First Family Ride of 2017

Happy New Year! We celebrated the last day of winter break with a bike ride to the beach. It was a couple degrees above freezing (brr!), but the sun was out and the kids wanted to collect seashells. I more or less bundled us up in snow gear: the kids wore snow bibs, snow boots, combo sweater/jackets, gloves, and caps under their helmets. One kid started out in his balaclava, but changed his mind. PRO TIP: call balaclavas “ninja masks” for better chances of kids wanting to wear them. I don’t own warm base layers for them or wool socks, but they did OK with cotton under all of that. I wore snowboarding pants over cotton leggings, wool socks and boots, thin merino wool long-sleeved shirt and merino wool sweater, and cap under my helmet. Pixie wore her thickest sweater and has a warm liner than goes inside her basket bag.

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And I brought a bit of backup stuff along: extra set of gloves for the kids, thick gloves for me to wear while at the beach (my bike was wearing its Portland Pogies handlebar mittens so I went gloveless on the way there, though had I been more organized, I would have worn thin cotton gloves), snowboard jacket for me at the beach and on the way home, balaclavas for the kids in case they came to their senses, and two HotSnapZ reusable hand warmers.

Like most of our bike excursions, the journey is just as much (and sometimes more) fun than the destination. The kids chirped “Happy New Year!” at all the dogs we biked by on the Burke-Gilman Trail, I got to say, “Hey, cool bike!” to a bunch of kids, and we watched a guy in a sail boat taking photos of the Fremont Bridge as it opened for him to sail under (but he didn’t hear us calling “Ahoy!” at him).

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We stopped for a water break along the ship canal and discovered a heart-shaped tree trunk! The kids threw sticks into the water for a little bit and could have gone on forever, but Pixie attempted to roll in something stinky so I packed us up and moved us along.

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I was surprised to see so many people at the beach. Coming out on a cold day like this was a BIG DEAL to a wimp like me, but these real Pacific Northwesterners are very hardy. We met a fellow Big Dummy owner visiting from Arizona–he must have been freezing, though he didn’t look it.

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The one thing I have yet to figure out is how to time things so the kids don’t get hungry and want a snack five minutes after we’ve left the house. I’m pretty sure it’s impossible because they ate a huge breakfast right before we left. I was able to get us all the way to the beach (with one water stop and one rest stop) before we had a snack and were able to last a couple hours at the beach. I had noticed a new-to-me cafe, Jibe Espresso Bar on our way over so we stopped there on our way home and discovered that the Shilshole Bay Marina is AWESOME!

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It’s across a busy street from the Burke-Gilman Trail, but one can stick to the sidewalk of Seaview Avenue for half a mile to avoid that.

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We can’t wait to come back when it’s warmer (OMG is that a petanque court? We’re coming back with our boules!)

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but it was pretty great even for a day like today. The cafe didn’t have restrooms so we walked to the main entrance (just two doors down) and discovered a great area to hide from cold and/or rain! There were restrooms, drinking fountains, and a warm, dry area for snacking (because eating at the cafe wasn’t enough, of course).

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I also saw a sign for free loaner bikes. Not that we’ll ever be overnight moorers, but that makes the place that much cooler!

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The bikes are yellow and clunky, but they all have rear racks and it’s flat all around here. So they’re perfect!

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The kids warmed their hands with the HotSnapZ while I unlocked the bikes. The heat packs are a bit big for shoving in gloves or boots for use while riding so I haven’t yet figured out my favorite way to use them, but this worked well.

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Heading home was an adventure, too. My seven-year old started getting tired so we took a rest break at Kitty Cat Rocks. There are a couple rocks recently painted with cats alongside the Burke-Gilman Trail that we’ve never bothered to stop at before, so it was exciting for all of us. Even Pixie thought they looked very authentic.

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The kids threw sticks in the water for a bit and it was perfect.

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Just when I was patting myself on the back for having weaned the kids from needing (and myself from offering) rides on the Big Dummy, my littler dude said his poor sore back couldn’t take it anymore. Of course at first I said, “Hmmmm perhaps your back wouldn’t hurt had you listened to me about not bunny hopping with a sore back,” but I’ll happily tote him the last couple miles home lest he change his mind about loving bikes. So I popped his bike into the Xtracycle FreeLoader bag and he climbed aboard the deck.

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But really, I rarely carry the kids these days, though I will continue to drive the Big Dummy just in case I need to carry one or both of them and their bikes.

Turns out he was pretty tired because he tried to sleep on the way home. I know this because his brother tried to bike alongside us and chat with him and he snapped, “Shut up! I’m trying to sleep here!” I glanced back and saw his eyes were closed so perhaps he did sleep! It’s actually easier to take selfies over my shoulder and peek at the phone to see what’s going on back there, and that showed evidence of closed eyes, too:

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Fortunately he woke up just in time for the big hill to give me a “Jedi Push.” The Jedi Push is when you push against the back of your pedaling parent and use The Force to help propel them up the hill. It totally works.

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Here’s to lengthening days and lots of biking. Happy New Year!

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One thought on “First Family Ride of 2017

  1. Happy New Year from Baltimore.

    I have definitely gotten some of those Jedi pushes in the past. Of course I also have my little cheerleader. When she rides with other friends they always comment on her positive encouragement.

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