Archive | April 2015

Spring Break 2015 Recap

Spring Break week was awesome! We’re all exhausted, sunburned, and happy to be back home. What better indicators of a successful vacation?

Following is a quick-ish recap of the week, with miles and bikes tallied for 30 Days of Biking at the bottom. See all the pictures in the Flickr album–warning, mostly kids (the human kind) and kids (the goat kind), but also lots of bikes.

Saturday, April 11
The only biking the first day of Spring Break was a trip with the kids on the bike to the grocery store to stock-up on snacks for our camping trip. Despite Alyssa carrying lots of our gear to the campground in her van, we still had quite a bit of stuff to bring with. I loaded the bike Saturday night since we had to hit the road at 6am. Clockwise from upper right: rollie bag of raingear, two backpacks of kid clothing, Ikea bag of snacks, the sleeping pad I couldn’t find the day before, and blue bag of my clothing.

Sunday, April 12
Kids and messenger backpack added to bike and we were out the door, just 20 minutes behind schedule. The Victoria Clipper was great and uneventful. It’s not cheap, but it’s amazingly convenient!

Once in Victoria, much of the 22-kilometer ride to Goldstream Provincial Park Campground was along the Galloping Goose Trail. The highlight of the ride was probably getting to watch a guy training his dog to ride a skateboard. It was only the dog’s second attempt and we thought he did a pretty good job, considering.

Our route took us along the south side of Langford Lake on the Ed Nixon Trail which was all gravel and on a Sunday, filled with dog walkers and joggers–and one guy on a cyclocross bike. Two spots were a bit too steep and as I lost momentum, my overloaded bike tipped to the side. The kids opted to walk after the second toppling and while there were no steep spots after that, it certainly was a lot easier to ride minus 90 pounds of weight. I’ll soon post a more detailed post about the routing to the campground.

It was a long trip, more slightly uphill than down-, but soon enough we arrived to the park, met the camp host, and found the playground where we hung out for a mere 30 minutes before our friends arrived by van via two ferries and a bit of driving. And with them came our bikes, tent, and sleeping bags! My mountain bike ended up being merely my “campsite bike” but it was still fun to tool around on a sub-75-pound bike as much as possible.

Monday, April 13
On Monday I hung with the kids at the campground for four hours while Alyssa and Dave biked into Victoria to shop for supplies at Canadian Tire (I’d never heard of this place before, sounds awesome!) and MEC (I like to call MEC “The Canadian REI”). The kids and I filled our time with a lot of bike riding, ball playing, slug finding, and picture drawing. It was fairly cold and drizzly so we ate lunch in the large heated bathroom and hung out in the van before it felt too small and Thunderdome-like.

That evening, Dave discovered the trick of using his bike floor pump as a bellows for the campfire. Brilliant! And the kids loved patiently waiting in line to take turns. They plan to always camp with a floor pump now.

Tuesday, April 14
We rode back into Victoria, this time along the north side of Langford Lake for more busy roads, but passable gravel to meet up with Eunice of Growing up Bike on her Xtracycle FreeRadical and Amanda on her Xtracycle EdgeRunner. We had arranged to meet at the Switch Bridge, where the Galloping Goose and Lochside Trails meet. We were a bit early and checked out Recyclistas Community Bike Shop right there and fell in love with the place.

We biked to the Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary to check out the various creatures indoors and the walk the trail and feed ducks outdoors.

After we biked more and lunched together, the kids and I braved the shopping mall by the Switch Bridge and I entered a Wal-Mart for the third time ever for the essentials: s’mores supplies, potato chips, tortilla chips, gummy bears, drawing paper, scented markers, and 10 minutes of free wifi. The American Dream…courtesy of our friendly neighbor to the north.

Shortly after we arrived back to the campground, we were joined by our third family of family bikers, Brad and two kids, who also came by van with normal-sized bikes while cargo bike stayed at home in Seattle. This brought our numbers up to four adults, six kids, 12.5 bikes (the half bike is a Burley Piccolo trailer bike).

