Search Results for: family cyclery

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

Details:
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!
Music!
Celebration!

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.

Donate to Familybike and G&O Family Cyclery will match your donation

May is Bike Month, which means riding our bikes a lot more for many of us, but it can also mean helping more people ride bikes. Especially families, because family biking is simply AWESOME.

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I think you all know family biking means the world to me, and getting more families out on bikes is one of my favorite things ever. I’m on the board of Familybike, our local nonprofit with the amazing rental fleet, family bike expos, Kidical Mass organizer, Disaster Relief Trials organizer, advocacy, seminars, and more! And we’re super excited that G&O Family Cyclery is matching donations this bike month!! Join the Familybike Sustainer Circle to keep our programs rolling and enjoy awesome discounts to boot! All the details here!

This match is up to $1000 dollars, and if that amount sounds familiar, it’s the apology money Specialized donated to the Support G&O Family Cyclery Fund. Read all about that at Specialized, How Rude! on the G&O blog.

G&O Family Cyclery reopened–and now with toy trains

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.

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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.

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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:

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“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

Our beloved G&O Family Cyclery was damaged in the Greenwood Explosion, please help!

Links first:

Davey (left) and Tyler (right, posing with my bike)

Davey (left) and Tyler (right, posing with my bike)

Looking at photos of the damage to the block, it’s amazing that no one was killed yesterday. It’s all so incredibly sad and I feel for all the people affected.

Searching my blog for “family cyclery” I found so many posts. The shop–and the people of the shop (Davey, Tyler, Donald, Karl, and Forrest)–are big parts of our lives as well as for so many other members of the Seattle family biking community (and well beyond Seattle, too!).

I remember when Davey first told me he was planning to open a family-friendly bike shop. Had we not bumped into one another on the Burke-Gilman Trail I’m sure I would have grabbed him by the shoulders and shaken him as I shouted “WE’VE ALMOST OUTGROWN OUR TRAIN TABLE, YOU MUST LET ME DONATE IT TO THE SHOP! EVERY FAMILY-FRIENDLY SHOP NEEDS A TRAIN TABLE!” As it was, I just shouted it while gripping my handlebars.

And Davey obliged me:

Train table on the bike

There’s a kid tucked in there, too:

Train table on the bike

Our first visit to G&O Family Cyclery was one of countless visits. I’ll admit I probably make more visits to say hello than for bike repairs. I’ve made many new friends in G&O, used it as a meet-up spot, and had a million wonderful conversations with other customers.

G&O is a huge part of the robust family biking scene in Seattle. Making it easy for people to test ride bikes and purchase bikes–not to mention be able to talk about bikes with kids in tow–is so important.

If G&O has touched your life in some way, even just through the stories of others being sent on their journey of family biking joy, please help save them.

First visit to G & O Family Cyclery

Look who’s open: G & O Family Cyclery: “A Family and Cargo Bike Shop For Seattle!”

G & O Family Cyclery is open!

I am not the only Davey Oil fan who is super excited about this! I have just one complaint: the lighting in the shop is not great for iPhone pictures so everything’s a bit blurry. This was a soft opening, by the way, so things are still being unpacked and assembled. We went in at 12:30 and I bet things looked much different by 6pm. I can’t wait to see the progress when I swing by tomorrow for a second look.

G & O Family Cyclery

G & O Family Cyclery

G & O Family Cyclery

I love this wall full of treasures!

G & O Family Cyclery wall of treasures

The place is amazing. Also amazing is that their opening was put on hold just less than a month after an unfortunate fire. I came by yesterday mid-morning to deliver our old train table and the place was empty. That was pretty fun :) This is the train table I worried wouldn’t fit in the trunk of my car when I retrieved it from its former family four years ago. It was no problem with the bike. I could have even fit my other kid had he not been in school.

Train table on the bike

Train table on the bike

Train table on the bike

Train table on the bike

My Yuba cargo straps were perfect for holding it on the bike. They were in my Portland DRT (which I aim to finally write about soon!) goody bag and they are so easy to use.

The train table is a gift, but the tracks and trains are just loaners (so if you have spares, check in with Davey and he’ll probably want them! …but I get to help with the track layout) except for one very special tanker car I found in our collection. This one stays at G & O for sure.

G & O train table car!

We left G & O with a Brompton! Well, an empty Brompton box to be exact. I’ve got plans to turn it into a train costume. My days of dressing the kids in bicycle infrastructure costumes for Halloween are sadly over.

[Empty] Brompton [box] on the bike

Someday I’ll buy a real Brompton from G & O. I’m looking forward to test riding one soon. And then test riding my Big Dummy with a Brompton in each pocket.

If you’re in the area, pop in and check out G & O!!
8417 Greenwood Ave N, Seattle, WA

Fun with boxes in G & O Family Cyclery

Recap: Family bike camping Bike Overnight

We had an amazing time on our Family bike camping Bike Overnight June 4th-5th! This bike overnight was part of Adventure Cycling Association’s 40th Anniversary National Bike Travel Weekend, a nation-wide event.

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The tally: 62 people (23 families/32 adults, 30 kids), 1 dog, 36 bikes, 22 tents
The pictures: Flickr album of 194 photos.

Our group was even a little bit bigger than last year’s epic Swift Campout for Seattle family bikers (that’s coming up June 25-26, by the way, if you want to join or set up a ride!).

