Monthly Archives: December 2009

The Great Holiday Family Bike Vs. Bus Challenge

Bus Vs Bike Challenge 2009

Victory! Bikes Rule

Inspired by Streetfilms Bike Vs Car Vs Transit, the Car Free Days family took a challenge of their own:  Bike Vs. Bus from our house in Ravenna to Westlake Park in downtown Seattle for a little holiday in the big city action.

The event:

A door-to-door speed test pitting Tim’s Xtracycle against Anne and 2 kids on foot to the bus stop, then on the bus to Westlake Park. Our departure times and routes were the same, but the outcome would be different Continue reading

Riding, in a family kind of way

family AmsterdamAdrienne has a great post about women and families and getting more of them on bikes. (Thanks for the tip, Val). This is a subject I love to talk about.

Stereotype or not, women, with their concerns about safety and protecting the children, need to feel safe if they are going to embrace cycling as their primary mode of transportation.

I do have hope. Continue reading

Third-Annual Xtracycle Tree Haulin’ Adventure

Xtracycle Tree Haulin 2009

When the already short Seattle days end at 4:18 pm (the earliest of the year!),  the window for an after-school tree-gathering-family-bike adventure is small.

We tried to grab the kids right after school, bundle them up in extra (or is it Xtra) layers and hustle our way over to the local summer berry stand/temporary pumpkin patch/Christmas tree oasis while the feeble sun still shone.

ChoosingThough we did our best to make our selection in the waning light and hightail it home before everyone turned into a Popsicle, it wasn’t meant to be. Not to point fingers, but damn, those kids are picky. I think we liked it better when they didn’t get to vote. Instead, we shivered up a storm while we picked up, fondled, and rated what seemed like every Noble Fir on the block. I finally stepped in with fatherly veto power to break a three-way tie (no surprise to anyone who knows me: The winner was $11 cheaper) and get us on our way with a minimum of bloodshed.
Tree Haulin

Then it was on the bike for a should-be-quick trip home in the dark. And Did I mention it was cold?

Hell yes. We even resorted to ducking into a Starbucks for cocoa and cider so the kids’ little piggies could thaw out before the final leg home.

Said Fir now sits in a bucket, hydrating in preparation for its month on stage in the lights. And me? I’m already over the voting scandal and looking forward to the fourth anniversary adventure.

More photos here

-Tim

Ideas for Seattle

Seattle Skyline from jarnott at Flickr

It must be a lot of pressure to take the helm of one of the world’s smartest cities.

Car Free Days has high hopes that Mayor-Elect Mike McGinn will continue to listen to the citizens of Seattle while taking Seattle to the next level.

We have a feeling it’s going to be a little harder to connect with the citizens of Seattle as mayor than it was as candidate. As candidate he just had to listen. As mayor he has to listen, and then act in a way that pleases everyone. The pressure of trying to make everyone happy is enough to make a mayor wall themselves off behind grumpy power-broker staffers (Nichols) or crawl into a hole (Schell).

Still, being the optimists we are, we’re willing to look for positive signs that the new mayor will keep lines of communication open, such as his recent (and apparently ongoing) series of town hall forums. We’re also pretty stoked about the new Ideas for Seattle website. Continue reading

No Imact Man? Is Moderation a More Sustainable Message

I just finished reading  No Impact Man. On loan from the library, it languished on my nightstand for two weeks before I decided to read it. Even with the due date looming, I still picked it up and put it down several times before finally struggling to the finish.

Why did I have such a hard time with this book?

It started with the title, No Impact Man. No Impact? Really? Is that possible in our modern society? Is No and Never just  too extreme?

I’m idealistic by nature. I’m all for changing my habits to benefit the planet and live more sustainably. I long for the simplicity of my youth and wish my kids could have an equally carefree childhood. Riding a banana seat bike down the middle of the street, helmet-less and barefoot and without a care in the world—that’s livin’. Tim and I are doing our best to raise our family with simple ideals in mind. But we know that all or nothing is not realistic these days, if for no other reason than it being too tough a message for most people to  accept.

Wouldn’t we being doing more good if we got people to embrace a sustainable moderation message?

I know book titles (and blog titles for that matter) must be catchy to entice people to buy/read them. Shock sells. And people are probably buying the book because they are intrigued by No Impact. “Somewhat Less of an Impact” isn’t as exciting. Why else would Colin’s ass cleaning routine (some sort of secret routine devoid of toilet paper) be the question most interviewers asked him over the course of his project?  Maybe people want to read about extremes.

Fine, but I’m pretty sure most people don’t want to live that way. Continue reading

Change your World, a night with Alex Steffen

Unlocking at Town HallA few weeks ago Tim and I attended a highly inspiring talk by Alex Steffen at Town Hall.

We had hoped to go with  Julian of Totcycle (family bike folks represent!), but that fell through. For Julian and others who couldn’t make it, check out  a few of these to get a flavor. Alex is also the keynote speaker at three of the major events during the Copenhagen summit, so if you are in the neighborhood…

The entire evening was magical: introduction by mayor-elect Mike McGinn in his first post-election appearance,  the inspiring and motivating talk by Alex, yummy beer in eco keg cups from Fremont Brewing, followed by hop-lubricated conversation with like-minded Seattleites interested in changing the city. Plus all of this bookended with rides to and from downtown with my favorite cycling buddy. Town Hall Seattle

We left Town Hall filled with hope for positive changes in Seattle. We all have a lot of work ahead of us if we want to grow Seattle into a dense sustainable city designed with people in mind.

How are we going to do this? Continue reading

UW Burke-Gilman Closure/Detour in mid December

Head’s up: Anne and I were out for ride with a neighbor on Wednesday and noticed an upcoming Burke-Gilman trail reroute.

Apparently a small portion the trail needs to be closed December 14 – January 3 to allow early prep work for the future University Link light rail station.

An easy detour is available on Mason Rd, the lightly-traveled access road which runs parallel and just above the trail grade.

More from Sound Transit:

Continue reading