We were low on a couple staples so I borrowed Alyssa’s Surly Cross Check to ride up the hill out of the park to the grocery and liquor stores. She just swapped her drop bars for Surly Open Bars (same as I have on the Big Dummy) so it felt like a sprightly Big Dummy. Adults got beer and kids got Kinder Surprise (illegal in the US, A-OK in Canada!) and order was restored. And I got to add another bike to my monthly bike tally.

Wednesday, April 15
Wednesday saw we 10 campers on 9.5 bikes for a short ride to one of the trailheads.

Then the kids and I rode bikes around the bigger, closed-for-the-off-season, campground loop. I got to do a bit of a loop alone with my newly eight-year old during which we took a pleasant snack break and discussed slugs, salmon, and bears.

Later we hitched a ride in one of the vans (I’m a bit disappointed to not have kept the trip car-free, but it was nice to be a passenger!) into Langford to play at a playground, have birthday sushi dinner, and pick up a birthday cake.

Thursday, April 16
Thursday marked four days of sleeping in a tent. This was a record because previously I’d only camped one night at a time since having kids. Woo hoo! But we ditched the tent for the last night in favor of a hotel in Victoria.

All this went home in one of the vans. Now I understand supported bike touring!

Our light load consisted of a big bag of snacks and our three backpacks containing our remaining clean clothes.

We met up with Brad and kids at Recyclistas where I bought stickers for the kids–5 stickers for $5!–and they looked in vain for the big shy fish in the fish tank. We biked to Beacon Hill Park where we hung at the petting zoo long enough to see the goat stampede. It was amazing!

We got caught up in horse-drawn-carriage traffic on the way out, but that’s probaby par for the course in Victoria.

Brad and his kids headed home, Alyssa, Dave, and their kids headed farther north to camp one more night, and my kids and I hit the hotel swimming pool.

Friday, April 17

Friday was more proper eighth birthday celebrating. We started the day meeting up with local family bikers at a coffee shop and then all got a tour of the Victoria Police Department, courtesy of Community Mike (he has a Surly Big Dummy, too, which you can see half-way down my post from last summer, Victoria, BC with family bike).

He even arranged for his coworker to come by with his motorcycle, though we had to wait while he ticketed someone across the street on his way in. The kids found this awesome, of course.

And then an RCMP motorcycle officer happened to drive by and let the kids sit on his motorcycle, too! Very fun, though I’m worried the kids now prefer motorcycles to bicycles.

Once we learned everything there was to learn about policework, we rode bikes to Cook Street Park, where the zipline was sadly in for repair, but the kids still had a blast. This is Eunice on her Xtracycle FreeRadical, Amanda on her Xtracycle EdgeRunner, and Kristy on her Bullitt.

Amanda’s husband arrived a while later on his Xtracycle FreeRadical making five cargo bikes total!

We caught the Clipper home at 6pm and I enclosed the kids in the full Hooptie for the first time (oh, half-a-Hooptie blog post coming at some point soon), figuring they’d fall asleep on the way home.

We got home at 10:30 and they slept a bit on the way, but an accidental sleep headbutt led to some punching and crying so we’ll have to figure out sleeping positions if we expect to be out so late again.

Saturday, April 18
It was nice to come home on a Friday night and have what felt like a bonus weekend of Spring Break staycation. This meant we got to attend a friend’s fifth birthday party at the Olympic Sculpture Park beach and since they couldn’t carry all the party supplies on their mamachari, I got to help haul stuff, which is my favorite thing ever. We also carried what was left of the party back to our friend’s house and I was able to retrieve my road bike. I’d been lending it to a visiting Detroiter, but since I left town a day earlier than she, I arranged for her to drop it off with my friend. It seemed to all work seemlessly.

I hadn’t carried a big bike with both kids since swapping the Yepp Maxi seat for half-a-Hooptie and things are a little different now. My five-year old was very mad (as you can tell from the picture) about having his space invaded, so I’ll have to figure out a better system next time. I’ll probably have my eight-year old sit sidesaddle.