Here’s our cast of characters…oddly arranged because I had trouble making an accurate count and ended up just taking photos of each tent/bike(s) to tally at my leisure later:
1 tent, 1 adult, 1 kid, 1 bike (Xtracycle EdgeRunner with BionX e-assist)
+ 1 tent, 1 adult, 1 kid, 1 bike (Surly Big Dummy visiting from Portland!)
+ 1 tent, 2 adults, 1 kid, 2 bikes (bikes + Weehoo iGo trailer bike, BOB cargo trailer)
+ 1 tent, 2 adults, 2 bikes (from Portland!)
+ 1 tent, 2 adults, 2 kids, 2 bikes (Xtracycle EdgeRunner, bike + Xtracycle FreeRadical)
+ 1 tent, 2 adults, 1 kid, 2 bikes (Brompton with IT chair for kid, bike with Burley Travoy trailer for gear)
+ 1 tent, 1 adult, 2 kids, 1 bike (Bike Friday Family Tandem + Burley Piccolo trailer bike)
+ 1 tent, 1 adult, 1 kid, 1 bike (Metrofiets longjohn with Stokemonkey e-assist)
+ 1 tent, 2 adults, 2 kids, 2 bikes (Yuba Mundo and regular bike)
+ 1 tent, 1 adult, 2 kids, 1 bike (Sun Atlas with e-assist…rented from Familybike Seattle!)
+ 1 tent, 2 adults, 1 kid, 2 bikes (Xtracycle EdgeRunner with BionX e-assist and regular bike)
+ 1 tent, 1 adult, 1 kid, 1 bike (Xtracycle EdgeRunner)
+ 1 tent, 1 adult, 1 kid, 2 bikes (one kid bike!)
+ 1 tent, 1 adult, 1 kid, 1 bike (Xtracycle EdgeRunner)
+ 1 tent, 2 adults, 1 kid, 2 bikes (Yuba Mundo with Stokemonkey e-assist and regular bike)
+ 1 tent, 1 adult, 1 kid, 2 bikes (1 regular bike, 1 kid bike…they weren’t with our group, but I’m counting them anyway since they’re new friends and were happy to set up in the same spot)
1 tent, 2 adults, 2 kids, 2 bikes (Surly Big Dummy, bike with trailer)
+ 1 tent, 1 adult, 2 kids, 1 dog, 1 bike (Rodriguez tandem with kidback plus Burley Piccolo trailer bike)
+ 1 tent, 1 adult, 2 kids, 1 bike (Xtracycle EdgeRunner with BionX e-assist and cycletruck conversion…+ 1 adult via car)
+ 1 tent, 3 adults, 2 kids, 3 bikes (Xtracycle EdgeRunner with e-assist rented from G&O Family Cyclery, Brompton folding bike, regular bike rented from Bainbridge Island Bike Barn rentals, 2/5 of party visiting from Dublin, CA!)
+ 2 tents, 2 adults, 3 kids, 4 bikes (2 solo-riding kids, 1 kid coupled to 1 adult bike via FollowMe Tandem coupler, 1 regular bike)

As you can see, lots of longtail cargo bikes, quite a few with electric assist. Also, four kids riding solo this year! I think I’ll have my kids ride their own bikes next time out, but I’ll bring the Big Dummy just in case one or both needs to be carried at any point. I’m slow to change and would probably have kept doing all the work (they don’t do a lot of pedaling on the tandem+ but it’s still more pedaling than when they sit on the Big Dummy) a couple more years had I not witnessed little kids riding so competently this trip. But this trip, we were on our used Rodriguez tandem (of older vintage than I realized, it appears…foreshadowing!) with Burley Piccolo trailer bike.

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I love this picture from heading home Sunday with my lackadaisical stokers doing their thing. I’m happy my six-year old (in the middle) didn’t resort to his usual tricks of sitting backwards on his handlebars, leaning against my back with his feet extended along his top tube; staying forward facing with his feet resting atop the top tube is NBD. And I guess my nine-year old is examining a ladybug on his wrist? I think they would have had a lot of fun on their own bikes.

We started our Saturday morning by meeting outside the PCC Natural Market in Fremont. We met at 9 (well, 9:05 in my case) with firm leaving time of 9:30. Outside PCC offered less room than last year’s spot a block away in front of the bank, but it’s right by groceries and potties…and in the shade. I think I’ll keep this spot for the future, or perhaps convene across the street so we’re on the correct side of the road to get rolling, yet still close to food and restrooms.

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We got rolling at 9:45, only 15 minutes later than I had intended, with about 50 people on 30 bikes. Here’s our Strava’ed route from PCC to the Seattle Ferry Terminal–it took 54 minutes so we were plenty early! Riding along the nearing-completion Westlake bikeway was very nice.

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And we encountered a street fair on Bell Street! The east-most block of Bell Street Park (or “Bell Street Park for Cars” as I like to call it since no one heeds the “No through traffic” signs) was closed to cars, but we were welcome to bike through slowly and admired the many fire trucks. One family even grabbed a couple kid fire hats.

