Friday, May 6, 2011

Double Bus and Bikes!

Today, thanks to Family Ride, we decided to bus to the West Seattle Junction and then ride from there to Morgan Junction and back home.  Part of the decision to bus was the hills between our house and The Junction.  A little more than my legs can take currently.  Partly, also, because I wanted to see if I could do it.  I knew that if I could get kids, bike, and gear on the bus that a whole world of biking and commuting without my car would open up.  The night before I prepared a very small diaper bag with snacks since at the time I had no way to carry a bag other than my shoulder.  I threw the messenger bag (diaper dude to be exact) on my shoulder put Gav in his bobike seat on the back to simulate a real ride.  Turns out that because I have a very small Breezer Uptown 8 with 2 kid seats I could not fit a bag between Gav and me.  Bummed, I called Madi to see if she had a brilliant ideas, which she often does.  "Hang a canvas bag over the windshield" was her suggestion.  So I took a reusable grocery bag stuffed it with my "essential gear" and wrapped it around Evan's "handlebars" on his Yepp Mini and then stuffed it between those and the windshield.  Hopping back on the bike I rode around my block making lots of turns to see if the bag would stay, and miraculously it did!  So that obstacle was conquered, thanks again Madi!  Feeling satisfied that I had our gear taken care of, I moved on to the next challenge.  Figuring out how to put my bike on the bus.  Thank goodness for online videos!  Feeling happy and strong after watching the videos and practicing lifting my bikes I was ready to commute on the bus!  The next morning came and I somehow managed to get us all fed and clothed for our bike ride and bus commute. Naturally, it started raining as I was leaving so I put threw on the boys' newt suits ( and buckled them into seats and helmets.  We arrived 2 minutes too late for the bus! Arghh!  That meant waiting 27 minutes on the side of the road with 2 small children who were already bouncing off the wall.  "Why not just bike then?" some of you ask?  Those of you who ask that, have NEVER attempted to bike with 2 kids up these hills!  Luckily, the next bus came and I got to practice putting my bike on.

As Gav, patiently waited at the bus sign pole, as instructed and Evan on my back in the ergo, I bravely walked up to the bike rack pulled it down then stopped!  What the hell is this black cup like thing?  Is my bike tire supposed to rest in it, or what??  Crap!  I am frantically trying to recall all of the video last night, and can not recall this contraption!  Feeling deflated, I look up through the giant windshield to the bus driver (for those of you unfamiliar with busses and racks-the rack is on the front of the bus) and shyly say, Umm this is my first time to load my bike.  Driver then turns off the bus and gets down to put my bike on, while saying "watch this"  in a grumpy tone.  Finally we are on the bus and heading to meet Madi.  Once we are off the bus, with no drama, we meet and the kids play and all is well!  Madi dubs us 4 wheels 12 feet!

The next part of the trip is to bike to Aaron's Bike Repair ( so I can get my front rack and basket installed.  The ride there was great!  No problems.  All downhill.  I even put my bike in the 4th gear, if that is even the right terminology.  We get to Aaron's and the kids settle into the little play area that is actually set up with a lego table!

This shop is great!  Oh, but wait!  Does he have a cat?  Crap, not just one but 2 cats!!  I think, maybe I don't really have an allergy to cats!  Then my body starts itching, my nose itches, my chest feels like I am sucking fire down it! Yep, I guess I really do have an allergy!  Shit!  Luckily, Aaron tells me he can install my rack and basket while we leave to have a cat free lunch at Zeeks Pizza.
 Alf wouldn't have approved a cat free lunch, but I am happy.

After we get back, my bike is still not ready.  Turns out, 4 people came in while we were gone and he had to actually help his customers, sheesh!  An hour or so later, my bike is ready and we can start home!  I tell Madi which way I think she should go after she had already mapped it out and we take off.  I get her way more south than she needed to go but she is an amazing sport and happily goes along.  After we split ways, me to home, her to the water taxi and home, my kids fall asleep.  ON THE BIKE!  Evan has his head resting on his weird Seuss like fish pillow from his Yepp and Gav has his head lolling back and forth.

All in all a great day.  Looking forward to more rides!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

7 miles!

Wahoo!  My family and I biked 7 miles on Sunday, according to Google Maps.  We started from home and biked along the coast at Lincoln Park, up Beach Rd, and almost to Alki.

We decided to stop for a picnic, and realized that while we could go on, the kids needed to head home.  Likely story, I know.  "Sure" you say, the "kids" needed to go home.  I felt so energized while biking!  There were 2 hills that I had to walk a bit of, but otherwise it was pretty flat for Seattle.  Luckily Ky had found a way to the coast/Lincoln Park that was through a residential area and avoided the few hills that we normally would have to go up.  Happy day for me!  Poor Gav was out by the time we got home.