Sunday, April 19

And on the last gorgeous day of Spring Break, we hit our favorite beach, Golden Gardens. The kids rode their own bikes and just when I started thinking, “Wow, maybe I don’t need to bring the cargo bike because they can ride the whole way!” my five-year old stated he couldn’t manage any more pedaling and had to hitch a ride for the last little bit.

The beach was awesome and the bike rack was full. As was the parking lot, but I don’t find that as worth noting. Someone burned part of the jumping log which is a shame, but it still works fine.

Heading home we had about 20 swaps between “I want to ride on the mamabike!” and “I want to ride my own bike!” by the five-year old, but thankfully he wanted to hit the last hills home. And my eight-year old had learned about zig-zagging up a hill on the camping trip so he made it up more quickly than usual. The five-year old on his 16-inch single-speed bike is a much better hill climber than the eight-year old on his 20-inch seven-speed bike. And as you can tell from the vantage point of my picture, I am the slowest hill climber of the family.

30 Days of Biking stats

Miles biked Saturday, April 11: 1.6
Bikes biked Saturday, April 11: 1

Miles biked Sunday, April 12: 22.9
Bikes biked Sunday, April 12: 1

Miles biked Monday, April 13: 1
Bikes biked Monday, April 13: 1

Miles biked Tuesday, April 14: 29.9
Bikes biked Tuesday, April 14: 2

Miles biked Wednesday, April 15: 1
Bikes biked Wednesday, April 15: 1

Miles biked Thursday, April 16: 16.7
Bikes biked Thursday, April 16: 1

Miles biked Friday, April 17: 9.3
Bikes biked Friday, April 17: 1

Miles biked Saturday, April 18: 13.2
Bikes biked Saturday, April 18: 1

Miles biked Sunday, April 19: 13.8
Bikes biked Sunday, April 19: 1

Miles biked cumulative: 284.2
Bikes biked cumulative: 6

Navigator kit

The theme for Thursday was navigation. I love leading group rides, leading individual friends around, and sharing route advice. But I also love getting swept along in a group ride and not have to pay attention to the details of the route. Thursday I did a bunch of riding alone and then got to hang in the middle of a group ride…which means I have no idea what route we took and am just estimating the mileage. But so fun!

I’ve also still got mountain biking on my mind so while cutting through the I-5 Colonnade Mountain Bike Park on the way to meet friends for lunch, I did some very bad mountain biking with the Straggler. Down a steep gravel trail was OK, as was back up, but the Limestone Loop was much too hard and I tipped over trying to navigate my way across a narrow wooden raised trail at the edge of the park.

I saw something kind of funny while heading back home. The Fremont Bridge Painting Project often has a BIKES DISMOUNT sign up, usually just during prime commute hours when one of the two walkways is closed. Most people dismount and walk their bikes, but this unicyclist found a loop hole! So very very sneaky.

Later in the day, I headed to Swift Industries showroom retail hours to pick up my navigator kit. I can’t wait for the Swift Campout, coming Solstice weekend (June 20-21). I’ll be leading a group of family bikers to Fay Bainbridge Park, just like last year, though along a flatter route I recently navigated :) And we’ll go again in mid-August for those who can’t make it in June.

Heading back from Swift I got to watch Bearcat push one of the State Route 520 pontoons through the Fremont Bridge. It was a blast to watch, even knowing I was running late for the start of my group ride. It’s so much easier to wait patiently at an open draw bridge on a bike than in a car!

The group ride was fun and headed south to Jefferson Park so it’s a shame I didn’t pay attention to the route. I don’t get down that way very often. I think the best part was getting to see the other pretty Straggler built by Back Alley Bike Repair. It’s the 650b version–neat to see our different tire sizes. My bike was awesome for one-day bike camping, but this one is a real-deal touring bike and will get to explore the Oregon Trail this summer. I didn’t notice before looking at my picture that we have the same Swift Industries water bottle, too.

