Archive | September 2016

Kidical Mass rides to Swansons for pumpkins and baby goats!

Saturday, October 15, 2016
Outside G&O Family Cyclery
(8554 1/2 Greenwood Ave N, Seattle, WA 98103)
End at Flying Bike Cooperative Brewery
Facebook RSVP


‘Tis the season for Fall Adventures at Swansons! Note: this is the weekend before the big Fall Festival, but we’ll still get all the best stuff without the crowds:

  • Kids’ hay maze
  • Adorable visiting baby goats!
  • Pumpkins, gourds & fall decor

Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, the cafe recently burned down and was rebuilt. Everyone is fine (including the koi!) and it’s renamed Barn & Field Kitchen & Bakery. We’ll probably grab a snack there while spending a couple hours negotiating how many pumpkins we need to buy because we can’t possibly live without them once we’ve named them all!

The routes:
2.2 “mostly flat” miles there
1.8 flat and downhill miles back


We’ll meet up outside G&O Family Cyclery at noon so go early (they open at 10) if you need bike stuff.

We’ll loop back and end at Flying Bike Cooperative Brewery. There are really good sandwiches by Munch Cafe right next door (and OK to bring in other food) and fun for kids inside.

And hey, I never recapped last year’s 2015 Kidical Mass to Swansons Hay Maze so I just put the photos on Flickr: 2015 Kidical Mass to Swansons Hay Maze – 31 photos.

West Seattle Summer Parkways and DRT recap

Seattle’s third and final Summer Parkways of the year happened last weekend, in West Seattle. The event also hosted a half marathon and the Seattle Disaster Relief Trials.

Much like our experience at Ballard Summer Parkways last month, I didn’t get to see everything so I’ll need to try to make time to explore the whole event next year. I spent most of my time in one spot–running the kid bike decorating station and working DRT registration and finish line.


Whereas I had a bunch of kids for the kick-off bike parade in Ballard, there weren’t many around for this event. I heard from the event organizer that things happen a bit differently in West Seattle and people would show up later in the day. Had I not been busy with DRT the rest of the day, I think I could have declared a later parade time and gathered people at 2pm or so. Things to know for next year! Our small parade was my one chance for seeing some of the event, like the small bike polo court (cool!) and a bounce house. I ended the parade once I got back to my booth so I didn’t get a chance to see the bike rodeo put on by West Seattle Bike Connections on the other side of us, but that was also running all day long.


At least DRT was huge! Here’s the photo album from DRT Seattle DRT 2016 (it might grow bigger, but at this point it’s just my 78 photos). DRT was a roaring success with many competitors and fun had by all…and the world saved from disaster, of course! The Seattle DRT website will post a full recap soon.

Alex Kostelnik, owner of 20/20 Cycle and Electric Lady Bicycles was the first to finish on his beautiful Bilenky cycletruck that has turned into some kind of monster since I saw him last. He thought we were joking when we said he had won the E-assist class because Haulin’ Colin had spent the majority of the race right behind him, heckling and relying on Alex’s navigation skills only to zoom ahead when he knew where he was going.


We figured Colin must have had a mechanical failure of some sort and indeed he did! He had an exciting tire blow out that ground his bike to a halt, but he didn’t crash and the eggs (representing fragile medical supplies) in his teammate’s shirt pockets survived just fine. His rim was shot so they rolled in on a bare rear rim. He was able to pack Shamu, his semi-recumbent tandem extra-extra-longtail cargo bike, into the Bike Works BikeMobile at the end of the day.



There was also a pretty epic trailer tire flat that rolled in duct taped to the max:


And I found Morgan Scherer, DRT organizer and Familybike Executive Director fixing a trailer flat as I headed home. She surmised that the rough terrain part of the course was her undoing as she pulled four thorns out of her tire. Those other two flats were bigger blowouts and cannot be attributed to mere thorns, though.


Here’s her rig in all its glory as we parted ways before I went over the West Seattle swing bridge and she took the Duwamish Trail. She also has a Surly Big Dummy. Hers is named Xena and has a Stokemonkey e-assist and is pulling her cargo trailer named Zombie Bernice with her awesome new e-bike trailing behind.


