Today's ride was a quickie to 'Nama's house to take advantage of some babysitting so I could get some work done. The Mundo
towed the Chariot (forgetting that the wheel was wonky from the crash in Elk Grove a few weeks ago) and after one horrible attempt where the bungee wasn't tight enough and the thing wobbled like crazy until it fell off the in middle of the road, I got it back on solidly and rode the rest of the way there without too much adjustment. We were quite the sight and I could just imagine everyone we passed craning their necks to see if I really had two more kiddos stashed in the trailer (as it was balanced precariously backwards and on it's tail).
To recap this month's adventures, all in all, it was an amazing journey! Going camping
and our crazy trip to Modesto
were probably the biggest highlights, but even just my everyday riding felt like a great accomplishment. Just knowing that I was going to be getting on the bike no matter what and following through on that promise to myself, was empowering. I ended with a total of 534 miles, well beyond the 400 I had set for myself at the beginning of the month. My computer tells me that I spent a total of 53 hours in my saddle and that calculates out to 28041 calories burned (not that I lost any weight, it's just fun to know)! Who needs a gym when you can get that kind of burn just going to the grocery store?
Now that April is over and all the excitement of the 30 Day Challenge
comes to a close, I'm not at all disappointed. I now have May Is Bike Month
to tide me over! I spent time this afternoon planning our team, Tiny Helmets (of course), various rides
for the month. The boys and I have pledged 600 miles each, a huge stretch for us! If we are able to average 20 miles a day, we should be fine (eek!). Tomorrow is the Bike Month kick off
and I feel totally ready to go! The Mundo and I are at ease with each other. I feel that we know each other very well now and we're both ready for this newest challenge.
Bike train! Toot toot!!
Better bungee skills after the first failed attempt. (and my cutie pie!)
It is exchange student
season! This is when I am usually unavailable all the times that everyone else is available because I'm going to events in search of fantastic host families for our fantastic students. This year, I have the added bonus of being able to ride my bike to events which at least gives me some downtime after bing on my feet all day. On Saturday, I had the Girl Scouts Heart of Central California 100th Celebration in which 12,500+ Girl Scouts and their families came to Cal Expo and checked out local vendors, booths, concerts. It was pretty darn crazy (in a good way, of course). Today, the Unitarian Universalist Church in Sacramento had a Connections Fair. Since I was going there anyway and my bike was loaded up from the Girl Scout's event anyway, I set up again. Hopefully, we will get some awesome families! It is always fun to talk with people and make connections anyway.
It's pretty cool that this ^^^
can become this ^^^
Riding my bike is one of my favorite things ever. It is therapist, my entertainment, my gym, my transportation. This is where I do my best thinking and since I didn't have my usual running commentary from my backseat rider, I had time to reflect, plan, and focus. The meditative hum of the wheels and the repetitive push from my legs makes me happy, it never fails. Then, when I need to burn off some stir-crazy energy, I can push myself. For me, speed is not about the number on your bike computer, it is the feeling in your chest as your heart beats like a drum and you gasp for breath. It doesn't matter if that happens at 8mph or 25mph, it is the rush that I love. A couple of times, I have actually gotten the Mundo
to 24+mph (for a few seconds) and it felt great. I've never been one for speed before but something about the Mundo feels solid and stable and makes me want to push my limits in both distance, speed, and cargo capacity. It's been great to experiment and test out what works and what I still need to work on.
And now, I feel relaxed again. A busy weekend coming to an end and the start of a busy week is beginning. May is bike month and Tuesday is the big kick-off. I'm meeting with Rick Houston to plan and promote the CycloFemme
ride. He is one of the big connections for biking in Sacramento--planning the Tweed Rides, Cargo Bike Rides and the recent Homebuilt Bike Show. I am really excited to be making these networks and figuring how I can grow as a bicycle ambassador.
For the moment, I am watching my sweet chickens graze around the backyard as I test the limits of our wifi.
A little pre-ride park time.
Truth be told, I'm not really ready to give up the 30 day challenge
. It's been a great feeling of accomplishment to ride 27 days consecutively and I am dreading the day that my streak ends. Will it be from sickness, busyness, vacation or just pure laziness? This biking habit is pretty well established now and I find myself on the bike whether or not I want to be. One of my very favorite things about this journey so far is the discovery of so many other like-minded folks--especially the mamas since their experiences are most similar to mine. I had no idea there was such a strong cargo biking community and such a welcoming one at that. It amazes me that if I have any questions/ideas/concerns, with just a couple of emails or website posts, I can have 10 different suggestions and tons of resources at my disposal. Even though I am so new at this "cargo" biking, I already feel like "one of them."
