Loading up! They said 8:30 am--sharp! We got there at 8:33. Close enough. Note the three kids on my bike, we rode like this for 3 miles.
Saturday: Rode to Davis! I chose the Bullitt so our friend, Randy, could take his kids on the Mundo. The ride there was quick and pretty painless, even going across the causeway. I love this ride. It's not very pretty--lots of urban cycling through West Sacramento, stinky highway, noisy cars, and a recent obstacle of Caltran's takeover for a section of the trail.
Quick pit-stop at Practical Cycle.
No thanks, Caltrans...
Big Brother got squirrley around mile 18 and since we were on the bike trail, I decided to let him move around. It was rough for all of our bottoms and I didn't want him to be too uncomfortable. Little Brother loved cuddling with his big brother.
My cute boys. Little Brother kept shoving Big Brother's head down and singing him to sleep.
Difficult to ride with him wiggling but we stayed upright.
When we reached the Farmers' Market, we were greeted by Chris and Jon from Cool Davis with strawberries, pastries, and ice cold water! We even got new tee shirts! It was awesome!
Thanks, Cool Davis!
Plenty of delicious food, fresh fruits and veggies, and playground time followed and created some very exhausted children. It was getting really warm by afternoon--93 degrees. My boys were cozy in the Bullitt and Randy's son quickly passed out in the Peanut Shell. However, his daughter was sitting at the stoker bars and started looking pretty tired. She was resting her head on Randy's back and starting to doze when we decided that we needed to move her into a secure seat--the Bullitt.
Yep, we had three kiddos in the Bullitt bucket. Little Brother was not happy to have been woken up but after some very loud singing and distractions, he realized that we were the party bike. Fifteen miles with a 120 pound cargo and a slight headwind. It was a good thing they were so cute or I might not have made it. The kids were quite squished but had fun. Everyone was really tired and uncomfortable.
I love this photo!
Getting ready to reconfigure. This was the last bit of shade for about 10 miles.
Little Brother was not happy to have been woken up.
Now they're happy in the party bike!
One more obstacle--couldn't ride the long way home because the bike path access was blocked off by trains for an event.
We made one last stop about 2 miles from home. The little ones were worn out and we didn't want to leave them with grumpy memories about our long adventure. So, we stopped at Suzy Burger for dipped ice creams. That revived everyone to last all the way to home where the sprinklers were waiting.
Sunday: CycloFemme! Last year's CycloFemme wasn't quite what I was envisioning so this year, I enlisted the help of some awesome ladies. We planned a route that had two sections. The first was a bit easier and the second was more challenging but ended at the Sunflower Drive-In in Fair Oaks--13.1 miles total, each direction. We started with 28 riders, coffee, Doughbot Doughnuts (thank you!!!), and lots of bikes.
I chose the Mundo because I like riding it unloaded better than the Bullitt. It was loaded down with doughnuts, coffee, and snacks.
Eliana and I rocked our CycloFemme tats.
Check out this awesome group!
Look at my beautiful mama!
Tiniest munchkin on the ride, chilling in his seat like he owns the place.
Jen and her son, our Mundo buddies.
Gathering at the Guy West Bridge and getting to know each other.
They may be small but the put on some miles!
Tatting up the kids early.
Our new friend Anna Marie.
There were some new-to-riding folks, some new-to-the-area folks, little ones on their own bikes, little ones on their parent's bike, and everyone was ready to ride! It was so wonderful to meet such great new friends and catch up with old friends. Everyone cruised at their own pace, ranging from speedy to strolling, whatever was comfortable and fun.
The cutest mama-daughter biking team in matching floral dresses.
Our second stop was at William B. Pond. We lost a couple of riders, one due to a bee sting and another to a little bike crash (she's okay). The little ones on their own bikes headed back to meet back up in Fair Oaks while their mama giddily zipped back and forth along the bike trail, kid-free. There were cookies (made by my own mama!), fresh fruits (thanks, Randy, for hitting up the Farmers' Market before the ride!), and more coffee (I was begging folks to drink it up. Next year, we go with cold mimosas!).
Victoria showing off her CycloFemme pride!
Sharyn and Jen's CycloFemme biceps!
Little guys taking a break.
