Archive | April 2014

#TBT – Cycling while pregnant

Madi cycling while pregnantI was a little too late in submitting my story to make it into the Simply Bike: Cycling While Pregnant series before the blog took a hiatus, but I loved reading all the stories and am currently enjoying the trimester-by-trimester Common Pregnancy Questions on Velo Mom. My “babies” are now 7 and 4.75 (with no more planned) so my cycling while pregnant days are long behind me, but it was such a special stage so I’m happy to belatedly share some thoughts. These are my answers to the questions of the Simply Bike: Cycling While Pregnant series.

Favorite part about cycling:
Noticing so many little things about the city as I pass through—this is even more special with my toddler along for the ride.

Bike you ride:
Bianchi Milano city bike with Bobike mini baby seat.

What three words sum up your cycling experience while being pregnant:
Easier than walking!

How did being pregnant affect your approach to cycling or your daily commute:
I cycle primarily for transportation and am pregnant with my second so my “commute” is ferrying a two-year old around town which is very conducive to short trips that keep us close enough to home for midday nap breaks.

What (if anything) surprised you about cycling while pregnant?
Walking upstairs is much too tiring and I avoid stairs as much as possible, but bicycling is a breeze. I ride slowly on a fairly upright bike to begin with so sportier cyclists may notice more of a difference.

How did your family and friends react to you cycling while pregnant?
It certainly helps that half my family is in the Netherlands where cycling is such a normal part of all stages of life. No one seems especially concerned nor impressed with it.

What (if any) special accommodations did you require to continue cycling throughout your pregnancy?
Nothing! I was happy to discover my belly fits behind the Bobike mini front kid seat even past my guess date. During practice surges (that’s the HypnoBirthing term for Braxton Hicks contractions) I just coast or slow my pedaling.

I hoped the baby wouldn’t make his arrival on time so I could attend one last Kidical Mass ride and he obliged so I was able to keep riding to 40+ weeks.

What would you say to another woman interested in cycling while pregnant? What have you taken away from the experience?
You’ll love it! It’s a wonderful and easy way to feel normal and energetic during pregnancy. It’s too easy to become sedentary when expecting and treat pregnancy as a delicate condition.

In addition to cycling, what other activities helped you stay fit and active during your pregnancy?
I love swimming and loved how buoyant I felt in the water. It was a lot harder to find time to go swimming alone than it was to go biking with my toddler, though, so I’m not able to make it a regular habit. This photo is from 37 weeks pregnant, having just completed a one-mile open water swim. It almost felt like cheating, swimming while so buoyant.

p.s. TBT stands for Throwback Thursday


30 Days of Biking 2014 – Day 23

Most of our weekday family biking is done without ride buddies. You can tell from day 20 how exciting it is to have company, especially when unexpected. This morning Ellie swung by to borrow some family biking equipment (Burley Piccolo trailer bike, balance bike, kid bike helmet) to display at Adobe’s Green Transportation Fair. That’s a Kona Ute longtail cargo bike with LionTail’s Sparrow System electric assist. I was a bit worried about making her late to work (chronic problem of mine: apologizing for slowing down ride buddies), but we got to ride with Ellie half the way to preschool–woohoo bike buddy #1!

Next I dropped off my second kid and realized Julie of was heading the same way as me…except she needed to stop by Mighty-O Donuts on the way. Naturally I didn’t mind the extra stop. Bike buddy #2! (And #3 and #4 if I count the kids in the Bullitt.)

We made two discoveries on the way over, one good, one bad. The good: a new Little Free Library at Latona and 51st.

The bad: the speed bumps on NE 56th Street are gone! Maybe they had to go temporarily so the pitted road can be repaved? And maybe they’ll come back as full-street speed bumps rather than the less effective triple humps? Hoping to hear more about this change soon.

I was headed to a coffee shop with wi-fi and Julie was headed to G&O Family Cyclery so I was excited to show her my new favorite route to Greenwood (see day 16, though up Latona). She’d used this route once before, but on the day of a regatta at Green Lake where cars idled in the bike lane and she’s boycotted it ever since. Today was a regular day and I think she liked it!

