Author Archives: Anne

What Free Days (Part 2)

This place we drove (Salt Creek)
You’re really going to need coffee for this one, get it now before you start.

In Part One of What Free Days,  we talked about the (editor: ugly, fat, smelly, comfortable, dry, cheap, and easy) car in our driveway, non-subsidized transit costs, kids biking in the city, and Seattle bike infrastructure to name a few.

I’m sending a huge ‘Thank You” to all who reached out on the blog, Facebook and Twitter! (editor: it’s been nearly a year since we’ve posted anything and me, the grumpy, negative part of the team thought we’d hear crickets, if that. Instead, ya’ll came through with some great contributions. So pat yourself on the back and say: “nice job”). I’ll highlight a few comments that resonated with me:

“This is a fun-to-read highly pragmatic and honest assessment of where we are today, and as a guy who went through the 2 kids in a Bakfiets to Xtracycling to kids on their own bikes evolution and who loved every minute of it, driving when you need or want to is just fine. Thanks for saying it loud.” (Frank)

“I console myself with “best tool for the job” phrases. We are all fortunate to have options.” (Stacy)

“One day I will write a blog on the benefits of a multi-mode life. I love it all: biking. Busing, walking, occasional car ride, train. It all beats daily one person car commute alone! I’d much rather have these options. It is a luxury to have options and the people watching is hilarious!” (Charlotte)

Added bonus, we only heard from one hater who called us ‘lame’ on Twitter! Of course, the hater hides behind an anonymous Twitter handle. Of course. Anonymous  commenters get what they deserve, dismissal. I can, in good conscience, ignore them on principle. If you’re going to call me lame; face me, take off your hat and dark sunglasses, and use your name!

Back to Part 2. If you’re still with us…. aw, shucks, thanks! Read on to find out the rest of our story. Continue reading

What Free Days?


There’s a giant grey (editor: almost black, really) elephant parked in my driveway, and it’s time to talk about it. Just over two years ago, after six years in various states of carfreeandcarliteness, we ripped off our metaphoric hairshirts (editor: and said “fuck it”) and bought a very used car.  I’m (still) thrilled with our decision.

But I also understand such a disclosure could be confusing to some readers. I can hear longtime reader, ol’ Elmer in Iowa, right now (editor: we made him up):

Wait, wait… back up. I’m confused, if you have a car, why is your blog titled Car FREE Days?

Yes, this blog is titled Car Free DAYS, with the emphasis (originally, now, and always) on the DAYS part. That’s how it was from the beginning (editor: check that link. Those are some young, good looking cats!), and though we went pretty heavy into the car-free part for a while, the DAYS emphasis was always our intention.

Alrighty. I hope you’ve already had coffee. You might need it to get through this (editor: long, but very enjoyable) post. Continue reading

One Day at a Time (an Alternative to 30 Days of Biking)


April 1st is not only April Fools Day, centered around pranks and jokes and various forms of tomfoolery, it’s also the beginning of 30 Days Of Biking. According to their site, 30 Days of Biking started in 2010 as a way to encourage people to ride their bike. “We ride our bikes every day in April, no matter the weather, no matter the distance. We started in 2010, and thousands of people from around the world have joined in.” At this count 6997 people have signed up. Have you? Continue reading

Teen Bike Rejection Syndrome

Great advice: Just enjoy the #icecream (and ride your bike) #Fremont #bluebird #Seattle #everydaybiking #familybiking #getoutside #urbanbiketour #coastlife #urbancycling

Let me start by admitting two things:

  1. Of the many parenting issues I’ll likely face in my lifetime, this one is minor
  2. This issue definitely falls into the ‘first-world-problem’ category

Even though this issue seems trivial in the grand scheme of parenting woes, it’s one that Tim and I have been pondering, discussing, obsessing over and pondering some more: What does a ‘bike family’ do when their teen rejects her bike?

