Archive | March 2014

Seattle Bike Expo, featuring Bike Friday Haul-a-Day (and some other bikes)

The Seattle Bike Expo was earlier this month and I attended both days, leading a Kidical Mass ride on Saturday and a Critical Lass ride on Sunday. I didn’t get to see everything at the Expo, spending the bulk of my time at Cargo and Family Bikes booth, presented by Familybike Seattle, but I got to see quite a bit of the new Bike Friday Haul-a-Day cargo bike.

I’d previously seen photos of Shane MacRhodes’s Haul-a-Day (the first! the only!) on his Fully Loaded Tumblr site so I knew I’d love it and shouldn’t skip the chance to test ride at kid-friendly Peddler Brewing Company when Bike Friday came to town a few days early for Bike Expo. The Haul-a-Day can take an Xtraycle FlightDeck and Hooptie, like in Shane’s pictures, but the visiting one had the standard midtail deck and stoker bars. My two weren’t too eager to share the stoker bars, but I eventually got them to agree on hand placement and tied a cargo strap around them for my piece of mind.

Bike Friday Haul-a-Day

We rode around a bit and I found the bike very zippy! I hadn’t been on a bike with 20-inch wheels before…well, unless you count my six-year old’s little bike, but let’s not count that. It was very nimble, easy to dodge around potholes. I didn’t get to climb any hills, so I can’t comment on its climbing abilities. The front basket is frame mounted so it can carry plenty of weight without affecting steering. We were all very taken by its weight–just 35 pounds!

Bike Friday Haul-a-Day is 35 pounds

Most Bike Fridays are folding bikes, but the Haul-a-Day doesn’t fold up…though I think future versions might. But what is very cool about the frame is that it can be adjusted longer or shorter to accommodate a wide range of riders. And since it’s a midtail, it fits on the bus! Here’s a picture I lifted from the latest Bike Friday newsletter with it on a Seattle Metro bus bike rack. I read that the frame should be compacted to the shortest size before putting on the rack, but not sure if that’s the case.

Photo courtesy Bike Friday

Photo courtesy Bike Friday

Next month you should be able to see/test/buy the Haul-a-Day at G&O Family Cyclery and one will join the Familybike Seattle fleet, too! If you’re in or near Portland see it at Velo Cult on April 5th: Bike Friday Cargo Bike Unveiling.

Walter and the Haul-a-Day came along on our Kidical Mass ride so I took a picture of our bikes side by side, though my poor angle and busy bike don’t give a good idea of difference in length. The deck seems longer than other midtails (Kona MinUte–which we learned at Bike Expo will come back into production next year!!!!, Kinn Cascade Flyer, Yuba Boda Boda), but it’s somewhat shorter than my deck.

Bike Friday Haul-a-Day in front of my Big Dummy

And just to give my bike some love…

The Friday before Bike Expo I met up with Davey Oil at G&O Family Cyclery to help transport bikes over. I carried one kid, my Burley Piccolo trailer bike and G&O’s Kinn Cascade Flyer.

Hauling the Kinn to Bike Expo

Davey rode a Bullitt with a Brompton inside and Donald of Bike Works hauled a Brompton and his own bike with an Xtracycle EdgeRunner. So I won, I’d say. Though in all fairness, Davey and Donald may not have known it was a competition.

Hauling bikes to Bike Expo

On Sunday, just when I was moping over the fact that I’d be riding home with no kids and just the Burley Piccolo, my friend Maritess decided to rent the Bridgestone mamachari. I quickly offered to follow her home with her regular bike and kid seat.

Hauling bikes home from Bike Expo

I’ve since taken my first spins on the mamachari and it’s awesome! I’ll post about it soon. Here’s what it looks like in the rain:

Mamachari in the rain

Because it wouldn’t be Bike Expo without horrible horrible rain.

Family Ride’s Winter 2014 Errandonnee Challenge

I love an online challenge! I just took part in Chasing Mailboxes’ Winter Challenge: The Errandonnee, 2014 Edition!12 days, 12 errands.

I failed at rule #2 and didn’t fill out the Errandonnee Control Card as I went. Bad call–it’s a lot harder figuring it all out at the end! And I don’t have a real job, but listed two errands as Work, pretending that Bicycle Advocacy fits the bill. Hopefully that’s OK. I do like and respect the long list of rules, but I’ve bent them coffeeneuring and errandonneering now!

We took a weekend trip to Portland (by car, with my road bike on the car bike rack) which made for some exciting non-Seattle destinations.

Many of my observations are bike parking related…not sure why, but we hit some cool racks and why not have an almost-theme?