Friday was supposed to be an exciting biking day, too, with plans to use the Big Dummy to tote my mountain bike and the kids’ two bikes to our Spring Break co-vacationers’ house to be carried to the campsite in their van while we bike over on the mamabike. But instead, she drove over to pick them (and our camping gear) up so my 30 Days of Biking ride was just a few feet down the driveway on my mountain bike to stick it in the van. Still counts.

30 Days of Biking stats

Miles biked Thursday: 31.1
Bikes biked Thursday: 1

Miles biked Friday: .001
Bikes biked Friday: 1

Miles biked cumulative: 174.8
Bikes biked cumulative: 5

Bike delivery day

I love getting to haul anything with my cargo bike, but especially other bikes! A visiting Detroitian (Detroiter? Detroitster?) was put in touch with me by 30 Days of Biking director, Patrick Stephenson. She asked if I knew how she could borrow a bike and once I determined we were about the same height, I made plans to bring her one of mine.

I haven’t done a lot of bag-and-dragging of adult bikes since swapping Yepp seat for Hooptie and so far it feels like the bikes aren’t in there as snugly. But I had added a toe strap from down tube to the back of the Hooptie and the bike hung on just fine, even down a very steep and bumpy brick block.

Check out the beautiful weather today! Here’s the view to the west while walking my bike over the Fremont Bridge. (Usually one can bike across the Fremont Bridge, but the Fremont Bridge Painting Project has people on bikes dismount depending on what they’re doing, though usually just during prime commute hours.)

I had planned to swap Big Dummy for Little Strugger for a lunchtime ride with friends, but once I found out one of them was attempting to drag a bike to the shop, I decided to keep the cargo bike out in case I could help. Turns out my bike wasn’t needed–the ailing Batavus hauled the backup bike just fine!

Though my FlightDeck made a great bench for my friends while we hung out at Dutch Bike Co. The Little Struggler sure can’t do that.

And hey, check out the new batch of Bikecaps at Dutch Bike Co. I was disappointed by the selection of just camo and skulls back when I needed one for the Little Struggler and convinced them to expand their offerings. I’ve got dibs on the forest scene–just kidding, go get it!

We lunched on amazing sandwiches from Other Coast Cafe with DBC manager Devin and learned the story of this gorgeous Soma. It’s a three-speed direct-drive, so a fixie (more or less) with an internally-geared hub. The woman who ordered it five years ago developed knee problems and couldn’t ride it so it’s on sale. If you’re close to my height (5’5″) and it sounds enticing, go check it out! I’ve never been on a fixed-gear bike before and found it fun, but would need to do a bit more practicing on it before doing more than spinning circles around the shop.

I thought that was it for biking today, but the kids and I biked 1.2 miles together after school. We fell prey to the age-old free goldfish from kindergarten classroom ploy and had to get supplies. I’ve never had the kids ride their own bikes across the freeway, but they did fine sticking to the sidewalk (which is what I do when I’m on the slow family bike with them on board anyway) for the four busy blocks of 45th Avenue.

They insisted on riding one in front and one in back of me on the way home to be my lead and follow cars, protecting the oversized load that was the fish tank. Too cute. Yet also an example of just how much cars cars cars infiltrate our play.

30 Days of Biking stats

Miles biked: 19.4
Bikes biked: 2

Miles biked cumulative: 143.7
Bikes biked cumulative: 5

Three-bike day

Three jobs for three different bikes today!

It appears we might get to do some mountain biking over Spring Break so late last night I dug out my neglected mountain bike to clean the chain and air up the tires. I haven’t done any mountain biking since before the kids came along; nowadays, my mountain bike (ten-year old GT i-drive 2.0) comes out once a year when there’s excessive snow on the ground. Initially, I used it to tow the kids in the double trailer, like during Snowmageddon, but the trailer was stolen so we rode separate bikes in the snow last year.