I popped into G&O when I was done wi-fi-ing next door, but I didn’t get enough bike-shop-hang-out time so I left to fetch my preschooler and headed right back up. I don’t usually hit Greenwood from North Lower Queen Anne, but when I do, I go up Fremont Avenue because any other route is way out of the way. Plus the light at the five-way intersection half-way up is always red, providing a little rest break. It’s not a hill I’d want to climb daily, but it’s OK every once in a while. And today something interesting happened I captured on Instagram:

Frame 1: This fixie guy was waiting at a bus stop at the bottom of Fremont Ave and was apparently inspired to ride up after me+kid pedaled by (1/4)
Frame 2: OMG I think he’s gonna die (2/4)
Frame 3: Oh thank goodness he’s catching the bus, poor guy (3/4)
Frame 4: And finally he catches up! Take care, guy! (4/4)

G&O was preparing for a photoshoot for Momentum Magazine. Julie and I couldn’t stay long enough to play customers in the background, but our friend Maritess should be visible in some of the pictures! But we were there for the prep work–Davey and Tyler wanted to move a bunch of bike boxes off the showroom floor for the shoot and our kids insisted on helping out. They insisted on helping out with Every. Single. Bike. Box. and we were pretty late in leaving to pick up our oldests from elementary school. But hey, bike buddy #2 again! It was an exhilarating race across town and…WE JUST MADE IT! There’s no penalty for being late to pickup and our teacher assured us she’s happy to wait outside with the kids for late parents, but I’ve yet to be late.

Today’s miles: 18.8 miles
April cumulative: 345.6 miles

Bikes ridden: 1
April cumulative: 7

Dogs: 0
April cumulative: 16

30 Days of Biking 2014 – Day 22

April and 30 Days of Biking are winding down which means Bike Month is just around the corner! After fetching my preschooler we headed to Cascade Bicycle Club for our Bike to School Month kit (for my other son’s elementary school). Today my four-year old opted to ride in his brother’s FlightDeck seat which I figure is good preparation for our unknown-as-of-yet next arrangement. I still think about a Hooptie, though I’m leaning towards half-a-Hooptie with one side rail absent for easy on and off (there are several intersections where it helps to have a passenger hop off and walk over to the sidewalk and push the walk button). But I’m still undecided. The four-year old leans out to the side to see past me when he’s on the deck so I can imagine the amount of movement that would go on behind me with a Hooptie–that’s not something I’m eager to enable. Today he mastered holding on with one hand while snacking.

But after picking up (literally) our Bike to School Month kit (so heavy!) he was back to his own seat for easier snacking.

This year’s kit is bigger and better than last year’s. If I can just get my act in gear and spread the word we should have a great Bike to School Month!

Mel, our crossing guard who bikes to work, passed us on the Burke-Gilman Trail while heading to his afternoon shift. We kept catching him at red lights and had a lovely three-part conversation. He’s the best.

Today’s miles: 19.5 miles
April cumulative: 326.8 miles

Bikes ridden: 1
April cumulative: 7

Dogs: 0
April cumulative: 16

30 Days of Biking 2014 – Day 21

Fun (not) at 8:50 a.m. approaching my least favorite intersection this morning. Trucks blocking this bike lane are nothing new, but they’re usually a couple blocks earlier, where the road is wider, for beer deliveries to Fremont Dock. This truck was so long it’s body backed to the opening of the parking garage. A pedestrian popped out into the street to get around just after the car went by.

We headed the other direction 20 minutes later and it was still there–but now it was creating a backup.

Come 12:50 it was gone! It had moved up the block (where it fit in the parking lane just fine!) to make room for this shorter truck:

Just up the street the bike sign had been struck and bent. I’m not pointing any fingers, mind you.

Today wasn’t all blocked lanes and bent signs. We listened to a lovely cellist outside PCC Natural Market. The empty sidewalk bike rack made a great perch for my four-year old.

Today’s miles: 9.5 miles
April cumulative: 307.3 miles

Bikes ridden: 1
April cumulative: 7

Dogs: 0
April cumulative: 16

30 Days of Biking 2014 – Day 20

Today was THE BEST DAY! The gorgeous weather certainly had something to do with it–although it wasn’t clear enough to see Mount Rainier on the way to the grocery store this morning (our usual spot for seeing her), the skies were fairly clear and the day just got bluer and warmer. It was also nice to partake in a bike ride I wasn’t leading. While I love leading rides and enabling more families and women to get out on their bikes, it was nice to just coast along in the wake of today’s ride, responsible for only the three bodies on my bike. But today was really everything all together: the friends, the music, the weather, the laughter, the BIKES.

We started the day with a quick trip to the grocery store and made a great discovery: Hammered Man is back! He lives outside the Blue Moon Tavern and his arm brings his cup to his mouth when they’re open. His arm stopped working a while ago and then he disappeared. I hoped he was just out for repairs, but since I never go by without the kids I couldn’t exactly go inside to ask. I kind of love that the kids call Hammering Man at SAM “the big drinking man”.

After that we didn’t have to do any riding alone until the end of the day–and just by chance. Mr. Family Ride was heading out for a ride at the same time as us so he kindly slowed to a quarter of his normal speed and took my longer way down to the Burke-Gilman Trail. Note the Danish Mosquito bike in my FreeLoader. We carried it along to the ride to lend to a little friend whose bike was recently stolen. Just his luck I haven’t gotten around to selling it yet.