There were two cruise ships parked (moored?) at the cruise ship terminal, but our timing was such that we weren’t stuck behind a traffic jam of taxi drop-offs. In the past the roads have been clogged and we’ve opted to take the sidewalk on the east side of Alaskan Way. Options like this are one of the many benefits of traveling by bike :)

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Arriving 45 minutes early for the ferry (we were aiming for 25 minutes early) meant no waiting in line for ticket booths. There’s a bike lane to the right with an ORCA card reader that works well for adults on regular bikes (and I’d imagine for youths on regular bikes who have youth ORCA cards, too), but I’ve been stopping at a ticket booth lately thanks to my confusing bike. It didn’t take an excruciating amount of time for us to get through, but I think I’ll lead with a “Last time I was charged for an adult plus bike and a youth plus bike” although now I realize I’m underpaying by one youth, even though I’ve mentioned the kids’ ages. I think I’ll just swipe all three of our ORCA cards next time, which I guess would be one dollar too much on the tandem+, but will be spot on for three separate bikes. Sometimes friends are charged an extra bike surcharge ($1) for trailers or big bikes, but usually they’re not. Ferry fares here.

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I love how accommodating Washington State Ferries are of bicycles. Early birds get to board before the cars and latecomers are allowed to squish on at the end. We were waved aboard first and directed to one of the side car lanes. This left many of us in the wrong gear for the uphill slope, oops! It’s always a good idea to downshift aboard the boat in case the tide is low and the climb off the ferry is a steep one…but I usually do this while riding across the empty ferry, not ahead of time. But anyhow, this crossing was great with the front of the left-most car lane set aside for us. Half of our area was flat and half on a slope, but all the bikes stayed upright for our 35-minute voyage. There are spots to tie up along rails on either side and those of us with sturdy kickstands (I have an Ursus Jumbo on the tandem, the widest after-market center stand for non-cargo bikes and lots of the longtails had Rolling Jackasss center stands) parked in the middle. Another option is to lay bikes on their sides (not on your chain side, FYI!), but in my case, I don’t think I’d have been able to muscle my bike upright again and removing all or some of the panniers to do this didn’t seem worth it. But that’s an option.

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Off the boat, we climbed the hill away from the ferry terminal and pulled over outside Bike Barn Rentals, which doesn’t have much shade for a hot day, but is a good spot to wait for the ten minutes it takes the car traffic to clear out. This also allowed the group to split into three: those stopping at the grocery store and taking the scenic route, those leaving immediately for the scenic route, and those taking the highway. I prefer the highway since it’s a lot flatter and the shoulder is very wide. A lot of the side roads (on the scenic route and for the second half of the highway route) have no shoulders, but they’re very quiet roads.

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We still had a large group for my ride on the highway. Here’s our route on my Strava. Our moving time was 55 minutes, with regroup stops after every stop light. Our overall time was two hours…because I got a flat tire! That added quite a bit excitement, but most importantly, helped me realize how awesome and helpful a group we were among.

The *pop* of my tandem’s rear tube exploding was heard halfway down the long bike train on highway 305, only halfway through our seven-mile journey. I knew we were just about to the point where we exit the highway so I nominated a new leader, showed him the map and described a nice area to pull over where I would meet up with them to fix my flat after walking there. The highway shoulder is nice and wide and drivers on Bainbridge Island are very aware of and kind to people on bikes, but I didn’t want to fix the flat out in sun next to the noise of the highway. Instead, the kids and I trekked less than half a mile to the aforementioned meeting spot.

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Halfway through our trek a dad–now relieved of his passenger at the meeting spot–swung back to offer one of my kids a lift with his trailer bike. The remaining kid and I found our way to everyone happily resting and snacking in the shade of a fire station, and I was given a spare tube (because of course the one size tube I couldn’t locate while packing the night before was this one!) by a well-prepared mom. I parked my bike in the shade and before I could dig my way to my tools (six panniers hold a lot of stuff so you have to memorize where you put everything), the dad who led the party in my stead had already removed my wheel and started fixing it. It was apparent my old tire was in dire need of replacing so I hoped for the best and pedaled the remaining three miles to camp. It held!!! Then at camp, a mom loaned me her bike (which even had a puppy basket so I could bring Pixie along for the errand!) and offered to watch my kids at the beach while I biked into town for a new tire.

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Classic Cycles on Bainbridge Island (right by the ferry terminal) is AWESOME, by the way. Jaime remembered me from a previous visit and we had a lovely chat. Another bicycing family camped at Fay Bainbridge a week ago (Bicyclebungee USA: Bike Camping on Bainbridge Island) and ended up with a new, bigger kid bike at Classic Cycles on their way home! I was tempted to buy 10 spare tubes, but that seemed excessive to the point of tempting fate and causing all the bikes to get flat tires so I settled for three–one to replace the one I borrowed (and popped while transporting the wheel) and two for me. And an extra tire for my front wheel which looks OK, but is apparently from the 80’s.

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Later a different dad helped me wrestle my rear wheel with new tire back on. Teamwork!

Now, this was just my own experience, but I saw so much camaraderie throughout the course of the weekend. I’m sure this isn’t unique to family biking, but there is just something about arriving by pedal power that makes us feel wonderfully strong, and perhaps more eager to share that strength and go above and beyond in lending support. I think I have something in my eye *sniff!*

Even with my 15-mile side excursion, I still got plenty of friend time, beach time, and campfire time. Though with a group this big, I never feel like I get enough time to talk to everyone. I wouldn’t have it any other way because these big groups are amazing…I just need to convince everyone to stay out a couple more days :)

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Sunday was HOT. Other than the excessive heat (excessive for the Seattle area–88 degrees), we had the best timing for our visit because Sunday at 11:40am was the lowest tide of the whole summer, -3.2! The beach at Fay Bainbridge Park is magical at any tide level, with a lovely view of Mount Rainier to the south, Seattle–so close, yet so far!–across the water straight ahead, so much driftwood to climb on and build stuff with, and a great view of boats sailing by.

