Tag Archives: alternative transportation

Habits: On Starting Walking and Biking

Happy New YearThe tree came down weeks ago and 2013 is already in full swing. I know I’m a bit late, but I forgot to wish you all a Happy New Year. Happy New Year, everyone! (just trying to keep the party going a little bit longer) Whoo-hoo!!!

Did you make any resolutions? Sticking to them? This is about the time of year that most resolutions fizzle out. I don’t know about you, but I’m with the 30 percent of people who break their resolutions by the end of January.

Two of mine are totally busted and the third is merely hanging on by threads:

  1. Learn and practice Spanish for 30 minutes every day. Oops, it’s been weeks since I logged on to my Livemocha account
  2. Do the Primal Workout every day. Yeah, I ran like Grok once, and did a few wall squats. But daily workouts? Busted!
  3. Write every day. I’ve been better about that, but I can’t say I do it every single day.

There’s a reason habits and resolutions are such a hot topic every year: we really, really, really want to change, but our pesky bad behaviors are difficult to break, and new routines are hard to stick to! Continue reading

ATP (Alternative Transportation Project): Leave the Car at Home

Thanks, Jorge, for sending us this video!

The entire Car Free Days family enjoyed watching this whimsical video that’s a refreshing reminder of the fun involved in leaving our cars at home on occasion!

Happy Bike-to-School-And-Work-Day tomorrow!

 - Anne

Kickstand Campaign

Thanks for bicycling in our city! stickers left for us in U-district. Kickstandcampaign.con
We found these stickers on our bikes today (outside of Goodwill in the U District).

When we got home, I looked up kickstandcampaign.org and found this blurb on their About page: Continue reading

Little Green Bike (Brompton rocks a hilly Italian commute + doing better here)

As Anne mentioned recently, we’ve been loving the Bromptons and the role they’ve helped play in letting us live car-light. Beyond the expanded Zipcar range, or the fact that a gorilla-sized dad and his 9-year-old daughter can ride the same bike, we’re in love with how easy they mix with transit. This is especially clear when bussing across the bike-hating 520 bridge (which normally requires us to ride a special—non Xtracyclebike, and then hope that the bus bike racks are clear).

Altogether the Broms allow for some nifty, who-the-hell-needs-a-car-at least-when-it-isn’t-raining-three-inches-a-day options.

But if we lived in a real city, with real density and real transit solutions, well, the mind boggles at the imagined practicality of our little yellow folders.

Well, thanks to this fine video from the 2010 edition of the Toward Carfree Cities Conference, in which the Little Green Brompton OWNS a freakishly hilly, dense-city commute in Genova (Genoa), Italy I’m boggled no more.

(hat-tip to video creator Massimiliano Amirfeiz from the Brompton Talk list)

After watching this commute (for the 3rd time or so) I’m also struck by how little* Seattle has done to flatten our fair city for the non-driving folks.  How about a Trampe up Queen Anne and Capitol hills, for example?

These motorized bike-lifts can flatten out the steepest sections of a city. Check out the video, but save yourself by muting the sound. If I was slapping them down around town, I’d also like another placed to ferry riders over Phinney Ridge.

I’m sure you’ve got some locations to nominate—0bviously West Seattle, downtown, and Beacon Hill seem like naturals—so let’s hear ‘em.

Of course I know this idea is fantasy. A mere mention of the option in San Francisco brought out the haters, who failed to see that this was an option to get non cyclists out of their cars and onto bikes, not a way to pamper already-riding hipsters who don’t want to “walk up the damn hill.”

I can’t imagine the spew and outcry such a plan would generate around here.

Sigh…  at least the Brompton video was cool ;-)

-Tim

* Don’t get me started on the SDOT propensity to route bike lanes up and down hills when they don’t have to. Instead of forcing riders to sweat their way up the Dexter hill for a Fremont-to-Downtown bike route, why don’t we just bite the bullet and build better infrastructure a mostly flat and under-traveled Westlake Ave?

Hills like Dexter may be fine for the neon-clad Cascade fitness riders, but casual commuters you know, the people who don’t call themselves cyclists, but still need to start riding if we want cycling to move out of the transportation fringeare never going to do it.