This morning, I was fortunate to spend time with a couple of awesome bikey mamas. One of our local Yuba
, met up with us at Doughbots
for our Little Loop
ride. Another mama just happened to be at the right place at the right time and we got a chance to visit with her, too. I love seeing and learning about what other families are doing to set up their kids in style and comfort and how to transport them safely. Every one has such unique preferences, routines, and abilities and yet we're all still dealing with similar challenges and working out solutions. Kate and I live in completely different areas of Sacramento so unfortunately we didn't have much time to ride together but for that one block or two, we were quite the sight--two kids on each of our bikes, she had another duckling following her on his own bike, and 'Nama took the tail end on her Bike Friday
. I'm am already looking forward to planning Kidical Mass
and other local rides with Kate and work together to bring family biking to Sacramento in a fun and safe way.
For other family resources, check out my Contact Us
page. I can't possibly list them all but here are some awesome family biking blogs that you should also check out. If you know of someone I missed, drop me a line and I'll add them to my contacts. You can never have too many rad biking buddies (even if they are virtual biking buddies).
Little Brother's nap time at Doughbots.
What was left of our doughnuts when I realized I hadn't gotten a photo. They were gone quickly!
Our own Kidical Mass.
Edible Pedal's Doughbot delivery vehicle.
It is my personal opinion that big cyclists breed little cyclists and keep the momentum going. Kids will have a difficult time learning how to ride comfortably, safely, and regularly if their parents don't mirror those same values. When I see Big Brother smiling and giggling away as he charges along on his Strider
, it gives me great joy and hope that I might be doing something right in this crazy life of parenting. I look forward to the day that he can keep up with us on his own and even the day that he passes us by, riding to his own cadence and to his own destination. For now, however, I will just relish in his gleeful "wheeeee!" as he rolls down his "mountains."
I snuck out to grab dinner from La Fiesta! Nothing like a jumbo wet burrito to end the day...Luckily I rode my heart out to get there and even hit 24.4 mph on a straightaway! I think the breeze might have been a bit of a help as my way back averaged 14 mph. However, it's pretty amazing to get trucking on the Mundo. She can definitely handle her own.
These last few days of biking have been pretty uninspiring as I haven't been feeling very inspired. I managed to squeak in a ride to Trader Joe's for much needed groceries and a stop for our CSA Full Belly box (and my mom's, too, since she offered to watch the boys just so I could sneak onto my bike). I feel like I'm dragging along during the last stretch of the 30 Days of Biking. The commitment is still keeping me getting on my bike but I'm feeling the effects--less of the physical strain and more of the mental strain of adding in that one extra challenge. It is so much easier sometimes to hop in a car and go so sometimes it feels like the bike is the straw that is breaking my sanity.
That said, the second I am on my bike again, I forget the rest of my crazy day and plans and schedules and I ride happily. There is nothing better than getting on a bike in the warm spring air and plodding along. The ride was only about five miles but it was plenty. I was able to carry more than I had carried before, using the crate, an old pannier, the Peanut Shell, and the utility deck. Sadly, in my haste, I didn't strap the gallon of milk in very well and it fell off the pannier during my ride, creating a small leak in the plastic. I moved it to the top of the CSA boxes and got home as quickly as I could with such a terribly balanced load (my mental state doesn't help my spacial relations planning). My veggies were a little more milky than I usually like them but I was proud of my accomplishment and the fact that I was still able to stay out of the car, even if it was just for one errand.
Very tippy, the Stand Alone almost couldn't hold it up and my cereal boxes were a bit crushed.
Biggest load yet! We're on a smoothy kick--hence the number of bananas and frozen fruit.
Milk down!!! Luckily it has been saved and is waiting patiently--and classily--in a glass pitcher.
