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.
Brian and Monica probably get lots of admiring looks from passer-bys.
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.
Ice Cream For Dorie!
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!
Don't they look excited? I sure am!!!
We had a blast riding around in the Bullitt and it's been so easy not having to juggle bikes or deal with the trailer. The boys love being able to see everything as we ride but I can tell that we're going to have to figure out a sun shield solution for the bike. My plan is to get them sunglasses in the meantime and hope that they keep them on. We decided against getting the rain cover from Splendid Cycles to save a little money and since it's not going to rain anytime soon. However, it probably would have been a good frame to create some shade. I still haven't let Jose take the kids on the Bullitt, yet, although he took it for another test ride and did fine.
Bullitt mechanic and failed attempt at installing a rear rack (my try, not his).
Not kidding around.
I ended up driving quite a bit (25 miles) on Friday to take care of a couple of appointments in Natomas that evening. It was longer than I wanted to ride and later than I felt comfortable riding home. It was only my second time driving a car this year. I realized how much more aware I am driving. I feel like I don't take it for granted and try to drive with purpose and awareness, moving pretty slowly.
We're not quite here but Little Brother loves testing it out. He climbed up on his own.
Yesterday was our April Kidical Mass ride. Because we have the extra cargo bike, we were able to let some friends use it because their kids are a bit big for their trailer. Randy rode the Mundo and Jen took the BionX. She was thrilled to find the little red button but kept the assist low so she still got exercise. Their kiddos had a blast on the Mundo. The little guy hadn't ever ridden on the back and his face lit up the second they started moving. Their daughter is a pro, having shared the deck numerous times with our boys. I love having extra bikes to allow for spontaneous bike parties.
We quickly stopped at the new Midtown Farmer's Market where SABA
was offering free bike valet parking. There was really delicious food and great music. It's going to be a great addition to the fun summer weekend activities. Then, we met up with some friends at Grant Park and let the kids play as we enjoyed catching up. Our Kidical Mass
ride was a short trip up to the river at Sutter's Landing. We locked up the bikes securely and wandered down to the river where the kids had a blast playing in the river and getting sandy.
The Mundo's temporary family. Look at those smiles!
Cargo bike parking at Sutter's Landing.
The rock-throwing portion of Kidical Mass.
Heading back with tired, sandy kiddos.
Last night, Jose and I had a fun night out with a group of bikers riding around for a Progressive Dinner Party. The boys got to stay at 'Nama and G'ampa's house for a slumber party. Jose and I dropped them off and then met the others at the first stop--Edible Pedal
where John Lucas was whipping up some crepes on his cargo bike
cooker. After about an hour, 20 or so of us pedaled about a mile over to an apartment courtyard where someone else had made turkey burger sliders. Another stop was a couple miles away and we had our main dish, followed up by a short ride over to our neighborhood where a couple of neighbors had desserts and homemade beer. It was a great evening of lovely folks and beautiful bikes, delicious food and good times. I love that biking was part of the whole adventure of the evening.
The chef and his kitchen.
Amazing! Check out the new bi-partable quick releases!
A blurry trip of our speedy bike mob.
Today was another fun biking morning. Jose and I had an early start to pick the boys back up. He took them home along the American River where they saw turkeys. I left a bit later to check out the route for our CycloFemme ride on May 12th. I got to ride my original touring bike, Oscar, for the first time in about a year. Jose had put it back together a few weeks ago so that I could have a long distance bike that didn't weigh 80 pounds. I was so impressed at how light it felt and how smooth it rode. I averaged over 13 mph the whole ride, only getting passed by a couple of the serious roadies out on the trail.
ride looks fantastic. We're starting at the Guy West Bridge on the American River Trail, making a stop at William Pond where people can either join us then or head back. The second half of the ride is a bit harder as the rolling hills pick up and we end with a steep uphill to the Sunflower Drive-In in Fair Oaks. I was sad that the drive-in was closed until 11 and I didn't feel like waiting around. I turned back around and rode back, stopping at William Pond for a quick bite to eat and a little rest.
This piece of artwork is on the bike trail, made by one of the cool guys at our dinner party last night.
Made it! Looked yummy! Can't wait for CycloFemme!
Rest stop. I need a kickstand.
