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

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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

Pacific Coast Bike Tour Day 25: San Elijo State Beach to San Diego

Previous post: Pacific Coast Bike Tour Day 24: Doheny State Beach to San Elijo

Day 25: San Elijo State Beach to San Diego

San Elijo to San DiegoFourth of July, what better day to finish our tour? We certainly didn’t plan to arrive in San Diego on the quintessential American summer holiday, it just worked out that way.

Fourth of July meant a festive mood in the campground. The beach (just beyond the chain-link fence separating our campsite from the ocean) was hopping by 6:30 AM. Early morning surfers, campers staking out their Fourth of July beach spots and passing trains made it difficult to catch morning shut-eye. No snoozing for us! It was time to get up and finish this tour. Continue reading

Pacific Coast Bike Tour Day 24: Doheny State Beach to San Elijo (Part 2)

Previous post: Pacific Coast Bike Tour Day 24, Part 1

[continued, Part 2]

Our mood light, we left Carlsbad and started pedaling toward Whole Foods in Encinitas where we planned to buy dinner groceries. We spent most of the ride from Carlsbad to Encinitas talking about food and what we all wanted for dinner on our last night of camping. We settled on some kind of BBQ, thinking we’d cook on the fire. We pulled up to Whole Foods and leaned the heavy gear laden bikes just outside the store entrance. The boys went in the store to shop while the girls stayed outside with the bikes. Tim had been talking about Cocchi all day and was looking forward to some cocktails at the campground that evening. Unfortunately, unlike our local Whole Foods in Seattle, this one didn’t carry it. So he settled for a nice dry rose instead.IMG_1943

Tim sent a series of texts while he shopped. Carne Asada? I replied, Yes! Grilled peppers? Yum! Baguette and chevre? This is getting better. Cherry Pie? Why not? Even though Tim doesn’t eat pie or bread, he’s always thinking about the bread and sweet eaters in the family. He finally emerged from the store almost an hour later, carrying multiple bags for our celebratory feast. Continue reading

Pacific Coast Bike Tour Day 24: Doheny State Beach to San Elijo (Part 1)

previous post: Pacific Coast Bike Tour Day 23: Palos Verdes to Doheny State Beach

Day 24: Doheny State Park to San Elijo State Park

Doheny to San Elijo Since we had to vacate the hiker/biker site at Doheny State Beach by 9:00 AM, we didn’t have time for our usual leisurely in-camp breakfast and coffee routine. A park staff person came by with her clipboard at 8:30 and made sure we were checking out. Seriously? You’re still checking up on us? Thankfully we were ready to go and cheerfully answered her questions before we pedaled out of the campground at 9:00 AM on the dot. Even though we grumbled about the forced exit, I guess we could consider the 9:00 AM deadline a silver lining, we were on the road early! We even had time for a leisurely diner breakfast in nearby San Clemente. Checking Maps

Continue reading