I just carried pinwheels, pipe cleaners, and a tiny dog. Not nearly the same as the 300 potatoes I hauled home after last year’s DRT, but this year’s food was carried by van to a different food bank nor was I part of the organizing crew so I just did my small bit of day-of volunteering.


And one more flat…
Even after a day filled with cargo bikes, I needed more cargo bikes so I met up with my friend Velotron who had been at the football game on his cargo bike so we could ride home together. He’s got an e-assist and I don’t so we took the new Westlake Cycletrack(flat) rather than Dexter (uphill both ways) so it’d be easier to travel at the same speed. I fared fine, but Velotron picked up a carpet tack and got flat a few blocks from home. That makes twice I’ve been with people who picked up tacks (also on my Critical Lass ride the day before) so I think I’ll avoid Westlake for the time being because surely my own luck has run out.


But before the tack worked its way into his tube, I grabbed a great video of Velotron’s lights (that’s Pixie whimpering at the beginning because she doesn’t like not being first…not sure if it’s a rescue dog separation anxiety thing or a pack leader thing):

Seattle Kidical MASSIVE 2016 recap

Yesterday Seattle took part in the second annual Kidical MASSive–Kidical Mass on the same day, everywhere–thousands of families around the world going for a bike ride together!

Kidical Mass shows that “Kids are Traffic Too” and that cities that plan for family biking are more livable, sustainable, profitable, and FUN!


Despite a rainy forecast (yet no rain!) and a lot of wind, 20 people came out for our Seattle ride. This is a hard time of year to motivate to get outdoors…summer disappeared too quickly and we’re not yet used to the oppressive grey. It wasn’t an epic spectacle like Seattle Kidical MASSIVE 2015, but that was a day with gorgeous weather and it overlapped with Ballard Summer Parkways.

All my pictures on Flickr: Kidical MASSIVE Seattle – September 17, 2016 – 43 photos, 1 video. And check out many participating cities via the #kidicalMASSive twitter hashtag.

We met at Husky Grind at Mercer Court, right on the Burke-Gilman Trail. One family with a UW parking pass parked on campus which allowed the to attend from far away, one family partially bused over, and the rest of us biked. Unfortunately the cafe isn’t open on weekends until next weekend (note to self: find schedule here), but it was still a convenient meeting spot and we made use of the new Bike Fixation bike repair station…both as a fun toy and by two parents for real stuff.


As Kidical Mass rides go, this was atypical in that we spent most of our time on the Burke-Gilman Trail. It’s important we ride on streets, too, so we can demonstrate family biking as a means of transportation in our city to people who won’t see us tucked away on the multi-use trail as well as take advantage of the safety-in-numbers thing and give our families valuable safe and fun practice biking on city streets. But the Burke-Gilman Trail is a wonderful and useful corridor that some use for recreation, but a lot of us use to get from point A to point B.


There are many businesses lining the trail. We stopped at Counterbalance Bicycles to use the potty, pick up a replacement helmet, and make an impulse purchase of kid biking gloves.


Of particular note: our ride took place on PARK(ing) Day Plus+. We didn’t hit any PARK(ing) spots, but we rode through Seattle Neighborhood Greenways’ PARK(ing) Day 2015 Design Competition honorable mention at NE 40th Street (Bryant/4th project listed). A year later, there are spray paint markings implying SDOT might install curb bulbs or flexi posts to make this dangerous spot easier to cross. Our Kidical MASSIVE ride splintered into a few groups to dart across during lulls in traffic, but I’m hopeful someday crossing here will be easier.



We left the Burke-Gilman Trail to take Seattle’s first separated bike lanes at NE 65th Street.


The cycletrack spit us out at an awkward two-crosswalk crossing to get into Magnuson Park, but then we shared quiet roads to get to Cascade Bicycle Club for their Unveiling Party celebrating:

  • The first-of-its-kind Traffic Garden, a small-scale, European-style streetscape where people can practice riding bikes in a safe and comfortable setting;
  • The Fix-it Garage, a fully stocked new learning space where riders can stop and do their own quick fixes; and
  • The Ride Leader Welcome Pavilion, our new front welcoming space that offers plenty of seating, shade, water bottle fill-ups and more—all made possible through generous donations of the Cascade Ride Leader team.