I was bummed to get off the trail for the last section to my home. Having to deal with cars after all those blissful miles is never fun. One one quiet neighborhood street, an older woman got within a foot of my bike, trying to pass where there wasn't room. When I turned around and yelled out of shock, she just looked at me and shrugged as if to say "What else am I supposed to do?" She obviously had no idea of the width of her car or that she could try NOT passing me until it was safe to do so. Farther down, another woman opened her car door without looking but thankfully, I was well out of the door-zone. Overall, however, it was an awesome ride. It's always a shock when I get to ride without the heavy bikes and kid/cargo, I'm in pretty good shape! I love that feeling.
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?
I've been itching to take advantage of being kid-free and go bike camping but it's been really difficult. Since it's the middle of the week, Jose isn't able to join me and everyone seems to be insanely busy (myself included). It's a crazy time right now and I needed a bike trip more than anything to settle my brain. My energy level has been a bit low and the number of things on my to-do list has been really high. Instead of succumbing to my stress, I found a solution--KOA!
The nearest campground I could find was the KOA in West Sac, 8 miles away. It's basically the same route as going to IKEA, just on the other side of the freeway. It's actually about the same cost as camping at Beal's Point--$30 for weeknights, $35 for weekends. I invited my mom and was happily surprised that she could join me! We decided to splurge on a one-room cabin for just a few dollars more.
We left around 5:30pm, giving ourselves enough time to get things done for the day but not too late to get into camp before dark. I rode the new Bullitt so I could dump all our gear into the box and give it a camping test-run. My mom rode the Mobic because she still doesn't have a bike, yet, and that one is the only one that can adjust small enough to fit her.
All packed and ready to roll!
This is luxury bike camping at it's finest--pillows, electric tea kettle, awesome!
Since this was all pretty much on-the-fly, we didn't have a dinner plan. Luckily for us, we ran into a food truck in Old Town. Everything was coming together nicely!
Some Cajun food to go.
The ride was really straightforward. West Sac is easy to bike through even though it's pretty busy. I was happy that we were leaving slightly after the 5pm rush. We made it to the KOA just before 7pm with plenty of daylight to eat dinner on our porch swing.
What you can't see is the giant freeway right behind me.
We made it! A peaceful pond blocking the Industrial view. The ducks were pretty noisy.
Our Klassy Kabin.
I couldn't have asked for a better solution for my April Bike Overnight! My mom and I both needed a fun bike ride and a quiet night. The KOA is surprisingly peaceful for being so close to the freeway (yes, it was pretty noisy). I left my phone off and refused to check my email/facebook/twitter for the night. Instead, I enjoyed an amazing book that a kind reader, David Macpherson, sent to me this week: A Pedouin Life: Stop and Smell the Aritichokes.
A Pedouin Life! Visit: www.pedouins.org
What I think is most incredible about this book, besides the fact that this family rode 7,000 miles on a bike built for 5, is that we actually crossed paths during their journey! Three years ago, Marnie and Bekah and I, rode from Arcata to Elk Prairie
for their first experience bike touring. On our last day, we were riding South down hwy 101 when a giant yellow blur sped up the Northern side. The captain yelled out "Where are you headed?" and before I could take in everything I was seeing, I barely got out and answer. Afterwards, I kept going over in my head and discussing with the ladies, how many people were on that bike, what just happened, where were THEY going? It was seared into my brain as one of the most amazing contraptions I had ever seen. Now, three years later, I finally have the answers. It is every bit as brilliant as I had imagined and even more so.
Thank you, David, for bringing closure to this mystery and thank you, Harrison family
for the inspiration! It all feels so kismet! This book is wonderful and awe-inspiring. I'm only on chapter 8 and I just want to keep reading forever.
'Nama and I rode home this morning. A simple ride back through West Sac. We stopped for coffee at Weatherstones, running into Tara, who had just gotten a Boda Boda
as a birthday present from her hubby. As we were enjoying our mochas, I saw another Boda Boda speed by. Such a wonderful day to start with an 8 mile ride, coffee, and cargo bikes swarming Midtown!
The juxtaposition makes me smile.
Breakfast of champions.
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?
For the first time this year, we drove. We borrowed my parents' car and made our way to the Bay Area to celebrate our nephew's birthday. It took $22 to fill up the tank at Arco and $5 in tolls for each direction. It was awesome to be able to visit with family without feeling guilty about the long drive because this $32 has been our only car costs in the last 4.5 months! We also got to leave our boys with their grandparents for a week of being spoiled and immersed in Spanish. We get to enjoy a week of kid-free bliss, knowing they are having a great time (although I miss them like crazy).
