Now that our kids are getting older, they don’t always ride on the back of the Xtracycles. They are both confident road riders and are quite capable of riding their own bikes. But, sometimes they take a ride on the Snapdeck. Usually because it’s night or we’re traveling farther than they think they can ride or our destination requires pedaling on busy roads or they just feel like chilling on the back of the bike with a book.
When they choose to be a Snapdeck passenger, I usually tell them to wear running shoes. Cause even the most seasoned Snapdeck rider needs to get off, stretch his/her legs and take a little run from time to time:
Around here, we’re mad for smoothies. The youngest doesn’t want to get dressed until he’s had his blended concoction of mangoes, raspberries and bananas. And who can blame him? If your parents offered to make you a smoothie nearly every day of your life, you’d take ’em up on it, right?
Besides being wonderful parents and frozen-food gourmets, we’re also a little nuts for bikes. So it wasn’t much of a leap to decide to combine our passions into one Xtracycle-flavored taste explosion.
Of course, the easiest way to join these loves would be to get out the plastic and order a Fender Blender from Rock the Bike. These HPB (human-powered blenders) are much-loved by the kind of Xtracyclers you’ll often see lingering, sweaty, around large piles of fruit at the Bicycle Music Festival, Burning Man, and various bikey celebrations. I’ve tasted the results of such purchased efforts and unfortunately, while the smoothies taste delicious, they are really tainted by the same bitter aftertaste that comes with buying most commercially produced goods.
So, no, in my quest for a pure smoothie, I wanted to skip the commercialism, re-purpose items from our garage and kitchen (items that I’ve already paid the aftertaste tax on), flex my languishing DIY skills, and see if I could take the bike blender power to 11.
In the end I spent more time on the project than I expected, but the resulting efforts were worth it. We turned this:
Interested in building your own mobile blender? Read on…
When I was in graduate school and working in an undergraduate library, “Mountains Beyond Mountains” by Tracy Kidder was the required “Common Book ” for all UW freshman. Me, as a good librarian, and Anne as a member of the extended campus community, chose to read along. It wasn’t long before we found ourselves touched deeply by the story of Haiti, Farmer, and his organization PIH. Continue reading →
When the already short Seattle days end at 4:18 pm (the earliest of the year!), the window for an after-school tree-gathering-family-bike adventure is small.
We tried to grab the kids right after school, bundle them up in extra (or is it Xtra) layers and hustle our way over to the local summer berry stand/temporary pumpkin patch/Christmas tree oasis while the feeble sun still shone.
Though we did our best to make our selection in the waning light and hightail it home before everyone turned into a Popsicle, it wasn’t meant to be. Not to point fingers, but damn, those kids are picky. I think we liked it better when they didn’t get to vote. Instead, we shivered up a storm while we picked up, fondled, and rated what seemed like every Noble Fir on the block. I finally stepped in with fatherly veto power to break a three-way tie (no surprise to anyone who knows me: The winner was $11 cheaper) and get us on our way with a minimum of bloodshed.
Then it was on the bike for a should-be-quick trip home in the dark. And Did I mention it was cold?
Hell yes. We even resorted to ducking into a Starbucks for cocoa and cider so the kids’ little piggies could thaw out before the final leg home.
Said Fir now sits in a bucket, hydrating in preparation for its month on stage in the lights. And me? I’m already over the voting scandal and looking forward to the fourth anniversary adventure.
We miss election day. Most of you probably voted weeks ago and we’re just getting around to opening our ballots. It’s not the same since Washington went to an all-mail system.
So it’s probably not to going to help most of you that we’re putting in a last minute endorsement in our otherwise a apolitical blog for Mayoral Candidate Mike “bikes” McGinn.
As you expect, our pro-bike support of the pro-bike candidate is pretty obvious. Joe Mallahan also makes it an easy choice for a family who takes their voting seriously. Even if Mallahan didn’t promise to run the city like a phone company, he’d still fall short with us for his personal voting track record.