The Ride Leader Welcome Pavilion is great! There’s a bike repair station, covered seating, and covered bike parking! After filling our plates with lunch food and listening to announcements in the auditorium, we enjoyed cake and ice cream outdoors.


The Traffic Garden is awesome and kids all took part in a bike rodeo. Bikes and balance bikes were provided to kids who arrived without wheels and one little friend even worked on learning how to ride a bike.


I’m looking forward to seeing what fun events happen here in the future!

#coffeeoutsideforher is moving to 8:30 a.m.

Yes, #coffeeoutsideforher is still going strong! Just a quick check-in to let you know we’re shifting times: now at 8:30 a.m. (was 10:00 a.m.)

Thursdays 8:30 a.m.
Gas Works Park

Plaza in the southeast edge of the park
…or if it’s rainy at the covered picnic tables in the play barn at the east side of the park
Reminder on the @familyride Instagram every Wednesday

More about coffee outside in my original post and the February check-in post.

Here are some pictures from last week’s final 10am gathering…

We started out with a professional photoshoot:


Just kidding! We arrived to find a company taking fancy pictures at our spot. But they seemed to be finishing up so we hovered for a few minutes rather than relocate. We’ve also had to work around sports shoe photoshoots and Real World filming this summer. But usually it’s not so exciting.

We had a fairly big crowd with 11 attendees, including a family with a toddler, a visiting dad on a borrowed bike, and a guy from New York who happened to ride by on his Pedal Anywhere rental bike and we called over to join us.


Everyone is welcome, regardless of gender, and there is no need to bring anything. Traditionally #coffeeoutside means everyone brings their own camp coffee setup and brews in tandem, but I’m happy to make coffee for everyone. Bring snacks if you’ve got ’em, or just help eat what’s there.

See you Thursday!


Lindsey Bikes!‘s bike looking lovely at our scenic spot.

Bike camping in Iron Horse State Park, take two

Funny story, while busy biking around Mount Rainier I missed a chance to respond to an email about being outdoorsy and car-free. Fortunately I still got mentioned in the Seattle Weekly article Do Urbanists Have a Wilderness Problem?: Density foes argue the whole point of being in Seattle is the ability to get out of it…with a car.

There are the bike enthusiasts, such as Seattle Bike Blog creator and anti-car urbanist Tom Fucoloro or family bike expert Madi Carlson, both Seattle residents who frequently journey to the forested outlands by bike alone (and in Carlson’s case, with two kids in tow).

The article posted sandwiched between two bike camping trips on the John Wayne Pioneer Trail. Neither trip was with the kids, but I did have Pixie along both times and that’s almost the same…though 100 pounds lighter.

With the one stint of bike camping in Iron Horse State Park under my belt, which was extremely fun despite taking a route out of Seattle that was less than ideal, I was ready to try again. This time my friend Velotron came along and we made it a three-day/two-night trip to make it even bigger and better than last time.


Pictures: Iron Horse Trail with Velotron – Labor Day Weekend, 2016 (268 photos)


  • Day 1: 66.4 mi, 6:58:35 moving time, 9:36:55 elapsed time, 9.5 mph avg, 37.8 mph max,
    4,426 ft elevation gain
  • Day 2: 54.8 mi, 4:40:12 moving time, 7:17:06 elapsed time, 11.7 mph avg, 23.0 mph max,
    1,853 ft elevation gain
  • Day 3: 63.0 mi, 5:28:50 moving time, 8:04:46 elapsed time, 11.5 mph avg, 32.9 mph max, 2,487 ft elevation gain

I still didn’t take the perfect route between Seattle and North Bend, but it was much better than last time and I’m sure with a bit of preparation I could figure out the perfect route for my “Third time’s the charm” attempt.

