Category Archives: kids’ bikes

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

Transitions: Am I ready for my kid to ride?

Riding to Swimming Lessons

Car Free Days Kids (Summer 2008)

Our summer series about transitioning kids from being cargo hauled by parents to pedaling on their own power was born a couple of weeks ago when I wrote about luring parents back to bikes to get more kids riding. I loved all of the comments; they sparked such a rich discussion among parents and non-parents alike about riding with (or as) kids. Continue reading

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

The Bike Fairy says “Bike to School, Kids”

The Bike Fairy

The Bike Fairy gives prizes to kids who ride to school

May is officially Bike month. For most riders, that means Bike to Work month. But as you’d expect from a blog that focuses on family cycling, we like to remind folks that it’s also Bike to School Month!

Despite unseasonably cold and wet weather the majority of the month, 86 kids at our school have already completed their online logs for an impressive 517 bike trips to school. We’ve counted more than 100 bikes at morning dropoff twice already, and that’s with the sucky weather. These kids are kicking ass.

Today the focus around town will be on the grownups riding to work for the F5 Bike to Work Day — Cascade is promoting a ride with the mayor and photo-op at City Hall, F5 is sponsoring feed and swag stations all over town, and there’s a big after party in Ballard – but that’s OK, because we’ve got the Bike Fairy! Continue reading

Bikeworks Kids Bike Swap Sat, May 8th

Bike to SchoolNeed a new bike for your kid? Then head on down to Genesee Playfield this Saturday, May 8th from 10:00 to 4:00.

Bike Works’ annual Kids Bike Swap event helps to facilitate the flow of affordable bicycles within the community while simultaneously preventing fully functional bikes from ending up in local landfills. This event provides families with a cost-effective opportunity that allows them to trade a child’s bike that has been outgrown for a larger bike that provides both a better fit and ride for their child’s next summer season of riding! Families looking to buy a bike, but do not have a bike to trade in, are welcome to come after 12 pm.

Get all of the details here

– Anne

Our Hood Ornament Girls are Ready for Spring

Our girls got spring outfitsOur girls got spring outfitsSpring has sprung in a typical Seattle way these past weeks, one day it’s 70 degrees and sunny and the next it’s 50 and raining. We’re not putting our winter clothes away any time soon.

However, my daughter decided last week that our girls were getting a little hot in their winter wear and they were ready for spring. The dolls’ outfits were not at all appropriate on sunny days. They got outfit changes last week. They are definitely ready for spring now!

Even if we changed them too soon, they are just dolls, they’ll be just fine.

– Anne

Pt. 3 Building a kid’s bike that doesn’t suck: Tires

Continued from the series of posts: Kids’ Bikes: They suck and what you can do about it. I started this “series” back in Dec. and then sort of fell off track as things melted down at work.  As we’re heading into prime kid-biking season I figured I should dust off the drafts and get the info out there where it might do some good.

It’s possible experienced wrenchers may find this a bit too detailed. If that’s the case, visit the flickr stream for quick some ideas and examples.

marathon2By  far, tires caused me the most trouble during this project.

I like to think I’m a pretty savvy cookie when it comes to bike parts. I’ve been around them a long time — as a DIYer and a shop rat.  And on top of that, I’m a librarian so I know how to handle a search engine. But dang, these 24″ tires are difficult.

Limited choices + confusing sizes

The legendary Sheldon Brown illustrated the problem quite clearly in the following chart: Continue reading

Hood Ornaments

Hood OrnamentMy 8– year–old daughter thought the chick riders in our family should have matching hood ornaments for our bikes. She wanted to give our bikes a feminine touch to show our “girl power” and differentiate ourselves from the boys. She offered up a couple of her old Polly Pocket dolls for the project and we zip tied them to our handlebars.

I think the handlebar chicks add a nice touch.  We can even change their outfits according to the season. I love to look down while I’m pedaling along and see the wind whipping through my doll’s hair, makes me crack a smile.

– Anne

Hood Ornament

Building a kid’s bike that doesn’t suck: The Mt. bike frame

Continued from yesterday’s post: Kids’ Bikes: They suck and what you can do about it. It’s possible you may find this a bit too detailed. If that’s the case, visit the flickr stream for quick some ideas and examples.

Reaching for the brakes

Pre-upgrade: Reaching for the brakes

For the non-sucky kid’s bike project foundation, I started with Craigslist’s finest: a $65, 21-spd,  24″-wheel Trek MT 220. I like this style of bike because it has a semi-step through frame. I originally tried for a slightly older version, complete with lighter frame and a closer to a true step-through design. Unfortunately, all the samples I ran across were pretty hammered, having been through two or three kids. Continue reading

Kids’ Bikes: They suck and what you can do about it

Since the spring, our kids have really embraced riding under their own power. Anne has blogged about this a number of times. It’s been a great time for them. Meanwhile, as the resident gearhead, I’ve been growing increasingly frustrated by the absolute crap that passes as acceptable kid transportation in the US. Continue reading