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.
Woohoo! 4000 on the Mundo in 14 months!
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!
We didn't notice that the little one wasn't buckled until later. He was fine until we pointed it out and then he freaked.
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?
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!
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!
She's here, she's here, she's here!!!
My two lovely bikes :)
Practical Cycle for the win, again!
We made it home in one piece.
They arrived today and Tim was nice enough to get it all put together for me so I could take her home immediately. The Mundo stayed at the shop to get her recall wheel skirts installed. Bullitt and I bulleted home! It is quite an adjustment, especially from the Mundo. I had a hard time doing my usual no-foot stops and had a couple of swerves. Nothing nearly as bad as Jose's initial ride...as seen below.
Yes, I was pretty bummed about the bike at first. Jose's doing well, thanks for everyone who was kind enough to worry about him :) He's a bit sore but the good news is that the Bullitt is fine!!! Jose's riding a little better, too.
I wish the boys were here to enjoy the bike already but it does still need a couple of adjustments and another screw for the box since one was too short. We also need to figure out how to train our dog to get in. He's too big and wiggly to pick him up and too shy to jump in. Thoughts?
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.
We did it! After a couple months of planning, we gathered up our group of cargo campers yesterday and embarked on our first-ever group camping trip! It was a pretty ambitious attempt to schedule a camping trip with kids in the middle of March, but somehow, a group of 24 of us on 14 bikes ventured out to ride 30 miles up to the Negro Bar group campsite in Folsom. We were a motley crew, some local, one family came from Oregon, and another from the Bay Area. As luck would have it, these guys were all incredible!
Packing up at Grant Park.
The Oregon team!
Jen and Lucas along for part of the ride.
Kristi and crew and their incredible packing job!
Kao and my mom with their minimalist loads.
Jose and I fought over the Cycle Truck
since it was our new toy (borrowed for the week), and a quieter load since it was all cargo, no kid. I kept the Mundo
pretty light (relative since it was going to carry two kids anyway). I won the Cycle Truck for this trip! You can imagine the number of thumbs-up I got from the box of beer in front. I had a bit of a panic attack the night before and imagined riding the Cycle Truck up hills and tipping backwards. I hadn't really even had much of a chance to ride the bike yet but I was still going to give it a shot.
This was the perfect route, 99% along the American River Parkway, and the most beautiful weather.
I loved seeing everyone's unique packing techniques. We were in charge of s'mores and firewood and left everyone else to pack their own gear and food.
Kao was completely self-sufficient.
Jon, Iris, and the coveted Strider.
Sami with the rest of their gear.
Melissa's bike train. Kiddo conductor upfront.
My mom goes zooming past, trying to get to Karen's before it closes.
The BodaX with BionX power!
Three generations of bike tourers!
Abbie with her sweet puppy companion.
We had a few stops along the way and a nice long lunch break at Hagan park so the kids could run out their yayas.
Dem boys, eating as usual.
I was amazed at the lack of fussing until our own Big Brother threw a huge fit when we tried to move him to our friend's trailer. Their daughter is a bit too big for their trailer so she wanted to stretch out and loves being on the Mundo deck. I wanted to give Big Brother a break from the Mundo so he could nap but he was not having it. The rest of the group continued on while we attempted to calm him down. Little Brother caused just as much of a scene so we finally relented and put them all on the Mundo.
The Mundo minivan.
Now, he was getting all the attention and cruising at quick clip--12 mph. We eventually caught up with the back of the group and met up with my folks and Kao who were lounging at Karen's Bakery.
We made Karen's even more crowded with bikes this afternoon and caused quite a scene while packing back up.
I got a call from Abbie who had made it to the campsite with the rest of the group only to be turned away by some Boy Scouts who claimed they had reserved the entire area. They straightened out the debacle just as I pulled up our reservation on my phone and had to clear some scouts out of our site. Turns out the ranger had told them they could spread out if no one showed up. However, we were unstoppable!
The kids were fascinated with the stomp rockets. Thanks, Melissa!
A couple of our wonderful friends showed up to hang out with us since they hadn't been able to ride with us (luckily they had the great excuse of being a doctor who had to deliver babies on Sunday). They brought their wonderful boys to play and picked up the 8 pizzas we ordered, sponsored by the amazing folks at Practical Cycle
! As much as we wanted to pick the pizzas up by bike, their offer was too difficult to pass up (sorry, Tim...). Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!
Well deserved dinner.
See, Tim, it could have been done but we were out of gas...
Abbie and Michael were the rebels, only eating what they brought. It was pretty gourmet, actually...I was jealous.
More play time, some s'mores time, a warm campfire, it was fantastic!
Life is good.
The best s'mores face, ever!
More wonderful s'mores faces!
The actual nighttime part got kind of mixed reviews. Camping with kids usually means waking up in the middle of the night multiple times. Multiple kids means more crying. I only heard other babies when I was already awake but we had one of the fussier kiddos (*Little Brother*). Our problems included an air mattress that didn't survive the boys jumping on it and too few sleeping bags--I had thought that we could share just two. It's time for us to invest a little in our camping gear. Our site was also really close to Folsom Blvd. and the traffic noise was pretty intense. We're pretty sure that there was a motorcycle race in the middle of the night. On the other hand, the coyotes were out as well and one was yipping close by. That was really awesome.
We woke up to a clear, crisp morning. Jon got a fire going and everyone moved slowly. Breakfasts included leftover pizza, oatmeal, polenta, and fried Spam (although not necessarily all together).
Breakfast of champions.
Kristi and her family packed up early to make it to their near-by church. Most of the rest of us headed out about 10 am, leaving just Abbie and Michael to enjoy packing up in peace and meandering home via Fair Oaks.
Little Brother getting comfortable again.
G'ampa took his first cargo bike ride, complete with passenger.
Fresh-faced riders ready to take on the day!
Jose picked up a spare kid again.
My beautiful mama!
This was the speedy group. It was the last we saw of them before we ate their dust. Zoom!
The final group split once again about midway through and there was a bit of a mix-up with our lunch spot so we didn't end up catching the speed demons. Sami and her family had to rush back up to Oregon and the kids in that group were younger and less demanding. Our slower group stopped at Hagan Park again to play on the playground. Big Brother was very happy with his special spot in the Cycle Truck so fussing was at a bare minimum.
My sweet cargo buddy.
The Cycle Truck was amazing! I can see this being the perfect supplement to our fleet. There are a few things that I would absolutely need to change for it to be tailored for our needs but even though it was our first "real" ride, it preformed perfectly. The gears shifted smoothly and it took the hills with ease. The seat was a bit of a pain in the butt, however, and there were more sounds and wobbles to get used to. Other than having to remind Big Brother to keep his feet inside (which I had to do just once), we both loved it. Jose said it was heavier than the Mundo but I didn't really notice.
We had such a blast and I hope that every one else did, too! An enormous thank you to everyone who came along and made this trip so amazing. You guys all made it seem so easy to pack everything onto a bike and ride 30 miles to sleep on the hard ground and then do it all over the next day. I am so impressed! It was many people's first bike camping trip, or first with children, and the longest trip Kristi had ever ridden! You were all so organized and prepared!
It was fun to leave from our doorstep and be able to meet up with friends all along the way (Thank you Jen and Lucas, Rebecca, Pablo and sweet boys, Jennifer and Jim!). Especially with this being our first try, I think we did pretty well. I could not have asked for a better group, better weather, or a better route. There are things that I would try differently, almost all related to gear and food, but most importantly, I just can't wait to do it again!
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.