Tag Archives: tips

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

Everybody talks about the weather but no one…

A wet trip homeIt was raining so hard when I got up Wed. morning I didn’t ride my bike to work.

Don’t worry, I still got there on the Xtracycle, but like most days, I found it made more sense to take my time getting underway.

My morning (many mornings, in truth) went something like this: I got up. It was raining. Had my Grapenuts and coffee with the kids. Raining. Helped them get ready. Raining. Said goodbye to the kids. Still raining. Shower? Yep, still raining.

Yet 10 minutes later I was on my way to work dressed in my normal (non-bike) clothes, rain gear safely stowed in the Xtracycle Freeloader. Rain-gear optional is a a pretty usual way for me to roll (and maybe the reason I can still justify owning my hideously ugly purple/pink/black, 18 (!) year-old REI Turismo jacket/pants

I’m not saying all this to sound like a total time-challenged-douche-bag-schedule-slouching-weather-rock-star or something—though if you got soaked yesterday you might think  I sound like one of those. Nah, I just want to share my two simple tools (well, three if you count the merino wool and four if you count fenders, but everyone knows that one, right?)  for staying dry this winter. Continue reading

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

Road Riding Skills for Kids

RidingA few days ago we mentioned that the kids are getting heavy enough that carrying both long distances can be a chore. While the Stokemonkey, is an obvious (though unobtainium) solution, we think we might be on to something else —kid power!

The seven-year-old is getting interested in riding on her own. By this summer, when we don’t have school and more time to get places, I’ll probably experiment with having her ride on her own and just haul the five-year-old on the Xtracycle. She needs to get some miles in before then. She’s pretty timid and not very comfortable with speed just yet. Continue reading

Do You Want Fries with That?

Nothing says cycling like a big fat burger, right? (uh, yeah…right, Tim)

So it follows that nothing says riding in the rain like a big Costco-sized bottle of ketchup-turned buddy flap (mud flap)!

Heinz Buddy Flap — mudflaps from a costco ketchup bottle

I had big plans to make some fancy Rivendell-style tweed/leather mudflaps, but I went back to my reuse roots. Once I saw the flap-goodness embodied in that giant old ketchup bottle, I don’t know, I just couldn’t sit idly as it was sentenced to the big recycling tub.

Continue reading