Like many others, my dad was the one who taught me to ride a bike. It was so long ago that I actually don't remember learning. I'm pretty sure I was riding on two wheels by 5. I do remember riding my tricycle to a nearby parking lot with my dad and brother and riding around and around and around for hours (it felt like). I can still hear the squeak-squeak, squeak-squeak of the pedals. Biking has always been second nature to me. It's in my blood. Both my parents were avid bikers--my mom crossed the country when she was 20. Later, she and my dad moved from Santa Cruz to Davis with only what was strapped to their bikes. They travelled extensively by bike and train until my brother and I came along. When we moved to Stockton, our biking options were seriously limited. Stockton lacked and still lacks a decent biking infrastructure. The only way we could bike farther than our little neighborhood was by driving our bikes somewhere. My dad, however, is pretty fearless and he still used his free time to explore the levee roads or ride out into the country. As soon as we all left Stockton, we all picked up biking regularly again. My dad barely drives because he commutes everywhere by bike and then rides 40-60 miles on the weekend for fun. It's pretty easy to figure out where I picked up my biking-bug.
Also, luckily for me, I married a wonderful guy who turned into a great dad who supports and encourages my crazy biking ideas.
I'm so grateful to have these two wonderful dads in my life. I know that with their awesome influence, we're going to have two incredible boys riding on their own adventures very soon.
Yesterday, we got the chance to ride our Bullitt with the shade canopy. It wasn't great, truthfully. The mirror hits the pole and makes it difficult to maneuver the bike. It's fine while riding but I'm back to doing 10-point-turns when trying to turn around in tight places. I also have to take it off when riding in the dark because it blocks my headlamp. It wasn't very useful in the morning since there's no side support. However, riding home at noon, it was a great help. There's more tinkering to be done but it's better than it was.
After the zoo, we rode home and refused to take any naps so we were all grumpy. We didn't have the option of driving to swim class so we didn't have any excuses. Melissa had pointed us in a better direction than Google suggested. It was about 2 miles longer, 9.5 miles total and we had already ridden 8 ish. I wasn't really excited about the ride but it started along the American River Parkway so I knew it couldn't be too bad. As turned out, it wasn't bad at all! Thanks, Melissa! I feel like a whole new part of Sacramento has opened up to us. After the ARP, we rode through an industrial area with very low traffic.
They had told me that there was a bike rack but when I got there, the bike rack already had been occupied by a giant plant.
When I went inside to complain (actually, I just asked nicely to see if the plant could be moved). I was told that it wouldn't be moved since no one EVER, EVER, EVER parked there. He let me pull the bike inside and unload. Not a great way to make biking seem viable but it really, really, really is! Again, thanks, Melissa! She made the impossible possible!
And it's a good thing 'Nama's house is on the way home because we, of course, stopped for popsicles.
'Nama invited us out to dinner and we accepted! Little Brother insisted on sitting on the deck with Big Brother. We lasted about 5 blocks before I realized I couldn't handle the stress every time he took his hands off the bars to ring the bell, hug me, or tickle his big brother. He's certainly not ready for the deck. I'm considering getting the Monkey Bars from Yuba but am not sure yet if it's even needed. Maybe a set of ape hanger handlebars would be more affordable and just as effective.
Today, we had a ton of fun! We began the day by meeting up with a few other cargo bikers and talked to the Good Day Sacramento news crew. They were great sports, getting rides and great footage of our different bikes. The segments only lasted a couple minutes and they mainly focused on the saving money part but it was still great to get out to make cargo biking mainstream. There's so much more that I wanted to say but it was a start. You can see our live segment and the edited version on their website. The kids were so patient considering how long it took to film. The funniest part for me was when I took the camera guy for a spin in the Bullitt's box. He was close to double my size and the bike bowed and flexed under his weight. AFter a cople pedals, I had the bike under control, almost. We made it around a little path circle and only came close to falling when he leaned over to set his campera down. We nearly crushed his camera but I caught the bike in time.
I felt so incognito riding the BionX Breezer this evening for a home visit. It was a beautiful 15 mile evening ride but I was so normal...