Love the spandex-baby combo.
Quick picnic break in the shade at William B. Pond.
The next 7.9 miles had more rolling hills but we pushed on happily, again at differing comfortable speeds. The last half-mile of pure uphill made the ride even more satisfying and the Sunflower Drive-In even more delicious.
Sharyn and kiddo made it up the hill!
Jen and kiddo, too!
Anna Marie and Rich--thanks for many of the great photos!
Resting up before heading back.
Mina and her little one.
Look at those CycloFemme calves!
The way home was a lot harder for me. It was hot again--95 degrees today and even though the ride had more downhill in this direction, we had a headwind again and long stretches of tree-less path. I think the two rides in a row got to me, too. My legs felt like goo. I made it back home in our little break-away group of Jen (kid-free now!), my sister-in-law Eliana, and our new bikey friend Mary.
I am so grateful to be a part of this great biking community and to be constantly meeting new folks who are already in or just joining the biking fun. I'm already looking forward to start planning CycloFemme 2014 and bringing more people into it so Sacramento CycloFemme can continue to grow and evolve into something huge!
The best Mother's Day I could have asked for!
And these guys are pretty awesome, too!
Davis ride tomorrow! We're leaving from Grant Park (22nd and C st) at 8:30am--sharp! The Cool Davis team is going to meet us there with refreshments and t-shirts. Then, we'll hit the Farmers Market for goodies. If you want to stay longer, Whole Earth Festival is also happening.
Sunday is Cyclofemme! For more info: www.facebook.com/events/465273203563939/
It's the perfect way to spend Mother's Day!
May's Kidical Mass ride is on May 26th at 5pm. We'll meet at Discovery Park near the archery field for a BYO picnic followed by a family-friendly loop on the American River Parkway.
Some bike-on-bike fun!
I took the boys out to REI this evening to get some sunglasses to prepare for the rides this weekend. I want to figure our a way to create some shade for the Bullitt and am totally up for some suggestions. I don't have the rain cover and would prefer to not spend $300 until the bike is at least paid off (in about 2 months...way better than a car!). I would also prefer not to drill into the box too much, it's still so new. Although, Little Brother did spill half a cup of icee in it when we stopped to chat with friends at a little league game.
Our dear friend Bekah showed up early this morning for an extremely quick visit before she had to hop back on a plane. We had to get to my mom's house to get the car and drive to the airport so of course, we went by bike. She had come straight from work and had all her crew gear, not her usual light-packing job. Thank goodness for that awesome rear rack! The perfect way to start a day--Bekah and bikes!
Next, my mom and I rode over the Freemont Park for the May Is Bike Month
Kick-Off! Cassidy was there showing folks how to replace their car with a bike. I left the Bullitt
hanging out there to show how easy it is to replace the family minivan. Our friend Jarrod
showed up with his crew on his decked-out Mundo
. Big and Little Brothers found the fountain and thoroughly enjoyed it. The Big guy was hand-selected by the Mayor-of-Davis to choose the raffle winners. He also got to throw out a few pairs of socks (although not to me) and to an aspiring Buster Posey, this was heaven! The best part was when he threw raffle ticket and then also threw the prize. What an arm!
It was a long, busy morning. I knew that Little Brother was going to fall asleep on the way home but didn't realize just HOW cozy he'd be. I ended up leaving him in a shady corner in our backyard for about an hour so he could get a full nap.
Big Brother told me that he couldn't sleep so I said that he could take a book and rest. A minute later I found him like this:
My final trip this evening was another 4 miles on the BionX Breezer for a meeting. 11.7 miles total today. I have a ways to go to reach my pledge of 500 but it'll be a fun adventure to get there!
May is my favorite month! Mother's Day, our anniversary, and my birthday all within a lovely set of 31 days.
It's also chock full of May Is Bike Month swag! I love May Is Bike Month
! Two years ago, I won my beautiful Linus at the Bike Fest (and it just happened to be on my birthday, too). Last year, I reached my pledge of 600 miles by the skin of my teeth and won 3rd place for the most Errand Miles!
