Archive | March 2017

A Week in Minneapolis During 30 Days of Biking 2016

Last spring break we went to Minneapolis, Minnesota. We have quite a few friends in Minneapolis, some of whom we hadn’t seen in quite some time and have been missing terribly, plus I was extremely excited to be in the birthplace of #30daysofbiking during #30daysofbiking! Win-win.

Flickr album: Minneapolis, Spring Break 2016 – 374 photos · 1 video

I’ve only been to Minneapolis twice–once during a four-hour layer returning to San Diego from a visit to my relatives in the Netherlands. On New Year’s Day no less! But it counts because Kristin picked us up at the airport and drove us into town to hang out. And once for John’s fall wedding during which I discovered as a [then] Southern Californian why looking at the fall foliage made me so anxious–I’d been trained from childhood to think “Poison oak! Get away!” when I see red leaves. I’m over that now, by the way.

Spending a whole week was AWESOME. We went everywhere and did everything. I wanted to make a big overlay map of my Strava recordings, but that proved too much work, so here’s (there -> to the right) a thrown together picture of my maps (click to see it bigger) that hopefully quickly show just how much we were able to get around.

Perennial Cycle
Super super huge thanks to Luke of Perennial Cycle for letting me borrow the shop Xtracycle EdgeRunner. And for inviting me to do an Urban Cycling book talk before the pastry ride. And for having such a cool bike shop! So many people admired the Xtracycle as we explored town. I hope some of those families find their way to Perennial Cycle and join the revolution. Perennial Cycle has lots of different bikes, like anything one could want to commute on, Brompton folding bikes, and the fat recumbent trike my kids can’t wait to grow long enough to fit on.

30 Days of Biking
I adore 30 Days of Biking! We attended several events and I got to meet 30DoB co-founder Patrick Stephenson. It’s a wonderful event and I highly recommend you sign up right now.

Bike trails
I knew ahead of time that Minneapolis is fairly flat so biking the two kids around was easier than at home, but what I didn’t know to expect was all the terrific bike trails! 83 miles of off-street trails according to this Hennepin County Metro Bike Trails Guide. In Seattle we have some multi-use trails which are great, but in Minneapolis we rode on bike trails with an area of separation and then a separate walking trail. No dodging around dogs on long leashes or worrying about surprising walkers in headphones. And the many trails go lots of places! I kept asking for confirmation that they were used as commute ways and not only for recreation. We utilized the to get many places, like friends’ houses, Minnehaha Falls, and Fort Snelling.

Nice Ride MN bike share
I didn’t ride a Nice Ride MN bike share bike, but it was fun to see them everywhere. They had just come back out from winter hibernation and everyone–even locals who rode their own bikes everywhere–were so excited about it and declared it the most reliable sign of spring. It was awesome to see a successful bustling bike share system in action (I write this on the day Seattle’s Pronto Cycle Share shuts down). We, uh, often used docked bikes for the kids to climb up for boarding the Xtracycle deck because like I said, they’re everywhere.

Recap of our week
I’m going to do a quick recap of our week of activities below, with miles per day and links to my Strava maps. Nowadays I have a Garmin Edge 520 that’s easy to record trips with stops, but last year I had a Garmin Edge 25 that was cute and little, but couldn’t be turned off at a stop in the middle of a trip to preserve its short battery life. It stopped working three minutes after the warranty expired, but I’m happy with this new, bigger one. I’m not one for riding fast, but it’s neat to tally how much I ride and it’s very helpful for exploring routes for leading future group rides.

Sunday, April 10, 2016
13.1 miles | map
We stayed with our friends Martin and Stacy (and two kids and one dog). Martin picked us up at the airport Saturday and drove us to Perennial Cycle to fetch the bike. I could have biked it home, but since I’d already biked through the kitchen early in the morning to up the bike with Martin’s truck (*gasp*) on Saturday so this was our first Minneapolis riding. Stacy asked my kids if they’d like to tag along to a birthday party at an amusement park type place so they ditched me for our first day of riding! But Martin and his eldest came along for the Sunday Social Cookie Ride and I even got to tow the kid and his bike a little bit :)

And we stopped at Behind Bars Bike Shop on the way home. Cool shop!