Families tend to leave in small groups over the course of the morning, but we were in it for the long haul and stayed for the tide to go all the way out. The kids marveled at sea anemones, dodged squirting geoducks, and examined moon snails, crabs, shrimp, tiny flatfish, and sea worms. Such an amazing array of sea life!

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In the past we have congregated at a kid-friendly Seattle brewery at the end of the ride (Peddler Brewing last time, though I was pushing for Fremont Brewing this time since it’s on my way home), but this year we were more spaced out than last and everyone was ready to head straight home and get out of the heat. It was hot and Fay Bainbridge Park doesn’t have a lot of shade, but it was a bit cooler than Seattle and the bike ride between park and ferry has quite a bit of tree coverage.

Now the only unfortunate part of the trip (I’m not considering my flat tire an unfortunate part of the trip since it worked out OK) was our surprise arrival at the campground. Unfortunately the camp host hadn’t remembered our lengthy conversation during our last visit four weeks prior and the “It will be fine, I’ll let the park manager know” didn’t pan out. I feel horrible about our camp host being so stressed out by our arrival and catching the camp manager off guard. SO OUR NEXT TIME (and if you plan to show up with a big group on bike do this, too) I’ll send an email address of the camp manager (contact information is on the Fay Bainbridge Park website ) to get in touch ahead of time. For this particular visit, we were directed to camp in the kayak-in campsite (as has always been the camp host’s preference for our big group in the past) and it was great! There’s also a hiker/biker campsite on the other end of the park, but it’s a lot smaller and closer to the parking lot so it’s not quite as nice. There have never been any kayakers during any of our visits, but we would all fit just fine, though I’m not sure how kayakers feel about sharing their site with bikers. We were charged $7 per adult which was very generous. This is how it’s been in the past (and the camp host told me during our forgotten conversation that she believes in charging per tent), but we’re all always prepared to pay the $7 fee per person just in case. The camp manager called us “stinky bikers who would use up all the water taking showers” but I chalk that up to his having been caught off guard by our arrival. And he also stressed he didn’t want to discourage anyone from enjoying the great outdoors. Speaking of stinky, sweaty, sandy bikers, I brought enough quarters for everyone to take showers, but I didn’t find many takers and I don’t think we dipped into the water supply much.

Upcoming trips
I’m hoping to find someone to lead a group trip for Swift Campout June 25-26, but I’m not sure if that’ll happen. I will lead another group trip July 30-31 and I promise everything will go seamlessly!

And we’ll do a bunch of weekday camping at Fay and other places, too (like Manchester State Park and Spencer Spit State Park and/or Odlin County Park on Lopez Island). Any group trips will be linked to at the top of the right column (or down towards the bottom if you’re reading this on a small, mobile device).

Join Familybike’s Sustainer Circle for #GivingTuesday!

Commit to a small monthly donation, the price of a fancy coffee or lunch, and support Familybike in making transportation cycling accessible to all Seattle families!

My first experience with Familybike was in June of 2009 when we drove our bikes down to check out Bicycle Sunday. Riding along Lake Washington Blvd, 35 weeks pregnant with my second baby, barely still fitting on my city bike with first baby in the front bike seat, I came across the most amazing thing: a Family Bike Expo. This was the day after Seattle’s second-ever Kidical Mass so I had seen a couple cargo bikes, but I was amazed to see so many in once place! I parked my bike to meet and talk to Morgan Scherer.

I was surprised when a browsing mom wanted to test ride my bike. Just a regular old bike with a basic front seat like every single mom in the Netherlands has. And just like that, I became a part of the movement. Especially once the new baby turned one and migrated from the bike trailer to that basic front seat and his brother moved to a new seat on the back. I brought my “regular old bike” to several Family Bike Expos. Morgan liked having an example of a normal bike that carried two kids.

There’s much more than Family Bike Expos, too…

  • The Kidical Mass family bike rides Morgan and I lead each month
  • The amazing and affordable rental fleet
  • Get-Started Family Biking and Biking in the Rain workshops (So much great info–I don’t think there’s a program like this anywhere else!)

You don’t have to be a world leader or a billionaire to give back. #GivingTuesday is about ordinary people coming together doing extraordinary things. Join the Familybike Sustainer Circle to support families in saving the world by getting out on bikes!
Give between $5 and $25 a month
Familybike Seattle is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation, and all donations are fully tax-deductible!

You also GET STUFF for joining the Familybike Sustainer Circle, like fabulous prizes, a 10% discount at G&O Family Cyclery, and A BIG PARTY at the end of January. See all the details on the Familybike Sustainer Circle page.

Donating a small amount monthly is unnoticeable to you, but has a big effect on Familybike Seattle’s effectiveness.

There’s nothing I love more than family biking and I’m proud to be on the board of Familybike Seattle. Our programs reach a lot of families and your contribution will mean we can help even more people and save the world that much faster :)
We at Familybike Seattle 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.

Join the Familybike Sustainer Circle!