Sunday was truly a great day.  The kids loved it, the hubby loved biking and I was a happy mama/wife/human!  Ky mentioned that he was looking to do something to his bike in which I replied "Road trip to Clever Cycles!!!"  But he decided that whatever it was that he thought he needed he didn't.  Bummer.  At least I can count on my great friend Madi, ( to take another trip there, maybe even on the train with bikes!!  I think Portland is a bit more flat than here....

On a side note, I have been meaning to add to my previous note/blurb about Seattle Electric Bike.  Although, not able to help me due to my really small bike, they were uber helpful and nice when trying to figure out a system for me.  Even had me email a pic of my bike before coming in and then brainstormed on it for a week.  That was just awesome.  I had to let people know that!

Thursday, April 14, 2011


I got the bad news today that Seattle Electric Bike is not going to be able to retrofit my current bike with a bionx system.  That means no battery powered torque to get my sorry ass up the Seattle hills.  I guess I am going to have to bike the old fashioned way, lots of cardio pumping, sweat activated, muscle power.  Bleh. How pathetic am I that I am this bummed about not getting electric assistance?!  But hey, we do live in a technologically based world.  Why should I limit the technology assistance that I get daily with computers, iPhones, etc. doesn't my ass deserve some technological ingenuity?  I would like to think so.  But, alas, it is not to be.  The other bad news, as if that isn't enough, is that I also got a mini lecture on how unsafe my front mount bike seat is.  The guy at the bike shop said his mechanic was "adamant" about the safety issues surrounding my Yepp Mini.  He also kept calling it a basket.  So either he thinks my kid is riding Toto style  or lots of people, including yours truly, are putting their tiny tots in harms way.  I have yet to find an article citing the safety issues with my seat or front mounted seats.  There are concerns about everything, so naturally there would be concerns about this type of setup.  So I guess I have a choice, get rid of the front and back seat (because both have "issues") and go to a trailer (oh, but wait, concerns there too!) or just stop cycling because it is just dangerous.  Bleh.  I think I will continue to be as safe as I can and try to get myself into some kind of shape where our mountains that we call hills resemble some kind of speed bump.  

On a lighter note.....I have had Pink Floyd's "I've Got a Bike" in my head for days!  So I am now going to cyber sing it for all of you, so that you can have it stuck in your head too.

I've got a bike
You can ride it if you like
It's got a basket
A bell that rings
And things to make it look good
I'd give it to you if I could
But I borrowed it 

And a link:

Friday, April 8, 2011

New setup and first rides!

Who would have thought I would have ever written a blog?!  I am actually quite excited about starting this blog.

A very good friend has gotten our family into biking.  Like blogging, biking was not something I thought I would enjoy but it turns out I enjoy them both!  So, I start looking into bikes that can accommodate two kid seats; one on the front, one on the back.  I went to a great bike store, but unfortunately did not find what I was looking for.  After a TON of research, I finally found a bike that is designed to hold 2 seats!! Madi, Brandt, Rijder, Luisa, Gavin, Evan and I schlepped down to Clever Cycles in Portland, OR, to look at the uber awesome bike, the Gazelle Bloom. Turns out that Dutch people are very tall, and the bike that was 26" was way too big!  I felt totally deflated!  But the amazingly awesome people at Clever Cycles fit me on a bike that was perfectly sized for me; the extra small Breezer Uptown 8.  Madi and the bike store people assured me it was a good bike.  After new handlebars, new stem, two new seats, and a new saddle the bike was ready.   We even splurged on funky new Nutcase helmets!  Mine is purple, Gavin has an Evel Knievel-esque helmet with red, white, and blue racing stripes with white side stars, and Evan has a Union Jack helmet.  The boys and I hopped on and off we went for our first mommy and kids ride!  They both loved it!  Evan cooed away and constantly rang the bell and Gavin squealed with delight.

It has now been several days since I have been a cyclist (is that the right term?).  We have ridden to preschool, to the park, and out to eat twice!  I am very happy but very tired and heavily bruised.  My knees are now polka dotted with purple bruises from hitting the nuts under Evan's front seat.  I just need to ride a bit more bow-legged.   Today, I even got my friend, Melinda on a bike pulling a Burley trailer with her almost 4 year old, Frenchie.  Frenchie actually screamed in happiness most of the way to the park.  That girl has one animated personality!

 I get my bike looked at next week to see if there is room for an electric retrofit with the Bionix system.  Hoping to have those hills tackled with a bit of help from my trusty friend, electricity and his bud, torque.

Looking forward to more blogging and lots more riding!!  See you on the streets!