This post is going to be less about bikes and more about chickens! This morning, I drove out to Vacaville, 45 minutes away, to The Animal Place
. In February, Animal Place conducted California's largest farm animal rescue ever. 50,000 chickens were starving at an egg farm in Turlock so Animal Place swooped in and saved as many as possible--4,460 hens. Sadly, the others had either starved or were put down by state officials. Our chickens are Hy-line Brown Layers, sturdier and friendlier than the White Leghorns that were also there. Once they were in their new home, a coop my brother had built while he was visiting at Christmas, they immediately went to work, pecking and eating and eating and eating and scratching. They got pretty comfortable pretty quickly. After just a few hours, they would even come towards me as I went to check on them for the millionth time. So far, they don't have any names as I can't tell them apart. They also don't know how to climb up the ramp to their nesting boxes and roost so I had to carry them up. Besides their beaks having been trimmed (a horrible process that battery cage farms and most "free range" farms do to keep the chickens from pecking and cannibalizing each other) they seem like pretty regular birds. They have been bred to lay an abnormal amount of eggs so that will take a toll on their little bodies but with proper care and nutrition, they can live happily and comfortably. I am so glad they are here! If you or someone you know is in the market for some lovely chickens, give the Ladies at the Animal Place a chance.
I did finally manage to get on my bike at 7pm and ride the 6-mile roundtrip to my mom's house to pick up some goodies she had for us. Quite the load to carry back (as you'll see below), so it was good that I had the Mundo
to help out.
Big Brother checking out our family's newest additions.
Already comfortable enough to check out the rest of their digs.
Zorro hanging out, not bugging the Ladies at all. Also, awesome veggies in the background.
Best. Load. Ever!
An awesomely easy ride for our mellow day. Mellow is relative when you have crazy babies but I'll take it. Once Jose got home, I was feeling especially lazy and asked "should I ride or drive?" "Ride." "Okay." It was that easy. Twenty-three days of consecutive riding has made it easy to hop on my bike and go. I barely ever leave the house through the front door these days. My routine is down and my bags are already packed. The Mundo
sits waiting patiently for me, always ready to ride off at a moment's notice. I love it!
Today's trip was a special one. We are getting ready for some new arrivals tomorrow and want to make the home as comfy as possible. Tomorrow, I go down to Vacaville's Animal Place
, driving sadly but I think riding would be considered cruel and unusual punishment for my honored guests--Chickens!!! Our three new chickens have been rescued from the egg industry and are waiting patiently for us to bring them home into our cozy coop where they will get lots of sunshine, worms, and love. I debated the pros and cons of raising cutie little chicks versus grown hens and decided that for our first chicken-go-round, already laying hens would be the easiest for me to transition to. Plus, these little ladies need some care and kindness in their lives. I am so excited!
I carried a 25lb bag of feed (went with the crumbles because my hens have most likely been debeaked--ouch!) I will adjust their food as we get to know each other. Strapped to the back of the rack, I have their bedding, held solidly by my Yuba Straps, and in the crate, I have my feeder and waterer (in stylish purple, nonetheless). A short ride but a heavy load. I'm getting the hang of these oddly shaped cargo bundles a bit more.
Plus, I did it all wearing a skirt!
This morning, I woke up feeling mostly refreshed. 'Nama had taken Big Brother home last night to give me a break and a little extra quiet so she had to come back over early to drop him back off. The family and I were off to church
this morning and as an added bonus, we had someone finally take us up on our "bike-pool." We had agreed to meet at the Train Museum since he was coming in from West Sac. It was great meeting a new biking friend and give a little tour of one of Sacramento's greatest resources, the American River Bike Trail. It was a longer ride than we usually do on Sunday mornings but it was great nonetheless. This was Jose's first time being back on a bike since Modesto since his ankle still wasn't up to par and I was trying to take it "easy" and not cause another headache.
Getting ready to head out. I get the Linus.
The boys think it's pretty funny to have Papa on the Mundo.
Jose took the Mundo
and I rode the Linus Mixte. It was great to see the other side of the bike and watch the boys' faces as they rode. Little Brother kept looking up at Jose and laughing while Big Brother was his usual chatty self. I actually missed riding with them but was glad that Jose was getting the experience.
