Xmas tree and BIG Xmas tree by bike

In just had an awesome Christmas-tree-carrying experience two nights ago, participating in my second Point83 Christmas Tree Ride. (And here’s my recap of last year’s ride.)

But first! I carried our tree and the kids on December 5th so that was new (and fun!).

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Our tree was a little on the small side, but our neighbor let me take his much bigger tree so I felt sufficiently laden…except the difference in weight meant it didn’t work with one tree in each FreeLoader pocket–the bigger tree pulled the bike over to its side. I figured it’d be too hard to ride, but I admit I didn’t even try.

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My next try was to put the big tree along the top of the deck, but then the little tree in the pocket pulled the bike over to that side!

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I tried to stack the little tree atop the big tree along the deck, but they wouldn’t stay straight. Which probably means I didn’t lash them down tightly enough. So I settled on crosswise over the deck:

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I tried to get the little tree vertical behind the big tree, because how cute would that have been?? But the trunk was a teeny bit too big to fit into the Yepp seat bracket so it didn’t seem stable.

So I’m a little disappointed in myself for this next part because I’m more of a “hastily throw on the cargo at the last minute and hope for the best” sort, but I took a test run to check the trees’ stability. It went well!

I was a bit wider than a car so I stretched rubber bands around the two trunks and attached front and rear lights to each, to mark my “wings” and I shaped my twinkle lights into a big heart, hoping that would endear me to the people stuck driving behind me.

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I also carefully chose my route to Westlake Park–I opted to avoid bike lanes, like the one up 34th from Stone to the Fremont Bridge since I’d stick out so much. Instead, I kept to the Burke-Gilman Trail under the bridge and circled back up and around. This was also nice since I could use the contraflow bike lane by PCC and have my own light to cross the bridge–I’d have to take the lane over the bridge so I liked that I’d have 10 seconds or so before the cars coming down Fremont Ave caught up to me.

Unfortunately, I was a bit late and the ride left right on time. I thought 7:15 meant the crowd would start gathering at 7:15 and leave quite a bit later, but at 7:35, when I was a few blocks away, a women riding the other direction called to me that they’d left and I should turn around. Since I was so close I hit the park anyway and see if there were other latecomers to ride with. I hadn’t considered missing the ride and therefore hadn’t put any thought into wide-bike routing.

Thankfully I found a few people bound for the ride and headed north with a dude named Doug. He had plans to bring a tree and even practiced (I’m not the only one!) with it in his messenger bag, but his neighbors sent it out with their curbside recycling while he was at work. Taking the lane over the Ballard Bridge wasn’t too bad, but would have been much more fun (and not at all scary) in a huge group. We caught up to the pack at Peddler Brewing, where they had stopped to load extra trees. So I got a bit of a group ride after all. Doug’s the treeless guy in front of me in my first video. Doug wasn’t the only treeless rider, but the majority of us were packing pine.

I worked my way up through the crowd enough to get my first look at the music bike. My video doesn’t adequately capture how loud it is.

The tree burning went quickly. Joby in his fire suit and Fred in a tree costume did most the flame feeding.

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Josh Trujillo’s Christmas trees set ablaze in annual tradition slideshow for Seattlepi.com has the best photos, including the extinguishing by the fire department at the end–boo!

After the early end to the evening, most everyone migrated to another park. On the way there, I happened upon a woman on her way to the beach with a tree tied to her back with her clothesline. She didn’t want to continue along with us, but happily gave me her tree. New tree! And thank goodness I had a set of kid scissors with me–which I had brought along in case I had trouble freeing my trees from my bike (which I did, I used them to chop off an old innertube holding the big tree to the deck). I felt bad destroying her clothesline, but it took five snips and she was very relieved to have it off.

And then I got to throw it in the second fire myself–woo hoo!

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