Monday, April 11, 2016
16 miles | map 1, map 2
Obvs we had to visit the Mall of America during our week. I deemed it a bit far for biking to. Plus it was freezing! I flattened my hair over my ears to keep them warm on the ride to the light rail station where we left the bike locked up for the day. The MOA was awesome even though the kids didn’t want to go to the aquarium or in the amusement park. The Lego Store, Brickmania Lego Store, and videos at the flight simulator store were excitement enough for them.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016
18 miles | map 1, map 2
First up The Bakken Museum: The Electricity of Life. Small, but so cool! The kids loved every single exhibit. Then we followed our friend James out to his house for a sleepover with his family (four fun kids!) through the snow! To quite Patrick in the Surly Brewing interview I linked above when asked why 30 Days of Biking is in April: “Because April is the confluence of all seasons. You could get a shock snowstorm. It could rain. It could be a perfect beautiful spring day with the birds chirping and the green leaves and the flowers blooming.” And indeed we got the full spectrum!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016
12.8 miles | map
The weather Wednesday was terrific so we spent the day at the park walking distance from our friends’ house after some sharing of kid bikes in the street out front. And we swung by the Spoonbridge and Cherry on our way back home. This was the only time things were a little tricky for biking due to some construction and busy roads. I probably didn’t take the best and more direct route from the bike trail to the spoon, but we made it just fine. I certainly see why Minneapolis is one of the best places for biking in the US.

Thursday, April 14, 2016
18.6 miles | map 1, map 2, map 3, map 4
We made it into St. Paul to visit the Como Park Zoo–via the Minnesota State Fairgrounds. I biked us through just to check out the deserted fairgrounds, but it also served the purpose of keeping us off busy Como Avenue, an unpleasant experience on our way back home.

We had lunch with Anthony Desnick, then director of Nice Ride MN where I got the inside scoop on Mississippi River Paddle Share. We’ll have to come back when the kids are tall enough to fit on Nice Ride MN bike share bikes so we can bike/paddle/bike!

Martin, Stacy, and kids met us by bike for dinner at Surly Brewing Co which has a wonderful waiting nook for kids, kid-friendly (i.e. spacious) seating both inside and out, and little bins of toys/puzzles for each table of kids. It was also the gathering spot for a #30daysofbiking ride so even though it was too late for us to go riding more, I got to meet Patrick!

I think this was also the first time my six-year old thought standing on the deck would be fun so that was a recurring motif for the rest of the week.

Friday, April 15, 2016
26.3 miles | map 1, map 2, map 3
I love that my older kid’s birthday always falls during Spring Break! Last year we were in Victoria and spent the big day camping, hiking, and dining on sushi and cake in town (with special police station tour two days later!) but this year he’s more into military stuff than police stuff so we biked to Historic Fort Snelling. It was a long, but awesome ride over. Martin advised us to stay on the east side of the Mississippi River until Minnehaha Falls, where we stopped for lunch waterfall oohing and aahing, and a playground where the Xtracycle got a ton of admiring glances.

The trail between the falls and the fort was pretty and woodsy and then a section alongside the highway. I kind of like highway-side bike trails–it feels like something built especially for bike access to a spot most people would only think to drive to. The last little bit was up a hill. A hill so steep I had to kick the birthday boy off the bike so I could make it up. I guess it’s good for a fort to be on top of a hill–better view of approaching enemies and all that. One hill in one week isn’t bad.

Note: it wasn’t yet Fort season. I figured we’d just ride over and explore around the closed grounds, but we got incredibly lucky and it had just opened that day for its first school group of the season and they let us in! The blacksmith made my birthday boy a nail and someone too official to be in period costume unlocked the gift shop/bar and gave the kids pins after he’d overheard we were special birthday visitors.

We met our hosts back in town for sushi birthday dinner and then cake at home.

Saturday, April 16, 2016
29.1 miles | map 1, map 2, map 3
Not that Fort Snelling wasn’t super fun on Friday, but Saturday was my day! We followed Martin to Perennial Cycle for a morning of 30 Days of Biking stuff. Music from Ben Weaver, giveaways and doughnuts from Banjo Brothers, and an Urban Cycling talk by me! I got to meet some friends in person for the first time and our friend, Tom, who recently moved to Minneapolis from Seattle was there on his Big Dummy.

Photo courtesy @hangsaroundthefort

And then we joined the Pastry Ride to a street fair (with bounce house!) and that was AWESOME.

We left the bounce house with Martin and Tom (and the kids opted to ride on Tom’s Big Dummy and there was no deck surfing) for more fun “me-type” stuff. First up we rode to Peacock Groove to meet Eric Noren and a bunch of amazing “deep custom” bikes.

And then we went to One on One Bicycle Studio where Surly Bikes was leading a big gravel ride that we didn’t take part in, but I enjoyed the bike shop (and adjoining cafe) and the kids got little grenade-shaped bike locks that they [obviously] love.

Then the bestest part of all the best parts and there were so many best parts to the week! All the old crew got together for a bike biking-with-kids brewery tour! For most of it we were six adults and six kids on bikes, but all told there were nine adults and six kids, some of whom I hadn’t seen since one of the weddings, five collective kids ago! I think Martin had mapped out five or six breweries, but we only made it to three before it was way too late to be out still. Community Keg House, Able Seedhouse + Brewery, and Bauhaus Brew Labs were also kid-friendly and adult-friendly. We all had the best time!