I had hoped to completely avoid the road-kill-strewn 202, but my chosen route followed it for a short bit. I chose a route by searching Ride with GPS for keywords “seattle iron horse trail” and ended up choosing this one: Seattle to Keechelus Lake. There were several options, some even without any 202, but many were there-and-back routes and I thought that would be more confusing to follow. I don’t find Ride with GPS the easiest way to navigate (the Google Maps app with upcoming turn warnings is my favorite), but it’s still a great resource.

Just to keep things interesting, we ignored the map 31 miles in, shortly after the Preston-Snoqualmie Trail spit us out onto Preston Fall City Road. We’d spent a lot of the trip on trails — I-90 Trail, Pickering Multi-use Trail, Issaquah-Preston Trail, and Issaquah-High Point Trail — so when Preston Fall City Road headed uphill and we noticed the Preston-Snoqualmie Trail picking back up on our right, we thought it’d be fun to get adventurous and hop on the trail. And if coming face-to-face with a series of steep switchbacks to walk is adventurous, then we were in luck!


Once we got up the switchbacks the trail was great! After a while we saw a sign that warned the trail ended ahead. Velotron worried that meant we wouldn’t be able to get through, but I was optimistic that it meant we’d have to get back on a road. Before we got all the way to that dead end (which has a great vista point and is worth a trip if you’re not on your way somewhere–see Biking Bis: The surprise on the Preston-Snoqualmie bike trail) we looked more closely at the map and realized the dead end was really a dead end and we turned back…but not all the way back, just to the previous cross street, Lake Alice Road. So we skipped some of busy Preston Fall City Road and I got that great switchback photo. And we met some nice bike tourers on the switchbacks, too, whom we saw the following day on the Iron Horse Trail. I have a feeling they intentionally took the trail and knew to turn off at Lake Alice Road.

Lake Alice Road connected us up with the 202–but for much less of the 202 than I experienced on my first trip out. Unfortunately, I’d stopped paying attention to my pinned Ride with GPS route so I didn’t realize we could have turned off the 202 after a mile and accessed the Snoqualmie Valley Trail (!!) but we turned off even earlier to take Fish Hatchery Road. Remember, this is the road I avoided last time based on a friend’s advice. Fortunately for us, we met a guy on a road bike who guided us away from a wrong turn suggested by my Google Maps app. He also told us about Strava Routes for future route help. It was nice to avoid part of the 202 and still go by Snoqualmie Falls.

The rest of the way to North Bend was the same as I took before, but we stopped in town for groceries, at what must be the most beautiful QFC in the world, tucked in the shadow of Mount Si.


We also hit a bike shop for Velotron to pick up a spare rear tire in case his old one didn’t survive the gravel trail (but it did!) and Pixie and I met a biking family with an adorable toddler who were planning to move to the area.

We ate our grocery-store-bought lunch at the Northwest Railway Museum somewhere I’ve only previously been by car so of course it was SO EXCITING TO BE THERE BY BIKE!


Soon we were back on the Snoqualmie Valley Trail, which was so much better than the busy road I took last time, but starting the slight uphill gravel this early was a bit tiring. It was incredibly fun heading back down two days later, though!

Our plan was to bike to Roaring Creek Campground at milepost 2109, the eastern-most campground in Iron Horse State Park, but it was getting late and would be dark by then and we were tired so we decided to stop at Carter Creek Campground at milepost 2123 and save the Snoqualmie Tunnel for the morning.

Carter Creek Campground was great! There were several other bike campers there, but it’s divided into three sections so we had our own picnic table and three tent squares. I think Carter Creek and Cold Creek (milepost 2113, where I camped last time) are my two favorite campgrounds in Iron Horse State Park. The creeks are right there for easy water collection and they’re pretty. Alice Creek Campground (milepost 2127, the closest to farthest west) is very exposed and the creek is on the other side of the trail. We checked out Roaring Creek Campground the next day and didn’t explore enough to find the creek, but it wasn’t right by the campsites. It was pretty, though.