This year's going to be even better than the last! They've even started the Energizer Stations already! However, I need some help. Jose's threatening to drop my Tiny Helmets
bike team unless we start racking up some real points. That means, I need as many folks out there who are willing to log miles for our team. I don't care if you pledge 10 miles or 1000, just join our team and log your miles! Our goal is to beat 350 Sacramento's team. I think we can do it. Who's in? Go to www.mayisbikemonth.com and sign up. If you've already joined a team, ditch them and ride with us! You can be a part of your Employer's challenge and still be on our team. Sign up your kids! Both Big Brother and Little Brother pledged 500 miles, who's going to challenge them? They're really competitive. I might even have them challenge each other. That would be pretty funny.
We're the most fun team, ever! Today, my mini team and I ran off to check out an Energizer Station (although we had the day's location wrong) and then hit up Doughbots for some delicious goodies. Bacon chocolate doughnut and an iced mocha is the best way to start a day (although admittedly probably not the best way to keep a day going). We rode around in the Bullitt together quite a bit, getting used to our new set-up.
The boys already love it. They are so happy to jump in the box. I still need to get the seat dialed in and add a rear rack. Similarly to the Mundo, once you add two kids to the bike, there's not a huge amount of room for anything else. Adding the Bread Basket to the Mundo was what made it more functional so I'm looking forward to getting a rear rack and adding panniers/bags to even out the load. The Bullitt rides even better with the boys onboard and it's very entertaining to have them up front.
Oh, and we saw a raccoon today. How awesome are we?
We're already almost halfway through 30 Days Of Biking
and we've managed to keep biking every day. It's so funny compared to last year--that was a challenge, congratulating myself with each passing day. It was the beginning to our new life, although I hadn't really noticed it, yet. Back then, it was amazing to be able to count the days that the car had stayed parked. Next, we started realizing that we couldn't keep up with the number of days in a row. Now, we've come to realize that this weekend is going to be the first time since the beginning of the year
that we will be borrowing my parents' car and needing to pay for gas! I don't even know what the price of a gallon is anymore.
It is surreal to think back on how much our lives have changed just from last year. Just today, we sold the final reminder of our pre-bikecentric fleet: the yellow double Chariot. Amazingly enough, we were able to sell it for just under what we had put into it. Off it goes, like the red single Chariot and the Yepp Mini, to bring biking joys to another family with youngsters. One more family on the road, enjoying the feeling of freedom and independence that only a bike can give.
Big Brother checking out his Chariot for the first time.
Little Brother on one of his last Yepp Mini rides.
Adventures await when you have a Chariot!
So before our shed gets too comfortable being extra spacious, it's time to officially announce the next addition to our fleet: a Bullitt
We had settled pretty early on a long-john
style, mainly because we need to be able to carry our dog and because it's an awfully convenient way to carry kids, groceries, cargo. The Mundo
has been great to us. I love how it rides like a tank and plows through everything we ask of it. We already know that we can tour with the Mundo, run errands, and haul our little ones, but ultimately, we decided that it would be better to have a different cargo bike to balance out our needs. It will be fun to start trying out new adventures with the Bullitt!
Between the two bikes, Jose and I will be able to do anything! No more bike juggling just to get the kids home! The only thing that made us choose this bike over John's Cycle Truck
(an amazing bike!), was the already-designed kid seat with seat belts and rain cover. I would have never been able to come up with such a beautiful set-up and, truthfully, the Bullitt was my first love. Getting a chance to ride on with David of Convoy Cargo Bikes
, had sold me back then, Practical Cycle'
s decision to start selling Bullitts, sealed the deal. Check out Hum Of The City's thorough review
if you don't believe me (although we aren't getting an assisted one...yet...).
Our Bullitt is going to have a custom wooden box with child seats. Since it's not going to rain for another 8 months, we decided to hold off on getting the Blaq Designs
rain cover just yet. This is a huge investment for us! Last year, we felt that the Mundo was the biggest step we had ever taken and now, a year later, we are upgrading once again. Although I get some benefits for working at the bike shop, this is over double the cost of the Mundo. Still, when you think about it, it's less then the cost of a terrible car, fewer than 6-months of a car payment, more joy than we could even count, and people pay this much money (and more) for a slick-carbon-5 pound ghost of a road bike. This is not a toy for us. This is a vehicle of change, a tool to facilitate the life we feel is appropriate for our family.
