Monthly Archives: January 2008

Neighborhoods and Bikes: Wallingford

wallingford

I had plans to meet my friend at a park in Wallingford the other day. It was a pretty cold day in Seattle – 41 degrees and windy: the weather report said it felt like 28. We were undeterred by the weather, we just bundled up and got ready to go, despite the howling wind. The four-year-old said he felt like a snowman – he could barely move because I put three coats on him.

I had a thermos of hot chocolate and sandwiches for lunch – we were ready to roll. But just as we were walking out the door, my friend called to say they weren’t going to make it. It was too cold and her daughter didn’t want to go (in the CAR!!!). My son doesn’t take well to changes in plans, so we went without them. Our kids are out in the weather all of the time – this is Seattle after all – if you wait for a nice sunny day to go outside, you’ll spend 10 months out of the year indoors. Continue reading

Wool

sheep.jpg

photo credit: Chronanor (http://www.flickr.com/photo_zoom.gne?id=330456640&size=m)

It’s cold in Seattle right now. Not as cold as this, but cold in a windy drizzly Northwest kind of way. The 35-40 degree light rain gets in your bones and leaves you with a chill that won’t quit. We’re still out there riding every day and not suffering too much. We quickly figured out the right layering combo for this weather. We don’t go anywhere without our wool. Not the itchy scratchy irritating kind, but the soft (ahhh), not-at-all itchy Merino variety. Lucky for us, there’s a lot of it on the market right now. Continue reading

Snow Day

Snow Day

We woke to a dusting of snow on the ground and some news that schools were closing because of inclement weather. Unbelievable – I’m sure it was a decision some school administrators felt really silly about less than an hour after they made it – the snow hadn’t even stuck to the street in Seattle! Luckily our school had a scheduled day off so we didn’t have to change our plans for the day. We rode to grandmas house and spent the morning with her. While we were there we got another little dusting – still no big deal but fun nontheless. The three of us rode home through the snow flurries. As we approached the last hill before home, the 7 year old jumped off the bike and decided to run - a break mom always appreciates. It’s amazing what a difference 60 pounds makes. She also gets pretty excited when she beats me up the hill. And this time she got to be the photographer - got some good shots – not bad for a 7 year old.

-Anne

Now *That’s* a Rack

Airgo Rack at Cycleliciousness, the Copenhagen Bike Culture Blog

The Northern European-style lovefest continues here at Car Free Days. This time we’re ga-ga over a lowly bike rack blogged by Cycleliciousness, those Copenhagen Bike Culture bellwethers.

I’ve posted before on our shortage of good racks, and about the Seattle Department of Transportation’s rack request program. And while the program is admirable in scope, the aesthetics (and in some cases, security) of the designs leave something to be desired.

But this 2006 Dutch design winner (either known as the Airago or the Heklucht- feel free to correct me) squashes those issues by bridging urban art, emergency functionality for passing commuters and safe locking space for neighborhood velos.

heklucht at Flickr

I’m sure someone else can point out how the racks are cost-prohibitive (though if we are looking at cost per use, then our beloved cars, ferries, SLUT and the Sounder train would be off the table) or how they’ll require much maintenance in our rainy climes; or even how they’d be a liability issue because someone might stick the hose somewhere it doesn’t belong.

But this time I am not the cynic. I love it!

Since we can’t seem to solve all (any?) of our bike infrastructure problems with any speed, I’d be up for some token public spending on some only moderately practical, but very nice looking bike racks. Personally, I think they’d look mighty swell as the official rack for Paul Allen’s South Lake Union pet project (and as an added bonus: I could use them on my daily commute).

So, how about it Mr. Mayor?

-Tim

Neighborhood Cargo Bike Share?

Our neighbors stopped by the other day to test ride one of our Xtracycles. They took it for a little spin with their daughter on the back. We love (and even enourage) impromptu Xtracycle test rides. We can’t wait until someone we know takes the plunge. Come on – you know who you are – just go for it!

Continue reading

The (bike) Revolution will be Stylish

amsterstyle
Nice piece in Momentum about Jorg & Olif – City bike company in Vancouver BC. We get excited every time we read about interesting bike shops popping up. Anne first read about Jorg & Olif in Inhabitat a little over a year ago and was impressed by their stylistic approach to marketing their bikes. It’s a good way to reach a certain segment of the population – you know – the ones who buy $400 shoes. Continue reading

Perfect for the Spatially Challenged

I had a brief period of panic outside of Trader Joe’s today. I guess I’m used to the two-Xtracycle Trader Joe’s runs. You really don’t need to worry about whether it’s all going to fit or not when you’re loading up two. Sometimes Tim and I even fill up a shopping cart and a couple hand baskets and still get everything on the bikes.

I tried to be aware of the one-bike issue today – I set up my six cloth bags in the cart (the number that normally fit in the Freeloaders) and filled up each bag as I shopped. I was pretty confident I had showed enough restraint to get it all on the bike. Then I went to check out. As I was re-bagging after the cashier rang my stuff up, I noticed my six bags were bulging.

bulging-bags2-custom.jpg

When the cashier read me the total – $205.68, mild panic set in.

Continue reading

Neighborhoods and Bikes: Ballard

Sunday at the Ballard Library

It’s fun to re-discover neighborhoods by bike. Sunday we took an afternoon jaunt down the Burke-Gilman trail with the kids. We’ve visited Ballard more frequently since we’ve been on two-wheels than we ever did in our car. Some of the things that make the neighborhood a bummer by car (lack of parking, long traffic light waits, and its misfortune of not being on the way to anywhere) actually make it more desirable from a pedal-powered perspective. It’s a 30-minute cruise from our house — far enough away to make it an afternoon destination yet close enough to make it doable with the kids on the back of the bikes.

Continue reading

Do you really need a shower?

Interesting discussion on Bike Hugger yesterday about accommodations for bike commuters. I agree – facilities for all types of cyclists are needed in urban areas. It would be great if Seattle provided secure bike storage facilities similar to bikestation around the city. Wouldn’t have to be huge – the size of a couple of parking spaces would probably be enough. Heck – I’d sure ride downtown a lot more for entertainment, errands and shopping if I was sure I’d have a secure place to park my bike. Tim and I often rule out downtown as a date destination because we’re not comfortable locking our bikes on the street while we’re seeing a movie etc. (edit by tim – especially in light of horror stories about stolen bikes, racks and all)

However, I don’t really understand the need for showers in the workplace or in a bikestation type facilities. Do you really need one? I’d think if you could just take a shower at home, dress properly for the weather, slow down a bit so you don’t work up that much of a sweat, you wouldn’t need to shower once you got to work.

Do you think these people shower when they get to work?

Amsterdam commuters

Continue reading

I Pimped Her Ride

shellac’d xtracycle goodness

It’s a tired old title cliché, but really, what else do you call such an exercise in vehicular vanity?

Regular readers may remember Anne complaining about her bike being in for service last week. I tried to remind her that other people travel to shops and pay a mechanic to accomplish the work magically completed on her bike, but apparently even that doesn’t excuse said mechanic to remove saddle and Snapdeck from her main source of transportation.

To make up for the inconvenience, as I tackled some minor tuneup tasks and installed her honey Brooks B17-s Christmas present I threw in a few stylistic upgrades: Continue reading