Alice Creek Campground

Alice Creek Campground

Carter Creek Campground

Carter Creek Campground


Carter Creek Campground

Roaring Creek Campground

Roaring Creek Campground

Day two was supposed to be a day trip without gear from Roaring Creek Campground to Cle Elem for award-winning BBQ at Smokey’s Bar-B-Que, but after much consideration (Should we pack up and then ditch the camping gear at Roaring Creek before going to Cle Elum? Should we leave the tent at Carter Creek and go to Cle Elum and back? Should we pack up and carry everything to Cle Elum and decide where to camp in the evening? Should we ditch the gear at Roaring Creek and just go to Easton? Should we leave the tent at Carter Creek and just go to Easton?) We eventually opted for what we figured was the most reasonable choice and left our tent at Carter Creek so we’d have a smaller day three and see how far we could make it to lunch–Cle Elum if we felt ambitious or just Easton if we wanted to take it easy.

We were right to hit the tunnel Sunday morning rather than Saturday evening. It was packed! We saw at least 70 people in there (and three other dogs), more people were on bikes than walking, but there were plenty of both. This was Velotron’s first time in the tunnel and I think he may have been a bit disappointed that we couldn’t find a spot dark enough to turn off our lights and appreciate the total dark. But I thought it was fun and festive.


We ended up stopping in Easton for a 55-mile day rather than an 80-mile day. Mountain High Hamburgers was perfect. Over 40 flavors of milkshakes and each hamburger named for a pacific northwest mountain. The bathroom was full of framed photos of Mount St Helens erupting and several outdoor picnic tables meant it was easy to eat with Pixie.


Had we made it to Cle Elum we would have bought dinner supplies at a big grocery store, but in Easton we had only the gas station RV Lounge. That worked well enough, plus we got some of Leo’s THE BEST SMOKED SALMON for breakfast.


As we headed along Lake Easton Road between the trail and Mountain High Hamburgers, we noticed what we thought was the trail through the trees. So on the way back we found a little path through the trees and found a short cut to…not the Iron Horse Trail. But it was a great little low-traffic road Google Maps called Old US Hwy 10/Iron Horse Trail.


I got a little worried when I saw a DEAD END sign considering day one’s Preston-Snoqualmie bike trail whoopsie, but this was the good kind of DEAD END that featured a gate closing the road to cars, but not bikes.


And then we saw signs for the John Wayne Pioneer Trail ahead and transferred to a great trail (also called Iron Horse Trail by Google Maps) that connected us back up to our trail. I really liked this little detour because it meant we biked along the south side of Lake Easton on the way to lunch and along the north and west sides of the lake on the way back. And we saw a lot of families with bikes past the DEAD END gate, presumably parked at Easton Lake Beach.


And then Brad (Brad of my Mount Rainier trip) found us on our way back! Oh, I should mention that I know Velotron because he also has a cargo bike (an Xtracycle EdgeRunner named the 7XL). I checked with him the night before our trip to make sure he really wanted to bring small bikes rather than longtails. Brad was also on a small bike instead of his Surly Big Dummy. He’d driven with a friend to North Bend and biked up through the tunnel as a day trip.


Upon arriving back at our campsite we met family bikers! They had parked at Hyak (just east of the tunnel) with their bikes in their van and biked the eight miles downhill to Carter Creek. The mom was on a regular bike, the dad was on a Bullitt longjohn carrying the littler kid and the gear, and the older kid was on a 14- or 16-inch Islabikes (same brand my kids have). They were hoping the biking kid could make it the whole way on her own wheels because they hadn’t saved room for her and her bike in the Bullitt box. We made it a bit past Carter Creek on our Iron Horse Trail trip with Brad two years ago and I remember the uphill ride taking FOREVER.

The ride back was fun! Slight uphill gravel is OK, but slight downhill gravel is AWESOME. We mostly followed our Saturday route in reverse. I belatedly noted the turn off for getting to the Snoqualmie Valley Trail and and avoiding the 202, but it was steep so we stuck to the 202, knowing it’d be better on a holiday Monday than on a real weekday. And this time we stopped at the Snoqualmie Falls.


We stopped for lunch in Issaquah and made it home before it started raining. Hooray! I think that’s it for camping for me for the year, but the kids just expressed interest in bike camping again so we might try to squeeze in one more trip on a nice weekend with no other plans.