Archive | April 2015

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