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

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