Tag Archive | travel

30 Days of Biking day 13: Bye bye beach

I only had time for a little ride this last morning at the beach. We met a friend for breakfast (at Kono’s, of course). She admired the Cabby and I have a feeling she’ll be a proud cargo bike owner before long. She currently crams her kindergartener and toddler into a double trailer and she’s been talking about Madsens for a while now.

I’m going the miss the Cabby! It has made this week so much fun. I don’t think I’d be able to manage one in Seattle, but it was perfect in the flat parts of San Diego. We drove to Balboa Park one day (and to and from the airport), but everything else was by bike. I still like that both boys are in front of me in the bin, but they sat so low that they couldn’t always see what I could see. It’s still much better than the car, in which they’re both rear facing.

Daily distance: 2.8 miles
Cumulative: 114.9 miles

30 Days of Biking day 12: La Jolla

Someone put a hill between Pacific Beach and La Jolla. It was perfectly flat back when I lived here. Granted, that was on a 21-speed mountain bike toting only a bag of swim stuff.

This morning we made a couple little stops along the way to La Jolla–Kono’s Cafe, Tula Ru kiddie consignment shop, and Rusty Spokes Vintage Bicycles where I test rode a rear suspension beach cruiser. It was really cool! I didn’t want to give it back because four days on the Cabby’s unfamiliar seat has taken a small toll. Rusty Spokes also makes exhaust pipe kickstands. Heh. When I told the kids we were going to swing by a bike shop, the older one asked, “Bike shop with Legos?” Thanks a lot, Clever Cycles! You’ve ruined all other bike shops for him.

The ride to La Jolla went well. I even found the La Jolla Bike Path, which I’ve never before found on my own. It probably wasn’t the flattest route and I had to get out of the saddle to make it up the hill, but it’s great getting away from the car traffic. Plus the boys hopped out and discretely peed on the palm tree in the picture below. Yet another reason to choose bike path over busy road.

The baby fell asleep (yay for cargo bike naps!) by the time we made it to the Children’s Pool. I could have sat there and watched the seals for hours, but the big kid was irritated that children weren’t allowed on the beach so we moved along to the La Jolla Cove.

I was worried about getting up from the shoreline without walking, but we found a flat enough street. However, I did have to walk the Cabby five feet to get up to the La Jolla Bike Path. All in all, not too shabby.

Daily distance: 16.1 miles
Cumulative: 112.1 miles

30 Days of Biking day 10: Sunday is family biking day

The families were out in full effect today! I wish I had kept count of how many WeeRide bike seats I saw. I even saw one on a beach cruiser with ape hanger handlebars. I also saw lots of trailers, trail-a-bikes, and rear baby seats. So my Cabby was still the coolest thing out there. Our riding today was pretty basic: breakfast run in the morning and playground trip in the afternoon.

Daily distance: 6 miles
Cumulative: 81.1 miles

30 Days of Biking day 9: Family and dog biking

Yesterday the Cabby was only getting covetous looks by the guys that live under the bridges with their bikes and dogs. Today it was admired by the 20-something beach guys–included a bedredlocked dude called Wiggles on a cute white-with-pink-flowers beach cruiser–who were probably imagining how much beer it could hold. However, we spread the Alternabike love to a few local families who came up to check it out. We also saw several other family biking setups: a couple trailers, an iBert, and a WeeRide. And of course several small doggies in front baskets.

Daily distance: 5.6 miles
Cumulative: 75.1 miles

30 Days of Biking day 8: Seeing San Diego by Cabby

We’re sitting pretty on a Gazelle Cabby thanks to Alternabike. Early this morning, before getting the bike, we walked a mile and a half along the boardwalk in search of beach toys and coffee and it took soooo long. As soon as we got the bike we took back off down the boardwalk for second breakfast. Much better getting there on two wheels.

Our big adventure of the day was riding to Old Town. The Cabby did great. The only hill was the Mission Bay Drive Bridge which I wasn’t a fan of back in my beach cruiser days, but we muscled up it just fine. It was also my first time on the Ocean Beach Bike Path. It was great being able to travel so much of the way on separated paths.

Unfortunately, we got caught in a rain storm on the way back from Old Town. The baby was miserable as he’s used to being a bit protected from the rain by his Bobike windshield. I was pretty miserable, too. I think if this had happened to me back when I was living in San Diego (not that I would have ventured out given today’s forecast), I would have hidden under a bridge and cried. But it was a brief rain storm and we saw a gorgeous rainbow afterwards.