P.S., if you’re looking for an online challenge, my all-time fave, 30 Days of Biking starts April 1st.

Errandonnee Control Card

Errand Stats
Bike Shop – Trip 1
Destination: Clever Cycles (Portland)
What I learned/observation: Swung by Clever Cycles to retrieve my LifeProof iPhone handlebar mount I left on the rental bakfiets two weeks ago. I often take pictures of my little bikes perched on rocks or logs, but sticking it in the unattended rental bakfiets was new and fun!
Miles: 1.1
Date: 3/8/2014
Clever Cycles rental bakfiets holding my road bike
Bike Shop – Trip 2
Destination: Recycled Cycles
What I learned/observation: Hit RC to pick up some grippy pedals to replace the temporary ones (thanks for the stopgap G&O!) after one of my Pedalite flashing battery-free pedals gave out after two good years. While there met Jesse, the house sitter/web manager for Dimitri Kieffer of Nexus Expeditions who is circumnavigating the globe on a Big Dummy and other human-powered means. Jesse was at the shop delivering stuff for Gigantic Bicycle Festival–check it out!
Miles: 4.3
Date: 3/10/2014
Old pedal/new pedal
Breakfast or Lunch – Trip Only
Destination: Burgerville and Lardo (Portland)
What I learned/observation: Delivered lunch to go (bikes OK at Burgerville drive-thru windows!) to the kids at a playground with Mr. Family Ride and met four family biking luminaries for sit-down lunch: Christine visiting from Pittsburgh, Emily Finch, Kath Youell, and Sarah Gilbert (btw, it’s thanks to Sarah that bikes can use the Burgerville drive-thru). In pure Portland style, I glanced out the window to see Todd of Clever Cycles on a Dutchtub rental delivery run.
Miles: 5.4
Date: 3/9/2014
Burgerville drive-thru
Lunch with Portlanders
Clever Cycles' Dutchtub
Coffee or Dessert – Trip 1
Destination: Solsticio
What I learned/observation: Despite its super-bikey location along the Burke-Gilman Trail, Solsticio has no bike parking! Most bike-in visitors lock to the fence in the parking lot and hope not to be backed into by a parked car. While we were inside a couple on bikes parked on the other side of the fence, on the trail. I like my spot better. I think it’s a pay parking lot so probably not the easiest place to stick a big bike corral in place of a couple parking spots, but that’d sure be nice.
Miles: 4.8
Date: 3/11/2014
Coffee or Dessert – Trip 2
Destination: Husky Grind at Mercer Court
What I learned/observation: First visit to the new Husky Grind by The Wall of Death. It’s really fancy–I never could have afforded to hang out at a place like this when I was in college. I love all the new staple bike racks in the area, but we learned they’re impossible to climb. Quelle bummer. And the grilled cheese pesto sandwich was delicious!
Miles: 0.6
Date: 3/13/2014
Husky Grind
Community Meeting – Trip Only
Destination: 19th and Boyer, Montlake
What I learned/observation: Met with Transportation Nag, Merlin Rainwater, to be part of a photoshoot to promote the upcoming Silly Hilly Ride that will investigate possible Neighborhood Greenways routes in the area. Learned that the narrow dirt path by the Greek Orthodox Church (part of the convoluted route to Capitol Hill) will become a proper bike/ped path.
Miles: 4.6
Date: 3/13/2014
Silly Hilly photoshoot
Grocery Store – Trip 1
Destination: Fremont PCC Natural Market
What I learned/observation: I think the Fremont PCC bike corral might be Seattle’s first on-street bike corral. We love it!
Miles: 4.5
Date: 3/7/2014
Grocery Store – Trip 2
Destination: Roosevelt Trader Joe’s
What I learned/observation: While I love the six new bike staples, I worry my long bike sticks out into the sidewalk too much (or else towards opening car doors too much) so I still park at the railing by the emergency exit.
Miles: 2.1
Date: 3/14/2014
Roosevelt Trader Joe's
Any store that is not the grocery store – Trip Only
Destination: Fremont Brewing Company
What I learned/observation: I’m categorizing this as a store and not a cafe or personal care since we just grabbed a growler to-go (although we hung out inside for a while since one of us wanted to play with the toys and eat free pretzels and apples). There’s a huge, well-spaced bike parking area in the parking lot. The two bike-shaped racks at the ends are the best for climbing, but even the green loops work OK.
Miles: 1.5
Date: 3/7/2014
Fremont Brewing Company
Work – Trip 1
Destination: Sprocket Podcast recording studio
What I learned/observation: Forgot to take a picture while all the recording stuff was hooked up (my podcast goes live in a week or so!), but pictured are Brock and Aaron posing at doing podcast stuff, and riding home with my co-guest Katie in her Cleverhood demonstrating her brilliant technique for dealing with rain: no clothing on parts not covered by the rain cape.
Miles: 5.3
Date: 3/8/2014
Sprocket Podcasters, Katie in the rain
Work – Trip 2
Destination: Cascade Bicycle Club
What I learned/observation: Met with the Cascade Rides Coordinator about their soon-to-be-expanded women’s programming and to discuss a panel I’ll be part of–save the date: April 8 at Flagship REI! The CBC staffers who bike to work carry their bikes into the building so the bike rack is always empty…save for the bus-style bike rack locked to the bike rack.
Miles: 8.4
Date: 3/11/2014
Cascade Bicycle Club bike rack
Wild Card – Trip Only
Destination: Belltown apartment
What I learned/observation: Fetched the Familybike Seattle mamachari (Bridgestone Angelino Petite Assista) from my friend who’s been using it the last two weeks before she headed out of town. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to easily tow it with my Big Dummy so I brought my road bike. I really wanted to try ghostriding my road bike home–and even read this tutorial, How To Ghostride a Bike–but chickened out and just carried it draped on the rear seat (secured with bungee cord, cargo strap, and toe strap). What a fun bike! I will write more about it soon.
Miles: 10.6
Date: 3/18
Mamachari retrieval