Using it as a mountain bike today was really fun! I pedaled to Woodland Park, which I’m familiar with from the annual MFG Woodland Park GP cyclocross race. I tooled around enough to determine the bike was in working order, but heading home, I got distracted by the pump track. Holy cow, that place is fun! I went through a dozen times, starting on the smallest bumps, but I graduated to some of the middle bumps the last few runs. And the banked circular portion at the end is great! Mind you, I’m no mountain biker and usually go incredibly slow until my hands cramp from clinging to the brakes so tightly–and then I speed up since I have no choice…and I’ll admit it gets more fun at that point. I can’t wait to come back with the kids!

I almost brought my big messenger bag to grab groceries on the way home from mountain biking, but decided going in normal clothes on normal bike was better so I swapped mountain bike for Little Strugger (Surly Straggler). This is the first I’ve put a pannier on the newly-welded rear rack and it seems to fit fine. I opted to take the Straggler instead of the Big Dummy since I had a short shopping list and I’d rather haul 33 pounds of bike than 75 pounds of bike when possible.

And then the third bike of the day was the Big Dummy to bag and drag the kids’ bikes to school pickup. I’m afraid we may have hit a bit of an impasse. We had planned to go to the She Bikes Cascade launch party, which was on Capitol Hill, four busy and hilly miles away, and a destination to which I’ve always carried the kids as passengers. But my five-year old has been eager to ride everywhere lately so I met them with bikes with the understanding I’d get to carry them when I felt it was too busy.

Things didn’t seem to be working in my favor for getting us all the way to Capitol Hill today. The kids usually want to leave school immediately, but today of all days, they stayed to play with friends and then with each other and I didn’t want to tear them away. They don’t see one another during the school day so it was nice to see them connecting in the playground, where they’re used to having their own, separate routines. With the day disappearing, we made it as far as Waterway 15, the closest “beach” access. The kids did bike tricks as they careened towards the ship canal while I tried to keep my cool.

This dragging-the-feet trick is called “My Mufflers are Broken”

I don’t know what this is called, but it was pretty exciting:

And this is their first and favorite trick, “Super Trick!” standard version on the left, modified on the right:

And brand new today: “Evil Foot Fenders”

The only one they skipped was “My Tall Bike” which only the five-year old can do: standing on the top tube.

I still can’t believe none of us crashed today.

Miles biked: 8.2
Bikes biked: 3

Miles biked cumulative: 124.3
Bikes biked cumulative: 4

Bikes on bikes

Oh hey, I may not have mentioned I’m attempting to blog every day of #30daysofbiking. Probably because I’m not sure I’ll be able to keep it up–the blogging, not the biking, that is. And what a wonderful thing to have arrived at the point where it’s harder to type about the biking than to do the actual biking.

Anyhow, the theme of the day was “bikes on bike”. I toted two bikes today:

Normally I “bag and drag” bikes (here’s my Hauling two (and three!) bikes post with many “bag and drag” pictures), but these bikes haven’t been ridden in 20 years so I didn’t want to drag their flat rear tires around. The Hooptie is helping hold them in place, but it’s mostly the middle Xtracycle FreeLoader bag buckle connected from left bag to right bag over the FlightDeck holding them in place. But for good measure, I added a bungee to join their front tires and strap them down to the deck, a bungee through the backs of their frames to the deck, and a Yuba cargo strap around frames and Hooptie in the middle.

I hauled them a bit out of the way, past where I started yesterday with the bike speaker, looking for the little JBL faceplate I lost en route. I was prepared to retrace my steps all the way to Olympic Sculpture Park, but I found it a mere five blocks from Velotron’s garage!

After depositing the bikes at the shop, I took advantage of the ease in making extra stops when travelling by bike. First up, I grabbed lunch to go in Fremont and sat on my favorite bench by the ship canal to watch tug boats motor by.

Then on the 3700 block of Meridian, I stopped to watch the demolition of this house:

Yes, biking isn’t the only way to accomplish these things, but it’s just so much easier. A father, three kids, and a dog were sitting across the street watching, too, but no one watched from their car. This house had a ton of bikes on the side of it back in the day, and even at one point an S.U. Velo on the porch (now defunct locally-sold cargo bike) so it’s always been on my radar.

Good bye, sweet house!