Family bikes at Bike Expo 2013

Family Ride’s Winter 2014 Errandonnee Challenge

I love an online challenge! I just took part in Chasing Mailboxes’ Winter Challenge: The Errandonnee, 2014 Edition!12 days, 12 errands.

I failed at rule #2 and didn’t fill out the Errandonnee Control Card as I went. Bad call–it’s a lot harder figuring it all out at the end! And I don’t have a real job, but listed two errands as Work, pretending that Bicycle Advocacy fits the bill. Hopefully that’s OK. I do like and respect the long list of rules, but I’ve bent them coffeeneuring and errandonneering now!

We took a weekend trip to Portland (by car, with my road bike on the car bike rack) which made for some exciting non-Seattle destinations.

Many of my observations are bike parking related…not sure why, but we hit some cool racks and why not have an almost-theme?

P.S., if you’re looking for an online challenge, my all-time fave, 30 Days of Biking starts April 1st.

Errandonnee Control Card

Errand Stats
Bike Shop – Trip 1
Destination: Clever Cycles (Portland)
What I learned/observation: Swung by Clever Cycles to retrieve my LifeProof iPhone handlebar mount I left on the rental bakfiets two weeks ago. I often take pictures of my little bikes perched on rocks or logs, but sticking it in the unattended rental bakfiets was new and fun!
Miles: 1.1
Date: 3/8/2014
Clever Cycles rental bakfiets holding my road bike
Bike Shop – Trip 2
Destination: Recycled Cycles
What I learned/observation: Hit RC to pick up some grippy pedals to replace the temporary ones (thanks for the stopgap G&O!) after one of my Pedalite flashing battery-free pedals gave out after two good years. While there met Jesse, the house sitter/web manager for Dimitri Kieffer of Nexus Expeditions who is circumnavigating the globe on a Big Dummy and other human-powered means. Jesse was at the shop delivering stuff for Gigantic Bicycle Festival–check it out!
Miles: 4.3
Date: 3/10/2014
Old pedal/new pedal
Breakfast or Lunch – Trip Only
Destination: Burgerville and Lardo (Portland)
What I learned/observation: Delivered lunch to go (bikes OK at Burgerville drive-thru windows!) to the kids at a playground with Mr. Family Ride and met four family biking luminaries for sit-down lunch: Christine visiting from Pittsburgh, Emily Finch, Kath Youell, and Sarah Gilbert (btw, it’s thanks to Sarah that bikes can use the Burgerville drive-thru). In pure Portland style, I glanced out the window to see Todd of Clever Cycles on a Dutchtub rental delivery run.
Miles: 5.4
Date: 3/9/2014
Burgerville drive-thru
Lunch with Portlanders
Clever Cycles' Dutchtub
Coffee or Dessert – Trip 1
Destination: Solsticio
What I learned/observation: Despite its super-bikey location along the Burke-Gilman Trail, Solsticio has no bike parking! Most bike-in visitors lock to the fence in the parking lot and hope not to be backed into by a parked car. While we were inside a couple on bikes parked on the other side of the fence, on the trail. I like my spot better. I think it’s a pay parking lot so probably not the easiest place to stick a big bike corral in place of a couple parking spots, but that’d sure be nice.
Miles: 4.8
Date: 3/11/2014
Solsticio
Coffee or Dessert – Trip 2
Destination: Husky Grind at Mercer Court
What I learned/observation: First visit to the new Husky Grind by The Wall of Death. It’s really fancy–I never could have afforded to hang out at a place like this when I was in college. I love all the new staple bike racks in the area, but we learned they’re impossible to climb. Quelle bummer. And the grilled cheese pesto sandwich was delicious!
Miles: 0.6
Date: 3/13/2014
Husky Grind
Community Meeting – Trip Only
Destination: 19th and Boyer, Montlake
What I learned/observation: Met with Transportation Nag, Merlin Rainwater, to be part of a photoshoot to promote the upcoming Silly Hilly Ride that will investigate possible Neighborhood Greenways routes in the area. Learned that the narrow dirt path by the Greek Orthodox Church (part of the convoluted route to Capitol Hill) will become a proper bike/ped path.
Miles: 4.6
Date: 3/13/2014
Silly Hilly photoshoot
Grocery Store – Trip 1
Destination: Fremont PCC Natural Market
What I learned/observation: I think the Fremont PCC bike corral might be Seattle’s first on-street bike corral. We love it!
Miles: 4.5
Date: 3/7/2014
PCC
Grocery Store – Trip 2
Destination: Roosevelt Trader Joe’s
What I learned/observation: While I love the six new bike staples, I worry my long bike sticks out into the sidewalk too much (or else towards opening car doors too much) so I still park at the railing by the emergency exit.
Miles: 2.1
Date: 3/14/2014
Roosevelt Trader Joe's
Any store that is not the grocery store – Trip Only
Destination: Fremont Brewing Company
What I learned/observation: I’m categorizing this as a store and not a cafe or personal care since we just grabbed a growler to-go (although we hung out inside for a while since one of us wanted to play with the toys and eat free pretzels and apples). There’s a huge, well-spaced bike parking area in the parking lot. The two bike-shaped racks at the ends are the best for climbing, but even the green loops work OK.
Miles: 1.5
Date: 3/7/2014
Fremont Brewing Company
Work – Trip 1
Destination: Sprocket Podcast recording studio
What I learned/observation: Forgot to take a picture while all the recording stuff was hooked up (my podcast goes live in a week or so!), but pictured are Brock and Aaron posing at doing podcast stuff, and riding home with my co-guest Katie in her Cleverhood demonstrating her brilliant technique for dealing with rain: no clothing on parts not covered by the rain cape.
Miles: 5.3
Date: 3/8/2014
Sprocket Podcasters, Katie in the rain
Work – Trip 2
Destination: Cascade Bicycle Club
What I learned/observation: Met with the Cascade Rides Coordinator about their soon-to-be-expanded women’s programming and to discuss a panel I’ll be part of–save the date: April 8 at Flagship REI! The CBC staffers who bike to work carry their bikes into the building so the bike rack is always empty…save for the bus-style bike rack locked to the bike rack.
Miles: 8.4
Date: 3/11/2014
Cascade Bicycle Club bike rack
Wild Card – Trip Only
Destination: Belltown apartment
What I learned/observation: Fetched the Familybike Seattle mamachari (Bridgestone Angelino Petite Assista) from my friend who’s been using it the last two weeks before she headed out of town. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to easily tow it with my Big Dummy so I brought my road bike. I really wanted to try ghostriding my road bike home–and even read this tutorial, How To Ghostride a Bike–but chickened out and just carried it draped on the rear seat (secured with bungee cord, cargo strap, and toe strap). What a fun bike! I will write more about it soon.
Miles: 10.6
Date: 3/18
Mamachari retrieval
TOTAL MILES: 53.2