Just as we left Mr. Family Ride and the Burke-Gilman Trail we met up with this family of four on two tandems. I haven’t seen them since last year’s Labor Day Cargo Bike Ride, but today they were heading to the climbing wall and we just happened to cross paths. In the picture the passing roadie is probably asking a question about the cool bikes. I couldn’t hear him, but I saw him look admiringly at each tandem as he went by so I promise he’s not yelling or lecturing.

Then we all caught up to two families headed to today’s Cargo Bike Ride. I knew they were leaving my neighborhood at 11:15, but had assumed I’d be running to late…and indeed would have missed them had they not gotten caught up by the Fremont Sunday Market and had I not made the light and crossed on that side of the bridge.

Here’s most of the crowd for the ride, though a few more showed up after this picture:

Davey Oil led the ride this time (and will do so for future Easter Cargo Bike Rides, I believe) and just look at this fabulous fivesome at the front! Davey and Little Oil, Tom of Seattle Bike Blog, Haulin’ Colin, and Velotron with his amazing bicycle sound system.

Thanks to a draw bridge delay and the group splitting into two, we took third place! Ha ha, no, of course it’s not a race, but we were the third to arrive. Unfortunately that meant we caught Haulin’ Colin hiding Easter eggs. Now the kids think he’s the Easter bunny. Works for me.

And soon enough we were joined by everyone else:

I completely forgot to make egg-collecting baskets, but the kids’ helmets worked great! We’ve been coming on this ride for years, but this is the first time we’ve lasted for the egg hunt.

Other fun stuff: I brought Gerbera daisies, but they looked boring laying on the table so I created a snazzy centerpiece using my helmet.

And despite having told several families they can get a smaller toddler on a Skuut balance bike by turning the frame upside down, I hadn’t actually seen this in person until today:

The one-mile ride home was our only ride without company, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t festive. Bunnies! Chicks! Eggs! As the sign hanging on the Waiting for the Interurban statue said today, HOPPY SPRING!

Today’s miles: 17.5 miles
April cumulative: 297.8 miles

Bikes ridden: 1
April cumulative: 7

Dogs: 0
April cumulative: 16

30 Days of Biking 2014 – Day 19

I didn’t drag the kids out in the rain today, but I got soaked enough for the three of us as I led Critical Lass rides to the Sky [Nursery]. I was so impressed that five people showed up! Our ranks included Rebecca of Seattle Bicyclist Portraits and Jennifer of Ballard Greenways. But most exciting was a Rebecca’s friend, Carol, out on a bike for the first time in years. Rebecca has as terrific knack for recruiting women to come on Critical Lass rides.

Our route was very straightforward, five miles north–from Neighborhood Greenway to Interurban Trail to cycle track to Interurban Trail again. I was dismayed to find two cars parked in the cycle track, but the rest was great.

Oh, except for the NO PARKING signs set up (and blown over) in the cycle track.

So I halted the ride and we moved them into the buffer zone. Critical Lass saves the day!

We spent some time drip drying at the Sky Nursery cafe, including holding our wet gloves and jackets up to the space heater. Some of us left with plants, including this Venus fly trap:

Heading home I ran into the Feet First Great Beer Hike. I offered to help carry a keg with my bike, but no one needed help. This was before I made a joke about hijacking a keg and after I said “I know a guy who did this by bike lat year!” So instead I rode alongside them for a couple blocks and played the Star Wars theme on my bike radio.

Today’s miles: 18.3 miles
April cumulative: 280.3 miles

Bikes ridden: 1
April cumulative: 7

Dogs: 0
April cumulative: 16

30 Days of Biking 2014 – Day 18

Hooray, the rain is gone! Our first stop of the day was the Greenwood Fred Meyer en route to a friend’s house. The building and very uneven parking lot were recently redone…yet it was decided to put the bike parking on a slant.

After a bit of time at our friend’s house we conducted a bike-versus-car race 50 blocks (which was a bit less than 3 miles in less impressive units) to a park and the bike won by 13 minutes. We got a tad of a head start while my friend had to load two small children and two huge dogs into her car.

We threw part two of the race to the dog park when we opted to stop and watch some demolition.

Come evening I ditched the kids and biked downtown with Jen of Ballard Greenways to meet up with Hum of the City visiting from San Francisco. Biking towards downtown at 5:30 was great–look at the gorgeous view from Dexter Ave:

But we got stuck in horrible traffic in the heart of downtown. This is one of the reasons we bike! The streets were packed with cars and the sidewalks were teeming with costumed Sakura-Con attendees so we went nowhere fast.

Here’s how we arrived, by the way. Hum of the City got to choose between riding on my FlightDeck and the Jen’s tandem. She chose the tandem.

Today’s miles: 22.8 miles
April cumulative: 262 miles

Bikes ridden: 1
April cumulative: 7

Dogs: 0
April cumulative: 16