Miles biked: 13.3
Bikes biked: 1

Miles biked cumulative: 116.1
Bikes biked cumulative: 3

Easter Cargo Bike Ride 2015

Hoppy Easter! Easter means Easter Cargo Bike Ride and this year I replaced kids on the FlightDeck with an enormous bike speaker, borrowed from Velotron. (He rode with it last Easter.)

Sadly, I had to give it back after the ride, but I’d run the battery down anyway. And despite having lost the JBL cap on the back (which I will go search for tomorrow!) I’m allowed to borrow it again, woo hoo! Here are its exciting innards:

This year I got to play Easter Bunny so I snuck ahead of the ride before we crossed the Fremont Bridge to hide 100 eggs, filled with gummy snacks, water balloons, and temporary tattoos. I think the hunt was a success, but the kids would like more candy next year (<- note to self).

I didn’t take many pictures since my iPhone was plugged into the speaker, but there were a whole bunch of bikes (maybe 20?), most of which were cargo bikes…though it’s not a requirement to be on a cargo bike for these rides. But here’s the best one: Janet’s patch says “Bike Love Forever”.

Miles biked: 13.1
Bikes biked: 1

Miles biked cumulative: 102.8
Bikes biked cumulative: 3

#30daysofbiking group ride

For this first weekend of 30 Days of Biking, I co-led a group ride. There were 20 of us!

The group ride was 10 miles and I took the cargo bike so I could carry my floor pump along, but later I swapped big bike for little road bike to attend a birthday party. No pictures, but it was very bikey: a surprise party for which the birthday boy was kidnapped, blindfolded, and carried to the party in a cargo trailer.

Miles biked: 22.1
Bikes biked: 2

Miles biked cumulative: 89.7
Bikes biked cumulative: 3

New Cap Day

Today was seized! I wasn’t quite as adventurous as I had planned to be: originally I was going to bike camp on Bainbridge Island, but my friend who was to come along had to work. Then I was going to camp solo, but the weather forecast scared me off from that. Naturally, it turned out gorgeous today so you all have me to thank for that!

Here’s my modest day-trip bag of stuff:

This post is titled “New Cap Day” on account of my new MEOW cap from Back Alley Bike Repair, picked up 30 minutes before the ferry came. I have one that says BABR on the brim, but I’ve wanted a MEOW one for a long time, and Ben just got a new shipment.

Going back to MEOW caps, Back Alley Bike Repair, living for the now, and my mention of a friend in the hospital in my 30 Days of Biking 2015 begins post, Ben’s girlfriend, Shannon, is the friend in the hospital and one of the coolest people I know and I’d love if you visited the Sonsie Pals website they just set up for her. Send her your thoughts/prayers/good vibes and if possible, a donation for rehabilitation. Thank you!

I rode the ferry with two visitors from Germany. They flew in yesterday–and coincidentally had visited Back Alley Bike Repair. We looked at maps together and they told about their planned trip biking down to Los Angeles. Today they were just going to Port Angeles. It put my little trip to Fay Bainbridge in perspective. They also said it wouldn’t rain today.

It rained today.

That’s my friend Maritess behind me, on her new single-occupant bike! She also rides a mamachari with her son.

Fortunately, the rain stopped by the time we reached Fay Bainbridge Park so I showed her around the various camping spots and we played at the beach a bit, but mostly hid in the picnic shelter and ate my snacks.

My purpose of the trip was to find a better route back from Fay to the ferry for summer bike camping with kids and I think I’ve done it! Still flatter than the scenic route, but not as congested at the end. And it still includes Frog Rock.

I was so sure we had dodged the rain and Seattle was grey and miserable, but a peek through the ferry window proved me wrong:

Obligatory “Watching Seattle loom closer silhouette shot” of Maritess. I insisted a friendly passenger allow me to take a photo of him in the same pose with his phone. It’s the best!

