Hills, hills, hills

This morning saw us riding up up up Queen Anne hill to David Rodgers Park for an off-site preschool day. I made it 2/3 of the way up the first of three 14%-grade blocks of 1st Ave West. I probably would have given up sooner, but I didn’t think I could walk the Big Dummy up such a big hill. It’s just too heavy to push!

I pushed a couple steps with the big kid walking alongside me and even that was too hard. Thank goodness the little guy wanted to walk, too.

Early in the ride, I thought about looking for a pie place on Queen Anne as a reward, but after the walking I didn’t feel deserving. I’ve been eying the Queen Anne Farmers Market poster since it went up a couple weeks ago and am tempted to find a more roundabout route up the hill. I spend so much time avoiding hills, but seem to find myself drawn to them at times.

On the way home I took the steep route–either as punishment or to hearten myself…rationale to be determined after making it or not making it up. It’s frustrating to live 2.5 blocks from the Burke-Gilman Trail, but have to climb 10 blocks on the uphill ride home to avoid walking. And the short, hard route is still 3.5 uphill blocks and starts two blocks past my street. I don’t think I can regularly make this route without walking (I don’t try very often), but with just one kid, it’s painful but doable. And I love using the bike crossing at 40th and Latona. Any special bike marking makes my day.

Afternoon preschool pickup was with the car so we could get to our last (yay! no more car days!) class in Lake City. But after that we ditched the car and grabbed Big Dummy and balance bikes for a Seattle Family Biking meetup at the Wallingford Farmers Market.

The Main Tank started a Seattle Family Biking Facebook group and this was the first get together. Today we were two Big Dummies, an Xtracycle, a Madsen bucket bike, and a mountain bike + iBert baby seat + Burley Piccolo trailer-bike. And one friend with double stroller who’s jonesing for a Madsen with e-assist. I think our crew will grow even bigger as summer blooms.

Our farmers market is small, but sweet. The wide aisles are conducive to balance biking and little kid biking through and there are several buskers to listen to while eating picnic dinner.

At night I biked solo to a preschool meeting. I took the Big Dummy because I love its bright dynamo lights for nighttime and because I’d ferried home a backpack that didn’t fit on my friend’s mountain bike–she wore the big backpack and the baby in the iBert carried a small bag, but this smaller backpack was too full for the Piccolo-riding big kid to wear home. I still remember the days of the old mamabike and I can appreciate being cargo-capacity challenged. It looked more impressive when it was just a small part of my cargo, sharing space with balance bikes, extra clothing, and picnic bag.

After the meeting, six of us went for drinks. I’m happy to say I beat five cars over from Lower Queen Anne…though they kindly switched the venue from Ballard to Fremont to make it easier for me–which I both appreciate and feel guilty about.

And one more big hill: I didn’t just take the steep route home, I made it even steeper by shaving off one of the extra blocks. Veloroutes hill grade calculator calls it 8.3%, but it feels like if one pulls on the handlebars too hard, s/he’ll tip backwards. So yeah: hills, hills, hills.

Today’s miles: 11.1
June cumulative: 134.2 miles

8 thoughts on “Hills, hills, hills

  1. Oh, no, don’t feel guilty about the venue change! So many events are designed without giving any thought at all to people who arrive by something other than a single-occupancy vehicle that they’re just kindly making up for lost time :).

    You might appreciate this post I wrote a while back since it brings together themes of parenting and design in the context of bking: http://bikestylespokane.com/2012/01/14/seeing-with-new-eyes/


    • Thanks Kath! BUT for the record: my littles weigh 70 pounds together and if need be, I can get out of the saddle to scale hills on the Big Dummy (one of my favorite things about switching away from the front baby seat), but mainly just difference in our vehicles. I tried to climb a leeeetle hill with a Gazelle Cabby in LA and it was amazingly hard. I’m also very good at moving incredibly slowly and steadily (not that I’m trying to move so slowly ;))

      • Emily F taught me that I can stand up & pedal. I do it all the time. And then when we get home I say, “My knees, my knees!” I’m on the downhill slide to 50 and have been told that it takes 2 years to start seeing some Real Improvement in strength and body shape. 1 year down, 1 year to go!

      • Ooh, I didn’t know one could stand in the pedals with a box bike! But still ergonomically much more impressive than me doing so, so give yourself extra points!

  2. I am reaching my “get an e-assist” to continue doing and enjoy it point in my cycling endeavor. Or just loan the children out more often….It’s incredible what a difference a 50lb child can make in a hill. I can’t stand on my Yuba, or at least I haven’t tried…(can you tell I am finally catching up to reading your blog!!!)

    • I think you might be able to stand with an empty iBert–but you might need to wait until you’ve outgrown the iBert…how close are you to that point, anyway? I have a feeling your ride will feel much different once you’ve got the front of the bike all to yourself :) I quite like it after my old bike, though of course there is a lot I miss about having the little one in front and having the kids separated from one another.

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