Author Archives: Tim K

REI dishonors the dead with new “Ghost Bike” brand

REI ghost bike graphic

Ghost Bike: A ghost bike, ghostcycle or WhiteCycle is a bicycle set up as a roadside memorial in a place where a cyclist has been killed or severely injured (usually by a motor vehicle).[1][2] Apart from being a memorial, it is usually intended as a reminder to passing motorists to share the road. Ghost bikes are usually junk bicycles painted white, sometimes with a placard attached, and locked to a suitable object close to the scene of the accident.

For the past few years REI (Recreational Equipment, Inc) has been on a mad tear to show they are a legit player in the urban biking business. They’ve made some good city bikes, some functional and affordable bags, rain gear and so on. They teach classes on urban riding and give money to the right bike organizations.

They look to be as they claim — legit urban riders. Continue reading

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Book Review: Washington Cycling Sojourner

Walk-in (ride in) campsite at San Juan County Park

An early-years, Carfreedays family tour, camped at San Juan County Park.

edit: Book Party! Book-Release event for Washington Cycling Sojourner at Washington Bikes in Pioneer Square. 5:30pm May 1. Details & RSVP at WA Bikes. 

The  family just returned from a spring-break, car-camping trip to Yosemite National Park. While the park was beyond beautiful, the amount of time spent in the car (and in close proximity to other car campers and RVers who don’t exactly share our “don’t bring everything you own” ethos), had us longing for a another bike tour.

As you may remember, we rode the Pacific Coast Bike Route over the course of the past two summers. The big adventure was, well, adventurous, and highly recommended, but this year we’ve promised the kids we’ll stick close to home for the summer (they mentioned something about friends and beaches and lemonade stands. Hmmm….).

cycling sojournerLuckily, we’ve got loads of awesome bike touring and camping starting right outside our door and extending through out the state. In fact, there’s so much good riding here, that it’s easy to get overwhelmed with dreamy but vague potential, and fall back to the standards (our usual Mukilteo-Whidbey-Port Townsend-Bainbridge loop is always enjoyable, but getting a tad long in to the tooth). That’s why the timing of Ellee Thalheimer’s, (kickstarter funded!) new bike touring guide, Washington Cycling Sojourner is so excellent.

For just about anyone hoping to bike-tour Washington, Thalheimer’s guide is sure to contain a ride matched to your skills, interest, and available time. She even includes a route finder grid aimed at helping you choose the most appropriate tour. Continue reading

reBertha: What To Do With Our Very Large Hole

photo modified under Creative Commons. Original available on flickr from the WaDOT (http://www.flickr.com/photos/wsdot/8260834957/in/set-72157631880763139)
As you’ve probably heard, our tortured tunneling titan, Bertha “the world’s largest and most expensive tunneling machine,” hasn’t moved in more than a month.

Armchair speculation says she’s likely over budget and certainly behind schedule.

I think it’s safe to say things are a mess.  Many of us alternative transportation nerds advocates have been against this mega project debacle since the beginning.  A mere $2.8B to move some cars at roughly the same speed and efficiency as if we tore down the doomed Alaska Way Viaduct and did nothing? “Sure that sounds like a great investment (air quotes over the great),” was my reaction all along.

Tweet: Bertha's Budget Busted

Nobody official wants to speak publicly about the growing quagmire, probably because the State and the contractor, Seattle Tunnel Partners, are busy lining up their litigation teams for the lawsuit(s) of the century.

Meanwhile the same state leaders glady supporting the motor-vehicle-only tunnel also think that investing in bike and transit infrastructure is too expensive and/or too socialist. Right….

So it’s tempting (oh so tempting!) to play I-told-you-so and draft an initiative to require all State Legislators to write suitably conciliatory, daisy-scented, “I’m sorry” notes to hero tunnel obstructionist/former Mayor McGuin.

