We seem to be hard on bikes. Probably because we use them constantly. We usually ride at least 2 bikes each every day. Cargo bikes for errands and kid-duty, electric bike for class and quick stops/commuting, and a range of "others" to supplement. Right now, the Linus is down with a broken spoke and Jose's Easton has been down with a stripped seat collar bolt.
This morning, I finally had the chance to bring the Easton in to Practical Cycle
. I rode the Bullitt to drop off the kids in the morning but found that I couldn't leave the bike at my mom's (where the Easton was hanging out) because I would need it again tomorrow. Towing bikes is pretty easy on the Mundo
and I had already accomplished carrying the folding Mobic in the bucket so I decided to give the Bullitt some more bike-on-bike action.
On the way there:
It turned out to work out pretty well. I took off the front wheel to make the bike lighter and shorter. Then, I strapped down the frame in a couple of places with some tie-downs and a bungee net for good measure.
We made it to the shop easily, just having to account for the extra bike hanging out the front and to the right. I needed a wider berth and went over the tracks slowly but the bike held. I did, however, end up with a yucky scratch in the box from the pedal (there was a rag between the chainring that minimized the damage). It really is just a little scratch and it was bound to happen anyway. As John Lucas
says "it's a sign of a well-loved and well-used bike."
On the way back, I enlisted Tim's help to switch things up a bit.
We took the front wheel off again and instead of putting the rest of the bike in the box, we tried to attach it to the frame. At first, I put the fork in the pannier but the bike swayed too much side-to-side. Then, we realized that the dropouts fit perfectly in the rack. It was as if it had been made that way!
We strapped the bike down to keep the fork from bouncing. It turned out to be incredibly stable and easy to ride! It was my own little trail-a-bike. I got lots of turned heads and thumbs-ups and even chased a roadie down with this giant bike-train. He kept blowing through stoplights so, eventually, I couldn't keep up.
It's pretty awesome to know how many things we can do with these bikes. People buy bigger cars just to do what I do--carry 2-3 kids, haul around bikes and crazy cargo, go fun places. I just hope to help change people's minds about what a bike can really do with a little imagination and enough tie-downs.
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.
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?
It was, thankfully, a pretty quiet weekend. This week had been exhausting! After my two days at Practical Cycle
, I was looking forward to starting my new adventure of working with the Safe Routes To School program in Natomas. This is going to help me finish my LCI training and also get me started putting this training to good use--teaching these youngsters to love bikes and learn how to drive them properly. I am always surprised that people don't always think the way I do when it comes to biking. I watched a family on bikes ride down the wrong side of the road while the kids rode on the sidewalk next to the adults in the street. These were huge, quiet, fully-bike-laned neighborhood streets. I could barely keep myself from catching up to them and telling them that they were teaching their kids improper and DANGEROUS bike use.
The school that we are working with already has a great base of kiddy bike riders. I was shocked the first time I rode up to see 20+ bikes and scooters locked up in their own dedicated bike parking (I'll have to get a photo when I can get it and not look like i'm taking pictures of the children) AND that was a rainy day where most kids melt if they get caught in a sprinkle. The NNTMA
has been working with this school for the past 3 years and helps implement "Walking Wednesdays"
for kids to get prizes for walking to school.
I love watching these kids absorb this bikey knowledge and am amazed at some of the poignant questions they ask. They are open minds and ready to find the freedom of biking. I love to imagine these little people riding bikes and growing up to be more conscientious drivers of both bicycles and cars, making the streets safer for everyone.
The only difficulty with this new venture is that this school is exactly one BionX battery's worth of miles. It is a 24 mile round-trip, often in windy condition and I'm usually crunched for time (because that's just how I roll--late). I rode on level 3 this week, each direction, for Wednesday and Thursday. I was really excited for Friday but the boys finally got too sick to go to daycare and my sore back went out completely. I had to decide that going another 24 miles that day, BionX or not, was probably not the best idea. I took Friday off, went to the Chiropractor, and nursed my back and two little boys. I was pretty happy to have a quiet weekend after that. I even took a couple of days off riding, just because I had no reason to go anywhere. It was pretty awesome.
Quiet bike path is about 75% of my commute up to Natomas.
Enjoying the dark clouds. No rain though.
Next week, a few more days at the grind (actually, Practical Cycle is my respite from my crazy home) and then an awesome BONUS day there because Elly Blue
is coming to town on Wednesday! I am so excited for the evening of Dinner and Bikes
and to finally meet one of my favorite Bikey Heroes! It's not too late to RSVP and join us
The PDX crew!
I'm going to make it to another couple of classes at the school, next week, too. I need to practice my teaching skills, especially before we get out onto the bikes! I think I might even try bringing my charger with me so I can top up during class and zip home on level 4...