Sunday, April 17, 2016
9.8 miles | map 1, map 2
Our last day allowed some time to play before our flight so we met Tom and kids and James and kids at a park to get some wiggles out before our long sit–so that made for eight kids!

And then back to Perennial Cycle to return the Xtracycle because it was too big to hide in my suitcase.

In case I didn’t mention it already, WE HAD THE BEST TIME EVER.

It certainly helps having friends to show one around, but we did fine for our many trips where I just let Google maps tell me how to get from point A to point B. If you’ve been thinking about visiting Minneapolis, do it! And if you haven’t been thinking about it, add it to your list now. And tell me if I missed something I should have done so we’ll know for next time. I don’t know when we’ll be back, but we’ll be back for sure! And Minneapolis friends: please come visit us in the meantime!

My Cargo Bike is a Glorified Bike Rack

My kids are nine (almost 10!) and seven and prefer to ride their own bikes most of the time these days. They weight about 65 and 55 pounds so they’re still totable, but I’ll admit I’m happy not to be toting them. However, I still always bring my Big Dummy just in case. It’s great having a bike that can carry both kids and their bikes. A year ago they were often tired and requested rides and I was quick to oblige because I’d hate to have them get grumpy about biking for transportation. And it seems to have paid off! They’re still happy to bike everywhere and only turn into passengers in case of injury. My nine-year old usually walks up the last uphill block home from the trail and is happy to push his bike…but I’d feel obligated to carry him up if he ever thought to ask. The last hill is always the worst hill, right?

Yesterday we rode 11 miles after school to go to chiropractor…and to happy hour sushi afterwards because it always helps to add a tasty incentive to an all-uphill trip. As we we were biking there I thought about how my poor bike is just a glorified bike rack these days. Here it is at the chiropractor:

But! Bike parking is very important. Three bikes is a lot to park even with a bike rack, but there’s no rack near the chiropractor so my 80-pound cargo bike with super sturdy Rolling Jackass centerstand isn’t going to tip over or get carried away so it’s a great bike rack.

And today I was lucky (?) and my bike got a job after all! As I was thinking about the whole bike-as-bike-rack thing, my seven-year old crashed. It was a pretty exciting crash–he was riding ahead of me up the 39th Ave NE greenway because speed humps are for bunny hopping at high speed. We caught up to the recycling truck and as I hollered, “Slow down! The truck is going to stop suddenly!” the truck stopped suddenly and my little guy slammed on his brakes and skidded out on the damp road. He didn’t come close to hitting the back of the truck, but he was flat on the ground and done riding for the moment. I knew this because he marched over to my bike and climbed onto the deck as I assured the recycling truck driver that he was fine and no, there was no need to call 911. So I got to carry him the last mile and a half uphill to the chiropractor.

We still ride our tandem + trailer bike sometimes, but at the moment it seems to be more of a bike camping rig than an around town rig. The last time we took it out was for a less-than-one-mile trip to the grocery store, but on that day the nine-year old wanted to ride his own bike while the seven-year old wanted to ride the tandem with me so of course that all went horribly wrong and we’ll never take mismatched bikes again. I think we’d probably ride it a lot more if I didn’t need to carry it (it’s 57 pounds) up the flight of basement stairs to get it outside.

But back to today’s trip, I want to mention that it worked so well on separate bikes thanks to some great bike infrastruture. We live two blocks from the Burke-Gilman Trail–though we can’t head directly to the trail due to two busy street crossings and a too-steep (downhill) block. So we ride one block in a bike lane, jog a block on the sidewalk to the left to get to a crossing with stop signs (though one of two lanes in one direction doesn’t have a stop sign so I’d never let the kids cross there alone :/ ), and then one last block to the trail–but also on the sidewalk again because it’s too steep (downhill again) for the kids to be in the street lest they lose control. And then we wait (10 cars this time) for someone to stop and let us cross to the trail.

After three miles of trail we turn onto the 39th Avenue NE neighborhood greenway. That’s a lovely two-mile ride with a couple busy streets to cross, but totally safe for the kids to ride ahead of me between intersections. My seven-year old is starting to ride ahead through smaller intersections with my encouragement, but he tends to prefer to wait for me…or in some cases ride over the bike counter sensors seven times while he waits for me to catch up.

We have to ride six blocks of sidewalk at the end which is a bit of a bummer after having so much great street and multi-use trail riding beforehand, but it’s pretty amazing that we can get all the way to Wedgwood on separate bikes! This particular sidewalk has lot of narrow spots and driveways obstructed by fences and hedges so we are very slow and cautious. We’re all well aware that the sidewalk can be more dangerous to bike on that the street.