We stopped for dinner and then swung by the grocery store and I realized my dream of grocery shopping by bike. The kids had to bunch up their legs a bit, but I fit three full grocery bags in front of them.

I might change my opinion of the Cabby a bit over the course of this week, but so far I’m loving it! …As a rental, that is. The kickstand is a beast to disengage and I think that alone is deterrent enough that I wouldn’t want to own one. Of course in Seattle I’d only have to wrestle with said kickstand while wearing flip flops for six weeks of the year. I love sitting at a 90 degree angle on the bike; it’s such a relaxed ride. I also love not worrying about bumping my knees on the seat in front of me, while having not one, but both kids right in front. I still find the handling a bit weird, but I was able to negotiate the crowded boardwalk just fine. I also took the wrong side of the Sunset Cliffs Boulevard Bridge on the way back and ignored the “Narrow bridge, cyclists should dismount” sign and made it across with no scrapes so I guess the handling isn’t that hard.

Daily distance: 17.6 miles
Cumulative: 69.5 miles

Clever Cycles in Portland

A bike shop with a play area and a toddler potty seat insert, does it get any better than this??

We carpooled with my friend and her two little boys to Clever Cycles in Portland today so she could get a new two-kid-carrying bike. She had her eye on a Gazelle Bloom with Yepp seats front and back. The bike was too big, but they had a great little Breezer Uptown 8. It’s got a Yepp on the front and Bobike Maxi (same as me!) on the back. They had to swap out handlebars and stem and also added a Brooks saddle and double kickstand. They didn’t have all the parts to attach a front rack so the eventual front basket is still being worked out. So keep in mind it will soon be even cuter than it is now:

While she was shopping I test rode a couple bikes. First I took out an Xtracycle. It’s funny–I know I want an Xtracycle in a year or two, but I’ve never been on one. I had planned to put the baby in the Yepp bike seat and have the big kid hang on behind, but the baby wouldn’t leave the play area. The play area’s puppy came along so I could still get the feel for carrying two beings. Naturally, the verdict is that I loved it!

I also took out a Nihola cargo bike. I thought it would feel just like the Christiania, but its handling is quite different…though also tricky at first. I should have taken a Christiania out again to compare, but I didn’t want to overdo it. Based on my recollection of my WheelHouse Santa Barbara test ride, I think I prefer the Christiania to the Nihola. But they’re both freaky. I think I’m just better suited to two wheels. Clever Cycles has a Gazelle Cabby hung from the ceiling so I pointed it out to the boys and reminded them of our LA Cabby adventure and told them we’d be using one in a few days, too.

Not much mileage to add to my 30 Days of Cycling tally, but it still counts!
Daily distance: 0.5 mile
Cumulative: 46.8 miles

WheelHouse Santa Barbara’s Bakfiets and Christiania cargo bikes

We broke up our LA visit with a day trip up to my birthplace, Santa Barbara. WheelHouse is an amazing shop: it’s huge and it’s full of gorgeous bikes. They have a rental program so I took a Bakfiets out for an hour (for just $15!) and had a blast. This was a newer version of the bike and it was amazing how well it handled compared to the one I tested out in Seattle–which I think wasn’t Dutch Bike Co’s rental vehicle, by the way, as Alex called it “Fritz’s old Bakfiets.” This new Bakfiets was also easier to manipulate than the Gazelle Cabby I checked out yesterday. WheelHouse Erik gave me the technical explanation, but it was a bit over my head.

In addition to being a great ride, it’s a nice change to ride a bike with normal seat and pedal placement (and this applies to all cargo bikes). On my Milano, I have to keep my seat a bit lower than I’d like so I can reach the ground easily. I also have to keep my feet on the outer edges of the pedals and aim my knees out to the sides a bit to avoid banging into the Bobike Mini. I don’t think either would be an issue had I had the foresight to request a proper Dutch bike as my push present, but I’m overall happy with the Bianchi Milano.