Bertha's Junk. A creative commons photo from the Washington State Department of Transportation http://www.flickr.com/photos/wsdot/11828410274/in/set-72157631880763139/lightbox/

Bertha’s Junk

As much as I’d like to see how a liberal Tim Eyeman-style effort would play out in Ephrata, we’re instead going to join the moral-high ground freshly shoveled in by Tom over at the Seattle Bike Blog. In a post Thursday morning entitled “We can do better things with our new downtown tunnel,” he’s calling for a positive spin to install on our sinking Titantic. Continue reading

2013: A drive to Oakland and rest days in Bay Area

previous post: Seattle to Portland

Days 4, 5, 6 and 7: Portland to Oakland in a minivan then a few rest days in the Bay Area

2 tandems in a minivan

Not much to report about our drive from Portland to Oakland except that two tandems and four people really do fit in a minivan. And driving is tiring. And the kids complained more on our 11 hour drive than they did riding in the pouring down rain on the highway for an entire day. Continue reading

Talk about Walk & Bike to School programs Thurs!

Walk.Bike.Schools!
Walk.Bike.Schools! is a blog,  meeting (7pm Thursday @ Bryant Elementary library) and (hopefully) a movement to support and encourage parents and kids walking and biking to school.

Our mission (though calling it such seems a little grand right now) is to build a network of parents, neighbors, members of school communities, and yes, students, who can share ideas and energy around the goal of encouraging more kids and families to bike to school—at least some of the time.

Our loose group of ~6-8 parents has been reasonably successful—Bryant won SDOT’s Golden Shoe award for the largest number of students regularly arriving on foot or bike last year. But we know things could be so much better if we could tap into the collective intelligence of other bike and walk programs in our city and learn what as worked (and not worked) elsewhere. Continue reading

Seattle Neighborhood Greenways Action is Afoot (and a-Bicycle, for that matter)

(edit:I’ve been told that a shared definition of a Neighborhood Greenway would be helpful for some readers. We’re working toward  our “ideal vision” but in the meantime check out the “What is a neighborhood Greenway” section in this post by Sally Bagshaw for the basics. -Tim)

The Carfreedays family is jumping into the hotbed of Seattle Greenways grass-roots activism and joining up with our neighbors in NE Seattle on the NE Greenways project!

Greenways fit with the kind of riding we do (parent and kid-powered transportation), and c0uld really be the key resource for making it safer and easier for kids all over this city to skip the minivan and ride bikes or walk to school!

Bike Train to Bryant ElementaryWe don’t claim to be Greenways experts but we have some strong feelings, nonetheless. We’ve been riding around Seattle for longer than we’d like to admit. We know this city pretty well. We know the terrain and the people and the baggage that comes with both. And we’ve been avidly riding the streets of PDX on visits for the past five years or so. We aren’t Stumptown natives by any stretch, but we have more than a passing familiarity of what it feels like to ride the Green Streets of our fair neighbor. Continue reading

Grand-mère rocks the folding-bike wheelie

Daily Bike surfaced this beauty with the title “Most Awesome Wheelie ever.” While I won’t disagree with that assessment, I can’t help but notice the photo is chock-a-block full of awesomeness (like most-awesome everyday-cycling role model, most-active grandma, best Parisian folding-bike wheelie, and best Parisian cargo-bike wheelie, for starters).

Je tire mon casquette à vous grand-mère!

-Tim

Via Adventure Journal and biCyCle Store Paris. Holler if credit should be applied elsewhere.

Grab a sitter, Shirley, it’s Pedal Party time!

What, you haven’t been to an afterparty since before you had the kids?

Lucky for you, our buddy Ryan, AKA Go Means Go, is throwing down his  a 3rd-annual Pedal Party, an essential post-Expo opportunity to shed your Cascade-mandated yellow jacket, helmet and clicky shoes to slip into some sexy partywear (or at least some clean skinny jeans with a rolled up right leg) and SHAKE IT. Continue reading

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

RIP: Val Kleitz helped us all stay “rubber side down”

We got the sad news tonight that Val Kleitz  (ie, Bike Pilot, the Instigator, Rolling Jackass, Dreadnought,  former owner of Bike Smith, and all around amazing spirit), died Wednesday at age 51.

Val had been fighting cancer for about two years.

If you knew Val, even a little, then you know what kind of loss this is. And if you don’t know Val, here’s a little story.

My earliest memories of Val are tied to fast road bikes and hot pink Lycra spandex, circa 1990.

Continue reading