Archive | August 2013

Skateboard on bike

I discovered a great new use for my Xtracycle WideLoader last Bicycle Sunday: longboard holder. My Sector 9 fits perfectly upon the WideLoader platform with the 12-inch kid bike in the pocket above.

Skateboard on bike

I used a bungee cord to secure it as well, which was good for when I released the kids on their own bikes at the beginning of the Bicycle Sunday street closure.

Skateboard on bike

I brought the skateboard along because I left my Big Dummy at the FamilyBike Seattle Family Bike Expo and I figured the kids would want to ride back and forth along Lake Washington Boulevard and I didn’t want to jog after them–after all, I ride my bike to avoid walking (and running). We ended up just hanging out at the beach so I didn’t get to do much skating–just to between the beach and expo a few times.

Family Bike Expo at Bicycle Sunday

I saw the usual assortment of cool bikes along the three-mile, mostly-closed-to-cars route, but I think I was most taken by this trailer trike, the Morgan Cycle Caboose Trailer Bike. The bigger model can hold quite a large passenger–up to 33-inch inseam and 200 pounds. I’ve got a soft spot for adaptive bikes.

Morgan Cycle trailer trike

There are three more Bicycle Sundays left this year: September 1, 15 and 22.

Bicycle Sunday

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PhinneyWood Summer Streets recap

We had a great time at Summer Streets last night. Seattle has four Summer Streets events over the summer–the last one, Rainier Valley is next Saturday, August 17th from 11 to 4. They’re just wonderful and the kids love walking and riding in the middle of the street–who wouldn’t? If only there were more of them!

I don’t like the westward climb to Phinney, so we happily swung through Ballard to pick up friends on the way. When I say “pick up friends” I mean that literally–my suggestion for a “kid swap” (very useful when siblings are getting wild) turned into a “kid addition”…but that’s just as helpful as a kid swap in separating battling brothers.

Extra kid!

Sadly, I couldn’t fit the fourth kid on so he opted to balance bike most of the way over and poor Alyssa hardly got to carry anything with her Xtracycle–just one kid bike. She might not be as obsessed with carrying anything and everything as I.

Three kids, no kids

We hit the Phinney Farmers Market first and partook in the zucchini car races. Even on Summer Streets day, car culture is insidious. But also at farmers market we learned that bike-based artisan ice pop vendor Six Strawberries is getting an Icicle Tricycle today! See it at the Seattle Street Food Festival this evening.

Zucchini car races at Phinney Farmers Market

Summer Streets was full of TOOMUCHSTUFF. The kids barely registered the Bubble Man in their race to the Cascade Bicycle Club bike decorating station. We had picked up a new bike basket while passing a garage sale (the garage saler thought I’d picked up the kid bikes at a previous garage sale and didn’t think I was intentionally hauling them around town all day–heh) and it needed some personalization! Here’s Cascade Bicycle Ambassador Kelli of Yoga for Bikers quizzing the kids on bicycle anatomy.

Bike decorating at Summer Streets

Our other big stop was G & O Family Cyclery where we scammed a little free bike maintenance from Davey Oil…although Davey is more of a “Here, let me show you how to do that yourself” kind of guy which scares someone as inept as myself, but my son was stoked to remove his broken chain guard.

Bike repair with Davey Oil

And Tyler happened to have the perfect bolt in his pocket to perform a repair on our other bike’s coaster brake. That’s some of their test ride fleet in the background (as well as Tom of Seattle Bike Blog, making the bike blog magic happen via smart phone): Tern Cargo Joe, Xtracycle EdgeRunner, and Larry vs Harry Bullitt.

On-the-spot bike repair with Tyler

I test rode the Bullitt because it’s such a humbling experience. Those things are hard to get the hang of! I wobbled my way across the street to a flat block and eventually worked my way up to donuts and panda shots.

Bullitt test ride

I was not the only one perfecting bike tricks. The kids had a blast bike dancing (is that a thing?) back and forth in front of the loud music at the north end of the event. The little one finally got the hang of stand-up pedaling and the big one did some fancy one-footed stuff and side saddle coasting. And curb jumps. So many curb jumps. It’s a wonder their bikes didn’t rattle apart, even with the recent maintenance!

Bike dancing at Summer Streets

Engine Engine Engine v.2 retired

We took Engine Engine Engine (cyclocross bike + Burley Piccolo trailer bike + double trailer) out for a last hurrah yesterday: 33.3 miles to Alki Beach and back. The kids love Engine Engine Engine. I wish Engine Engine Engine had a triple ring on the front. But the Alki trip was flat enough. Last time we used EEE was on a trip to Greenwood and that was too much hill for me.

Engine Engine Engine

I should point out that I’m pretty sure no trailer or trailer bike manufacturer would recommend using a setup like this. I like EEE because it’s a way to carry two or three kids with separate pieces that can easily be broken down. For me that means it’s easy to carry up from the basement, but I like to imagine a family with three kids piling the pieces into their car and driving to a safe, flat, wide path for a wonderful afternoon ride with the kids. EEE isn’t ideal in a busy city, but we managed OK through Fremont and crossing streets numerous times for the Alaskan Way construction detours. It takes care to angle oneself carefully at corners to wait out a red light without the caboose sticking out into traffic.

