Tag Archives: shopping

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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Pt. 3 Building a kid’s bike that doesn’t suck: Tires

Continued from the series of posts: Kids’ Bikes: They suck and what you can do about it. I started this “series” back in Dec. and then sort of fell off track as things melted down at work.  As we’re heading into prime kid-biking season I figured I should dust off the drafts and get the info out there where it might do some good.

It’s possible experienced wrenchers may find this a bit too detailed. If that’s the case, visit the flickr stream for quick some ideas and examples.

marathon2By  far, tires caused me the most trouble during this project.

I like to think I’m a pretty savvy cookie when it comes to bike parts. I’ve been around them a long time — as a DIYer and a shop rat.  And on top of that, I’m a librarian so I know how to handle a search engine. But dang, these 24″ tires are difficult.

Limited choices + confusing sizes

The legendary Sheldon Brown illustrated the problem quite clearly in the following chart: Continue reading

Trader Joe’s

via YouTube from carlsfinefilms

Tim and I often profess our love for Trader Joe’s on this blog. We mostly enjoy talking about how much we spend there and how much of that overspending we can fit on our bikes. I’d say I’m not quite a number 2, but almost. I really do love my family a lot so I can’t say I love Trader Joe’s more.

I did chuckle a few times while watching the video. Most of the reasons in the catchy jingle do it for me.

But the one I don’t have to worry about is, “It’s the cars that don’t fit in the parking lot”

The U District Trader Joe’s has plenty of bike parking right out front. There’s always an open rack spot when I roll up. And I get to listen to the guy playing violin while I lock up my bike. All in all a pleasant shopping experience.

– Anne

btw – for those of you who are getting sick of me and miss Tim’s perspective, he promises he’ll post soon.  ; – )

My New Red Basket Rules

I love my new red basket

Tim spent a couple of hours last weekend lovingly painting my new front basket cherry red. It looks great. Tim, you do good work– and you’re the best. Continue reading

Pedaling for Food

Whole Foods Grocery Run

The question I get asked most often about our “biking lifestyle” is: How do you grocery shop on your bike? Do you shop every day? Can you really carry enough for a family of four? I think people can wrap their brains around getting from here to there, but dealing with the stuff is a whole ‘nother thing. It just seems too daunting. Continue reading

Xtracycle Stoker Stems

Cheap-ass stoker stem on my Xtracycle

I covered stoker bars a while ago. That was a cop-out because the bar is the easy part. Almost anything will work (chopped off mountain bike bar, old BMX bars, Albatross, whatever). The hard part is mounting the bar in such a way that the passenger’s nose is not stuffed into the rider’s butt.

Continue reading

Buy Nothing Day

For the past few years, Tim and I have silently observed Buy Nothing Day. I was very excited to read of an event (via Bike Hugger) encouraging active participation. Aarons Bicycle Repair, Seattle’s leading Xtracycle dealer, is leading a HOT STUFF Cargo Bike Ride to remind us all to get out of stores and onto our bikes.

I know we won’t be seeing Tim’s shopaholic sister there, but how about you? Does your city have an event? Tell us about it!

– Anne

I ♥ my Wald Front Basket

My xtracycle, my basket, and suzzallo library

After date night, I attended an amazing lecture by Lawrence Lessig at Kane Hall. On the way home, when I should have been thinking about things like hybrid companies, government regulation, and our broken intellectual property system, I found myself moved to conduct an impromptu bike-basket photoshoot. As much as I wanted concentrate on Supercapitalism, etc, I was smitten by the beauty and function embodied in my Wald #585! Continue reading

Trader Joes: $187.93

Big Grocery Load at Trader Joes

…contrary to our cashier’s expectations, we got the whole mammoth cart on the bikes with room to spare. The first time we did this we spent as much time packing the bikes as we did shopping. But as the weeks go by, we’re getting faster and finding we have room for more. Once the sideloaders reach a certain “fullness” I can’t resist stuffing them to make it all worthwhile (twice I’ve sent Anne back for more beer). We’re learning some tricks on that front. (A bakfiets would would be the ultimate in easy packing, but talking to Todd at Clever Cycles it’s probably too darn hilly here.)

And who would have thought the Wald basket, while cool in an old-fashioned-paperboy way, would represent a packing revelation? This little 14x9x9 beauty holds cameras, beer, wine, coffee cups, sweaters, gloves, hats, lunch, stuffed pink piggies, American Girl dolls, and the occasional U-lock. Once again, those guys at Rivendell are onto something simple that works fantastically. When Anne gets the rigid fork on her Xtra, she’s getting a Wald, too.

Check the the thumbnail image for some packing details.

xtracycle at TJs - detailed packing info

-Tim