Continue reading

Light Up Your Bike with Battery-Powered-Holiday-Lights

a&g_DSC8655 (Large)Tree-hauling preparations started last week with a search for LED-battery-powered-holiday-bike lights. We love using these festive lights in the winter, not just to spread holiday cheer, but also for safety, they provide excellent side visibility! They come in all shapes and sizes: from stars to pine cones to super mini-bulbs. We string them through our front baskets and weave them around our rear Xtracyle Snapdecks. Drivers really appreciate a festive well-lit bike, and often stop us to compliment our high-vis-decorated bikes and cool lights. Continue reading

Eighth-Annual Xtracycle Tree Haulin! (plus retrospective)

Tree and bikes_DSC8679 (Large)This is our obligatory eighth-annual Christmas tree by bike post. Tree-hauling is old hat by now, but I thought I’d post some photos of this year’s adventure anyway. You might remember that last year our daughter hauled the tree. When we discussed who would pedal the tree home this year, I realized I’d never done it. How did I pass on all of those tree-hauling opportunities over the years? Naturally I volunteered for the task.

Continue reading

Confessions of a Bike to School Advocate

Panda enjoying the rideI think I’ve mentioned one or two (or a hundred) times over the past seven years that I’m a bike to school advocate. If you’ve been reading Car Free Days for any amount of time, you’ve most likely surmised that I’m a tiny bit passionate about encouraging kids and families to bike and walk to school.

One message I’ve repeated over the years is how easy it is to bike and walk to school. Since my first kid started pre-school in 2004, I’ve talked about the simplicity and the joy and the fun of biking to school with kids.

But lately, I’ve started to wonder about the ease of this whole bike-to-school thing.  Continue reading

Bike Lights that Last Forever, a Kickstarter Campaign

Can you believe it’s already fall? Seattle has been hit by some nasty weather this fall: rain, clouds and wind storms. And most disturbing of all, darkness! Time to start pulling out our bike lights.

What type of lights do you use?

Anne's got the cinder block

Even though we talk about upgrading to generator lights, we haven’t made the leap yet. We’re still using battery-powered lights. And not even bike-specific battery-powered lights, we use a variety of AA flashlights that we connect to our handlebars with DIY guy’s signature re-used/re-purposed inner tube mounts.

Bike Light Kickstarter

We’re not serial product testers and endorsers here at Car Free Days. We don’t blindly endorse every Kickstarter campaign that shows up in our inbox. In fact, the last time we got excited about a Kickstarter campaign, we were emotionally attached (a documentary by one of the Xtracycle founders). It’s been two years already and so far, the promised movie has yet to materialize.

That said, the latest Kickstarter campaign we’ve been asked to review looks pretty good. These guys have a track record for delivering on time and as promised. Continue reading

Hotel Sidewalk Bike Disassembly (Packing and Shipping Two Tandems)

2013 Pacific Coast Bike Tour
If you’ve been reading our blog for any amount of time, you probably know that Tim is DIY guy. From customizing bikes to making stoves to making a camera stick, Tim likes to make and do things himself. He rarely hires out work that he knows how to do himself. Because he’s a perfectionist. And he’s cheap. And he likes DIY projects. And I love those qualities in him. Continue reading

Day 26: Last Day! Downtown San Diego to Border Field State Park (and back)

previous post: Day 26 in a San Diego Hotel (Neuroses of a Bike Touring Mom)

Day 26: Downtown San Diego to Border Field State Park (and back)

san diego to border field

Since I already shared my early morning neuroses, you know that I did not wake up feeling relaxed on the final day of the trip. Who has time to relax at the end of a long adventure?

Still so much to do:

  1. Ride 17 miles to the border to “finish” our tour
  2. Get a bike box
  3. Pick up a rental car
  4. Take apart a couple of large bikes
  5. Wrestle two large bikes into a box and pack/protect them for a long journey
  6. Load the rental car with bike parts that are not going in the box along with all of our panniers etc
  7. Drop huge bike box at the shipper
  8. Do laundry
  9. Take the kids to the San Diego Zoo
  10. Take the girl shopping for some normal (non-bike-touring) clothes

The largest and most daunting task: all of the steps involving prepping and shipping two large tandems to Seattle. Continue reading