Heading home we stopped for happy hour at Blue C Sushi in U-Village. Parking lots are awfully dangerous to bike in, too, but we come here periodically so the kids are good at sticking near me and listening to me chatter about cars backing out of parking spots. My time-lapse video makes it look much scarier than it is.

U-Village got rid of my favorite bike rack near the tiny play ground, but it has lots of staples all around. And we even ran into friends!

Heading out of the shopping center on the west side has us on the sidewalk for one busy-street block and then for one quiet block because it’s too steep for us to be in the street. But then we’re back on the Burke-Gilman Trail! Perhaps someday they’ll add better bike routes into and out of the shopping center on both sides. It’s great having a place like this a tad less than two miles from home. We usually only visit for sushi, but today we also popped into the Amazon Books physical store to look at my book–woo hoo! And buy a copy of Lost Seattle (in English) since the kids are enjoying the Spanish translation at school.

U-Village also has ice cream, cupcakes, several Starbuckses, groceries, clothing stores, events, etc etc.

Westbound on the Burke-Gilman Trail is better than eastbound because the kids can ride the “velodrome” through UW–the little banked curb between the bike and ped sections. The Burke-Gilman Trail is mostly multi-use with just one big section, but these divided areas are nice.

Heading home from the Burke-Gilman Trail is a bit of an adventure. It’s a shame we live two blocks (as the crow flies, not as the bike bikes) from such a gem, yet we have to deal with uncontrolled intersections and/or sidewalk riding to get to and from it. It’s too steep to return home the way we came so we leave the trail at “the crazy intersection of NE 40th/NE 40th/NE 40th/NE 40th/7th Ave NE/Burke-Gilman Trail (oh, Seattle, your street grid can be so silly)” in the crosswalks and it’s a bit scary. Then we ride a few blocks of the sidewalk of 40th because it’s too busy for the kids to be in the street and stay on the sidewalk of 4th as we bike by school. That’s both because there’s no curb cut to get to the street, but also because we get spread out on such a steep street. My seven-year old either waits on the sidewalk at the top of the hill or carefully rides the rest of the way home on the sidewalk. I wouldn’t mind him in the street, but he prefers the sidewalk when he’s ahead of me here. Then I wait for my nine-year old to walk up behind me and the two of us ride home in the street.

Kidical Mass April Fools’ Day Ride

Saturday, April 1, 2017
Fremont Dinosaur Topiary
(N Northlake Way & Burke-Gilman Trail & N Canal St, Seattle, WA 98103)
Facebook event
3.8-mile route
(route on Ride with GPS)

Remember the Google self-driving bike last year? That was cool!

Unfortunately, it wasn’t real (yet), but what I’m going to tell you next totally is:

We’ve partnered with Mighty-o donuts to sow their next crop of doughnuts. This season they’ll be planting along the ship canal where conditions are perfect for spring-time doughnut farming.

We’ll meet at the Fremont Dinosaur Topiary for seed sowing and hanging out for a bit before we head to the Ballard Mighty-o donuts for ripe doughnuts (from last season’s crop that grew in Discovery Park). One mini doughnut provided for each participant courtesy of the SKMAA (Seattle Kidical Mass Agritourism Association), but feel free to buy your own full-sized goodies…and if you have a Bicycle Benefits sticker on your helmet (available at Mighty-o if you don’t have one yet and want one) it’s buy one doughnut get one free!

Don’t be disappointed that nothing silly will have happened yet considering it’s April Fools’ Day–Mighty-o Ballard recently launched the Friends of Mighty-O Parklet boat. What’s sillier than a boat parked on the street? We’ll all crowd into the little boat for a group photo before feasting on doughnuts. Time to brush up on your pirate jokes (here’s our recent fave: “What has four eyes, four hands, and four legs?” “Four pirates.”)

After Mighty-o we’ll head over to spacious and kid-friendly Populuxe Brewing. The food truck is Peasant Food Manifesto and starts at 3pm. That’s a little too exciting for my own kids, so I might pop down a few blocks to Giddy Up Burgers & Greens.

30 Days of Biking
No joke here, 30 Days of Biking kicks off April 1st and it’s a wonderful event!

30 Days of Biking is a pledge to ride your bike every day in April and share your adventures online: #30daysofbiking.

There’s no minimum distance–down the block and around your basement count just like a 20-mile commute or a 350-mile charity ride. If you miss a day, no worries–just keep riding and don’t give up! It’s all for giggles, or as serious as you want it to be. What matters is that we’re all in this together.

Pledge to ride here and kick off the month in style!