Another fun Bullitt addition--shade! I have been checking out a trike canopy that has been in the shop for about a month and finally got up the nerve to play around with it. I realized pretty quickly that this could be exactly what I've been looking for for the Bullitt. With Tim's help and a few screws, we attached it pretty securely to the wooden box. It was surprisingly easy and only required some extra screws and snipping off a length of the front poles. The box finally had enough dings in it to not feel badly about drilling into it. Most of the hardware actually came with the canopy and just needed a little rearranging. We added longer screws to go through the wood and that was it. There are set screws to hold the poles in place, which I would have to remove if I took a larger person...say, maybe my mom...
It was a little odd while riding home. On very sharp turns, my handlebars bump into the back rails but it's flexible enough to not cause any problems. It felt a bit harder to ride in the wind but that might have just been my imagination and the fact that I was hyper-aware of it being there. I was also trying to gauge the cover's shading--at 5pm with the sun at my back, it didn't seem to be making a big difference inside.
However, the real test is when the boys are in it. It is going to be perfect for the noon-time heat and hopefully for keeping the seat cool when we are parked. I have plans (ideas) to add some sort of side cover, maybe mesh, for added protection.
It's a start and it was really reasonable priced. So far, it feels stable enough. I can't wait to test it out tomorrow with my wee guinea pigs!
More cargo biking fun!
On Friday, we drove down to Stockton to have an awesome day with our besties. Totally worth driving! The boys were asleep within a few minutes of driving home and stayed asleep for the rest of the night. We didn't bike much that day but it was fun and full nonetheless.
We made up for all the driving on Saturday when we first stopped at our neighborhood farmers' market then got ready to go camping in our friend's backyard across town. I chose the Mundo because I needed to carry more bulky stuff than the Bullitt can handle and because the roads are pretty crazy for part of the route and the Mundo is often more maneuverable and narrower in tight places.
Our friends, Jen and her son, joined us on their Mundo. Jen had mapped out an awesome route through the neighborhoods and nearly skipped past all the busy arterials. It was so much nicer than the other times I'd ridden up. We had shade, quiet streets, and great conversations. Riding to go camping is fun but it's even more fun with friends.
Camping was so much fun! The boys ran around like crazy--it was the best yaya time, ever!
We rode home this morning, again with our Mundo buddies. It was nice and cool and quiet. The one section on Watt Ave. is horrible, as always but we were soon on the American River Parkway. There's some weird construction about to happen but I don't know what's going on. From what I can tell, there's a good chance that the Watt exit is going to be closed for a long chunk of time. That's going to be pretty annoying for many riders if there's not an easy alternative. If anyone has some info, I'd love to hear it.
It was a 12 mile ride home. Little Brother had conked out within a mile but woke up midway to join in the big boys' conversations. When we got back, Big Brother actually asked to take a nap. They were asleep in minutes and stayed asleep for three hours.
I had to get ready for our evening Kidical Mass ride and it was almost impossible for me to wake up from my own cat nap. Luckily, our friends were coming by to ride with us and use the Mundo. That was the push I needed to drag myself up and get a move on.
Little Brother was the only one who was awake so he was the lucky one to join us. There was no way for me to wake up the big guy so we left him behind with papa.
There were 20 riders at Kidical Mass! We started with a picnic dinner then a short ride along the parkway and into Old Town. From there, everyone broke into smaller groups to head to their respective homes.
It was the best way to get reenergized for the coming week. It was an incredibly busy weekend but was so full of friends, biking, and fun that I couldn't think of a better way to spend my free time.
The very best part of the whole weekend was coming home to my cheery big boy and watching him do this:
I am so proud of this boy!
We did make it home from the Ryde in one piece, thankfully! The trip home was pretty similar to the way there. It was slightly less terrible though, probably because there was slightly less traffic than Saturday and we had just had a lovely night's sleep without having been woken up by children at 6am. Still, it wasn't much fun. We had a strong headwind and the same speedy drivers. I didn't get honked at until we got closer to town, though. That was nice. I always wonder why drivers have enough time to lay out on their horns but not so much thought given to tapping their brakes. It takes about the same amount of energy.
