Category Archives: bikes

REI dishonors the dead with new “Ghost Bike” brand

REI ghost bike graphic

Ghost Bike: A ghost bike, ghostcycle or WhiteCycle is a bicycle set up as a roadside memorial in a place where a cyclist has been killed or severely injured (usually by a motor vehicle).[1][2] Apart from being a memorial, it is usually intended as a reminder to passing motorists to share the road. Ghost bikes are usually junk bicycles painted white, sometimes with a placard attached, and locked to a suitable object close to the scene of the accident.

For the past few years REI (Recreational Equipment, Inc) has been on a mad tear to show they are a legit player in the urban biking business. They’ve made some good city bikes, some functional and affordable bags, rain gear and so on. They teach classes on urban riding and give money to the right bike organizations.

They look to be as they claim — legit urban riders. Continue reading

Book Review: Washington Cycling Sojourner

Walk-in (ride in) campsite at San Juan County Park

An early-years, Carfreedays family tour, camped at San Juan County Park.

edit: Book Party! Book-Release event for Washington Cycling Sojourner at Washington Bikes in Pioneer Square. 5:30pm May 1. Details & RSVP at WA Bikes. 

The  family just returned from a spring-break, car-camping trip to Yosemite National Park. While the park was beyond beautiful, the amount of time spent in the car (and in close proximity to other car campers and RVers who don’t exactly share our “don’t bring everything you own” ethos), had us longing for a another bike tour.

As you may remember, we rode the Pacific Coast Bike Route over the course of the past two summers. The big adventure was, well, adventurous, and highly recommended, but this year we’ve promised the kids we’ll stick close to home for the summer (they mentioned something about friends and beaches and lemonade stands. Hmmm….).

cycling sojournerLuckily, we’ve got loads of awesome bike touring and camping starting right outside our door and extending through out the state. In fact, there’s so much good riding here, that it’s easy to get overwhelmed with dreamy but vague potential, and fall back to the standards (our usual Mukilteo-Whidbey-Port Townsend-Bainbridge loop is always enjoyable, but getting a tad long in to the tooth). That’s why the timing of Ellee Thalheimer’s, (kickstarter funded!) new bike touring guide, Washington Cycling Sojourner is so excellent.

For just about anyone hoping to bike-tour Washington, Thalheimer’s guide is sure to contain a ride matched to your skills, interest, and available time. She even includes a route finder grid aimed at helping you choose the most appropriate tour. Continue reading

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.

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

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

Previous post: Pacific Coast Bike Tour Day 25: San Elijo to San Diego

Day 26: Waking up in a plush San Diego Hotel

IMG_2024

I woke up on Day 26 of our tour at 7:00 AM. Bing. I was instantly awake. And everyone else was asleep. I was alone with my thoughts. And my brain started buzzing right away with so many random thoughts about all that we needed to take care of:

Where am I? Oh, right, I’m here in this plush hotel room. 

We made it. I can’t believe we made it. Tim’s knees survived. 850+ miles in 3 weeks. With our kids! We really did it. The Pacific Coast in two summers.  We’re finally here.

These sheets are nice. I’m so glad I’m not in a tent right now. No more stinky tent. No more skanky campground showers. I really hate showering at campgrounds. The dampness. The dirty floors. The gross shower curtains. Where do I hang my clothes? The quarters. I hate wearing flip-flops in the shower.  I can’t wait to take another shower in this nice bathroom. It’s luxurious. And the water doesn’t turn off after 3 minutes. It’s clean. I really do like these sheets, I should get new sheets when we get home. Continue reading