I think I’ve mentioned one or two (or a hundred) times over the past seven years that I’m a bike to school advocate. If you’ve been reading Car Free Days for any amount of time, you’ve most likely surmised that I’m a tiny bit passionate about encouraging kids and families to bike and walk to school.
One message I’ve repeated over the years is how easy it is to bike and walk to school. Since my first kid started pre-school in 2004, I’ve talked about the simplicity and the joy and the fun of biking to school with kids.
But lately, I’ve started to wonder about the ease of this whole bike-to-school thing. Continue reading
Posted in alternative transportation, bigger than here, bikes, Everyday Biking, extravehicular activities, family cycling, neighborhoods, School, sustainability
Tagged bigger than here, bike advocate, bike to school mom, bike-to-school, looking back, mom, reflection
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). 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
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….).
Luckily, 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
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.
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.
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
Happy Holidays! It’s time for our seventh-annual Christmas-tree hauling post. You’re probably bored of our tree-hauling exploits at this point. But it’s a tradition so we’re sharing anyway!
Last year our friend, Charlotte, suggested that the kids need to start hauling the tree. And since our daughter now fits Anne’s bikes, Tim floated the idea by her a couple of weeks ago. As a new 13 year old, she’s lukewarm about even riding bikes, let alone hauling trees on bikes in public, where, you know, like, her friends and, like, the whole world might see her!
So we weren’t surprised then with her less-than-enthusiastic response.
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?
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
If you’ve been reading our blog for any amount of time, you probably know that Tim is DIY guy. From customizing bikes to making stoves to making a camera stick, Tim likes to make and do things himself. He rarely hires out work that he knows how to do himself. Because he’s a perfectionist. And he’s cheap. And he likes DIY projects. And I love those qualities in him. Continue reading
Posted in bike touring, bikes, Pacific Coast Bike Tour
Tagged 2013, acapaccoast, bike touring, bikes, CA, carfreedays, family bike touring, Family Cycling, kids, OR, Pacific Coast Bike Tour, shipping tandem, tandem, tandem bike box, tandem bike tour, tandem shipping, two tandem bike tour
previous post: Day 26 in a San Diego Hotel (Neuroses of a Bike Touring Mom)
Day 26: Downtown San Diego to Border Field State Park (and back)
Since I already shared my early morning neuroses, you know that I did not wake up feeling relaxed on the final day of the trip. Who has time to relax at the end of a long adventure?
Still so much to do:
- Ride 17 miles to the border to “finish” our tour
- Get a bike box
- Pick up a rental car
- Take apart a couple of large bikes
- Wrestle two large bikes into a box and pack/protect them for a long journey
- Load the rental car with bike parts that are not going in the box along with all of our panniers etc
- Drop huge bike box at the shipper
- Do laundry
- Take the kids to the San Diego Zoo
- Take the girl shopping for some normal (non-bike-touring) clothes
The largest and most daunting task: all of the steps involving prepping and shipping two large tandems to Seattle. Continue reading
Posted in bikes, Pacific Coast Bike Tour
Tagged "family bike tour", 2013, acapaccoast, bike tour, bike touring, bikes, Border Field State Park, CA, carfreedays, family bike touring, Family Cycling, kids, Pacific Coast Bike Tour, San Diego, tandem, tandem bike tour, two tandem bike tour
Previous post: Pacific Coast Bike Tour Day 25: San Elijo to San Diego
Day 26: Waking up in a plush San Diego Hotel
I woke up on Day 26 of our tour at 7:00 AM. Bing. I was instantly awake. And everyone else was asleep. I was alone with my thoughts. And my brain started buzzing right away with so many random thoughts about all that we needed to take care of:
Where am I? Oh, right, I’m here in this plush hotel room.
We made it. I can’t believe we made it. Tim’s knees survived. 850+ miles in 3 weeks. With our kids! We really did it. The Pacific Coast in two summers. We’re finally here.
These sheets are nice. I’m so glad I’m not in a tent right now. No more stinky tent. No more skanky campground showers. I really hate showering at campgrounds. The dampness. The dirty floors. The gross shower curtains. Where do I hang my clothes? The quarters. I hate wearing flip-flops in the shower. I can’t wait to take another shower in this nice bathroom. It’s luxurious. And the water doesn’t turn off after 3 minutes. It’s clean. I really do like these sheets, I should get new sheets when we get home. Continue reading
Posted in bike touring, bikes, Pacific Coast Bike Tour
Tagged 2013, acapaccoast, bike touring, bikes, CA, carfreedays, family bike touring, Family Cycling, hotel, kids, mom, Pacific Coast Bike Tour, planning, random, tandem, tandem bike tour, thoughts, two tandem bike tour
Previous post: Pacific Coast Bike Tour Day 24: Doheny State Beach to San Elijo
Day 25: San Elijo State Beach to San Diego
Fourth of July, what better day to finish our tour? We certainly didn’t plan to arrive in San Diego on the quintessential American summer holiday, it just worked out that way.
Fourth of July meant a festive mood in the campground. The beach (just beyond the chain-link fence separating our campsite from the ocean) was hopping by 6:30 AM. Early morning surfers, campers staking out their Fourth of July beach spots and passing trains made it difficult to catch morning shut-eye. No snoozing for us! It was time to get up and finish this tour. Continue reading
Posted in bikes, Pacific Coast Bike Tour
Tagged 2013, acapaccoast, bike tour, bike touring, bikes, CA, carfreedays, family bike touring, Family Cycling, finish, Fourth of July, July, kids, Pacific Coast Bike Tour, San Diego, tandem, tandem bike tour, two tandem bike tour