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.
I have now had the Bread Basket
for a few weeks, having it so thoughtfully given to me by the amazing Kate
, another Mundo Mama in the area. It took a few rides to get used to the extended turning radius as the basket bolts onto the frame and doesn't turn with the fork. It also made me a bit dizzy the first few times out, although it didn't take long to get used to it and truly appreciate it's load-carrying ability.
The Bread Basket is incredibly indestructible. It's rated to carry 80 pounds and I believe it! The solid construction and strong mounting make it the perfect counterbalance to the Mundo's
(or Boda Boda's) giant rear rack carrying capacity. Having Little Brother in the Peanut Shell in the back cuts the cargo load in half, negating the use of the enormous Go-Getter
bags. Using the Baguettes
is fair option but they can filled pretty quickly with the kid's gear alone. On our trip to Chico
, we had the bike fully packed. Camping wouldn't have been an option as there was no room for sleeping bags or a tent. I wanted Big Brother to be able to move freely between the two deck seats as he needed and adding more gear would have prevented that. The Bread Basket would have been the perfect solution.
There is one major flaw that I see in the Bread Basket's design and that is the lack of a solid or mostly solid base. I have had many shopping trips lately where I wanted to carry something up front but couldn't because it would have fallen though the huge holes in the bottom. To make it fully functional, many people have come up with a simple base rigged
out of anything from mesh to reused campaign signs zip-tied to the Bread Basket frame. It's not a difficult solution but one that I don't think should have to be done after market. So far, I have only been able to really carry things up front when they are in large boxes or a large package.
Not so pretty but it works.
My solution was asking an online Mundo/Boda Boda friend, Nicole, if she could make one of her incredible Bread Basket liners like she had done for her family's bikes and for Stacy's
Mundo and their DIY tutorial
. We communicated through Twitter, picked out colors, and within a couple of days, she had finished! It was beautiful!
All Nicole's hard work! Gorgeous!
Nicole's liner design even had pockets for keys and coffee mugs! The blue and orange scheme matched my bike perfectly. I was so excited!
The package arrived yesterday. Empty. Someone had cut open the envelope and stolen my Bread Basket liner. Some horrible, soul-less USPS employee decided that my mail was theirs for the taking. Even worse, they probably realized it wasn't anything of "value" to them and discarded it.
The offending package. I should have dusted for prints. Jerks.
So, my Bread Basket is, sadly, without flare and style and, unfortunately, less useful than it should be. It will still work well for our upcoming biking overnight where we will be bringing our sleeping bags to stay warm in our warmshower's hosts' teepee. I just wish it was finally up to it's full potential and gorgeous as it was going to be. Now I have to beg Nicole to make another for us, and this time, we'll pay for shipping insurance.
My funny valentine.
Today was a bit of a hard day. Nothing very exciting, just a bit exhausting. I had left my Mundo at my folks' house a few days ago because I had to do a bike swap and get the BionX into the shop to fix the headlight. I always forget how much harder it is getting around with the bike trailer. Loading the kids into the Chariot was fine but dragging it around and then locking the big, long mess up is annoying. Bike racks aren't designed for trailers and we usually end up blocking the sidewalk as well. I decided to keep the kids in the trailer for our second errand and converted it into a stroller for grocery shopping. The boys were squealing and trying to escape. I finally placated them with some bananas but they were so tired, it was just a struggle. I suppose shuffling them onto the Mundo wouldn't have really been any easier but it was all just one more extra level to deal with today.
Jose did bring home our Mundo after work so Little Brother and I could zip out for a more thorough shopping while Big Brother continued to sleep. We went to Trader Joe's this time and dealt with the usual bike parking hassles
there. This time, however, I noticed some official looking staff making various notes in the parking lot and when I saw them again in the store, I approached one and said "I'm not sure if you realize how dangerous your bike parking is, but we really struggle with it when we come shopping here." Immediately, the assistant manager (?), Cesar, asked if I could show him exactly what I was talking about. I took Little Brother and led the way, explaining how difficult it is to take our shopping cart to our bike, the problem of the large uncut curb, and how shallow the space was. We then went back inside and Cesar brought out the store manager, Shane, for me to meet and talk to. We discussed some options and stop-gap measures to make the rack more useable and safer, as well as the possibility of moving the entire rack to a dedicated location to avoid the crazy parking lot drivers. I left them with my email address to keep me updated so I look forward to checking out some upgrades in the near future! They had mentioned that they had received some emails about the bike parking lately (thanks, Jen!!!) so please, keep them coming! They are listening and we are making changes!
