Monthly Archives: February 2008

Why Do You Bike Commute? Why Don’t You Bike Commute?

The pile at the door before work

We often get asked why we ride and we occasionally ask others why they do or don’t. Other than the usual (“it’s great exercise!”or “the weather sucks”), our insight into the matter has been lean. One thing I sort of remember from grad school (way back in 2007) is that sample size and makeup play heavily into the data returned by these adhoc surveys. To get better results, we’d need to reach beyond our little-ol’ personal network.

Luckily for us, superstar local bike blogger Kent Peterson has done just that. He invited his rather large readership to answer the why questions, going so far as dedicating a separate post for each. Continue reading

Candy Will Keep Them Awake

We went to dinner at my sister and brother-in-law’s house on Saturday night. They live about five miles from us. In the “old days” we would have driven over there. Although I never considered driving this time, the decision to ride did give me pause: it’s a little farther than we normally go with the kids after dark. I wondered how they would do on the back of the bike on the way home. Darkness and kids with full tummies at bedtime is a recipe for some nodding off. But it wasn’t enough to make me take the car.

As we hit the section of the Burke Gilman that passes the dreaded Montlake traffic, we were feeling smug about our decision to ride. We breezed by on our bikes passing all of the cars sitting in traffic. Right on.

Montlake Traffic

We had a lovely time at dinner. And as I predicted, we stayed a little past the kids bedtime. It’s hard to get us out the door when we’re having a good time. To to keep the kids from falling asleep, we fed them sour patch kids all the way home. It turns out candy does serve a purpose.sour-patch-kids-blog.jpg Since the four year old isn’t as skilled as his sister at riding no handed, he and Tim worked out a candy-eating-system. Tim gave the little guy some warning, then he opened his mouth like a baby bird and received his sugar bomb. The seven year old, ever so grown up and composed, casually sat behind me no-handed and fed herself. It worked like a charm – they got just enough of a sugar rush to keep them awake but not too much to keep them from going to sleep once we got home.

We really enjoyed the ride home – there’s something about riding at night that makes me feel extra free. Plus the kids get really excited when they are out after dark, they think they are getting away with something. We even saw a few raccoons peeking out from some shrubs: no big deal to us, but thrilling to kids who usually go to bed soon after the sun goes down. Ah the little things!

– Anne

Seattle Bike Swap: Big Crowds and Lame Bike Parking

Impromptu bike parking at the Seattle Bike SwapI rode down to the Seattle Bike Swap on Saturday morning. It’s not like I need anything but I can’t resist the thought of a deal. Other than a nice Wald basket ($7) and a couple of cowbells, (3 for $5) I otherwise kept ahold of my cash and didn’t add to the garage gear piles.

The big news was the massive crowd and resulting bike rack shortage. I’ve attended the last few years, and though the event is popular, I can usually stroll in a few minutes after 9. This year, however I rolled up to a line snaking around the hanger. The bike scene is alive and well in Seattle. Though far too many attendees chose to drive this year, a sizable number of riders quickly overwhelmed the existing racks.

Continue reading

Xtracycle Date Night

Night Riding - Date Night2
Tim and I mixed it up a little bit on Friday night and rode up to Capitol Hill for dinner. It was the perfect ending to a great week in Seattle. We’ve had beautiful weather all week – lots of sun, warmer nights, no rain. We couldn’t ask for anything better in February. Continue reading

Five Rules for Sibling Snapdeck Harmony

Lunch Break
School has been out all week for mid-winter break. Who fabricated that vacation anyway? I don’t recall a week off in February when I was young. I’d rather skip it and get the kids out of school a little earlier in June. But no one asked me. Continue reading

I dream of an electric assist

I dream of an electric assist

If I was by myself I would definitely ride up this hill. It’s a good one. (at 70th and the Burke Gilman trail). Continue reading

My Bike Commute = Daily City Immersion

Space Needle through the xtracycle barsOne thing I like about bike commuting is the opportunity to experience more of my city. In the morning, I might see a single scull or kayak slip under the University Bridge, the rising sun reflecting on the Olympic range, or a familiar landmark partially obscured by fog.

Of course, the downside of such an immersion is a heightened awareness of Seattle’s runaway construction projects. I rant about the state of our roads because I’m all too aware of how poor they’ve become. As I daily dodge cement trucks, impromptu street closures, and poorly patched pavement—a victim of heavy equipment or new-utility runs—I can only wonder about the sustainability of Seattle’s current development choices.

In the morning, I worry if Seattle knows what she is doing. Continue reading

Only in a big city?

new-york-fancy-lady.jpg

(photo: http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2008/01/18/fashion/0120-STREET_4.html)

I saw this on Copenhagen Cycle Chic yesterday and it made me smile. It reminds me of many moms in my life (mine at times, my French host mom, as well as several other older mom types). Maybe the next time the ladies go to lunch, they could go by bike? Only in a big city? Could it happen in Seattle? Ever seen someone like this in your city? Hmmmm.

– Anne

Why bother?

Carfree Fun

There are many reasons Tim and I have decided to ride our bikes everywhere instead of driving. The more we ride, the more reasons we add to the positive column. Continue reading

Neighborhoods and Bikes – Fremont

Fremont Xtracycle Girls Day

Saturday was a beautiful sunnyish day in Seattle. The kind of day that makes you look forward to spring. The boys were off doing manly things so the seven-year-old and I had an impromptu girls day. I’m often accused of not being fancy enough for my daughter so I let her dress me that day – she was very excited that I wore something other than jeans. We decided Fremont would be a good destination for lunch and a little girlie time so we headed down the Burke-Gilman trail—my daughter riding side saddle and looking demure on the back of the Xtracycle. I was pleasantly surprised that we weren’t the only ones not racing down the trail decked out in Lycra—there were plenty of folks dressed in regular clothes using their bike to get where they needed to go. Right on. Continue reading