Renting cargo bikes in Portland

Our last three trips to Portland have been by BoltBus, which means we can bring the cargo bike! It’s fairly easy, but the train is a bit easier–the kids have more room to walk around and it’s a train. So for mid-winter break we took the bus to the train station and traveled without bikes. In fact, no one on our train had bikes (unless they were folding bikes stored in the train cars). Regular-sized bikes hang from those six hooks, no cargo bikes allowed.

Amtrak Cascades baggage car

Our train had power problems of unknown origin which meant we had to slow down several times and got behind schedule. Two miles from Portland’s Union Station we stopped completely. Fortunately they guessed right that it was a faulty fuel gauge so after a long wait for the fuel truck, we were finally on our way. At least we had a great view of the refueling.

Refueling the empty train

Eventually we got to town and walked to our downtown hotel (though catching the MAX light rail would have been easier and quicker, which we did on the way back). The following morning we took the bus to Clever Cycles for rental bikes, which came with helmets for all, locks, panniers, lights, and bells. I rented a WorkCycles bakfiets with weather canopy, because I do so love renting longjohns in flatter cities (like Alternabike’s Gazelle Cabby in San Diego).

Clever Cycles' rental bakfiets

Clever Cycles very generously added a Yuba Mundo longtail cargo bike to their rental fleet so Mr. Family Ride could ride a big bike, too. It was his first time on a cargo bike (about time!). This was also his first time on a bike with an internally geared hub…and not just any IGH, but the NuVinci N360 with Continuously Variable Planetary (CVP) transmission (it’s really really weird/cool!) so he may have been a bit distracted by the different shifting than the extra length of bike. But either way, he liked it!

Clever Cycles' rental Yuba Mundo

But he didn’t get to do any kid toting at first because they were both excited about sitting under the weather canopy. They mixed it up, sometimes sitting crammed side by side and sometimes with one down in the front. Martina even provided an extra seat cushion for the floor, assuming one would want to perch at the prow.

Kids in the bakfiets

Kids in the bakfiets

Mr. Family Ride expressed interest in trying the bakfiets, but I wouldn’t let him, assuring him he’d crash immediately. Had the weather been a bit better, I had high hopes of him conquering the linkage steering of the bakfiets and then test riding and loving a Bullitt at Splendid Cycles. I used to send him links to racing pictures from the Larry vs Harry Instagram account, thinking it’d appeal to his need for speed, but he seems set on a longtail. Apparently I’ve just made it look too fun.

The kids got a little too fighty our last evening so we stuck the four-year old on the back of the Mundo and Mr. Family Ride experienced one mile of cargo biking with kid.

Father and son on cargo bike!

And wow, was it nice having the kids separated while biking.

One kid each

We did more downtown biking than during previous visits and I properly navigated the Transit Mall (by avoiding it) thanks to correcting my mistakes of last time. My most exciting bicycle infrastructure discovery this visit was the width of the bike lanes of SW Oak Street heading west and SW Stark Street heading east. They’re so wonderfully wide! Was it some sort of mistake?

Oak Street's wide bike lane