I checked out the temporary (“summer location”) of G&O Family Cyclery today and it’s awesome! Find them one block north and on the other side of the street from their exploded location: 8554 1/2 Greenwood Ave, Seattle, WA. I had expected an empty room with bikes tucked in every corner, but it looks like a real bike shop! They found the space only two weeks ago and when I said the flooring looked great, Davey said they installed it themselves. And there are gorgeous, large black-and-white photos on the walls. And they’re planning to replace the light sconces. Because they can’t not do things like this, says Davey. There is already a little kid corner with toys and I added our toy trains and wooden train tracks since we no longer play with them. You may remember I brought our old train table to the shop during our very first in October of 2013.
Having just returned from a week of spring break in Minneapolis (which I’ll recap tomorrow!), I realize even more just how important G&O Family Cyclery is to Seattle. Minneapolis was WONDERFUL for biking around. I saw quite a few cargo bikes/bike seats/trailers/trailer bikes, but nothing like here in Seattle. More like four years ago in Seattle–before we had a resource like G&O. Back then there were cargo bikes to be had, but having a family-specific shop like G&O has really caused an explosion (sorry, horribly choice of words!) in them. They really are everywhere! And there’s now a market of used cargo bikes as well. Not to imply that cargo bikes are the only way to carry kids, but they really are amazing machines and until our streets are safe enough for kids to ride from all point A’s to all point B’s, they’re one of the best ways for families who want to use biking as their main mode of transportation work, especially for one parent carrying multiple kids.
Today I made good use of my cargo bike by also carrying my dog and a large load of stuff to drop off at the thrift store. I have no way of weighing things, but it felt about the same weight as the kids so it was probably about 100 pounds of stuff. I was mistaken for a delivery biker twice which was pretty cool. First was at the bike rack at Mighty-O Donuts by an expectant mother. I explained that I usually use the bike to carry two kids and when she couldn’t tell due to the bike-laden nature of my rig, I pointed at the empty Xtracycle across the street to better explain what goes where…because cargo bikes really are everywhere in this town! Then the cashier at the thrift store asked if I was a messenger…after having admitted to honking the alligator horn on the back of my bike. “No, that’s a horn for my kid.” I explained and told him how I usually use the bike to carry kids, but they do make terrific delivery bikes.
One more thing: A not-so-pleasant thing happened today that I feel a bit less grumpy about after having posting about it to my Instagram:
“Hello, gorgeous!” 😡
Today was mostly a good day. I’m missing my friends in Minneapolis terribly already, but the kids and I had an great morning (hooray two-hour time zone difference making things easy when back on the west coast!) and after I saw them off to school I was excited to load up my bike with our old trains and tracks for delivery to G&O Family Cyclery, valiantly rebuilding from the wreckage of the Greenwood explosion.
A minute after I snapped this picture, not very successfully capturing the doughnuts in my front basket and Pixie in her backpack in the same frame, a guy biked by and shouted “Hello, gorgeous!” at me. I thought, “Do I know him and just not recognize him in that cycling kit? That was a joke, right? Not a good joke, but certainly just a joke, right?!” But he was a stranger and it wasn’t a joke.
To go from feeling powerful and important one moment to objectified and insignificant in the next…blech.
I didn’t cover dealing with street harassment in Urban Cycling because it’s not something I’ve experienced before. We all (yes all women) regularly face gendered street harassment on foot and I’ve always thought, “At least on a bike one can feel safer and get away more quickly” and our avoidance tactics that are pretty much second nature when walking just aren’t necessary when traveling at bike speed.
The first tweet I got about the book was a complaint that I didn’t cover this. I’m sorry. I just re-watched the WMBA’s “Cut the Catcalling” video to feel better. “Hello, gorgeous!” is nothing compared to things I’ve heard on foot and compared to the things I’m sure dozens of friends heard today, but like I said–it was a first on my bike. It took the wind out of my sails.
Call me strong. Call me impressive. Say, “Wow, I’ve never seen so many boxes on a bike before!”
30 Days of Biking stats:
April 18 miles: 9.8
April cumulative miles: 301.6