Sharing is Nice

Zip+BromptonTim and I are both officially Zipsters. I’m glad being hip is not a requirement, apparently all we need is a membership card to earn the title. I’ve been a Zipster for a few years and Tim recently joined when we  sold our final car last month. (can you believe we used to have four cars?) Since we started using it more, we have managed to slip  “zip” into our vernacular: Zip skiing, Zip Brompton, Zip trip, the Zip possibilities are annoyingly endless. Continue reading

Testing the Madsen Cargo Bike

Madsen Grocery StopOur blog friend, George, contacted us last week and asked if we wanted to borrow his Madsen for a few days to test it out and share our impressions. We’re always up for trying out new utility bikes, so of course we agreed.

I pedaled over to Ballard yesterday afternoon and picked up the bike. We’ve only had it for 24 hours and are not ready to post a full review.

But I thought I’d throw up a few pictures of the first afternoon with the bucket bike.

School Pick up with the Madsen

– Anne

Xtracycle Shuttle Service

IMG_0557Since the kids were out of school today we decided to spend the day at the Science Center. The Science Center is in the middle of Seattle Center on Lower Queen Anne,  six miles from our house and just a little too far for me to haul both kids on the Xtracycle.

One fifty–pound passenger is completely doable. Add another and they eventually get bored and pick fights with each other. No fun for anyone. Especially not the pilot.

Usually, when I travel distances over three to four miles with both kids, I take the bus. But after days and days of fog in Seattle, the sun finally appeared and it was beautiful. I just couldn’t bring myself to load everyone on the stinky bus for the 30 minute ride.

I really wanted to ride my bike. Continue reading

Kids Will Keep Us Honest

Trip to the BookstoreThis past Saturday my biking motivation was in the toilet. I had a terrible cold that left me feeling a tad lethargic, plus Tim was out of town and I was flying solo with the kids. I tapped all of my energy pedaling both kids to a soccer game in the morning. So, when it was time to go out again in the afternoon, I heard the car calling my name and begging me to take it for a short drive. I convinced myself that I could justify a trip in the car to pick up a birthday gift at our local bookstore and then drop the seven-year-old at the party. At least I was combining trips.

I had all of the excuses covered.

As we were walking out the door, I said, “Let’s go get in the car, kids” To my surprise, the seven–year–old protested said trip: “we’re not driving, I hate cars, let’s take the Xtracycle”. Continue reading

October is International Walk to School Month

Bike to School Day 2008

Lots of Bikes at School - Bike to School Day 2008

October is International Walk to School Month. Walk and Wheel Month is part of an international movement to encourage active transportation to school. Kids are encouraged to use any type of human–powered mode of transport (feet, scooters, bikes) to get to school.

My friend, Leslie and I are leading the effort at our local elementary school. We were so inspired by the success of Bike to School Month last spring, we thought we’d encourage more kids to join us this fall. Cascade Bicycle Club sponsors the program locally, giving prizes to kids who make at least seven car-less trips to school in October.

Is any one out there leading a walk, bike or scooter–to–school effort this October? It’s not too late to get something organized.

I’d love to hear what you’re doing to promote it.

– Anne

World Carfree Day is Monday, September 22

Leave your car at home on Monday in honor of World Carfree Day. Tell your friends, family, neighbors, and co–workers to do the same.

World Carfree Day is an annual celebration of cities and public life, free from the noise, stress and pollution of cars. Each year on September 22, people around the world organize events of all sizes to showcase alternatives to the automobile.

Check out the World Carfree Day events page to find a gathering in your part of the world. 

Seattle has an event in Ballard: Get your Undriver License in honor of World Carfree Day. Just pedal, walk or bus it over to the Ballard Neighborhood Service Center, NW 56th St and 22nd Ave NW on Monday, September 22, 2008 from 1-4pm to get your undriver license.

We got Undriver licenses last year at the Sustainable Ballard Festival - hopefully they aren’t expired yet.

Have a good weekend.

 - Anne