Family Ride coffeeneuring in Seattle

I had a lot of fun participating in errandonneuring so there was no doubt I’d do the Third Annual Chasing Mailboxes Coffeeneuring Challenge and all ensuing Chasing Mailboxes challenges. I figured it’d be too easy, except for the part where I’d have to narrow it down to just seven coffees. I mean, we got waaaay more than seven days to visit seven coffee shops, I already bike every day, drink coffee, and–hello!–live in Seattle: birthplace of Starbucks, city with highest per capita bicyclists able to ride one-handed while drinking a cup of hot coffee, and home to five million kid-friendly coffee shops. But I nearly didn’t get it done thanks to an unexpected weekend car trip to Salt Spring Island, a Sunday lost to a pulled back muscle, and days where I failed squeezing in a coffee purchase despite being out and about all damn day. I wasn’t even sure until tallying today if I’d coffeeneured seven times–thank goodness I forced an evening stop on Saturday in case my Sunday submission is tossed out for cheating.

Following are my stops with the summary essentials: “1. where you went (address and website, if possible), 2. the date you went there, 3. what you drank 4. a detail or two about your coffeeneuring ride, and 5. total mileage.”
I’ll also throw in any tidbits on kid friendliness of the coffee shop stops.

1 / one / uno / een

  1. Ballard Coffee Works (2060 NW Market St, Ballard, WA 98107)
    Kid corner with train table, books, and stuffed animals! We met up with two other biking families and the five collective kids (and their beverage swilling parents) had a great time.
  2. October 5, 2013
  3. French press (Surprisingly bitter. I usually take my coffee black–like my components–but this cup of mud scared me towards fancy coffees for the rest of the challenge.)
  4. Fun detail #1: The bike with the Mike O’Brien campaign poster sharing our bike rack turned out to be The Mike O’Brien’s bike. Talk about truth in advertising.
    Fun detail #2: DOGS!
    After my kids monopolized the two large stuffed dogs in the Ballard Coffee Works play area and ogled a few dogs tied up outside, we adjourned to Gas Works Park to take advantage of the unexpectedly terrific weather. There we met artist Matt Josef who literally just rolled into town, parked, and took the dogs out to stretch their legs. He has plans to bike cross country with his SO and the dogs, but this visit was by car while he works on a commission. He let me hold little Paco for so long he should have been worried I wouldn’t give him back (but I did. And I later gave him my copy of Elly Blue’s Four Paws, Two Wheels which is awesome despite–because?–my submission didn’t make the cut).
    And then our friends from coffee returned to the park with their dog! Their DoggieRide trailer is really nice. I love the pop top.
  5. Miles: 8.5
Our bikes from inside Ballard Coffee Works

Our bikes from inside Ballard Coffee Works

Artist Matt Josef and his dogs

Artist Matt Josef and his dogs

Paco!

Paco!

DoggieRide trailer

DoggieRide trailer

2 / two / dos / twee

  1. Milstead & Co (770 N 34th St, Seattle, WA 98103)
    No kid-specific area, but the inside is spacious and the cafe connects to the even more spacious History House Sculpture Garden full of neat stuff, like a chunk of the Berlin Wall in the foreground of my photo below. Again, we met up with a couple other biking families. Coffeeneuring is even more fun with company!
  2. October 6, 2013
  3. Theo mocha with house-made vanilla
  4. Fun detail: We stopped by Fremont Brewing Company a block away to check out the new bike corral. This place is kid-friendly, but no coffee. Twice (April 2011 an November 2011) we’ve had Kidical Mass rides end here. I think we’re due for another big visit!
  5. Miles: 3.4
Theo mocha with house-made vanilla at Milstead & Co.

Theo mocha with house-made vanilla at Milstead & Co.

Inside Milstead & Co.

Inside Milstead & Co.

Ouside (but covered) Milstead & Co.

Ouside (but covered) Milstead & Co.

