Monthly Archives: May 2009

Bike to School Month, the Momentum

It’s so great to watch the number of cycling families grow during Bike to School Month.

I have noticed a pattern since we started organizing Bike to School Month last year.  At the beginning of the month, the number of cycling parents and kids isn’t that impressive. This year a dozen or so families biked to school on a daily basis the first week. But as the month progresses, (and the weather improves) more and more families join the fun and start riding bikes to school.Planning our Route

Is it momentum? Is it peer pressure? Does it just look like fun?

Kids see their friends riding to school and it looks like so much fun, they want to do it too. Those kids convince their parents to give it a try. As more and more families join in, the bike racks fill up. And pretty soon bikes are spilling into the garden and being locked to any available stationary object. Sometimes they aren’t locked at all (who is going to steal a kid’s bike from a school playground anyway).

I’m not sure how the momentum builds. What I do know is: I’m still seeing new faces at the bike racks every day(and they’re all smiling faces).

Thanks to all of the parents who have given biking a try. You’re doing your kids a huge favor, and hopefully you’re having some fun too!

Does anyone have Bike to School stories to share?

– Anne


Seattle Ride of Silence Deserves our Respect

Heading out with a small group on the 2009 Ride of Silence

Heading out with a small group on the 2009 Ride of Silence

As I mentioned, Wednesday was the 2009 Ride of Silence. Having been impressed by last year’s numbers  and the diversity of participants, I was really looking forward to paying my respects by riding with an even larger group this year.

Upon arriving at Gas Works Park, it was quickly apparent that I was a bit optimistic. In fact, riders were  so sparse, my first thought was that I missed the roll out and had showed up at a Cascade evening group ride.  Last year’s rider count was in the mid-hundreds (Wednesday’s ride leader mentioned “600” in past years), this year I counted 43 or 44 riders TOTAL.

I’m just going to come right out and say I’m really disappointed by Seattle cyclists. While other cities had growing numbers of riders, Seattle fell flat (Portland drew about 75 for their 2009 ride). Continue reading

Seattle Ride of Silence Tonight (May 20)

The Seattle 2009 Ride of Silence quietly rolls out from Gas Works Park at 6:30 this evening. The ride, if you aren’t familiar, is an international event intended to honor those killed or injured cycling on roadways.

I participated last year and was marked by the ride. It’s a rather eery experience when a few hundred normally chattery cyclists string out along the road for a completely silent, solemn parade. Other than the whir of tires, ratcheting of freehubs, or squeals of wet, longbike disc brakes (sorry about that), it really is a ride of silence.

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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

With Kids, Sometimes We Ride on the Sidewalk

Sometimes We take the SidewalkBike to School Month is in full swing. The racks have been full this past week despite the rainy weather. This hardy group of riders doesn’t mind biking in the rain. Way to go.

The increased number of pedalers around the school means a few biker, non-biker conflicts. We’re learning from each other and need to keep an open dialog so we can live harmoniously on the shared streets and sidewalks.

One recent conflict surrounded whether or not bikes belong on the sidewalk.  In King County, bikes are allowed on the sidewalk as long as they follow the rules of the road and the sidewalk. Continue reading

News Flash! Cars are expensive

This just in: driving a car costs a whole bunch of money. Crazy as it may sound to all eight of our car-loving readers, puttin’ the pedal to the metal isn’t quite as cost effective as actually pedaling.

This according the American Public Transportation Association’s Transit Savings Report. They looked at what a car costs  to own and run (the whole deal from buying it, maintaining it, parking, registration, insurance and more) and then compared that with what transit use would cost the same family.

The PI says in Seattle such a comparison nets a$10,483 savings for those chucking their car keys. And that’s for transit use. A bicycle switchover would probably fare even better. Pretty impressive.

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Ten Days with the Madsen Kg271 Bucket Bike

Warning. This post is loooong. Tim and Anne co-wrote it. Singly they tend toward verbosity. Together? Oy. Maybe grab a cup of coffee or beer before you start.

Probably the best thing about this little bike blog thing is all the great people we’ve met. Folks like David and Stephan from Dutch Bike, Marge (who we’ve yet to physically meet, but I’m sure we will some day), Marcus  and Elliot from Austin on Two Wheels, Val, and more. It’s been a great ride.

One of our newest blog buddies, George loaned us his Madsen KG271 (you know, the long bike with the big bucket on the back) for a 10-day testing stint.

Full disclosure: George is friends with the owner of the company and asked us if we’d give his own personal Madsen a try and share our impressions. He didn’t ask for any sugar coating, and it’s a good thing. Tim’s not real good at being sweet.

Over the course of a week and a pair of weekends, we both had the opportunity to ride the Madsen as part of our daily routines (where we normally ride our Xtracycles and Anne’s Oma), as well as on a couple special-purpose, made-for-Madsen adventures. Tim picked up bags of compost; Anne transported three kids home from school. We even had some of our bikey neighbors take it for a spin. Overall, the idea was to see how this one bike (in one size, shared by two people of very different size) could fit into this bike life we’ve built for ourselves.

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