Category Archives: safety gear

Bike Lights that Last Forever, a Kickstarter Campaign

Can you believe it’s already fall? Seattle has been hit by some nasty weather this fall: rain, clouds and wind storms. And most disturbing of all, darkness! Time to start pulling out our bike lights.

What type of lights do you use?

Anne's got the cinder block

Even though we talk about upgrading to generator lights, we haven’t made the leap yet. We’re still using battery-powered lights. And not even bike-specific battery-powered lights, we use a variety of AA flashlights that we connect to our handlebars with DIY guy’s signature re-used/re-purposed inner tube mounts.

Bike Light Kickstarter

We’re not serial product testers and endorsers here at Car Free Days. We don’t blindly endorse every Kickstarter campaign that shows up in our inbox. In fact, the last time we got excited about a Kickstarter campaign, we were emotionally attached (a documentary by one of the Xtracycle founders). It’s been two years already and so far, the promised movie has yet to materialize.

That said, the latest Kickstarter campaign we’ve been asked to review looks pretty good. These guys have a track record for delivering on time and as promised. Continue reading

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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

Leaf-Blower Elegance in a Bike-friendly Package

Oma TankerAs most of you know by now, the team at Car Free Days is involved in an outright crusade to drive less and ride more. So far it’s been great. We’ve been riding (our Xtracycles and Anne’s Oma, mostly) nearly everywhere we need to go.

Those of you adept at reading through the lines, however, have probably noticed a little discord along the way. There was our son’s brush with hypothermia on the New Years cargo bike ride. There were challenging logistics for a 10pm wedding reception in Auburn. And we still get grief for the 50″ Plasma we scratched the crap out of hauling it home from Costco on the Xtracycles. And yes, the hills. Always the damn hills.

In many cases, my friends, pure people power isn’t the only answer.

We’ve dabbled with the idea of powering our Xtracycles with a Stokemonkey. Everyone we know who’s used one loves it. And Todd at Clever Cycles is a total peach. Really, the Stokemonkey is a perfect product, save one major shortcoming: They run on electricity. Franky, we just can’t condone the wasteful use of electrons wondering if perhaps a salmon got trapped behind a dam or a seagull met its demise at the blade of a wind turbine.

Though people can overlook such negatives, we at Car Free Days like to think our moral junk is of a stiffer quality than average. So that’s meant schellping our damn kids up the damn hills on our damn bikes with only our damn legs to thank.

Until now…

Continue reading

Val thinks you really need to see this

Val, our cargo bike mentor, sent us this video yesterday saying it was the best safety video ever. The black light hot pants are a little much for our taste, but they get the point across.

The song just might be stuck in your head all day after watching it – thanks Val!

– Anne and Tim

Let’s Get Visible video from VACC, Momentum Magazine and B:C:Clettes via Val.

Dexter Darkness brings Danger

night ride on the oma

Anne's Oma with generator hub is always ready for dark

I’m not sure exactly when it happened, but my evening commute has quickly slipped into darkness. My inherent laziness means I never took the lights off my Xtracycle but unfortunately it’s looking like few of the city’s bike commuters are on the same legacy lighting program. Continue reading