After church and dropping the three boys at home, I rode off on the Mundo to Earth Day where our Educational Homestay Program
had a booth to sign up host families for our wonderful exchange students. Another afternoon in the sun but I was careful to keep drinking Emergen-C drinks and stayed under the pop-up tent. After the event, we packed up the booth and I was able to carry most of it by bike--tent and all! It was pretty odd having all the weight on one side of the bike but once I was moving, it was fine. I think that next time I have to carry a bigger load like that, I will take the panniers off and adjust things differently, but it was good to know that it is possible. I love finding out what a bike can do
That crate really comes in handy!
Proof that I managed to stay upright while riding.
I hate having to write this post but to keep an honest account of our journey, you get to see the bad and the ugly along with the good. Today was actually mostly awesome, it just ended on an ugly note. Today, the bike won.
Big Brother's ready to work!
Big Brother and I rode out early to Practical Cycle
where they were arranging a Ride for the Earth--a short bike ride to the Great American River Clean Up
event. We met up with Cassidy of the shop and a couple other riders arrived to join in the fun. After a few wrong turns, we finally made it to the clean up spot. Armed with gloves, trash bags, water, and bellies full of doughnuts, we ventured off into the trees. Sadly, the parkway has quite the homeless population camping out there. I won't go into a long rant about the lack of resources and support available to our city's less fortunate but it is a very sad situation both for the people and for the environment. In just one camp, we filled up about 15 bags of garbage and two shopping carts full of stuff. The signs of alcoholism, drug use, and hopelessness were very apparent. It was also depressing to see that no matter how much stuff we picked up, we could never get it all. However, after about three hours, we were ready to call it a day.
Heading back to our house, Big Brother was ready for a nap, as was I. Instead, for me, it was time for another biking adventure. My aunt had offered us a loveseat awhile back but not knowing many people with trucks, we had never picked it up. Our neighbor, a fellow cargo biker
and friend, had a homemade bamboo trailer that he offered to put to the test. Since we didn't have too far to go and he was willing to sacrifice the trailer for the good of the experiment, off we went. It was a pretty amazing sight to watch a sofa ride by! We were turning heads left and right, but the poor Mundo kept calling out "I could do that too.." I think she felt left out. The trailer was awesome, it doesn't look like much, just a few bamboo shoots (some split pretty deeply), metal screen, and two wheels (the milk crates kept the couch up). As we rode the two miles back, the sofa would sway and wobble while the trailer flexed ominously but it all held and now we have a brand new loveseat gracing our living room. A fantastic experiment!
It had been a long, hot day and it wasn't over yet! Although, it probably should have been as this is where everything fell apart. The G'parents came over to sit on the boys while Jose and I got to sneak away for our very first Biking Progressive Dinner. We rode out to a house where another 35+ bikers were going to meet and have hors d'oeuvres, then, we'd all ride over to the next location for dinner, followed by another ride out to dessert. We were surrounded by tons of fascinating folks and awesome bikes of all shapes and sizes and models. There were a few other Xtracycles, some Chariots, but only one amazing Mundo
! Sadly, though, the day had gotten to me. Shortly after arriving, the little niggling headache turned into a full blown migraine. Sweaty, shaky, and nauseous, I had to excuse myself, somehow riding the couple miles back to the house. My memories of that part is pretty vague. The rest of the evening was spent in a very dark room feeling more miserable than I had been since childbirth. I'm hoping that we are lucky enough to get another invite because from the little I can remember, it was pretty fun!
This was the first time in a long time that I had to admit that it was too much. We have been averaging over 10 miles a day, with most days being closer to 20. I think with the heat, the riding, and still recovering from the Modesto trip, it was time for my body to make me stop. A good night's sleep was in order and I think this coming week will be a bit slower for us.
Little Brother's biking mood--super thrilled!
Nothing very exciting today. We met up with my mom for our Little Loop
bike ride to Old Soul
but no one else showed, sadly. I'm really excited to show others around town but so far, no one's taken us up on it. Fridays are hard since most people have actual jobs. Old Soul had great mochas as always but it was a bit of a mess with the boys being the wiggly worms that they are. It might not be the most child friendly place but it was still fun. Edible Pedal
is next door so we stopped over to drool on the Carsick Design
panniers and gear, made locally in Sacramento. Taking the long way home, we rode through Sutter's Fort to see the ducks and turtles. It is amazing to me that even short riding days add up. No wonder we kept going over our monthly limit for our leased Prius. I think we'll finally be able to catch up to the appropriate mileage at the rate we've gone from driving miles to biking.
Checking out the ducks.