Tag Archive | kidical mass

Kidical Mass to Wallingford Greenway Block Party recap

I led an awesome Kidical Mass ride today! My first ride leader experience was after Bike to Work Day in May and I was very nervous despite the small turnout, but it seemed to have helped prepare me for today. I’m not sure how many participants we had, but it was somewhere between 50 and 75 (note to self: next time count or ask someone to count kidical massers!). I prepared by reading some documents provided by Katie of Portland Kidical Mass (check out the main Kidical Mass FAQ for tips on starting your own!). It also helped that as I got ready to leave the house, I saw Julian, Seattle Kidical Mass-termind, biking by with three kids on the way to our ride. And then I think I knew at least half of the Massers that came. Oh, and did I mention my kids didn’t come? They chose to attend a preschool potluck with Mr. Family Ride so I was able to focus much better than normal…though I was embarrassed to be on a Kidical Mass ride without kids of my own. I had a few loaners offered, but opted to outfit my bike with a big cardboard KIDICAL MASS sign instead.

We met at the Green Lake playground and rode two miles, mostly uphill to the Wallingford Greenway Celebration. I didn’t have the best success taking photos while leading the ride, but here’s an-only-slightly-blurry over-the-shoulder-shot of the front of the group:

You might notice the jogger in the middle of the pack. I’m not sure this is the first ever Kidical Mass with a jogging mom and baby along, but it’s the first time I’ve been on a Kidical Mass ride with a jogger. She didn’t seem to have any trouble keeping pace with us. The lack of downhill segments probably helped with that.

Despite the drizzle, the block party was a huge success with a large crowd on hand to watch the official ribbon cutting:

And feast on hot dogs, gelato from the gelato bike, and pedal-powered smoothies:

I got my first look at the cool stoker bar solution on my friend’s new used Xtracycle and when I introduced his family to Henry of LionTail Cycles in the hopes that they’d want to Xtracycle their other bike, too, we discovered this Xtracycle was originally Henry’s. Small world!

Most notable was Jennifer of Petals and Moss and her three generations of bikers. Her mother hadn’t been on a bike in 30 years, but happily joined us on the ride. It makes sense: a Kidical Mass is a perfect ride for any new or returning rider! This was also my first look at Jennifer’s new Kona Ute. She’s was on a mountain bike with the iBert and double trailer before and is a lot faster now!

And my kids finally showed up at the end of the party! I was sad they missed the ribbon cutting and ensuing kiddie parade along the Greenway, but they loved zooming around in the street on their balance bikes. On the way home, we stayed in the street during the flat part of the Greenway, but I had them move to the sidewalk once we hit the steep downhill. I think it might be time we put those Kinderbike hand brakes to use. They’re pretty good with their Flintstone foot brakes, but we’re hitting some bigger hills lately that don’t end in grassy fields. By the way, the friends we’re following home in this picture are on a Madsen bucket bike and brand new Big Dummy! Shawn left partway through the block party–on his mountain bike with the toddler in the iBert seat and returning on his new Big Dummy now sporting the iBert and toddler with mountain bike dragging behind.

That was it for today, but to go back to this morning: quick props to my Big Dummy for making the Fremont Solstice Parade a blast. The kids were able to see everything from the FlightDeck. They were taller than me, so it was like a glimpse of the future. I wasn’t able to see very much, by the way.

I stood on tippy toes to see this amazing Big Dummy in the naked bike parade. I later found it parked on the street where I could examine its custom passenger handlebars, seat pads, back rests, and foot stirrups. And I have a line on who owns it!

As we headed home, I discovered how easy it is to infiltrate the parade. I should have stationed us on the north side of the parade because we got stuck at the bottom of stone. The traffic-controlling police officer parted the crowd and let us through one side, but we were unable to get out the other side and had to flow with the parade down the street. I saw a couple exits after a while, but it’s hard to willingly leave a parade! And a couple friends saw us from the sidelines and shouted hello. I’m tempted to participate [clothed] next year!

Today’s miles: 10.6
June cumulative: 190.3 miles

Kidical Mass to Pedaler’s Fair recap

We had amazing weather and an amazing turnout for Kidical Mass today. I wish I’d counted participants–I think there were at least 20 families in attendence. Very impressive given the three day lead time.

There was a great variety of family bikes: two Madsen bucket bikes, two bakfietsen, at least three Big Dummies, two Xtracycles, front seats, rear seats, trailers, Weehoo iGo bicycle trailer, but my favorite was this Bilenky Viewpoint semi-recumbent tandem modified to carry an infant seat in the stoker position.

This was also my first time seeing the sidecar-style Chariot SideCarrier.

And several solo-riding kids…something our last Kidical Mass ride didn’t have (it also didn’t have as many riders in general given the less awesome weather that day).

We rode 2.7 miles, mostly along the Burke-Gilman Trail to the Pedaler’s Fair in Ballard. There were tons of people there and so much awesome stuff inside…but unfortunately the kids weren’t in a mood to explore the fair so we primarily hung out on the sunny sidewalk, eating snacks and watching the dogs (and vice versa).

