Category Archives: BIG Loads

Tree Hauling, Year 7: Kids Hauling Trees

Xtracycle Tree Hauling (year 7)
Happy Holidays! It’s time for our seventh-annual Christmas-tree hauling post. You’re probably bored of our tree-hauling exploits at this point. But it’s a tradition so we’re sharing anyway!

Last year our friend, Charlotte, suggested that the kids need to start hauling the tree. And since our daughter now fits Anne’s bikes, Tim floated the idea by her a couple of weeks ago. As a new 13 year old, she’s lukewarm about even riding bikes, let alone hauling trees on bikes in public, where, you know, like, her friends and, like, the whole world might see her!

So we weren’t surprised then with her less-than-enthusiastic response.

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Tree Haulin, Year SIX

We’re gearing up for Xtracycle Tree Hauling, year six! We plan to get our tree in the next couple of days and promise to post photos of year six later in the week. Not as cute as when the kids were little and riding on the Snapdeck, but still fun nonetheless.

For now, check out years 2007 – 2011. How the kids have grown! More blog posts and photos of all tree hauling adventures here and here

2007 Family Long Bike Christmas

2007, look how little!

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Bikes carrying skis

Tim's ski shuttle

Tim makes hauling large items look so easy

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Fifth-Annual Xtracycle Tree Haulin

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Tree Haulin Track Stand

Thought we’d post some photos of our 2011 Xtracycle Tree Haulin event.  We won’t bore you with another retrospective of all of our tree-haulin adventures, you can read the one we wrote last year if you’re interested. Continue reading

Brompton: It’s a Utility Bike

Portland on BromptonsIt’s been a year since we bought our matching yellow Bromptons.

Of all the bikes in our fleet, our Bromptons garner the most notice. Why? Obviously because of the tiny fold. And because they’re matching. And lemon-yellow. And we’re both quite tall and we look a little ridiculous riding them. And so on… basically they are not bikes for the shy.

Quite honestly, at the time of purchase Anne doubted our families’ need for Bromptons: we don’t travel much, we don’t have a shortage of bike storage space at home, and we aren’t big bus riders.

Tim’s purchase pitch smelled like bike lust to her: more of a want than a need.

But his negotiating skills (with Anne not the seller) prevailed and he eventually convinced her. He even pulled out the habitual-bike-purchaser’s classic line: “At this price, if we don’t ride them, we can easily sell them for more than we bought them!”

Anyone heard that one from a spouse before?

And we’re both glad he won the negotiation because in the past year, we’ve discovered so many uses for our Bromptons. 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

Car-free Kayaking

Car-free Kayaking

Tim has been combing craigslist for the past six months looking for some inflatable kayaks that we can haul to the lake on the Xtracycles. We used to own sea kayaks before we had kids but sold them a few years ago. Loading and unloading the kayaks on the car and driving a mile to the lake was never worth the effort for us and we didn’t use them that often. It wasn’t that hard for us to let them go.

Still looking for a way to escape the beach crowds during the warm summer months, inflatables that can be hauled on the bikes seemed like a good solution for our summer boating needs. These inflatables aren’t going to get us to the San Juans, but are perfect for floating around the lake with the kids on a hot day.Pumping up the Boats Continue reading

Ten Days with the Madsen Kg271 Bucket Bike

Warning. This post is loooong. Tim and Anne co-wrote it. Singly they tend toward verbosity. Together? Oy. Maybe grab a cup of coffee or beer before you start.

Probably the best thing about this little bike blog thing is all the great people we’ve met. Folks like David and Stephan from Dutch Bike, Marge (who we’ve yet to physically meet, but I’m sure we will some day), Marcus  and Elliot from Austin on Two Wheels, Val, and more. It’s been a great ride.

One of our newest blog buddies, George loaned us his Madsen KG271 (you know, the long bike with the big bucket on the back) for a 10-day testing stint.

Full disclosure: George is friends with the owner of the company and asked us if we’d give his own personal Madsen a try and share our impressions. He didn’t ask for any sugar coating, and it’s a good thing. Tim’s not real good at being sweet.

Over the course of a week and a pair of weekends, we both had the opportunity to ride the Madsen as part of our daily routines (where we normally ride our Xtracycles and Anne’s Oma), as well as on a couple special-purpose, made-for-Madsen adventures. Tim picked up bags of compost; Anne transported three kids home from school. We even had some of our bikey neighbors take it for a spin. Overall, the idea was to see how this one bike (in one size, shared by two people of very different size) could fit into this bike life we’ve built for ourselves.

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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

Second Annual Xtracycle Tree Haulin’

Xtracycle Tree Haulin 2008We pedaled up to the local tree lot over the weekend and picked up our Christmas tree. Although the novelty of hauling a large tree by bike has faded a bit, it was still pretty satisfying to pull up to the tree lot on our bikes, park right in front, choose our 6′ Noble fir, strap it to Tim’s bike with very little effort, and pedal home. No drama, no fuss, no big deal. Continue reading