About Kidical Mass
Seattle Kidical Mass rides are presented by Familybike Seattle. Familybike Seattle is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit that decreases barriers to bicycling for families of all income levels. We believe that biking as a family increases our individual, family, and societal quality of life, while at the same time moving toward sustainable lifestyles and communities.

Kidical Mass is a fun, safe, easy-going, and law-abiding family bike ride for kids of all ages. It started circa 2008 in Eugene, Oregon, and has since spread to other bikey burgs, like Seattle! Our group rides include a nice mix of experienced cyclists, and folks just getting started. We hope to educate bike-curious parents about ways to bicycle with children, help kids learn to ride safely in the city, and increase the visibility of family biking on Seattle streets. Kids are traffic too! All manner of bikes and high-occupancy velos are welcome.

Dalles Mountain 60 with Pixie

Pixie and I just stumbled our way through the amazing and muddy experience called the Dalles Mountain 60.

Photo by Aaron K

Details from VeloDirt:

It’s ridden the 2nd Saturday in March, 10:00 a.m. roll-out from Holsteins Coffee in The Dalles.

This is the classic ride that started it all. By today’s standards it’s on the tame side, but that’s why this is a perfect introduction into the wide world of dirt & gravel riding. Take your road bike and learn how to pick a line through loose gravel. Just keep an eye on the weather, as winds in the gorge can make this a suffer fest and the beautiful climb up Dalles Mountain bakes in the sun (a great thing come winter time). Warning: access to the top of the Maryhill Loops is private property… The alternate is to drop down US-97, West/left on WA-14 ~1 mile, then right at the road for Stonehenge.

60 miles, ~30% dirt
GPS Route
Start/End: The Dalles
Services: The Dalles, Biggs
Tires: Optimal = 28-32c

I was really slow–here’s my Strava: 57.1 miles, 3,970 feet elevation, elapsed time 8:58:46, moving time 6:00:58. I knew going in that most people would ride cyclocross and road bikes and treat this like a race (or “sufferfest”); I’m pretty sure Pixie was the only dog along, I may have had the only bike with a kickstand, and my bike was loaded too heavy for me to lift…but it was great!

Pictures! See all my photos in my Flickr album: Dalles Mountain 60 – March 11, 2017 – 172 photos, 2 videos for the full experience. Ride recap (and a lot of overthinking about future gear) below…

We arrived at Holstein’s Coffee Co five minutes late and most of the 100 riders had already departed. This was fine by me because I probably would have felt a bit intimidated seeing all the Portland people on fancy fast bikes in more “serious” bike clothing. I’m curious how the fast people did temperature-wise. I was never too cold. And I had panniers to stow all my layers in during my spells of overheating. So there’s something to be said for a heavy bike and storage. One friend went out with only one of his two pairs of gloves and had to stop for a long time in Biggs Junction to thaw out.

The first gravel started about six miles in and started as a nice gradual climb, but soon got steeper and steeper (but maybe I was just tireder and should have eaten by then) and went on forever. I saw quite a few people riding back the other way and initially thought they were gluttons for punishment and wanted to ride up a second time, but in retrospect I think they were heading back either for timing reasons or frozen reasons. I recognized a friend from Portland heading down and she said she was following after a hypothermic friend rather than wait for an ambulance with him at the top of the hill. Eek.

I let Pixie run alongside me a couple times so she wouldn’t get bored. Also, even though she only weighs nine pounds, having an empty basket is nicer for hill climbing. Having a cheerful little dog pull you up the hills is nice, too.

I bumped into a couple friends from Seattle on my slow way up. This is Bock whom I’ve only ever seen on a fat bike:

I’m not sure I’ve ever seen him in long sleeves, come to think of it. He was contemplating turning back at this point because he wasn’t sure about wanting to do all the road riding at the end in the dark. That gave me pause. I really wanted to do the whole thing, but I was worried about my two friends in the rental car being done hours before me and having to wait. I figured they could find me another ride with all that time if it was a problem (we were driving 20 miles from The Dalles to Hood River for night two).

I had figured I’d ride the entire thing alone and had the Ride with GPS route saved on my phone and an external battery pack because my phone tends to conk out in the cold (I also have a The Plug but I never use it because I have to turn off my light and go 10 mph). However, I ran into four friends who had stopped to eat at the top of the first peak! Aaron with the yellow fenders is from Portland and we have a bunch of friends in common though we’d never met before. Wang, Mohawk Mike, and Mark I know from Seattle. They’re all quite a bit faster than me, but waited up for me (or stopped for snacks) repeatedly so I wasn’t alone after all. While it would have been fine riding alone, it was awesome riding with friends.

The highlight of the ride is the Maryhill Loops, a smooth loopy downhill run. Those poor fast riders had to ride them in drizzle and fog, but the sun snuck out from behind the clouds just as we arrived! Behold my three Seattle compatriots as three small specks:

And after that we saw Stonehenge. Yes, there’s a Stonehenge in Washington!