Day 1 for cargo bike #1!
The only reason I continue to write--besides the fact because it gives me an excuse to push my limits and try out new adventures--is because I want to share our experience, hopefully showing that this lifestyle change is much easier than you might think. I know that it has even surprises myself to think about how smoothly this transition was. While I am a little bummed at how uneventful this year's 30 Days Of Biking has been, it's impossible to fathom how much this means to us. Luckily, I do have April's bike overnight coming together soon!
Last weekend I had the fantastic opportunity to test out a local cargo bike builder's set-up: the Cycle Truck
! John Lucas has been building bikes in West Sacramento for quite awhile now. His bikes are unmistakeable. Unlike typical long-john style bikes with a wooden box built onto the frame, his bikes are a solid one-piece design. The Cycle Trucks have linkage steering which means the front wheel is pushed forward, in front of the handlebars, and is steered by a connecting piece of metal. This was the most difficult style of bike for me to master and it takes some practice before riding starts to feel "normal." In fact, the first time I got on one of his bikes, I almost steered myself into a wall. However, with a little extra practice, I began riding like a pro. After this last week, getting back on a standard bike felt weird. My first ride back on the Linus almost made me stop to check if the fork had come loose.
I rode over to John's place in West Sac using the Mobic then folded it up and shoved it into the Cycle Truck to ride home with both bikes. The awesome thing about John's bikes is that they are made to be used. He doesn't worry about scratches in the paint and instead sees them as signs of use. Nothing on the bike is "fancy" or super expensive (although you could build one up that way if you wanted). The metal frame around the deck is so solid that you could rest just about anything on top of it to carry around.
The very first thing I did with the bike when I got home was load it up with firewood, beer, and camping gear to ride up to Folsom for a little bike overnight. I rode 30 miles that first day and didn't have any problems. The friction shifting was a fun change from the clicky index shifting that I've grown used to. The weight distribution was fantastic and instead of feeling like I was pulling a heavy load, it felt like I was lightly pushing it. It was a subtle difference from what I am used to on the Mundo but it was noticeable and it was comfortable.
I really liked being able to just throw things in the box and not have to worry about balancing the load or tying it all down.
In the kid-hauling capacity, while the Cycle Truck was certainly fun, I did feel that I needed more security for traffic riding. The open sides of the basket lead to arms and legs slipping out and a bit more wiggling around than I felt comfortable, especially with the little one. Big Brother actually had a blast and followed my instructions of keeping his body inside the box. Little Brother, on the other hand, didn't follow directions as well and we had a scary moment when he rebelled and stood up, pulling on the cables, having a fit while I was riding through a busy section of road.
There would be some fairly simple fixes that could be made to the basket to improve the kid-control, such as having a liner around the open bars and some sort of seat with restraints for the little guys.
Stability-wise, this bike is a tank. I never worried about tipping over or crashing. Even my dad gave it a test--he's never attempted to ride the Mundo, let alone carry a kid on the thing. There is something incredibly comforting to have the weight low to the ground. Steering almost feels like a dance, swooping slightly from side to side.
John is continuously tinkering with different styles of frames. He has this 20" wheeled bike coming together at the moment and has another plan in mind for a Nihola-like trike.
John built this green cargo trike while he was in China. It is one of only six that he made. It's hauling capacity is amazing--shown here carrying two Cycle Trucks and below with an entire family.
This three-wheeled trailer came together after he saw a homeless man carrying a ton of scrap in a similar style trailer. The front wheel is steered by the pole connecting the trailer to the bike. It tracked perfectly behind me and could carry as much as I could tow. The front wheel takes most of the weight so it was a really smooth ride.
One of John's recent developments to his own orange Cycle Truck is the addition of his pizza maker BBQ. The BBQ rests perfectly on the bike's frame and the propane cylinder rests on the deck inside. The way the cooker sits, the bucket is still completely free to hold the rest of the party gear--ice chest, beach chairs, basically anything you can throw in there.