The other boy.
We remembered that driving is boring and nerve-wracking--an odd combination. Jose and I argued about how fast he should be driving, he complained that steering made his arms hurt, and we got cut off by some crazy who thought we had been driving too slowly so he downshifted in front of us and started driving 45 mph on the freeway--sure showed us! Driving brings out the worst in people and I hate it. I'm so happy that we don't have to do it very often. We were all grumpy and tired after just a few hours in the car. Still, it was well worth the effort.
The after party.
It is nice to be able to use a car when we need to but it's even nicer to know how little we really need a car.
So now, hubby and I are enjoying our quiet home and trying to figure out if there are any good movies out (there aren't). I am hoping to attempt a solo bike overnight ride but there's also so much that I could do to catch up at home and for work, it may not happen.
A pretty sunset to end the long day.
Tonight, I am especially missing my boys after an emotionally taxing day. The sadness in Boston is heart-breaking and I am so grateful to live in a country where attacks like these are so infrequent. I think of the many who deal with threats of danger on a daily basis and wonder how they can manage to stay strong. I try to focus on all the good and all the kindness tragedies like this bring out, but it's hard. I was especially thankful for my bike ride home, a fantastic way to burn off some of my tension--I even managed to chase a roadie, she had a head start because I stopped for the stop sign instead of gaining momentum, up a hill and pass her by (although my lungs haven't burned that much for a long time). I couldn't imagine compounding my sadness with an exhausting and frustrating car trip. Biking keeps me sane in this crazy world.
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!
I used to run stop signs, roll red lights--all the time. I was never that biker who dangerously blew through intersections without looking, however. I thought I was being safe and sneaky--Idaho stopping in California. I am a biker, not a car. I need to move!
I don't do that anymore. I stop. All. The. Time. Every light, I wait patiently. Every stop sign, I come to a stop and look both ways (although I don't always put my foot down, that's not required by law). I choose to ride predictably because that's the best way to keep myself and my kids, when they're onboard, as safe as we could possibly be.
I don't want anyone to be able to place blame on me if I'm ever in an accident. Insurance companies are chomping at the bit to find the biker at fault. If I'm cruising through stop signs and disobeying traffic laws, they're more likely to come after me and say "look, you did that wrong, you probably did this wrong, too." I will be able to go to every red light camera and show that I am calmly waiting for the light to turn green just like everyone else. I will have eye witnesses to attest to my niceness. It's not going to be my fault in an accident.
I don't want to do anything that I wouldn't want my children (or my students) doing. My kids watch every move I make. One day, they're going to be on their own bikes, barreling down the street (properly), and I don't want them to think it's acceptable for a biker to ride through intersections or ignore right-of-way rules. For one thing, children don't have the distance-judging abilities that adults do. They also don't have the same reasoning skills, either. Their eye-brain connection hasn't figured these things out yet. My flippant actions could put my children in danger down the road. Biking is dangerous and it takes serious concentration and decision-making, just like driving a car. If I can instill these behaviors in my kids now, I will feel better about them being on their own, both on a bike and in a car.
I don't want to be a jerk. It's bad enough that there is too much cyclist-hatred out in the world, I don't want to be contributing to it. Every time a biker disobeys the law, drivers around them say "see, that's why bikers are so horrible." I make a conscious effort to be courteous and generous. I always try to stop for pedestrians and say hello as they pass by. I smile but politely refuse when a car driver tries to wave me through and it's not my turn (also because that can turn into a dangerous situation very quickly if other drivers aren't paying attention). I ride as if I am a legal driver of the road--which, surprise, I am! I want the same rights and recognition as car drivers. With those rights come the same responsibility. I wish that drivers would see me following the rules and think to themselves "wow, I guess all bikers aren't terrible" but in reality, they will usually only see what they want to see--bikers misbehaving. Let's try and cut that down, please, to give us all a better reputation.
