Category Archives: family cycling

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

Hungry? 21 Go-To Family Bike Touring Foods

slurpees!Disclaimer: In general, food is a polarizing subject. Add bike touring, small town grocery options and it can get even more divisive.

I’m an omnivore. And so is my family. For those of you who don’t eat meat or processed food, just know I’m not trying to offend your food sensibilities. Same goes for those of you who can’t imagine bike touring without energy drinks, freeze-dried food and power bars. Sometimes we eat some pretty gross stuff on tours that we wouldn’t consider at home (gas station deviled eggs, 7-11 hot dogs and mystery meat burritos). If the mere idea of any of that makes you ill, you may just want to skip this post!

Kids and food

For all the parents out there: Do you agree that feeding the family is one of the most high maintenance tasks on your daily list? I like to cook but feeding a family day after day quickly turns into a chore.

A few years ago,  I was trying to figure out what to make for dinner one night when I remembered this site a friend had recommended (if you’re swear-averse, don’t click.) They said it was funny and that it would cure my dinner making blues. I ended up procrastinating for quite some time one afternoon clicking links and laughing. F-bombs and dinner resonated with me at that time in my life. It just didn’t get old.

In all seriousness, kids can be such a pain in the ass when it comes to food. They don’t {ahem} like that, or they say they like it but won’t eat it when the time comes. Or they won’t eat vegetables. Or they’ll eat only raw vegetables. Or they’ll only eat white food. The worst is when they tell you that the meal you just slaved over is gross. Ack! Help!

Add bike touring and meal planning gets more difficult

Grocery Store BBQ, YumYou think feeding two adults and two kids is hard at home? Try feeding them on a bike tour! Three times a day, for 22 days. After pedaling 50-60 miles a day, we all get hungry. And since we’re far from our favorite local organic grocery stores, we have to make do with small town stores that sometimes offend our high-brow-gourmet-food sensibilities.  We might even sink so low that we’ll {gasp} scrounge for anything remotely edible in nasty gas stations! But everyone must eat, so we roll with it.

If you’re interested in family bike touring and food, read on! Continue reading

Get Kids to Talk: The Modern Equivalent of Trapping Them in the Car

Parenting fact: one-on-one time with kids is where all of the good dialogue happens.

1977 Cadillac Sedan Deville

1977 Cadillac Sedan Deville from The Hartford Guy on Flickr

When I was in high school, my dad was well aware of this fact. I think that’s why he’d bribe me with rides to school in his 1978 Cadillac DeVille (or “the boat” as we called it in the family). Even today I can still hear the “thunk” of the automatic door locks engaging as dad backed this giant, baby-blue, swank sedan out of the driveway.

That “thunk” nearly always triggered teenage-cheek-flush and upper-lip-sweat as I realized I was trapped in the car with dad. On the surface it was a luxury ride, but in reality I was merely being held for uninterrupted questioning.

My 15-year-old brain swirled with thoughts of outsmarting him:

“Crap, it’s just dad and me, no one else to distract him or run interference, he can talk about anything he wants. I can’t escape, I have to answer his questions. Maybe if I just look out the window and feign boredom, he won’t try to talk to me.”

But my sweaty, flushed flight response of my lizard brain knew better.

He always asked questions. So many questions. And I eventually had to answer. Continue reading

Lies we Tell our Children (or how to get kids to go bike touring)

Pacific Coast Bike Tour Day 1

When Tim and I recount family bike adventures to friends and strangers, a typical response is, “What do the kids think”? “Do they like bike touring?”

If we were being completely honest, we’d reply, “of course not”. You’ll soon ascertain that we have a slight problem with stretching the truth.

We get kids on board and excited about these trips by over-emphasizing the potential highlights and skipping the parts we know the kids won’t like.

And sometimes we tell all out lies. Continue reading

Winter: A time for Planning Summer Family Bike Tours

What sort of winter hibernation do you enjoy? The Car Free Days family tried to escape the cold and dark by hunkering down at home; reading, drinking gallons of hot tea, cuddling up around the fire, and occasionally getting out-of-town to ski in the Cascade range.

But a few winters ago we started doing something even better with the short, sucky days: dreaming about and planning epic summer bike tours.

Coping with Winter Blahs

With just over 8 hours of daylight during the winter months, Pacific Northwesterners (and Scandinavians, and Russians, and ….) must come up with some way to preserve our sanity day after dark sodden day from November through March. Residents of these northen climes rely on many different methods for coping with winter dreariness. Some use light therapy, others make regular pilgrimages to day spas; soaking in hot pools and sweating away sorrows in saunas. Still others escape altogether with vacations to warm sunny climates. For some reason the historic, go-to strategy of heavy drinking has fallen out of favor. At least in our circles.

A new twist on beating dreary days came from family biking media darling Emily Finch this past December. I spent a good part of my early Christmas vacation living vicariously through her highly entertaining winter indoor-painting-therapy-program:  Continue reading

2012 Xtracycle Tree Haulin (6th Annual)

The Tree HaulerYear Six is D O N E.

We all pedaled up to our local tree lot the other evening, chose a 8′ Noble fir and headed home. Simple, straightforward and almost no drama. 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

Day 1: Starting off on the wrong foot, but at least starting

bolt bus tandem loading

photo by David Clifton

If you’re bored with trip stories, you’ll just have to sit tight and wait a little longer for our excitement to pass. Because here at carfreedays HQ we’re not done talking about our Pacific Coast Bike tour.

Bike touring is one of those life changing experiences: you’re not quite the same after returning from an extended tour. But it takes a few weeks and months for those lessons to reveal themselves. Even though we’ve been home for 51 days, we’re definitely still processing the experience. And finding meaning and life lessons in the most mundane parts of the tour. Continue reading

We’re back: “I miss our trip”

Pacific Coast Bike Tour Day 6
Our Pacific Coast Bike tour is O V E R . We’ve been back for a while now but it’s taken me this long to process the trip and figure out what I wanted to say about the amazing experience of riding 946 miles in 22 days with 2 tandems and 2 kids under 12.

Can I just say Wow and leave it at that? Continue reading

Check out Davey’s Blog

IMG_3301One of our favorite bikers in Seattle has become a family biker and he now has a new blog. And I must say, he’s on fire. Davey is single-handedly putting us old and lazy bloggers to shame. I love his writing and his playful humor, be sure to start at the beginning.

We always enjoy running into Davey on the road. He takes the time to stop, say hello, chat for a bit and share funny stories. I leave these impromptu meet-ups with a smile on my face and just a little more hope for humanity. Davey is good people. Continue reading