After the initial learning curve that comes with linkage steering, this ride is amazing. Going up hills was not a problem for me, even packed with cargo. In fact, it rode a lot better with weight in the bucket. When it was empty, it was more rattly than I am used to. I would say that the Mundo rode better for me as a regular, unloaded bike but they were pretty equal when it came to carrying cargo. Although I loved having the kids up in front of me where I was able to see and talk to them, they had too much freedom to roam for my comfort. I felt more secure with them on the Mundo. However, with the low center of gravity, I never worried about tipping over in the Cycle Truck.
There are definitely a lot more pros to this bike than cons and one of the biggest pros is the fact that it's built here in Sacramento at an incredibly affordable price--about a third of what other "bakfiets" or long-john style bikes cost. If you are looking for something to carry pets, big kids/adults, large and unwieldy cargo, this is the bike for you. Every person I have ever seen on a Cycle Truck always has a giant smile plastered on their face. This bike is fun and useful--even as a picnic bench.
Nicole's Bread Basket liner (take 2) arrived a few days ago and it's even more beautiful and functional than I could have imagined! The bright orangey oranges and gingham sure brighten my mood every time I see it! It is so wonderful to be able to throw anything into the basket, even small things like my phone or keys. There are two handy pockets for organizing little items and a cup holder. The Mundo has become an even better cargo carrier. Thanks, Nicole! You're amazing!
Pardon my thumb but look at those cute mandarins hanging out in there!
Bike parking hasn't yet improved at Trader Joes so we're taking advantage of in-store parking, as offered for the interm.
Our morning daycare/work load--blankies, lunch, bag, cloth diaper stash.
We got behind on scheduling a Kidical Mass
ride for February but tried to throw together a last-minute ride from one park to another. It turned out to be too last-minute and no one except our friend Jen showed up. It was a terribly windy day so we ended up just staying at the first park and having a great time. We both ran into a bunch of friends while we were there. It was more playtime than ride but I think everyone was pretty happy with that.
My boys are amazed at Jen's son's bike skills.
Jen also loaned us her juicer to try out. I watched "Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead," a very compelling documentary about juice cleanses. Although it's not necessarily something I would do completely, adding more veggies into our diet sounds like a great plan. This is day 3 of substituting a few of our processed meals for slimy juice (although the boys are eating their normal food). I've learned that you can't just throw anything into a juicer and expect it to taste good, in fact, my first few attempts were pretty gnarly. It also takes a lot of prep time and clean up. I've gotten better though. We're still eating food, too, but trying to make sure it's simple and healthy. So far, it's been pretty good. Today was rough because I didn't get a chance to make as much juice as I wanted so by the end of the day, I was starving. Queue the rapid binge. This isn't a diet so I'm not worried. I just want to try to clean up our meals and focus on a more plant-based life. Considering I've probably never eaten this many varied veggies and so few sugars and processed grains, I feel we're doing pretty darn well.
Finally, don't forget that we have some awesome events coming up! March 3rd is Practical Cycle
's third birthday
! We're going to have cake and sparkling cider to celebrate at 3pm (of course). Elly Blue
and crew are coming to Practical Cycle for Bikes and Dinner
on March 13th from 7pm-10pm. A yummy vegan dinner buffet, Aftermass
showing, and Elly's radness--all for just $20! Our family camping trip
is March 23rd-24th--riding about 30 miles to the group site at Negro Bar for a fun biking overnight ($25 per family). Please contact me
if you are interested in any of these fun bikey activities.
Tomorrow's the big day! We're heading out on our big adventure to Chico. Hubby and Little Brother are staying home while Big Brother and I search for dinosaur tracks. You can follow our adventure on crazyguyonabike.com
. So far, it's just what we're up to and what we're bringing. Just by a lucky coincidence the Mundo-specific multitool I had ordered from Antload
up in Portland arrived this afternoon!
Mundo sockets, spoke and pedal wrench, and handy bottle opener!
Big Brother's handlebars.
Big Brother's pile.
Our route has been planned with the help of our hosts. I am feeling pretty comfortable with the distances and the roads. Now, I just have to pack it all on the bike!