Fortunately, photographer Russ Roca of The Path Less Pedaled was set up outside, taking bicycle portraits so I was able to do that, even if I couldn’t enjoy the rest of the fair. The little kid thought it was funny to look away from the camera (toddlers!!!), but the big kid and I had discussed the photo last night so he was on board with a rare smile for the camera. Usually he just barks.

Courtesy Russ Roca

Nine of us (three moms, six kids: Big Dummy + two balance bikes, Madsen bucket bike + big kid bike, bike + double trailer + iBert baby seat) continued along to Golden Gardens beach to keep the party going. I made the obligatory, “Wow, there’s no parking!” statement as we rode by the crowded parking lots. The bike racks were fairly open when we arrived, but they filled up over the course of the day. The nice weather brought a ton of bikes out. We even saw the Velomobile banana bike zoom by down on the street while we were on the final stretch of the Burke-Gilman.

A pack of very nice hipsters were leaving the beach at the same time as us. One of them said “Yay bike!” about my rig and I overhead another one call my bike the sickest thing he’d seen all day on account of it being a bike carrying other bikes. They passed us on the way out and we watched curiously as they performed hipster bike aerobics. It would have been even more impressive if they were fixed.

A bit farther down the trail, this shiny guy passed us. I saw him earlier in the day entering Pedaler’s Fair and had already decided he was the most interestingly clad character of the day (though the “Yay bike!” guy had very short and tight cut-off jean shorts on).

I made the mistake of cutting through Gas Works Park on the way home. It’s a lovely scenic detour from the trail, but today it meant stopping to do a bit of hill balance biking. The kids suddenly weren’t tired anymore and pushed their bikes all the way to the top of the hill…though the first trip down didn’t end too well when the two-year old happened upon the sole dip in the hillside.

But he brushed himself off and they were soon up at the top again, this time sticking to one of the paths down around the south face of the hill. We started discussing staying for a picnic dinner, but then the kids fell out of agreement on which path we should take. I went back to fetch the mamabike while they sped off in different directions. I feel lucky that I’ve never had to deal with varying kid trajectories before this. I was able to keep them both in sight for most of the trek up the hill, but of course the one minute I rushed up the south side was the scary north side minute for the little guy (naturally, he was the one who decided to go rogue). So the kids proved too tired and grumpy to stay for a picnic after all, but it was cool to be at the top of the hill with my bike. I didn’t ride it the whole way, but I think I could…so I’ll have to try again. Maybe tomorrow.

Today’s miles: 15.1 miles
April cumulative: 218.2 miles

30DoB day 19: Kidical Mass South Seattle

21.6 miles today! Maybe not much to a normal person, but it was plenty for me. We started out with a ride to the Westlake Light Rail Station to catch the train. It worked very well, two elevator trips and all. Then just a short ride from the Mt. Baker station to the meeting point for the Kidical Mass ride and we were ready to go. The South Seattle crew was so cool and we saw several MADSENs with motors for all those South Seattle hills. We all rode to Full Tilt Ice Cream in Columbia City, during which we got heavily rained on twice, but mostly had sunny skies.

I followed Totcycle and another rider to Ballard via the Light Rail and the Elliott Bay Trail through the Locks. I can’t believe I hadn’t heard of the EBT before–it was beautiful! Brandt was smitten by it, too, since it runs alongside train tracks. Definitely worth the extra mileage. And apparently a slightly different route would have taken us over a very exciting loud wooden bridge.

Kidical Mass + Tour de Fat

I was able to get the kids and myself dressed, fed, and on the bike by 8:25 this morning. I was aiming for 8:15 so we rode quickly to Ballard Commons Park for Kidical Mass. I had really wanted to take the Bianchi/Bobikes, but I wanted the kiddos to have a chance to nap on the trail so it was good that I chose function over style and took the Specialized and double trailer. As always, there were lots of Xtracycles, but also a new cargo bike: the Bullitt Bluebird ’71. I also discovered a new fashion trend: shorts with long socks. Totally makes sense in cold weather. Though perhaps they were dressed up for the Tour de Fat parade. I’ll have to keep an eye out to see if it’s really a thing.

Tour de Fat wasn’t quite under way by the time we arrived at Gasworks, but I had to push on to Magnuson Park for a baby birthday party so I couldn’t stick around for the parade. Dan met us at the party with the car and I almost took the easy way out, but instead had him drive Brandt home while Baby Rijder and I went by bike. I thought we’d hit the Tour de Fat if he was still awake, but he conked out pretty quickly. It looked like quite the party from the trail so we’ll have to attend the whole thing next year. The ride was much easier towing just 20 pounds of kid in the trailer, but Baby Rijder tilted over sideways in his sleep and woke up unable to right himself and very angry. Next time I’ll have to wedge a bag next to him.

Bike to Work Day

This afternoon we biked to Ballard for the Bike to Work Day after party and the Kidical Mass ride. The weather wasn’t too bad when we arrived, but as soon as we hit the road for the group ride, it started raining soooo hard. We took cover under a bridge after a few blocks to put on our rain gear, but we were already drenched by that point.

