainy season (a.k.a. tomorrow until July 5th, 2012). They’re $17.95, but very cute and the shop has lots of designs available. I wish the forecast wasn’t so dreary tomorrow, but given I can’t change that, I’m eager to try out the new saddle cap. Speaking of Dutch Bike Co, I just read the sad news on Ding Ding Let’s Ride that their Chicago store has closed down. Another Chicago blog, Chicargobike, has a bit more information that seems a little unbelievable.

Today turned surprisingly warm so while waiting for the Ballard Library to open (The Tenth Great Thing About Barney was OK, but today I borrowed Saying Goodbye to Lulu which is better) the boys went crazy in the spray park across the street. I learned something new on the ride home: wet knees in the rear kid seat equal wet butt on the driver. Next time I’ll try a little harder to convince them to change into dry clothes before heading home.

Before the spray park I walked the bike through the Ballard Farmers Market. It’s not a breeze to walk the kid-laden bike around, but it works great as a makeshift stroller in situations like this. We picked up a couple honey sticks and saw Cascade bike ambassador Brian (on the left in the photo below) at his information station and swung by to say hi. He says he doesn’t mind that I refer to him as “The Omniscient Brian” because he cannot be stumped. I saw him on Friday at the Burke-Gilman detour so he kindly listened to me whine about that for a while. He was able to negotiate the detour without heading all the way down to the street like I did. I wish I’d thought to look up Brian’s bio before now. I cannot wait to tell the boys he used to drive the Monorail and Waterfront Streetcar.

Done with Ballard, we headed home to grab balance bikes and ride around the local elementary school with a friend who is on a pedal bike. Not sure how soon we’ll be ready for one since the four-year old says he just wants bigger and bigger balance bikes. However, he does want to borrow this friend’s trail-a-bike so we can make a bike train with my road bike, the trail-a-bike, and our bike trailer. Of course the two-year old doesn’t want to be stuck in the caboose–he wants to be on the trail-a-bike, too.

Usually they both ride the four blocks to the school, but since the older boy wanted to keep his wet pants on, the younger one did, too, and had to bundle up in the stroller to stay warm.

Lately, they’ve been doing most of their balance biking with Mr. Family Ride while I slowly recuperate from a lingering cough. He’s got the little one doing some new tricks. I discovered the other day that he now lifts his feet to coast downhill! He even keeps his balance as he veers to the side into bushes. And today at the playground he walked his bike down a small flight of stairs many times. I consider this cyclocross training.

I need to confess that yesterday, the day after 30 Days of Biking ended, I didn’t ride my bike. We drove two-and-a-half hours to Bavarian Leavenworth for the area’s best Oktoberfest. We saw a group of people in lederhosen and dirndls ride beach cruisers through town. I think they were part of the opening parade we arrived too late to watch. I want to look into taking train and bikes next year because the long drive was a pain on the way up, but not so bad on the way home with content sleeping kids.

We passed the new Stevens Pass Bike Park, celebrating it’s opening weekend. The parking lot was full of cars–even at 8pm on our way back to Seattle.

I’m sure this won’t last, but I’m going to keep track of miles biked and bikeless days by month for a while. It’ll help with keeping up with the Walk Bike Ride Challenge, which seems right up my alley, but I’m finding it impossible to get around to plugging in my miles before it’s too late.

Today’s miles: 8.6 miles
October cumulative: 8.6 miles
Days missed: 1