Big Brother and I were so lucky to get two chances this weekend to visit with other biking families. Saturday was our Kidical Mass
ride. We had 14 brave bikers show up in the chilly morning. The bikes were awesome--two Mundos
, a bakfiets, a Fr8
, a custom ANT
, and two Bike Fridays
. We rode to Doughbot
, using proper hand signals and following all traffic rules, taking the lane as needed. After filling ourselves up with delicious sugar, we rode over to the giant Southside Park to run around.
I love getting a chance to meet up with other biking families in the area--checking out their customizations and how they keep their kids warm, what's working for them and helping to figure out any difficulties. It's the perfect way to realize how many of us are truly out there and that we're not really crazy for biking the way we do. Plus, they're really just fun people to visit with.
Meeting up at Old Soul.
Melissa was rocking her new Fr8 with her two little ones.
The Koen family with their customized Dutch bike, styling kiddos, and happy smiles.
Teeny Bike Fridays fit inside and make great coat racks.
Alien Big Brother running out his yayas.
After the playground, I zipped home to drop Big Brother off for lunch and his nap then cruised back out to have lunch with a friend. Biking lets me make multiple trips and do more fun things without feeling guilty about driving around town frivolously and excessively.
Great bike racks at the cafes down R st!
Sunday followed with more family fun biking with our Mommy Group ride to Doughbot, again since the mommies couldn't make it the day before. I'm always up for a second round of doughnuts, of course. Sadly, when we arrived, they were out for the next hour! We biked down to Southside Park without our sugar high but popped back over for their next fresh batch.
It was so much fun to ride with the Mommies (and a Daddy)! Another mommy had been riding her Mundo regularly, there was mom on her bike for just the third time since her kids' were born AND she was towing 80 lbs of kid/gear, one little guy was on a trail-a-bike for the first time, and another mama had her son in a kid seat that she had installed the night before! With that kind of range of biking comfortability, we still stayed together, rode safely, obeyed traffic laws, and had tons of fun! It goes to show that riding a bike is always better with friends and the perfect way to get used to everyday cycling. One thing that we all had in common was that we are all interested in biking more regularly and will plan to do this again soon!
On the road!
Daddy with his "rocket pack!"
We made it!
This was the perfect weekend to reenergize me for the coming trip to Chico. I had been feeling pretty nervous about the length of the trip and my insane decision to take Big Brother with me. However, looking at the maps, I've whittled down the mileage to about 60 each day, totally doable. We have very nice people to stay with through warmshowers
. I've got special surprises for BB along the way, new books, and lots of snacks planned. I'm feeling much more prepared and very excited. Worst case, we're not going very far and we'll have lots of support if needed.
I always feel a little silly when people ask how we're going to ride through Winter. For goodness sakes, it's Sacramento, not Michigan! I don't have to wear a balaclava or add bike spikes to my tires. The worst things we have to get through are fog and frost (maybe a little wind, some rain here or there, etc.). Granted, I do feel pretty darn proud every time we get out of the house and onto our bikes in less than comfy weather. I will admit that it's more of a challenge these days with the extra layers and accessories. The struggles of shoving a wriggling toddler into a snowsuit that had the brilliant idea of coming in two extra difficult layers. It's like a wrestling match! I consider any morning that we manage to bike without the whiney "I'm cooooooold!" complaint from the back a success.
Chilly week ahead!
I did feel silly ordering the snowsuits last fall and although we haven't used them very often, I think they were the perfect option for mornings like these. Today, Big Brother had on three or four long-sleeved shirts, fleece lined pants, snow bibs, two sets of socks, and my fleece. Little Brother (yes, he's screaming in the photo but it's just because I covered his hands and he still wanted to eat) is wearing three shirts, a pair of sweatpants, socks, and his snowsuit that has a separate fleece layer. I tried to keep his hands covered (he doesn't like mittens) but his screaming won and I opened them back up, showing him how to keep his hands tucked into the sleeves.
Neither one complained!
My toes however...brrrrr!
By the way, in case you're wondering, I was wearing wool socks (not enough!), leggings, jeans, two layers of warm base layer shirts, my jacket, scarf, and wind-resistant gloves. I would have changed the shoes that i was wearing (Mary Jane Keens) to something warmer but I had finally gotten Little Brother into his suit and didn't want to have to put him down to tie my shoes. My fingers were also still cold, I should have added a warm layer to my gloves.