Monthly Archives: October 2007

We finally ditched our Costco membership…ahhhhhh

costco1.jpg

photo – http://www.flickr.com/photos/tellumo/83083404/
I have been advocating the ditching for a couple of years now. There’s something about that place. We go in there and something takes hold of us. We want to buy everything. Mostly things we don’t need. We don’t actually buy a bunch of stuff we don’t need, but we always feel the pull towards those non-needed items. I’m sure that’s part of their strategy – they probably have a team of psychologists working for them. Yeah some things are a good deal. But every time I go there I feel cheap. In fact I feel pretty dirty. And manipulated. And ashamed. It represents every thing we are not.

The only reason we kept our membership last fall when the renewal came up is Tim is addicted to Grape Nuts. And Grape Nuts are really cheap at Costco. One time my daughter and I bought five of the HUGE boxes of Grape Nuts and put them under Tim’s pillow. (yeah – he loves them) Anyway, it was more difficult for Tim to let go than me. We agree that Costco doesn’t fit our lifestyle. But it was still a little hard to completely give it up. But as of Halloween we did it. We let our membership expire and this year we are finally Costco free (Full Disclosure: we still know people who we might con into picking up a few boxes of Grape Nuts for Tim on occasion ).

So as of now we are doing all of our shopping for stuff we need on a regular basis by bike or on foot and near our house. And it feels pretty good. We still shop for other stuff (say bike parts) on the internet and know the carbon emissions of shipping etc. leaves something to be desired – but we never said we were perfect.

- Anne

Xtra-spooky? Halloween, Xtracycle Style

Little Red Riding Hood (the six-year old) needed a ride to her Halloween party after school today. Xtracycles to the rescue. Here she is joined in the carbikepool by a ferocious dinosaur (our four-year old), and a friendly cowgirl from the bikepool.

Little Red Riding Hood and Company on the Xtracycle Bikepool
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Xtracycle Build Details: Stoker Bar

Nitto Stoker Bars on Anne’s rig

This is part of an ongoing series of posts (ok, it’s the first–we’ll see how it goes) on the building of our Xtracycles. We get lots of questions about putting them together so I thought I better start documenting. Normal people would do it in order, starting with the actual kit, but me, I gotta start with the stoker bars. Maybe I just like saying Stoker….

Interested in the build? Read on, then see the blurb at the bottom and watch the “Buildin’…” category.

For our stoker bar setups we used some cheap ebay tandem stems and beer-can shims to mount bars for our passengers. I’ll get to the stems in another post but for now, here’s the scoop on these sylish Nitto “Swept-Back” bars.

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Trader Joes: $187.93

Big Grocery Load at Trader Joes

…contrary to our cashier’s expectations, we got the whole mammoth cart on the bikes with room to spare. The first time we did this we spent as much time packing the bikes as we did shopping. But as the weeks go by, we’re getting faster and finding we have room for more. Once the sideloaders reach a certain “fullness” I can’t resist stuffing them to make it all worthwhile (twice I’ve sent Anne back for more beer). We’re learning some tricks on that front. (A bakfiets would would be the ultimate in easy packing, but talking to Todd at Clever Cycles it’s probably too darn hilly here.)

And who would have thought the Wald basket, while cool in an old-fashioned-paperboy way, would represent a packing revelation? This little 14x9x9 beauty holds cameras, beer, wine, coffee cups, sweaters, gloves, hats, lunch, stuffed pink piggies, American Girl dolls, and the occasional U-lock. Once again, those guys at Rivendell are onto something simple that works fantastically. When Anne gets the rigid fork on her Xtra, she’s getting a Wald, too.

Check the the thumbnail image for some packing details.

xtracycle at TJs - detailed packing info

-Tim

Xtracycle: An Anti-Minivan for the Anti-Soccer Mom

antisoccermom2.jpg

  • Seats four in comfort. Check!
  • Cupholders? Check!
  • Loads of cargo Space? Check!
  • Room for the brother to bring his bike? Check!
  • Space for tailgating? Check!
  • Co2 Belching SUV/Minivan? Nah!!!!!!!!

We had a lovely Saturday at the six-year-old’s soccer game. It’s not exactly sport at this age, but it’s fun to watch. Dozens of these tiny three-on-three teams play at a time and the resulting parking frenzy resembles the UW Montlake lot the first week of fall classes.

No matter, we just cruise by the madness and park the SUBs on the sidelines like VIPs!

-Tim 

Seattle Mayor Nichols Wants to Show You His Rack(s)

Circle Bike Rack from SDOT SDOT Photo

As we ride more (and more and more) around our fair city, I’m struck by how little the city does to accommodate the parking of our two-wheeled steeds. Racks are few and far between, but cars are welcomed on nearly every curb. It used to be, back in the day, this didn’t matter much because you could count on a nearby, sturdy, parking meter…

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BYOH: Bring Your Own Helmet

riding with a friend is fun

My son had a friend over to play the other day. Usually when a parent drops their kid off to play, they leave a car seat so you can take the kid home in your car. This time, the mom brought a helmet. I didn’t ask her to. I didn’t even tell her I was going to bring her son home on the bike (in fact, I was planning to walk since we hadn’t talked about it in advance). She just assumed we would ride. And that is a beautiful thing. Maybe our bike lifestyle is catching on….

(BTW – the little boy loved it. I had a hard time getting him off the back of the Xtracycle. He wanted more. I bet he can’t stop talking about it at home – he’s probably begging his parents to get one right now…. A girl can dream.)

– Anne