The fact that he’s missed 13 (thirteen!) elections since 2001 means we won’t be sending any hanging chads in his direction (Susan Hutchison, by the way has fared poorly, missing eight in the same time period).
You may have different hot-buttons and may make other election choices; that’s OK with us at Car Free Days.. Just whatever you do, don’t be like Joe and Susan. Vote. Make your voice heard.
I’m a little behind on my blog / RSS reading (like 6-9 months, oops) so maybe this one has been all over the Inter-Webs. But even if it has, I don’t care. I love it and I’m posting it here anyway.
Nate Byerley, CEO of Xtracycle, spent some time filming his daughter Davis and their commute to school on a PeaPod (child seat) -equipped Xtracycle. The result is the perfect video to share with anyone who wonders why children should be transported by bike.
Watch and then answer me this: Have you ever seen such joy (“I see a kitty! … Scream with me!”) from ANY child strapped into a video screen-equipped mini van or SUV?
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Bikes are better!
An Every Day Adventure at the Bicycle Music Festival
We just returned from a day of family Xtracycling. If you’d asked where we were going when we left the house, we probably would have mentioned something about the Bicycle Music Festival. Sure that’s where we were headed, but in reality we were out for a dose of every day cycling adventure.
In the course of an hour or so on the bikes we picked up the youngest from a play date, helped a friend install a basketball hoop, took some photos, stopped at the library, saw a ton of boats and houseboats, took some more photos, and picked up some excellent free stuff on the road near said houseboats (some BRAND NEW Ikea LED lights plus some high-quality nickel-plated light fixtures with sconces that will go nicely in our bathroom. SCORE!)!
Maybe it’s the way it changed from tank-top weather to sweater weather in about two hours this afternoon. Or maybe it’s the way I’ve decided that lights are now a prudent addition to my evening commutes.
Whatever the reason, the Car Free Days family is feeling some serious pressure to do something, anything, fun in the last couple weeks of summer.
Luckily for us, the Seattle bike scene has stepped up to provide some pretty family friendly, bike on music action this weekend. Continue reading →
For those of you who were wondering, no, the heat wave hasn’t lasted three weeks. We’ve just been lazy bloggers of late!
We recently returned from a fantastic short bike camping trip with our kids. Tim and I haven’t been bike touring in 15 years. Not sure why, I guess we just haven’t made it a priority. Our kids are now old enough to carry some of their own weight (both on and off the bike) so we decided to give it a whirl.
Our destination: Lopez island in the San Juan Islands, a classic Northwest bike tour. The San Juan Islands are touring gems, and for good reason. Scenery is beautiful, the ferries make it fun and convenient to shuttle between the islands, people are friendly, and if you choose the right islands and the right route, the hills aren’t too bad. Best of all, once you’ve unloaded from the ferry and lets the high-speed hordes roar past, you’re free to roam on relatively traffic-free roads. Continue reading →
Tim has been combing craigslist for the past six months looking for some inflatable kayaks that we can haul to the lake on the Xtracycles. We used to own sea kayaks before we had kids but sold them a few years ago. Loading and unloading the kayaks on the car and driving a mile to the lake was never worth the effort for us and we didn’t use them that often. It wasn’t that hard for us to let them go.
Still looking for a way to escape the beach crowds during the warm summer months, inflatables that can be hauled on the bikes seemed like a good solution for our summer boating needs. These inflatables aren’t going to get us to the San Juans, but are perfect for floating around the lake with the kids on a hot day.Continue reading →
Car Free Days is provided “AS IS” with no warranties, expressed or implied. Riding your bike is serious stuff. Riding with kids even more so (but always better than riding in a car). Obtain proper training, use a helmet, ride smart, have fun, wear clean underpants when appropriate (but not under cycling shorts!), laugh a lot, and whenever possible, stay out of cars.
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