We rode by both bike counters: Fremont ignored us, West Seattle counted us. But the West Seattle one is a little glitchy so I wasn’t too celebratory. And it ignored us on the way home.

EEE by the West Seattle bike counter

So why the last hurrah? Cyclocross season is approaching and one isn’t supposed to have extra stuff (drink cages, fenders, Burley Piccolo rear racks) that could fall off in a race and hurt someone. My original plan was to ride three separate bikes down to Recycled Cycles in the morning, but I was tired from all the pedaling yesterday so we dragged the bike down on our way to lunch with friends down the street at Agua Verde.

EEE being dismantled

So this is what I ended up riding all day:

Double bike

We were quite the clown bike parade–initially we were also with Anne of Car Free Days on her Xtracycle and Shawn of Wheelha.us on his Big Dummy. Kristi and Pete normally ride a Madsen bucket bike and Yuba Boda Boda midtail in the Bay Area, but are traveling (via Portland where Pete won the Fiets of Parenthood!) with their new Brompton folding bikes. This is where we broke off from the parade of Kristi, Pete, and Julie of Wheelha.us.

Little bikes and big bike

Speaking of cyclocross, the WAWCX (Washington Women of Cyclocross) Festival is Sunday. There are clinics, a non-competitive course ride-through, and a mom race! Online registration is closed, but one can register on site. I’m doing the mom race:

Exclusive for this event, the Mom Race is an opportunity to truly celebrate and recognize women who race cyclocross and their other life roles. Mom categories will be seeded based on the age of their oldest child (-12mo, 13-35mo, 3-5yo, 6-10yo, 11-14yo, 15-19yo, 20+yo). Thanks to Woodinville Bicycle, all proceeds from the Mom Category Race will benefit the ultimate WAWCX Mom-of-Cross, Sarah Bender and her family.

I would like Engine Engine Engine to live on, but ideally with a different front engine. Lotsa gears would be nice. And disc brakes. And I’ll put a kickstand on that bike because Engine Engine Engine shouldn’t have to lay down at the station.

EEE laying down on the job

Or soon we can trade that caboose for a proper engine–the newly four-year old is just about tall enough for the Burley Piccolo. I want to stick it behind a tandem bike in the future and we’ll all share the pedaling.

Engineer #3 in the making

…not that today saw any pedaling help. My six-year old spent the whole trip to Alki pedaling backwards. Apparently that’s much more fun that pedaling forward. And on the way home he spent the trip perched in a standing position, occasionally doing a half pedalstroke backwards then forwards. At least on a tandem his pedals will move (and hopefully his feet will be on them) and I imagine the little guy will be a more eager helper…although today his big move was shoving the sides of the trailer into the wheels creating even more drag. When I described EEE to a neighbor once he asked, “Why don’t you just drag an anchor around while you’re at it?” Indeed.

Engineer #2 not engineering

So farewell Engine Engine Engine! You’re certainly a crowd pleaser and I hope we’ll see you again.

Engine Engine Engine and engines

East Marginal Way

Today was our first day on East Marginal Way since the Lance David Memorial Ride exactly three months ago. I didn’t know this during today’s rides back and forth to Alki, but this morning there was another collision–bike on bike–here. What I did notice was the new green bike lane leading up to the corner with the ghost bike. It’s hard to miss the heavy tread marks of all the truck traffic screeching through it.

New bike lane on East Marginal Way

Since we travel this street during weekends or non-commute weekday hours, we don’t share the space with trucks, but I can imagine what it’s like during commute time and I felt it was important to attend the memorial ride, organized by my friend Don of West Seattle Bike Connections. Here’s a quick recap of the May ride…

Lance David memorial ride

There were several fast-paced memorial rides and while I would classify this one as faster than my usual “easy (under 10mph)” it was just about slow enough for my heavy rig and kid-friendly. Now kid-friendly isn’t the same as kid-oriented–like a Kidical Mass ride–so we skipped the pre-ride gathering and speeches to get wiggles out at the adjacent beach. A bit of run-around time can make all the difference.

Pre-ride run-around

And I was able to do a bit of socializing during the long ride over–riding under 10mph makes it easy for friends to catch up and pay a greeting :) I met Brooks, one of my costars from the Cascade Bicycle Club: Three stories from the road video. He was heading home to Burien.

Meeting Brooks

Next Don of West Seattle Bike Connections caught up and rode with me for a bit–we’re right across the street from the ghost bike here. Note the oncoming bike on the sidewalk rather than the other side of the street.

East Marginal Way with Don

And Dongho Chang, recently declared maybe “the coolest traffic engineer in the world”.

Cool Dongho Chang

So things are changing on Seattle streets, but not fast enough to protect everyone. Just two days ago, people gathered in Rainier Valley for a community walk and vigil. Meanwhile, the kids and I were in Portland, experiencing a truly bikeable American city. But now back in the real world, we carry on, encouraging more people to join us on bikes on Seattle streets and influencing what change we can in our little way.

Riding East Marginal Way