And shortly after that we crossed back into Oregon and stopped at the gas station in Biggs Junction, figuring it’d be quicker than McDonalds (and thank goodness, I haven’t been to a McDonalds even since before watching Super Size Me). I bought a sandwich despite having lots of snacks left and filled my water bottles with water from the soda dispenser. And peed. I was curious how pee breaks would work. Pixie was fine on the side of the road, but I was happy I didn’t have to go until reaching Biggs Junction.

I sent a message to my travel buddies to let them know how far back I was and planted the seed that if they were impatient and wanted to scoop me up from the road, I wouldn’t feel cheated since I’d already done the first big hill and the loops.

Soon after Biggs we found more dirt! Not gravel this time, but toothpaste-like sandy mud on Old Moody Road. I’m not sure I would have fared better had this been the first hill of the day, but given the long day in the saddle it was tough! I walked all the uphill parts. But it was beautiful! And I thought a lot about bike weight and packing while trudging along. I also checked for messages from the car crew when I had a signal. The passenger found a ride ahead of us and the driver was happy to wait. I have to admit once I suggested the possibility of a ride it started sounding enticing, but I’m glad I got to do the whole thing. Also, he got to meet a lot of people as they arrived to Holsteins after him/before me so that’s fun!

The full moon rose just as we got to the end of the gravel and followed us along Fifteen Mile Road. It was beautiful, but also a bit disconcerting as it masqueraded as a headlight during the occasional glance over a shoulder to see if there was a car back.

Speaking of cars, there were very few all day. We biked past a construction site on Old Moody and I saw trucks head out downhill after we had passed it, but our timing was such that we didn’t have to share the road with them (and two slow-moving trucks coming towards us wouldn’t have been a big deal). A few miles into the day, someone yelled at me to “Get on the sidewalk!” as I biked over the bridge all alone (I doubt anyone opted to ride on the debris-strewn sidewalk), but there were no other incidents and it was a lovely low-car-traffic route as a whole.

Shortly after moonrise I had to put Pixie in her backpack because she finally got fed up not being at the front of our pack (she’s a born pack leader, of course) and she was able to sit calmly in the backpack whereas the front basket just made her whiny. And this meant I hadn’t brought the backpack along in vain! That was with about 10 miles left.

So speaking of bringing stuff in vain, let’s look at all my crap…


  • Chocolate peanut butter cups
  • Emergency bourbon
  • S’mores flavored Pop Tarts
  • Sriracha bacon jerky
  • [Trail mix (I left this behind)]
  • Three little chocolate bars
  • Teriyaki turkey jerky
  • Salmon jerky
  • Cheese bites
  • 10 mandarin oranges

I had a lot of leftover food…but I like to share and I don’t like to worry about not having enough food. Plus I bought that sandwich at the 35-mile stop. In addition to that photographed above, I also had two little peanut butter tubs and a hot chocolate packet taken from the hotel’s Free Continental Breakfast I figured I could pass along to someone bonking on the side of the road. I guess I could have made do with half the peanut butter cups, only the salmon jerky, one chocolate bar, and two oranges (and the purchased sandwich).

Other gear

  • Flat fixing kit (pump, two tubes, two tire levers, patch kit)
  • Multitool
  • Knog Milkman bike lock
  • Fish knife, zip ties, nail clippers (in case I had to remove my basket for the car rack)
  • Wallet
  • All my keys
  • Two water bottles
  • Two peanut butter tubs, hot chocolate packet (mentioned above)
  • ECOXGEAR EcoPebble Waterproof Speaker
  • Garmin
  • Lifeproof iPhone mount
  • All of Pixie’s food in plastic bag, lidded plastic dish for serving water/food
  • Long-sleeved merino wool bike jersey
  • Lightweight long-sleeved merino wool shirt
  • Four John’s Irish Straps (that I only used for the car bike rack)
  • RAVPower external battery/iPhone cord
  • Sunglasses
  • Safety pizza
  • Bandaids
  • More bandaids
  • Gum
  • Four quarters
  • Advil
  • DayQuil (I have a cold, but didn’t take any)
  • Two USB cubes
  • Power cord for Garmin/external battery/speaker
  • Five HotSnapZ reuseable heat pack

I didn’t need most of this stuff with me. Here’s what I used:

  • Both water bottles
  • Money
  • A very small amount of Pixie food that she ate out of my hand, not the container
  • Speaker
  • Garmin
  • iPhone mount
  • External battery
  • Sunglasses
  • Safety Pizza
  • Two Advils
  • One heat pack (for Pixie)

Of course I’d still bring the multitool and flat-fixing stuff. But I guess I could leave all that other stuff behind.


