Team Family Ride tipping over at Fiets of Parenthood Seattle 2010:
Team Family Ride not tipping over at Fiets of Parenthood Portland 2012:
Not that I didn’t have a blast two years ago, but there’s a whole new dimension of fun when you don’t embarrass yourself in front of the local family biking superstars.
Our Seattle team was comprised of four families:
- Team Car Free Days: Anne plus big kid on Xtracycle, Tim plus big kid on Surly Big Dummy. Kids also had a kid bike and Brompton along
- Team Totcycle: Julian and toddler on Brompton folding bike + ITchair, kindergartener on kid bike
- Team Flick: Kevin borrowing Anne’s Xtracycle to tote wife and two elementary-school-aged kids
- Team Family Ride: me on regular bike with front and rear kid seats for toddler and kindergartener
We Emerald City folks are hardcore so we didn’t just cruise the two miles to the competition, we dragged ourselves out of bed early to bike 3.5 miles to Slappy Cakes (“Make Your Own Pancakes, Right at your Table!”) where we over-fortified ourselves for the big day. No small fingers were singed, amazingly.
We arrived to a closed-to-traffic block next to Clever Cycles and entered what looked like an outdoor bakfiets showroom. Yeah, there were other bikes in attendance, too, but there were at least a dozen bakfietsen. I don’t blame the Portlandians, if I lived there–or anywhere with mild topography–I’d want a bakfiets, too! Every bike is worth mentioning, but the one I was most excited to see was the Kinn Cascade Flyer. It’s a brand new midtail (shorter than my Big Dummy, but longer than a normal bike) with high quality components and lots of exciting features, like lockbox, swivelling deck, and the ability to fit on a bus bike rack. I spent the first half of the weekend grumpy about not having my cargo bike along so I asked Alistair if the Cascade Flyer will fit on the train. He thinks it will, but will make sure.
And this was my first in-person look at Shetha’s lovely hot pink Bilenky longtail. Someday I’d like to see my pink longtail next to it–they’ll be besties! She wasn’t competing and her bike played baiku (bike-themed haiku) station.
One of Clever Cycles’ XL Workcycles bakfietsen was outside and available for test riding. I think they use it for transporting normal-sized cargo bikes. I didn’t try it, but I noticed it goes in reverse!
Not a bike, but the Dutchtub bike-conveyed hot tub was there, too. Filled with cool water so mostly patronized by Seattle kids because, remember, we’re hardcore.
The kids tore it up on the obstacle course first and made it look easy. I contemplated borrowing regular and balance bikes for the kids, but they were too happy at the bike decorating station to be bothered. My bike is now covered in stickers and Mr. Family Ride’s rack is adorned with pipe cleaners.
The “parent cross” event featured the same obstacles as the kiddie course, but with two pickup stops to simulate real life.
- Weave through cones
- Ride off the curb
- Pick up two dropped toys
- Circle around big plank of wood
- Teeter totter
- Pick up three bags of groceries
- Joust through three rings
- Avoid pothole
Time bonuses were awarded for each kid on board and deducted for each missed obstacle. The course favored fast bikes with big kids who could jump down to pick up cargo and handle the jousting. Emily borrowed an extra kid to defend her title with seven (seven!) passengers on board:
But the big winner of the day was Tim of Car Free Days with just his daughter on the back of his Big Dummy. Woo hoo, Seattle! I placed 15th out of 18, but was ecstatic just to have stayed upright. The toy pickup wasn’t bad, but the grocery bags were heavy! I saw paper towels in one of the bags and assumed they were just bulk, but only one bag was light–the others contained onions and cans and were too big to fit in my baskets so I gave the lightest to the front kid, one heavy bag to the big kid, and slung the third over my non-jousting arm.
I didn’t leave empty handed (well, I did, but a t-shirt will come in the mail); I won the “funny” category of the baiku contest. All baikus here.
The post party (a.k.a. dinner) was held at the Hawthorne food truck pod where I photographed evidence of Emily’s husband being no slouch, either. He used his Christiania to carry his regular bike and a whole lotta kid bikes. He did great in the competition, too, and kept the rubber down the whole time. Just as I was thinking, “I wouldn’t want to ride a trike on an incline like that…” one of the other trikes in the Fiets tipped over.
Many more pictures and words on Bike Portland.