Category Archives: cargo bikes

Groceries by Bike: Turn a Chore into Fun

slowbikecart

Carfreedays and Shopping: the Journey to Bikes

Tim and I didn’t always grocery shop by bike.

Before the summer of 2007, other than an occasional walk to the store, we bought and transported groceries exclusively in cars. At the time we owned a bike trailer and we could have used that to grocery shop. But dragging it out of the basement or garage and hooking it up to the bike just to go to the store? Nah, too much trouble; the car was easier. Panniers were the same,  I had plenty of those lying around. But I was a busy mom and shopped for a family of 4, I could barely fit a days worth of groceries in two panniers, let alone groceries for a week.

August 2007, enter two Xtracycles. Those bikes changed everything. Continue reading

Cargo Bike Old Farts

how we rolled in 2003, san francisco

I really enjoyed reading Todd’s latest post. Especially the retrospective and the Clever Cycles back story.

Todd and Martina have been riding Xtracycles since 2001. I knew they were cargo bike early adopters, but I hadn’t thought about the chronology or the details until I read the post. Continue reading

Bikes carrying skis

Tim's ski shuttle

Tim makes hauling large items look so easy

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

Learning advanced bike skills. Or look Mom, no hands!

Maybe some of you parents can relate. One day your kid is on training wheels or a balance bike, the next they decide they can ride no hands.

It starts out simple enough–one hand up for a split second (see “the beginner in the video). Then two (for a split, split second). They start stretching it out. Longer and longer. The wobbles get bigger, and more dangerous because they aren’t going too fast to start out with and usually stop pedaling as soon as the hands come off. But still they wait even longer before returning to the safety of hands on. Eventually, they’ll realize speed is a good thing. It stabilizes the bike. But until they do … yikes.

The boy right now is in the early stretching-out stage. And it scares the crap out of me. Continue reading

Val’s Memorial Ride and Wake (Labor Day cargo bike ride)

Gathering at 2020 Cycles

Val (in the hat) at the start of 2008 Labor Day ride at 20/20 Cycle

As many of you know, Val Kleitz was a driving force for the Seattle holiday cargo bike rides. For us, he was the spirit of cargo bikes in general. So it’s quite fitting that this year’s Labor Day cargo ride is honoring Val as a memorial ride.

The Labor Day ride traditionally runs (very roughly) from 20/20 Cycle on Union  St. to Cowen Park in Ravenna. Plan on a slow, cargo-and-kid-friendly pace. Make sure you carry enough in the way of food, beverages, and picnic supplies. Just in case!

We’re hoping to see a lot local riders and family cyclists showing support for Val’s memory, as well as enjoying some transportation cycling on a lovely day.  As always, a cargo bike is Not Required (If you are hauling yourself, you’re hauling a load!). So come on out and join the pallet.

Details: Meet at 20/20 cycles (2020 East Union) noon Monday. The Pallet leaves at 1:00 and should take about 90 minutes to arrive at the Cowen/Ravenna park picnic shelter. Later Monday night is a wake for Val at Pike Brewery.

More details about both events here….

See you there!

-Tim & Anne

RIP: Val Kleitz helped us all stay “rubber side down”

We got the sad news tonight that Val Kleitz  (ie, Bike Pilot, the Instigator, Rolling Jackass, Dreadnought,  former owner of Bike Smith, and all around amazing spirit), died Wednesday at age 51.

Val had been fighting cancer for about two years.

If you knew Val, even a little, then you know what kind of loss this is. And if you don’t know Val, here’s a little story.

My earliest memories of Val are tied to fast road bikes and hot pink Lycra spandex, circa 1990.

Continue reading

Bike Pool to Soccer Practice

Bike pool to soccer practiceThis is most likely the last year I’ll be able to shuttle two kids on the Xtracycle. (sniff sniff) I don’t know what Tim has been feeding them, but the wee ones have grown. They are simply getting too dang big to shuttle around.

And now they have friends.

And it’s not just their size, it’s their energy. They’re all squirmy and excited and silly. And they laugh and joke and eat lollipops. And sometimes they bonk each other with their helmets.

bike pool to soccer practiceI have to say, I’ll miss this era. There’s nothing quite like hauling squealing kids on a bike.

Home from soccer practiceBut I know my Xtracycle kid-shuttle days are coming to a close.

And the kids must ride their own bikes to soccer practice.

(I promise to keep hauling the balls and cones until they are big enough for their own cargo bikes)

– Coach Anne

Transitions: from kids as cargo to kids as riders (a new series)

Like many parents around the world, we have embraced using bikes instead of cars to haul our kids around the city. It’s been 3 years since we built the Xtracycles and started using them for everyday transportation.

First Ride

First Ride, August 2007

Wow, 3 years already? How did that happen?

It’s been a great run: we’ve learned so much, met some fantastic people, laughed and smiled a lot….and developed  some beefy quads. We wouldn’t go back to our short-distance car driving ways for anything. We’re hooked on bikes.

If you read Car Free Days with any regularity, you already know that. I don’t want to talk about the benefits of cargo bikes.

I want to talk about growing kids and what to do about them. Because while we were out enjoying cargo biking, our kids have grown.

A lot. Continue reading

Cargo Bike Ride – Sunday, April 4th at Noon

New Year's Day Cargo Bike Ride 2008We heard from Val yesterday that the Easter Cargo Bike Ride is on. Click the link for details. The route is South end friendly, it starts at the Delridge Playfield and ends at Seward Park. Continue reading