Fremont Brewing Company

Fremont Brewing Company

3 / three / tres / drie

  1. Makeda Coffee (153 N 78th St, Seattle, WA 98103)
    Toys next to the couch and comfy chair in the back. We biked over with Forrest and his brand-new-to-him folding bike. His other ride is a regular bike to which he connects a trail-a-bike when he rides with his kid.
  2. October 12, 2013
  3. Mocha–with my most favorite Seven Roasters. This would have been the place to get the black coffee.
  4. Fun detail: We chose Makeda so we could hop seven blocks north to visit the new G & O Family Cyclery. My first visit to G & O was the day before, but I think I could happily go there every day.
  5. Miles: 8.6
New folding bike and Makeda Coffee

New folding bike and Makeda Coffee

Toys at Makeda Coffee

Toys at Makeda Coffee

4 / four / quatro / vier

  1. Wheelhouse (2113 Westlake Ave Seattle, WA 98121)
    A rare kid-free outing! I was out for a hair appointment and intended to grab a coffee at The Crumpet Shop in nearby Pike Place Market, but as soon as I walked in the door, the barista shouted “We’re out!” at me. I’m assuming she meant they were out of crumpets, not coffee, but that gave me the opportunity to make my first visit to Wheelhouse on the way home. We bike by Wheelhouse often and it makes me happily remember Santa Barbara’s shuttered WheelHouse Bikes. No kid stuff, but outdoor seating is always a good thing for littles.
  2. October 19, 2013
  3. Mocha and cardamom cake
  4. Fun detail: I stopped by the Cycling Tweed Rally in Goorin Brothers and saw e-bike conversions by Madboy Electric Vehicles.
  5. Miles: 9.9
Sitting outside Wheelhouse

Sitting outside Wheelhouse

Cycling Tweed Rally at Goorin Bros.

Cycling Tweed Rally at Goorin Bros.

Cycling Tweed Rally at Goorin Bros.

Cycling Tweed Rally at Goorin Bros.

Madboy Electric Vehicles

Madboy Electric Vehicles

5 / five / cinco / vijf

  1. Solsticio (1100 N Northlake Way, Seattle, WA 98103)
    No kid stuff, but we love Solsticio. It’s right along the Burke-Gilman Trail with great food (smoothies!) and big glass garage door that’s open in the summer. It was a perfect place to stop after our Kidical Mass ride to fall colors in the Arboretum.
  2. 11/3
  3. Pumpkin spice latte and allspice cake
  4. Fun detail: We stopped by the Rent-a-Ruminant goats on our way home. They’re so sweet!
  5. Miles: 9.3
Trail-adjacent Solsticio

Trail-adjacent Solsticio

Solsticio, and Kidical Mass fall helmet craft

Solsticio, and Kidical Mass fall helmet craft

Rent-a-Ruminant sweethearts

Rent-a-Ruminant sweethearts

6 / six / seis / zes

  1. Swansons Nursery (9701 15th Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98117)
    I thought we’d hit a coffee shop in the afternoon, but we got sidetracked at a playground while parading with our friends on their new bikes. Thank goodness the Reindeer Festival in the morning had complimentary hot apple cider. I didn’t snap a picture of it so I’m including pictures of the rest of the reindeer games.
  2. 11/9
  3. Hot apple cider (free!)
  4. Fun detail: A love story! As we were getting ready to leave the park with our parade of friends, a very curious squirrel ran up to our bikes and scurried quickly away several times. I was starting to get a little worried he would jump into/onto one of the bikes and bite a child, but on his third trip in, he grabbed my friend’s brand new Bullitt cargo bike and hugged (humped?) the front tire. Of course in the back of my mind I wondered why he hadn’t chosen my bike, but I’ll admit the Bullitt is a sexy bike.
  5. Miles: 15.9
Swansons Reindeer Festival

Swansons Reindeer Festival

Swansons Reindeer Festival

Swansons Reindeer Festival

Bow cheeka bow bow

Bow cheeka bow bow

7 / seven / siete / zeven

  1. Black Coffee Co-op (501 E Pine St, Seattle, WA 98122)
    No play area, but very spacious. I noticed a bookshelf full of games, but I don’t know if any were kid games. I led a group ride here, Critical Lass rides to the Broadway cycle track and goes Coffeeneuring to celebrate the last day of the Coffeeneuring Challenge which is explicitly against Rule 8: “You may not combine your coffeeneuring ride with any other ride such as an organized century, populaire, or brevet.” Oops.
  2. 11/17
  3. Mocha
  4. Fun detail: I got to carry an extra kid (80+ pounds!) 10 feet. I had hoped to carry him half a mile the
    rest of the way to the coffee shop, but in an amazing display of teamwork, an extra bolt was located and used to repair his trailer bike on the spot at the mid-point of our ride.
  5. Miles: 11.7
Coffee and company at Black Coffee Co-op

Coffee and company at Black Coffee Co-op

Quiet kids at Black Coffee Co-op

Quiet kids at Black Coffee Co-op

Temporary extra load--woo hoo!

Temporary extra load–woo hoo!

