Monthly Archives: April 2009

Transportation Forum + Bike to Work/School Kickoff

I love commuting with my wife

I love commuting with my wife

Friday is a big day.

We kick off Bike to Work month (Tim) and Bike to School month (Anne and the kids).  I’m pretty sure we’ll be blessed with clear (or at least dry) skies, so don’t delay the start of your commute season. Remember, this is Seattle—the weather can only get worse as we get closer to June.

If you find yourself downtown with a spare hour around lunch time, I’d recommend checking out the Forum, TOWN HALL: Visioning the Puget Sound Region’s Transportation Future. It’s part of their ongoing Friday Forums series:

Transit demand continues to skyrocket while operating revenues are plummeting.  How do car sharing, walkable and bike-friendly communities, and transit work together to form a new vision for transportation?

You’re even bring your lunch so if your schedule can swing it—unfortunately, mine can’t— please share any good takeaways. From over here in the cheap seats, it looks like an interesting collection of speakers will be covering some major ground.

WHEN:Friday, May 1st, 12:00 – 1:30 PM
WHERE:
Bertha Landes Knight Room, Seattle City Hall (on 5th Ave.between Cherry and James St.)

More info at the Transportation Choices Coalition website.

-Tim


Could D.O.T. Secretary think bikes are for real?

I mentioned this on twitter last week, but I think it might be worth exploring in a little more depth here with our blog readers.

DOT Fastlane BlogThe US Department of Transportation Secretary, Ray LaHood is blogging.

These days a blogging politico is no surprise. However, the things he’s saying have kind of caught me off guard (in a good way):

  • “Bicycling is an important factor in less carbon-intensive commuting”
  • “When I told the League of American Bicyclists National Bike Summit that “Cyclists are important users of America’s transportation systems,” I meant it.”
  • “And, when I wrote that “With DOT, bicyclists have a full partner in working toward livable communities,” I meant that as well.”

To  cyclists, these statements are pretty logical. We get all of this and many of us have been saying the same thing for years. But the problem hasn’t been saying, it’s been the listening. That is, getting the Beltway to listen, and take us seriously (remember last summer’s anti-bike rant by N.C. Rep Patrick McHenry?).

Continue reading

Pt. 3 Building a kid’s bike that doesn’t suck: Tires

Continued from the series of posts: Kids’ Bikes: They suck and what you can do about it. I started this “series” back in Dec. and then sort of fell off track as things melted down at work.  As we’re heading into prime kid-biking season I figured I should dust off the drafts and get the info out there where it might do some good.

It’s possible experienced wrenchers may find this a bit too detailed. If that’s the case, visit the flickr stream for quick some ideas and examples.

marathon2By  far, tires caused me the most trouble during this project.

I like to think I’m a pretty savvy cookie when it comes to bike parts. I’ve been around them a long time — as a DIYer and a shop rat.  And on top of that, I’m a librarian so I know how to handle a search engine. But dang, these 24″ tires are difficult.

Limited choices + confusing sizes

The legendary Sheldon Brown illustrated the problem quite clearly in the following chart: Continue reading

Taking the new skis for a ride (with Paris)

I recently scored a smokin’ deal on some telemark skis on craigslist. Because I harbor a special guilt about my addiction to making turns (pretty much the only reason we own a car is for getting to the ski hills, and I don’t even want to think about the massive carbon footprint of the ski industry), I sure wasn’t going to drive to SoBa to pick up the planks. Continue reading

Getting Ready for Bike to School Month

Bike to School

It’s hard to believe a whole year has passed since we planned our first ever Bike to School Month at our local elementary school . I feel so much older and wiser this year : ) Continue reading

Happy Spring!

Cherry Blossoms at UW

The Cherry Blossoms in full bloom at the UW are a sure sign of spring in Seattle.

I hope Spring has sprung where ever you are!

It’s a beautiful day in Seattle. Cheers!

- Anne

Leaf-Blower Elegance in a Bike-friendly Package

Oma TankerAs most of you know by now, the team at Car Free Days is involved in an outright crusade to drive less and ride more. So far it’s been great. We’ve been riding (our Xtracycles and Anne’s Oma, mostly) nearly everywhere we need to go.

Those of you adept at reading through the lines, however, have probably noticed a little discord along the way. There was our son’s brush with hypothermia on the New Years cargo bike ride. There were challenging logistics for a 10pm wedding reception in Auburn. And we still get grief for the 50″ Plasma we scratched the crap out of hauling it home from Costco on the Xtracycles. And yes, the hills. Always the damn hills.

In many cases, my friends, pure people power isn’t the only answer.

We’ve dabbled with the idea of powering our Xtracycles with a Stokemonkey. Everyone we know who’s used one loves it. And Todd at Clever Cycles is a total peach. Really, the Stokemonkey is a perfect product, save one major shortcoming: They run on electricity. Franky, we just can’t condone the wasteful use of electrons wondering if perhaps a salmon got trapped behind a dam or a seagull met its demise at the blade of a wind turbine.

Though people can overlook such negatives, we at Car Free Days like to think our moral junk is of a stiffer quality than average. So that’s meant schellping our damn kids up the damn hills on our damn bikes with only our damn legs to thank.

Until now…

Continue reading