Monthly Archives: October 2007

Xtra-spooky? Halloween, Xtracycle Style

Little Red Riding Hood (the six-year old) needed a ride to her Halloween party after school today. Xtracycles to the rescue. Here she is joined in the carbikepool by a ferocious dinosaur (our four-year old), and a friendly cowgirl from the bikepool.

Little Red Riding Hood and Company on the Xtracycle Bikepool
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Xtracycle Build Details: Stoker Bar

Nitto Stoker Bars on Anne’s rig

This is part of an ongoing series of posts (ok, it’s the first–we’ll see how it goes) on the building of our Xtracycles. We get lots of questions about putting them together so I thought I better start documenting. Normal people would do it in order, starting with the actual kit, but me, I gotta start with the stoker bars. Maybe I just like saying Stoker….

Interested in the build? Read on, then see the blurb at the bottom and watch the “Buildin’…” category.

For our stoker bar setups we used some cheap ebay tandem stems and beer-can shims to mount bars for our passengers. I’ll get to the stems in another post but for now, here’s the scoop on these sylish Nitto “Swept-Back” bars.

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Trader Joes: $187.93

Big Grocery Load at Trader Joes

…contrary to our cashier’s expectations, we got the whole mammoth cart on the bikes with room to spare. The first time we did this we spent as much time packing the bikes as we did shopping. But as the weeks go by, we’re getting faster and finding we have room for more. Once the sideloaders reach a certain “fullness” I can’t resist stuffing them to make it all worthwhile (twice I’ve sent Anne back for more beer). We’re learning some tricks on that front. (A bakfiets would would be the ultimate in easy packing, but talking to Todd at Clever Cycles it’s probably too darn hilly here.)

And who would have thought the Wald basket, while cool in an old-fashioned-paperboy way, would represent a packing revelation? This little 14x9x9 beauty holds cameras, beer, wine, coffee cups, sweaters, gloves, hats, lunch, stuffed pink piggies, American Girl dolls, and the occasional U-lock. Once again, those guys at Rivendell are onto something simple that works fantastically. When Anne gets the rigid fork on her Xtra, she’s getting a Wald, too.

Check the the thumbnail image for some packing details.

xtracycle at TJs - detailed packing info


Xtracycle: An Anti-Minivan for the Anti-Soccer Mom


  • Seats four in comfort. Check!
  • Cupholders? Check!
  • Loads of cargo Space? Check!
  • Room for the brother to bring his bike? Check!
  • Space for tailgating? Check!
  • Co2 Belching SUV/Minivan? Nah!!!!!!!!

We had a lovely Saturday at the six-year-old’s soccer game. It’s not exactly sport at this age, but it’s fun to watch. Dozens of these tiny three-on-three teams play at a time and the resulting parking frenzy resembles the UW Montlake lot the first week of fall classes.

No matter, we just cruise by the madness and park the SUBs on the sidelines like VIPs!


Seattle Mayor Nichols Wants to Show You His Rack(s)

Circle Bike Rack from SDOT SDOT Photo

As we ride more (and more and more) around our fair city, I’m struck by how little the city does to accommodate the parking of our two-wheeled steeds. Racks are few and far between, but cars are welcomed on nearly every curb. It used to be, back in the day, this didn’t matter much because you could count on a nearby, sturdy, parking meter…

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BYOH: Bring Your Own Helmet

riding with a friend is fun

My son had a friend over to play the other day. Usually when a parent drops their kid off to play, they leave a car seat so you can take the kid home in your car. This time, the mom brought a helmet. I didn’t ask her to. I didn’t even tell her I was going to bring her son home on the bike (in fact, I was planning to walk since we hadn’t talked about it in advance). She just assumed we would ride. And that is a beautiful thing. Maybe our bike lifestyle is catching on….

(BTW – the little boy loved it. I had a hard time getting him off the back of the Xtracycle. He wanted more. I bet he can’t stop talking about it at home – he’s probably begging his parents to get one right now…. A girl can dream.)

– Anne

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.

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Free Beer at Clever Cycles, Portland ?!?!

Photo Credit Jonathan Maus/

Sure, it’s not enough that they’ve got the coolest city-bike shop anywhere, or that they’ve managed to double the size of the shop in five or so months. No, they have to give away free beer, too.

It’s just not fair, I tell ya! Seattle needs some of this two-wheeled excess!
Seriously, if you get the chance, check out Clever Cycles, right across the street from the Lucky Lab in PDX …

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It’s Fall

leaves on snapdeck

Seattle fall weather has officially arrived. It’s windy, wet and on the downward spiral toward darkness. In a couple of weeks cars will start turning their headlights on @ 3:00 pm. This is the time of year Tim and I talk longingly of moving to San Diego. This morning I met my sister for coffee and I didn’t even think about driving. I just put on my favorite wool base layer and a shell and got on the bike and rode the 8 miles. So maybe I’m over the hump? Last fall I would have sheepishly gotten into my car and driven because I didn’t feel like getting wet. We’ll see how I do in a couple of months.

– Anne

Cycling Style

Biking in High Heels at Cycle Chic

(photo from Cycle Chic — Copenhagen Girls on Bikes)

If non-cyclists could get past the “cycling gear” barrier – do you think more people would use bikes as a mode of transportation? Maybe that’s the Tipping Point.

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