  • Pixie’s Atomic Cycle Werks liner and BYOBB (Bring Your Own Basket Bag)
  • Two small Swift Industries panniers
  • Timbuk2 Muttmover backpack
  • cargo net to hold Muttmover to rear rack

Obviously no Pixie would mean I’d have all my basket space for a sensible amount of snacks and minimal gear. Perhaps that would go in the BYOBB (many poeple use these for non-dog stuff, but mine has a special doggie head hole…but with a flap so I can close it for non-dog purposes). I think I’d still want a cargo net strapped to my rear rack because it would be convenient for quickly shoving clothing layers into. The handlebar mittens look big, but they’d go nicely onto the rear rack for too-hot periods. It’s tempting to try to “look the part” without fluffy handlebars were I to travel lighter, but it’s really nice to have warm and dry hands!


  • Bern helmet
  • Knit cap
  • Showers Pass Rogue Hoodie water resistant jacket
  • Portland Pogie handlebar mittens
  • Tank top
  • Ibex zip-up merino wool sweater
  • Defeet wool DuraGloves
  • Ibex El Fito 3/4 length wool bike tights
  • Rainlegs rain chaps
  • Hi-vis Defeet socks
  • SIDI bike shoes

I think I did OK on clothing. I have a thinner (but too large) rain jacket, but I need to re-waterproof it before I bring it on a ride like this. I need to re-waterproof my rain chaps, too, come to think of it.

Stuff I left in the car

  • Atomic Cycle Werks hip pouch
  • IKEA shopping bag
  • Abus bike lock
  • Back Alley Bike Repair MEOW cap
  • Jandd shark handlebar bag (I would have attached this to my basket for easy snacking, but I loaned it to a friend)
  • Swimsuit (never used…Pixie couldn’t come down to the hot tub)
  • Vans
  • Friday and Sunday clothing, pajamas
  • Endura shoe covers I decided were overkill
  • [And toiletry kit, but I forgot that at the hotel in The Dalles]

It was nice having somewhere to stow this stuff! Other than the bike lock it wasn’t heavy, but it was bulky. If I do this again, I’ll want to be able to stow stuff again.

So that’s that! Any gear suggestions, both for traveling with dog and without are welcome.

Kidical Mass video shoot 2.0 to G&O Family Cyclery 2.0

Update: Date is now TBD, but it’ll be soon and it’ll be on a Sunday. More soon!

Did you hear? G&O Family Cyclery’s new, permanent shop is open! It’s easy to find as it’s just two doors north of the temporary, post-Greenwood-explosion location (which was just across the street and a block north of the original location) and Kidical Mass is going to partake in a pedaling parade to party with our pals. We’ll start at the park in Green Lake and ride to the shop in Greenwood:

Date TBD
10:00 a.m.
Green Lake Community Center
(7201 E Green Lake Dr N, Seattle, WA 98115)
Facebook event page

10:00 a.m. Gather at the Green Lake Shade Plaza (arch east of the community center)
10:30 a.m. Off we go!
11:30 a.m./noon-ish Arrive to G&O Family Cyclery 8558 Greenwood Ave N, Seattle, WA 98103

Our 3.6-mile route will have a great mix of bikeways: over a mile of Green Lake Trail, a teensy bit of sidewalk to get uphill through the tunnel under Aurora, bike lanes, regular quiet streets, and neighborhood greenway quiet street. All bikes welcome! But the mile up Fremont Avenue is a slightly uphill slog so be warned and we’ll take rest breaks as needed.

Also, this is take two of the G&O commercial video shoot so there will be a video release form to sign in addition to the regular ride waiver.

Once at G&O Family Cyclery, we’ll take some time to congratulate our friends and check out the shop, and then head a few doors down to kid-friendly Flying Bike Cooperative Brewery/Munch Cafe for those who want lunch.

For those who want to ride back with the group, we’ll coordinate timing on that and roughly follow the same route back (but note, Green Lake Trail is counterclockwise only).

G&O Family Cyclery Greenwood Blast Anniversary Party
Hey! Big fun event at G&O nine days before our ride:

March 9, 7pm until around 10pm.
Reduced Price Vegan Hot Dogs from Cycle Dogs!
Other Snacks!

About Kidical Mass
Seattle Kidical Mass rides are presented by Familybike Seattle. Familybike Seattle is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit that decreases barriers to bicycling for families of all income levels. We believe that biking as a family increases our individual, family, and societal quality of life, while at the same time moving toward sustainable lifestyles and communities.