Critical Lasses fix a bike

Critical Lasses fix a bike

alternate / suplemento / extratje

  1. Uptown Espresso (500 Westlake Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109)
    I popped out solo in the afternoon to see my friend’s work in a pottery show (hers were the best, by the way), hoping “Wine, snacks, and live music!” meant “Wine, snacks, live music, and coffee” but no such luck. So afterwards I went around the corner to the closest coffee shop.
  2. 11/16
  3. Latte. I haven’t been to “Home of the Velvet Foam” since having a dairy-free nursling so this was to be my first exposure to Velvet Foam. I figured latte was the way to go with Velvet Foam, but I didn’t like it. However, I don’t think I’ve ever had a latte before so it’s probably me. I’m back to black coffee now that the challenge is over.
  4. Fun detail: while I love (not) sitting on the side of the street swapping my bike shoes for fancier shoes, I’m tempted to once again search for normal-looking shoes with SPD cleats. I’m not very DIY-inclined or I’d try Instructables: High-heel, clipless bike shoes. And there’s Retrofitz who will turn regular shoes into bike shoes. Of course I could just change the pedals. That’s not nearly as exciting, but unless Mr. Family Ride tossed his old pedals when switching back to Speedplay, there should be a perfectly good pair of SPD pedals with a big plastic flat thingy clipped to one side of them somewhere in the basement. Hey, thanks Coffeeneuring Challenge for all allowing me to puzzle this one out!
  5. Miles: 7.9
Uptown Espresso, Home of the Velvet Foam

Uptown Espresso, Home of the Velvet Foam

Bike parking in South Lake Union

Bike parking in South Lake Union

To the mall (no, the other mall, the farther away one)

I’m not much of a mall goer. Three years ago I biked 4.5 miles to our closest mall, Northgate Mall and noted it’d been three years since my last visit. We live 2.2 miles from University Village (or U-Village if you’re cool), but that’s an “outdoor lifestyle shopping center” which is hardly the same as The Mall.

But how could I say no to riding to the Lego Store in Alderwood Mall in Lynnwood with friends?! Granted, I never want to do it again, but it was a blast. Reminiscent of a summer bike camping trip, in the way it was so tiring and so humbling. So fun!

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* Flickr album of 42 pictures here.
* Strava route of the trip north here.

It was a long trip on a cold day so we took the tandem train (Rodriguez tandem and Burley Piccolo trailer bike). It was too big a trip for the kids to ride on their own and I figured even a little bit of pedaling would keep them warmer. Plus they don’t like riding their own bikes with handlebar mittens because they can’t see their shifters (it’s very important to see the number while declaring “I told you I could ride up that hill in gear seven!”), but I can put our Portland Pogies and Bar Mitts on the tandem train…though my stoker found them uncomfortable with his bar ends so we took them off partway into the trip and will have to do some adjusting before our next outing.

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We biked four miles to G&O Family Cyclery to meet up with the start of the ride. That put us at 4 bikes / 11 wheels / 11 people. We collected some friends at Bitterlake Playground: 3 more bikes / 6 more wheels / 5 more friends. We lost 1 bike / 2 wheels / 2 friends to Costco along the way, but picked up 2 bikes / 4 wheels / 2 friends on the way home so it was quite the roving party.

img_3158

We’ve previously been as far as Sky Nursery, nine miles from home, so we had five miles of new territory! Echo Lake and Echo Lake Park were really cute, and are just before the Interurban Trail ends for a bit at the Aurora Village Transit Center so that might make a fun epic 20-mile (round trip) kid ride some summer day.

A friend warned me the day before about the one big hill and described the secret work-around. Our ride leader Anny knew all about this (because family bikers are all-knowing), but the secret work-around has a very narrow spot the trike wouldn’t fit through so we skipped it in the downhill direction on the way to the mall. All the non-trikes took the secret route on the way back. Here’s the map of the regular-versus-secret route. My phone froze on the way home so no photos, but I’ll paint you a picture with words: heading south on 76th Avenue West at the south side of Lake Ballinger we crossed 205th in the crosswalk and biked one block west on the sidewalk of the south side of 205th. Then we ducked through a small cut-through in the railing to get to Wallingford Avenue.

It was great that there was so much multi-use trail for the trip. Lots of bollards along the way which makes me think people would drive their cars on it otherwise, but maybe it’s just a formality. I like that there aren’t a lot of bollards on the trails in the City of Seattle, but we do get lost cars on the trails now and then because of it. I also kind of enjoy biking on trails alongside freeways. It feels like secret access to an area not meant for bikes. But then it’s also ridiculously loud and stinky and we joked (in shouts so we could hear one another) about the joy of biking on the beautiful trail as we soared over I-5.

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The mall was very mall-like. I’ve been there once before, when my dad was visiting with a rental car and drove us to the Build-a-Bear Workshop to make Minions. The bike rack situation left much to be desired–just two on those hitching posts you’re supposed to lift your saddle and hook over. There’s an REI at the mall, but it doesn’t have bike racks outside.

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We were all starving (despite many snack breaks along the way) so we started at the food court (after an obligatory super-long journey to the potties) and then hit the Lego Store. Unfortunately our walk in from the bike rack took us past the American Girl doll-store-and-fancy-restaurant and a few of the kids make a break for the door, but we were able to catch them in time.

We stayed the perfect amount of time so there was still a bit of daylight on our way back to Seattle. We got back to Greenwood at 5pm (after leaving from G&O in Greenwood at 11am) and hung with the group at Flying Bike Cooperative Brewery for a little bit, but still had those four miles to get home and poor Pixie was home alone all day again so we didn’t stay long.

It was an awesome and exhausting 32-mile day and I went to bed at 8pm and never want to go there again…unless a friend says, “Hey let’s all ride to the mall!” :)