The original plan was to ride west to secret beach for a picnic dinner, but the new plan was to head east (towards home, yay) and have dinner at Tacos Guaymas in Fremont. But a few blocks after the bridge I thought I heard Kim shout “hail!” and assumed Julian would only cancel the ride in the event of snow or hail. For the record, it wasn’t hailing, but it was awfully miserable out. It turns out Kim was shouting “Hales!” so we pulled over at Hales Ales and had a terrific time. I was initially upset that Dan couldn’t come along, but it worked out well because he drove over to rescue us after dinner and drinks. Everyone else was brave and biked home.


Big bikey day today! Poor Dan had to work all day (as well as yesterday–boo), but I really wanted to check out the Cascade Bike Expo so I made the ride solo (sans Dan, but avec kiddos, that is) to Ballard to meet up with Totcycle/Kidical Mass to ride with them down to the ferry terminal. Things didn’t start out so well as I left the house ten minutes later than I had hoped to and then got a bit turned around between the end of the Burke-Gilman trail and Ballard Commons Park, so by the time I arrived, I was ten minutes late and the park was empty. I knew Julian had emailed out the route, but I thought by the time I pulled it up on my iPhone the peleton would be far far ahead of me. I definitely wasn’t heading straight back home (because I was way too winded to do so), but before I could decide what to do a guy rode by and said, “Hey, are you looking for Kidical Mass? They just left–thataway!” So I rushed off and caught sight of them and quickly caught up. Turned out the helpful dude was one of the dads on the ride whose wife thought she had forgotten to lock the door and sent him home to check. And not only was he helpful, but also hip: he saw Brandt’s necklace and said, “Hey! Is that iCarly?” They have a seven-year-old daughter, if you couldn’t guess.

It took a while to walk our bikes through the locks (or risk a steep fine) so by the time we arrived at the expo, Ryan Leech was almost done with his mountain bike stunts, but we checked out the show for an hour and made it back to the feature area to see the artistic cyclists from Germany. They were awesome! Check out the videos. And they’ll be back next year. They were very generous after the show and let everyone ride their bikes and happily posed Brandt on the handlebars. The show itself was very cool and much nicer than last year’s soggy Magnuson Park expo. I discovered the very cool Momentum magazine (I might subscribe since the gal at the booth said I was cute).

On the way home we saw a very big boat come through the locks and a train on the nearby tracks. And just to make the day even more perfect, we stopped (per Brandt’s adamant request) for fries at Lockspot Cafe. I couldn’t make it up Stone again, but I’d like to share the blame with my bike this time, as it kept falling out of gear. So we’ll both have to tune up/get in shape for next time.

Kidical Mass Green Lake

I biked to the playground yesterday and figured that would be my last ride for a while, but still no new baby so we joined the Kidical Mass ride this evening. It was nearby (met in Wallingford and rode to Green Lake) so it wasn’t much effort, compared to the previous Ballard ones.

Our Totcycle hosts promised Mighty-O donuts to the group and due to a mixup at the shop, only got part of the order before the ride. Since we had the empty Burley, we volunteered to pick up the rest of the donuts and transport them to the park. Why they’d trust a hugely pregnant woman with a bunch of free donuts is beyond me. Plus, we had to ride right by our house so it would have been very easy to make off with the goodies. The original plan was to swim in the lake at the west beach, but we ended up at the wading pool (yet again) instead and ate healthy dinners before breaking out the donuts.

Kidical Mass 2

This morning was the second Seattle Kidical Mass. We met up at a park in Ballard and made our way to Golden Gardens for a beach party. The water was freezing, but Brandt dashed around in the surf, getting his feet and hands wet.

The ride home wasn’t bad at all. I even made it up Stone Ave in one go and didn’t have to resort to my lowest gear. It’s funny that cycling up hills is fine, but walking up a flight of stairs makes me feel like I’m about to pass out. We even had energy to hit the park in the afternoon. Dan and Brandt did most of the running around while I lolled in the grass.

Kidical Mass

Today was Bike-to-Work Day and there were a ton of activities. We kicked off the day by hitting the Cascade tent outside Gregg’s Cycles for free stuff. Technically, it was a pit stop for people biking on their way to work, but I figure Brandt is my boss and I biked him there so I deserved the free bike light and Clif bars.

Next up was Summer Streets in Ballard at 4pm. I thought it would be bigger than it was, but it was still fun and Brandt got an Undriver License he’s really excited about and everyone got free bananas. And we saw the Dutch Bike Company’s seven-seat Conference Bike. It was OK, but I felt obligated to tell them it wasn’t quite as cool as the similar bike I saw in Amsterdam a few years back that had more seats and several kegs in the middle.

Then the best part: Seattle’s first Kidical Mass! We met a bunch of other families at a park a block from Summer Streets and we all rode along the Burke-Gilman Trail to Gasworks Park for the purpose of increasing the visibility of family biking on Seattle streets. It was really fun and will hopefully be a monthly event. This was also our first visit to Gasworks Park and wow, it’s cool! It was great for boat viewing so I’ll definitely have to bring Brandt back down there. I’m a little worried next time I ride back home up Stone I won’t be able to make it without resting halfway, though.