Still, even a bad bike ride is still a bike ride. The experience might not have been what I had expected but it was an adventure and some great time together with my hubby. I look forward to trying out some of the alternate routes that have been suggested to avoid the 160 traffic and maybe trying it again on a weekday when the roads aren't full of wine-soaked drivers.
It has been nonstop action since we got back, too. I managed to make it to work at Practical Cycle (which was perfect timing because our BionX Breezer's front wheel had gone wonky and needed attention) after our trip and squeeze in some more biking classes through the Safe Routes To School programs in both Natomas and Citrus Heights. I'm pretty brain-fried at the moment.
Some exciting news--Jose's mastered the Bullitt! He had to lower the seat to make himself more comfortable but he felt good enough to take the kids to daycare for the first time! And, he didn't crash!
It was really cool to see the kids in the Bullitt from another angle other than behind them. They are just too flippin' cute!
Today was a great example of why we need two kid-toting bikes. Jose took Big Brother to a Giant's game by riding the Mundo to the train and I dropped the little monster off with my mom so I could drive to the biking class in Citrus Heights with Dan Allison. The irony isn't lost on me that I drive to a class to teach kids to use bikes as transportation. It's kind of like flying around the world in jets to warn about the dangers of global climate change.
However, I did get to put some of my new bike mechanic skills to the test--adjusting derailleurs and brakes, tightening stuff, and just looking cool while playing with the program's new Bike Friday student bikes. These aren't the typical Bike Friday folders but are incredibly adjustable to fit a huge range of people--from third graders up to real adult-like people. They were sent over without much quality control and have too many variations and a few problems. We weren't able to fix everything but that's what a real mechanic and warranty service is for.
The most ridiculous comment of the day came from a teacher who walked over to see what we were doing. "Teaching biking? Really? Isn't that what parents are supposed to do? First it was tooth-brushing, now it's biking! Are we going to be forced to pay for bikes for kids, now?" As if there are better things for our taxes than buying kids bikes. Dan pointed out (to me, not to her, sadly) that one single freeway onramp could pay for a new bike for every single child in the district.
It's always pretty horrible driving around in a car but it's even worse driving around in the suburbs! There are so many lanes of traffic, confusing signs, nonexistent speed limits, and really depressing pedestrian/bike infrastructure. It's easy to see why people who live in these areas "need" a car. The less I drive, the less I take driving for granted. Today, I watched a man tie his necktie with both hands while driving past a school in the morning. Ben Marans said on Twitter this morning: "It pains me to see so many ppl behind the wheel who treat driving as a secondary activity to eating, make-up, texting, reading, etc."
So to make up for it, here is a photo of how awesomely cute you could be while waiting for public transportation:
And then, because you're not exhausted from driving, you'll look like this:
Doesn't that look like more fun?
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!).
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.
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!
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.
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!
The Bullitt just became even more practical! Tim found a rack that had come off one of the Breezer bikes after they had done a BionX conversion and was able to finagle it onto the Bullitt. He had to use some spacers to get it far enough away from the disc brakes and I installed a set collar with rack mounts as the bike didn't come with any. After some brute force, I now have a wonderful and sturdy rear rack to offset the load of kids I frequently have in the box. I gussied the rack up with my mom's old set of Nashbar panniers because they didn't fit the rack on her new Breezer Greenway.
I ran into the fantastic folks behind Carsick Designs yesterday. Monica was riding her locally built Cycle Truck and Brian had his Xtracycle. Both bikes were decked out in their own bags and filled to the brim! They also had E-zee electric assists and zoomed past at the next intersection.
Good thoughts go out to our bikey-friend, Dorie, of Hum Of The City who was rear-ended by a car while riding her Mamachari with her son. Thankfully, her son is okay but shaken up. She, however, is in for her second leg surgery. Please send her lots of healing and kind thoughts for a speedy recovery.
So, as April comes to an end, so does the 30 Days Of Biking. It was easy this year and I didn't even need to give the challenge a second thought. I just rode every day because I had somewhere to go and biking is how we get around. I was in a car about three times this month which is almost as much as I've been in a car all year.
May Is Bike Month starts tomorrow with the Kick-Off event and the mile logging starts! A huge thank you to all our Tiny Helmets teammates! We're going to be contenders this year!
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?