I can understand why bike drivers would want to keep moving. It's hard to start rolling again from a dead stop (try that with 80 lbs of kid, too). It's also not as fun. It takes work and balance, something that car drivers don't understand since they just push their foot a little to stop and go. It can also be scary. Oftentimes, you'll have car drivers squeezing in behind you and, most of the time, expect you to keep going. This is usually where I use my stop/slow arm signal. Not everyone still remembers what it means but it does draw attention that I'm about to do something. If there is a car really encroaching in my space, I might actually take a minute to put my foot down and really check the intersection before I go (yes, this is a little bit of passive-aggressive behavior, I'm sorry). Shifting down before you stop can really help you regain your momentum after stopping, which I'm getting better at remembering these days.
Sadly, everywhere I go, bike and car drivers are disobeying the laws set in place to keep us safe. Twice last week, I watched cars stop at a red light then drive through as if it were a stop sign. I watch bikers riding down the wrong side of the road and plow through stop lights and stop signs without even touching the brakes or turning their heads. These people are dangerous for everyone on the road, especially the more vulnerable users like pedestrians and other bikers. I would like to see them all ticketed and required to go to traffic school. Car drivers, of course, should be held at an even higher standard as they are also driving a deadly 2,000 pound machine.
From The City of Vancouver
I was thinking that if bikers start using stopping as "interval training," we might be able to get more riders to do it. Man, it sure works them glutes!
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.
My commute used to be lovely. After dropping off my little ones and scamming food from my mother, I rode down the quiet Midtown streets with decent bike lanes. When I got to the downtown area, I rode through a parking lot and then through the Amtrak station and into Old Town. It's a wonderful ride, at least it was until they recently decided to make some changes.
In preparation for this new "arena" that seems to be so important to Sacramento's well-being, they've started gutting, building, and paving through my ride to Old Town. Also as part of this big retrofit, Amtrak is doing a remodel.
Along with this mess, Amtrak decided to close off the only opening within blocks to Old Town, one that we've been using for years. I can understand that they don't want bikes riding on the station platform, knocking over pedestrians. However, this route is all road except for the last 100 feet or so when it becomes a road that leads to the parking lot.
They've put up signs (thankfully small signs that are easily missed) banning bikes and non-Amtrak personnel. Truthfully, I continue to ride through, yielding to everyone and the Amtrak shuttles (because they moved the tracks so far from the station that many people can't walk the distance).
The downtown streets don't offer much alternative.
Even with the new bike lanes, there are no other options than this horrible sharrow situation. I street loses its bike lane right in front of the jail and is replaced by a "sharrow"--a painted symbol showing where a biker is supposed to ride in the traffic lane. Check the placement for this sharrow below. Unless you can ride through parked cars, the sharrows aren't going to do any good. To make matters worse, the freeway onramps in the next block force the rider to merge four lanes of heavy traffic to get to the only street that takes you to Old Town.
So unless one feels like riding the long way around on the American River Parkway, take to the sidewalk, or ride out of your way, these are your only options. They're also talking about closing off the ARP entrance to Old Town. There's nothing mentioned about repaving the deteriorating trail or continuing the section to the J st. bridge so you don't have to get off the trail and ride the cobblestones of Old Town.
It seems to me like there is a lot of construction going on without much thought to bicyclists trying to get through downtown. If there is a brighter picture to be had at the end of this, I'd love to know about it. At the moment, it looks like it'll be a year of extra hassle followed by an increase of traffic. I'm not looking forward to this mess of an arena and the headaches it's going to cause--people driving in to shows and games from the nearby towns, clogging up downtown. Do we really need more people in cars after having a few beers while watching the Kings? There is so much money being spent and all the profits are poised to go into a couple rich guys' pockets. Why can't we focus on "thinking small" and dealing with Sacramento's issues before glossing over everything and spending money we don't have?
Stockton built an arena downtown, too. It made them go bankrupt.
I'm going to add to my original post--AJ is right about needing proper infill and getting some goon infrastructure going in that wasteland area by the train station. I am not aware of the details behind the construction only that my transportation options have become severely limited without driving. The I street option above is too scary for most people, K street is impractical with the light rail tracks and platforms and the mall in the way, and R street is out of the way for people coming from the Midtown area. Whether the arena is the main focus or not, safe routes for biking should have been established before closing one of the major Old Town entrances. That was obviously not on the planners' minds when they started developing this area.
Second, I still don't feel that the arena is going to add anything but more congestion, drivers, and debt. I hope I am wrong.