While the weather was camping friendly, I’m glad we were back in civilization because we were able to hook up with a friend, just in town for a day, from Los Angeles. I got to see baby pictures on his phone that aren’t on Facebook and hear about his new bike trailer:
Boyd: “We haven’t used it much yet, but it’s the most popular one.”
Me: “Oh, the Chariot! Yeah, people here get that one because you can add a cross-country skiing attachment.”
Boyd: “…”
They’ll just be riding a couple miles to the beach.

Just to include some talk about camping in the day, I met up with my friend Alyssa at Chuck’s Hop Shop (yes, I made kissing noises when I touched our bike tires for the picture below). We looked at maps and planned out our two-family bike camping Spring Break trip. Can’t wait!

And finally home, alone with my new cap! For a day I had expected to spend completely alone with my thoughts after dropping the kids at school at 9:30, I had very few moments to myself. All in all, a perfect New Cap Day.

Miles biked: 32.6
Bikes biked: 1

Miles biked cumulative: 67.6
Bikes biked cumulative: 3

Bike Love

The Little Struggler has her rear rack back! I’ve been referring to the Straggler as a “single-occupant bike,” but I don’t really believe in single occupant bikes. She hasn’t toted a kid yet, but now that my Burley Moose Rack can handle the weight of the Burley Piccolo trailer bike, once I get it back from the friend who’s been borrowing it (and is no longer using it, having Xtracycled her bike!), I can tow one of the two kids.

I’m probably misstating this a bit…my rack mounts were up too high to correctly attach the rack (I bet this Surly blog post, Why the Straggler is the Way it Is explains it better) so Haulin’ Colin kindly chopped it down and made new little attach-y parts. And the rack made its way to G&O Family Cyclery where I met up with it today.

So that was the while-the-kids-are-at-school errand for the day, and then we three headed down to Nord Alley for the #BikeLove Party. Bill Thorness, upper right, is an excellent disc player, with a killer behind-the-back fling, by the way.

We headed out with the beginning of the group ride, but the kids were losing interest so we ditched to take a look at Bertha, recently extracted. We’ll have to come back down soon to check out the exhibit at Milepost 31.

And then we saw the return of the group ride on our way back home :)


Miles biked: 19.9
Bikes biked: 2

Miles biked cumulative: 35
Bikes biked cumulative: 2

30 Days of Biking 2015 begins

Best month of the year! 30 Days of Biking 2015 started today. Our family routine is quite different this year than last, with both kids at the same school (yay!) a mere two blocks from home (double yay!) which means we walk there (*gasp!*) unless we’re running a Bike to School promotion. So I walked the kids to school, walked back home, and then hopped on my cargo bike–a pink Surly Big Dummy for those who aren’t familiar with the Mamabike.

I started my errand running by dropping off some sidewalk chalk at Recycled Cycles. Some bike shops get beer, some get doughnuts, but Recycled Cycles gets sidewalk chalk from me.

Since I was now below the Burke-Gilman Trail, on North Northlake Way, I figured I’d stay low and finally take that picture with the three orange Opel GTs I’ve been meaning to take. But holy seat stay, they were being towed! What are the odds? I’m lucky I caught the sad picture I did:

But in pedaling away from the orange Opels, I realized my theme for the month: More doing now, less putting off for later.

I usually hope a theme will emerge by the end of my 30 Days of Biking each round, but I like that I’ve got it sorted out off the bat this year. Of course I’m still playing catchup a bit: my next stop was to put a letter + drawings by the kids in the mailbox to a friend in the hospital I wish I’d mailed a week ago. And I had hoped to finish some boring work paperwork before writing this post to declare it DONE DONE DONE, but it’ll happen soon (but maybe tomorrow because going to sleep at a reasonable hour for a change seems important, too). I shall do less putting-off-then-wasting-time-stressing-about-it and more just-doing-it so I can better appreciate the now.