After riding up and down the waterfront bike path, we returned to WheelHouse and swapped the Bakfiets for a Christiania. What a neat bike! Its three wheels make for an incredibly sturdy vehicle, but the handling took a lot of getting used to. The rider has to shove the handlebars to the side to turn the bike. Not to call it a clown bike, but it reminded me of the swing bike I saw at the Cyclecide bike rodeo at Bumbershoot last year. I mostly just did figure 8s in the parking lot because it’s really fun to turn! The kids liked it a lot, too. Boxcycles sent me a link to this video of real trick turning on a Christiania, which put my riding to shame.

Flying Pigeon LA’s Gazelle Cabby

The littles and I are in LA for five days to visit family and see the sun. I got in touch with Flying Pigeon LA a while back and arranged to rent a cargo bike. They don’t have a regular rental program, but Josef said I could take out a Nihola, Christiania, or Gazelle Cabby. Naturally, I chose the Dutch one.

Once I got to the shop I started having second thoughts and was going to wimp out and take one of the trikes, but then Josef started saying how great it was that someone wanted to take out the Cabby and how it’s so fast and nimble and I felt obligated to pretend I was cool. Just like my first try on the bakfiets, I immediately veered to the side, careening into the gumball machine of the market next door. Fortunately, Josef had darted inside to grab his camera phone so he didn’t see my gaffe.

My brother met me at the shop (on his wife’s commuter bike, heh) and we went for a little ride together along the Arroyo Seco bicycle path. We realized it was our first bike ride together in a long time, probably since vacationing with the family on Texel as teenagers. The only thing missing was Oma leading the way, yelling “You kids keep up!”

The path was great–down in the river basin, far from cars. We rode a couple miles to an “End path” sign, conveniently right next to a small park. The trail was slightly uphill (very slightly uphill, but it doesn’t take much when hauling 60 pounds of kids and stuff) so the trip back down the basin was even more fun. My brother had to head off to work before we were done in the park so I was on my own for the return leg and, of course, took a wrong turn. I rode up Griffin Avenue a couple blocks and realized my mistake when I saw the “Montecito Heights” sign and noticed how high I was above the freeway.

It was good to experience a hill on the Cabby, something I probably wouldn’t have done voluntarily. It was hard. I think I’m just not suited to hills on any bike. The Cabby was fun to ride, but harder to handle than a normal bike, just like the bakfiets. The cargo area didn’t provide much storage area in addition to the kids so Josef stuck a basket on to accommodate our stuff. The kickstand was a bit hard to wrestle on and off, but I think that’s just the nature of any double kickstand. I liked the padded, separated shoulder belts. Just a three-point harness, like most Euro products. The two separate straps means they can easily go on a helmet-wearing kid with no pesky ducking and squishing.

San Juan Island

We’re on San Juan Island for a few days with visiting Minnesotan friends. Today we took a scenic bike ride from Friday Harbor to Roche Harbor. When we were looking at the map with the bike rental guy, I mistook “flattest route” for “flat route.” It was a tough ride! Next time I think we’ll just drive or take the island bus, but it was a good experience (now that it’s over). Half way there we met Mona the dromedary. She is super friendly and ate apples from passersby. Baby Rijder snoozed through the whole encounter, but the other boys had a blast. And camel is the new squirrel. I can get Brandt to stop whatever he’s doing and look at the camera by saying, “Oh, there’s a camel right behind me!” Heh.

I pulled Brandt and a four-year old in the trailer behind me and they had a great time together, but were a heavy load. Dan joined the rest of us later in Roche Harbor both because he was done working and wanted to hang out and also because we ladies needed a ride home. Dan’s ex-messenger bud was happy to ride back and took the biggest kid with him so the rest of us would fit in the car. I hear Lopez Island is the flattest of the San Juans (there’s that word “flattest” again) so perhaps we’ll try that one next time.


We went to market by bike this morning. I rode the mamafiets with Brandt on the front and Fay on the back, Juul rode her stylish blue cruiser, and Marijne took Rien’s bike (I don’t know if it’s called a papafiets…probably not). Bakfiets are all the rage here now, but I’ll take my Bobike any day. Our purpose for hitting the market was fresh stroopwaffels (well, that was my purpose…the girls needed vitamins and new shoes). You may not believe this, but I was not too greedy to share my stroopwaffel with Brandt…but he ungratefully dropped his piece on the ground after making a face at it so I have suspicions he’s an alien replacement. Alien or not, he gobbled up a loempia later in the morning so he wasn’t undernourished.