Please include your voice--add your two cents and say thanks to Cesar and Shane for listening to our needs as biking consumers: http://www.traderjoes.com/about/local-tjs-form.asp
I can't believe I didn't get a photo of my loaded up bike after all that. I totally spaced it. Super bummer, too, because it was the first time I had used my Bread Basket to it's full potential--holding two packages of TP, a 6-pack of beer, and a box of crackers that I kept feeding to Little Brother as we rode home.
I'm looking forward to a quiet day tomorrow and maybe a nice, long nap.
This weekend we checked out a new restaurant called Bacon and Butter
. Seriously, it is as delicious as it's name. From what I hear, you need to get there before 8:30am to get your table and food in a decent amount of time. We had a blast. The boys were amazingly well behaved and my hot chocolate had been infused with bacon and cayenne with the texture of pudding.
Jose ran off to watch the Superbowl while the boys and I napped blissfully. We woke up to watch Kipper The Dog because I was lazy.
Now we have another fun week ahead of us. A couple of days for me at Practical Cycle
, a few days with my boys, and then I have a great weekend of Licensed Cycling Instructor
training in Davis. I get to avoid the commuting stresses by riding my bike out there Friday afternoon for class that evening, staying with my grandmother in Davis nearby, then biking home on Sunday after the program. I can always take the train (because I'll have my "normal" sized bike, cargo bikes aren't allowed on Amtrak...) if I'm not up for riding or it gets too late on Sunday but a Redrum milkshake is a pretty awesome excuse to ride my bike home.
I can't believe it's already February 1st! It has been quite an adventure and a beautiful start to this new year. I was shocked at how seamlessly we've moved away from depending on a car, easier than some, of course, because of our mild winters in Sacramento. The only times I even got in a car was to car-pool to a meeting in Roseville, do a couple of errands with my mom, and when our bike got a flat. Getting picked up from our bike trip and then the subsequent trip to Practical Cycle
to drop off the bike for its repair were the only two trips this month that were completely for our own needs. Definitely a drop in our previous 1/week car trip average.
I know that it won't always be this easy to be car-free but it's a great start. We have some lovely changes coming up to our schedules and life is going to get busier but we're enjoying it all right now. The brisk, clear weather makes me so happy. The boys and I have had some extra time to play at Art Beast
and the Railroad Museum
This week's recovery from Big Brother and my Great Adventure
was interesting. Despite a bit of soreness and some extra exhaustion, I felt surprisingly great. I still continue to eat as if I was biking miles and miles and miles a day. I've been trying to catch up on some extra sleep by napping with the boys when I'm home with them.
We did get an extra special surprise today when we stopped in to Practical Cycle on our way to the Train Museum and found that our Mundo Mama friend, Kate
, had dropped of a Bread Basket
she had won
holiday contest! She already had a BB so she amazingly shared this new one with us! I am so excited! Cassidy immediately installed it for us and even swapped out our brake cable and housing for a longer one so my brakes wouldn't catch on the basket when we turned. We still need to get a base for the basket to make it useable and, in the long run, figure out a liner
-type insert. I know I say it often, but I am so blessed to be a part of this wonderfully caring family-biking community.
Playing with the trains at the Train Museum.
Waiting patiently while Cassidy installs the Bread Basket. I didn't think to get a photo of the whole rig, probably because by that time, the boys were a horrible mess of screams.
I was amazed by the response I got to yesterday's post about the poor bike parking at local businesses. It's an epidemic! Amazingly enough, I got an almost immediate reply from Kaiser's member department asking for more information and whether they could follow up with me. Change! A business that wants to grow and support us! Fantastic! It almost made up for the overwhelming majority of people who had similar stories about the difficulties of shopping at their favorite stores.
Today, I wanted to post two of my favorite local bike racks.
This one is a beautifully and deliciously designed rack in front of Vic's Ice Cream
on Riverside Blvd.
This one is in front of Strands Salon and Spa
on Folsom Blvd.
Their bike parking is not only front and center, it's also visually appealing and attractive. It makes me want to come to these places more often. The racks actually contribute to the overall beautification of the neighborhoods and businesses they embellish. Art and parking in one! I'm sure the people who designed and installed these racks had a fun time doing so. In fact, well-designed bike racks could provide new local jobs. In Cleveland, Metro Metal Works
has set up shop at a homeless shelter, employing homeless people and recently released prisoners while giving them a paycheck and skills to improve their current situation, all while also improving safe bike parking.
Keep squeaking bike riders! Make it known that you are shopping by bike and that you need better access to parking. Kath
suggested that you ask for help out at grocery stores with poorly designed bike access. If it is a burden on employees, they will be better advocates to facilitate change. Spend your money at places that welcome cyclists and thank them for their support. The more businesses realize that we are beneficial to their bottom line, the quicker we'll get recognized as an important form of transportation.