Hey, speaking of which: I was supposed to write a post for the official 30 Days of Biking blog *last year* and I turned it in a few hours late so it never got posted. Procrastinating bites! Just so it doesn’t go to waste, here it is:

Greetings from your [self-proclaimed] Official 30 Days of Biking Family Biking Ambassador from Seattle. I like to think of myself as an old pro at 30DoB; I joined the community in September 2010, back when the kids and I weren’t yet biking everywhere, every day. There were some difficult days, and one night I resorted to a pajama-clad driveway spin, but I made it through and couldn’t wait to do it again. It was easier the second time around, but the it took failing 30 Days of Biking in September 2011 to realize what I thought was simply a fun online challenge was actually a tool that turns people like me into everyday bicyclists. So sneaky!

Now that I’ve got this thing down, I get a little jealous watching the huge events in Minneapolis, but I’m inspired to spread the word out here. I led a Seattle 30 Days of Biking Kickoff Ride on the first with four old friends and two new. Don’t laugh, it was late morning on a Tuesday–I’m ecstatic we had so many! I love showing people new routes around the city and this day we also discussed other new-rider-friendly routes, bike shops, and local biking groups.

I like to incorporate a theme into my 30 days, but it’s often a retroactive theme I figure out while composing my day-30 blog post. I can’t wait to find out what I’m theming this time. I’m keeping track of how many different bikes I ride, but I’m not going out of my way to ride everything I have access to. Even so, I’m up to seven different rigs…but I’m not convinced that will be my eventual motif. I feel I’d be met with many challengers if I tried to declare myself 30 Days of Biking’s Biggest Fan (but I am! I am!), but I do hold the title of 30 Days of Biking 2014’s First Pledge so I might have to do something bigger and better than ever before to properly commemorate this round.

I hope you’re having as much with the challenge as I. And remember, those 11:59 p.m. pajama rides do count and do matter and are part of what makes 30 Days of Biking so special.

Madi Carlson is a family biking advocate in Seattle, WA. She leads monthly Kidical Mass family rides and Critical Lass ladies social rides. Some people call her @familyride, but mostly she’s known as “that lady on the big pink bike”.

But back to today!

My main errand for the day was to route test for Saturday’s 30 Days of Biking – First Weekend Seattle Ride. Our start point at the base of the Wallingford Steps (right across the street from Gas Works Park) was a mess! And so so loud…there must have been a guy with a jackhammer down the hole. But the metal plate holder I pantomimed “Will this still be here on Saturday?” shook his head no, so I think we’re cool.

The test ride was great and I worked out a few kinks. And in the interest of fully testing for the real deal, I stopped at the Caffe Appassionato drive-through (they allow bikes!) to drink a coffee on the most scenic bench in Fishermen’s Terminal.

The route took me by the grocery store so I made a pit stop to get some essentials: beer and toilet paper (tastefully hidden under my jacket to be classy) on the near side, groceries on the far side, and egg hunt supplies in that bag on the deck for Sunday’s Easter Cargo Bike Ride.

I unloaded the bike at home, did a teensy bit of that looming work, and then took off on my newish single-occupant bike (a black Surly Straggler named the Little Struggler) for a different grocery store…because picky kids cannot be fed from one grocery store alone! And really, this wasn’t about “How many bikes can I ride today?”, it’s just nice to ride a lighter bike (33 pounds versus 75) in this hilly city when possible.

And while there I decided to Sheldon Lock:

People tend to buy the big clunky U-locks because they don’t know how to use them properly. A U-lock should go around the rear rim and tire, somewhere inside the rear triangle of the frame. There is no need to loop it around the seat tube as well, because the wheel cannot be pulled through the rear triangle.

Some will object that felons might cut the rear rim and tire to remove the lock. Believe me, this just doesn’t happen in the real world. It is indeed possible to cut the rim with a hacksaw, working from the outside to the inside, but first, the tire must be removed or cut through. It would be a lot of work to steal a frame without a usable rear wheel, the most expensive part of a bike, after the frame.

I Instagrammed a photo of my road bike Sheldon Locked yesterday, but admitted it was just for the sake of the photo and asked if anyone really Sheldon Locked. Turns out they do! And I got some good feedback:
“I do when I can. Saves on the paint job.”
“I do, mostly because it prevents my bike from flopping around on the rack/being moved.”

Miles biked: 15.1
Bikes biked: 2