Monthly Archives: September 2011

Learning advanced bike skills. Or look Mom, no hands!

Maybe some of you parents can relate. One day your kid is on training wheels or a balance bike, the next they decide they can ride no hands.

It starts out simple enough–one hand up for a split second (see “the beginner in the video). Then two (for a split, split second). They start stretching it out. Longer and longer. The wobbles get bigger, and more dangerous because they aren’t going too fast to start out with and usually stop pedaling as soon as the hands come off. But still they wait even longer before returning to the safety of hands on. Eventually, they’ll realize speed is a good thing. It stabilizes the bike. But until they do … yikes.

The boy right now is in the early stretching-out stage. And it scares the crap out of me. Continue reading


10 days, 3 Bikes, 2 Adults, 2 Kids: A Family Bike Adventure

Note: the following is the initial account of our summer family bike tour. If we were good bloggers we would have shared with you along the way. But instead we chose to be good bike tourists and (mostly) disconnect. And then we returned home and started the “back to school” cycle. So we’re a little late (and as you’ll see, there’s nothing unusual about that), but we think worth sharing anyway. We’ll add more installments over the next couple weeks.

The boy is readyIt’s 4:00 PM on August 13th and we’re finally ready to head out on our first substantial (multiple days, 200 mile) family bike tour.

Starting point: our house in Northeast Seattle
Destination: the San Juan Islands, eventually.
Bikes: 1 tandem with front and rear paniers, 1 kid bike with token rear paniers, and a Big Dummy loaded down with most of the gear
Transportation modes: Pedal power, assisted by state, county and private  ferries.

After several days of bike upgrades and maintenance, endless laundry and packing, we were finally ready to roll. Our dog/house sitter arrived and settled in for her week+ stay.

We planned to ride 13 miles to Edmonds, catch the ferry to Kingston, then pedal 12 miles to Kitsap Memorial State Park. We said our goodbyes, then pedaled out of the driveway heading in the direction of Edmonds.Geared up and ready to ride Sure, our departure was about four hours later than planned, but so what. We were on the road.

And we made it about a block and a half. Seriously.

Though we thought we packed light, our bikes felt like RVs.  The kids were moving even slower than usual. Uh-oh. Was this such a  good idea?

That one long block made us realize 5-10 MPH would not get us to Kitsap Memorial before dark, especially with the threat of rain and darkness. Had we been kid-less (or just hauling them on the Xtracycles) we could have made it in time, even with the late start. But as a full pedaling family? No way.

Consider this reset expectation number one.

So now we’re not even out of the neighborhood and we needed a place to sleep that didn’t feel like defeat. Because our dog sitter was at our house, we couldn’t tuck tail and go home even if we wanted to. We had to go forward. Somewhere. Continue reading

Val’s Memorial Ride and Wake (Labor Day cargo bike ride)

Gathering at 2020 Cycles

Val (in the hat) at the start of 2008 Labor Day ride at 20/20 Cycle

As many of you know, Val Kleitz was a driving force for the Seattle holiday cargo bike rides. For us, he was the spirit of cargo bikes in general. So it’s quite fitting that this year’s Labor Day cargo ride is honoring Val as a memorial ride.

The Labor Day ride traditionally runs (very roughly) from 20/20 Cycle on Union  St. to Cowen Park in Ravenna. Plan on a slow, cargo-and-kid-friendly pace. Make sure you carry enough in the way of food, beverages, and picnic supplies. Just in case!

We’re hoping to see a lot local riders and family cyclists showing support for Val’s memory, as well as enjoying some transportation cycling on a lovely day.  As always, a cargo bike is Not Required (If you are hauling yourself, you’re hauling a load!). So come on out and join the pallet.

Details: Meet at 20/20 cycles (2020 East Union) noon Monday. The Pallet leaves at 1:00 and should take about 90 minutes to arrive at the Cowen/Ravenna park picnic shelter. Later Monday night is a wake for Val at Pike Brewery.

More details about both events here….

See you there!

-Tim & Anne