Kidical Mass is a fun, safe, easy-going, and law-abiding family bike ride for kids of all ages. It started circa 2008 in Eugene, Oregon, and has since spread to other bikey burgs, like Seattle! Our group rides include a nice mix of experienced cyclists, and folks just getting started. We hope to educate bike-curious parents about ways to bicycle with children, help kids learn to ride safely in the city, and increase the visibility of family biking on Seattle streets. Kids are traffic too! All manner of bikes and high-occupancy velos are welcome.

Biking to Walk the Battery

We had several little tastes of sort-of open street events today and it was great! Per the Open Streets Project: “Open streets initiatives temporarily close streets to automobile traffic, so that people may use them for walking, bicycling, dancing, playing, and socializing.” Here in Seattle we have Summer Parkways and if you can, get to Portland for one of their amazing Sunday Parkways. Or, of course, hit the original and bestest open street: Ciclovía in Bogotá. Anyhow, today was nothing like any of those, but getting a little dose of closed-to-cars streets is always a treat.

We had a nice 5.5-mile ride to the south end of the Battery Street Tunnel, but you’ll notice a jog as we encountered the Fremont Sunday Market (I always forget about avoiding that block on Sundays!) for our first open-but-not-open-to-pedaled-bikes street event. I really like the new flexipost-protected bike lanes between the Burke-Gilman Trail and Fremont Bridge, but they’re closed for the market on Sundays.

But before that we had a nice bit of Burke-Gilman Trail, and after that Ship Canal Trail and Westlake Bikeway–all wonderful spots for kids riding their own bikes. My two kids were on their own bikes and my friend Amy was on her Xtracycle EdgeRunner, carrying her kid and towing his single-speed bike, hoping to let him ride a bit on the way back.


We took Dexter between the end of the Westlake Bikway and Bell Street Park (or as I like to call it, Bell Street Park for Cars, because no one heeds the arrow signs and turns off after a block). I don’t like taking Dexter Avenue on weekdays because the the paint-buffered bike lanes make them the perfect width for idling Uber private taxis. Weekends are better, though there are still several construction spots where the bike lane disappears. HOWEVER, today was the Hot Chocolate 15k/5k (“Not a Race, It’s an Experience‎”) so most of the blocks of Dexter we biked were closed to cars! It was glorious. Plus we were going against jogger traffic so we could smile at the racers.


We weren’t allowed to bring our bikes to the event we were attending, but walking Walk the Battery was still awesome! It was put on by Aaron Asis & Project Belltown, details here:

Walk the Battery is part of the b’End Tunnel public art initiative intended to celebrate the Battery Street Tunnel, in its final years of service. This event, entitled Walk the Battery, will temporarily allow the general public to share a one-of-a-kind walking experience through this ‘auto-only’ public passage–at the threshold of a new downtown waterfront.

“Walk the Battery is opportunity for the public to physically access a unique piece of Seattle’s infrastructural history – past, present and future. We hope this walking event inspires new conversation about the history, legacy and fate of the Battery Street Tunnel”

I couldn’t tell from emailed communications how the walk would work–I was worried we’d walk through the tunnel one way and then have to circle back on sidewalks of busy streets, not ending up near where we parked the bikes. But I was wrong and we just walked back and forth through the tunnel and it was short enough and exciting enough that the kids didn’t complain of tired legs once. (We don’t do a lot of walking and my seven-year old barely made it the first mile when we did part of the Womxn’s March on Seattle.)

The out-and-back meant we ran into all our friends and the kids had double the chances to find treasures. The best score was a Thai coin dug out of some hard-packed junk at the north end of the tunnel. There are also several sharp metal bits and pieces lovingly stowed in my bike’s cargo bags, but I was allowed to throw away the squished and very dirty lipstick tube that was presented to me as my special treasure.



I hope other kids (and adults) had as much fun, yet also managed to stay cleaner. My guys rubbed against the sides of the tunnel and given that it’s normally home to car traffic, it’s dirty.


Heading home we had a couple car-free blocks of Bell Street. This was particularly great because Bell Street is one way and there isn’t a comparable street in our towards-home direction. I have high hopes the One City Center plan will fix that someday, but today we took the Bell Street sidewalks to Dexter.


The Hot Chocolate 15k/5k street closure was over and the north-bound Dexter bike lane is riddled with big road seams and a long closure so we did a bit of side street zig zagging (route home here). We found some cool streets this way, but they were pretty potholey and my seven-year old wiped out in one of them. Thank goodness for cargo bikes! I collected him and his bike onto my Surly Big Dummy and carried him until he felt up to riding again–close to home before the big hill, phew.

p.s. it was very cold today and I can’t wait for winter to be over! The kids were all troupers, but we all experienced frozen extremities. Thankfully there was barely any drizzle and the wind (one of the Bell Street street-closure barriers blew into an SUV in the middle of an intersection!) didn’t last long–or at least was only down in Belltown.