Thursday, May 24, 2012

I am a Seattle Met Magazine Pedal Pusher!

This is my profile from a Seattle Met Magazine article titled Pedal Pushers.  I love the art and I love that the artist put me on a nicer bike then the one I actually ride.  Big thanks to Seattle Met.  Big thanks to the artist who made that cute picture and to the writer who listened to me gab about myself!  

Thursday, May 17, 2012

New Seat & Sunshine: It's Time to Ride

Final Details for the Test Run

I decided to put a Yepp seat on the back of my bike. I had an unexpected home repair and that took precedence over a new bike.  I don’t really need a new bike, I want a new bike, a very light weight bike.  What I get is my old bike and a new seat and that is ok.

For the most part I like the Yepp seat. I thought I bought the gray one but the one that came out of the box was orange. That was a nice surprise because not only can you see it better, orange is my favorite color. 

One reader suggested I pull a Weehoo trailer bike.  I like those but in my opinion, my son is a still to small, maybe next year.

We had a test run so that I could gage my center of balance and my strength. My son enjoyed the ride.  One big difference between the front mount seat and the back mounted seat is that..., it is hard to explain. There is a bit more of a disconnect then when he was on the front of my bike. I miss things that my son is telling me about. He misses things that I see.  We do not see the same things.  I have a forward perspective and he has a side view.

My son will say, “What’s that car?” I cannot see where he is pointing and I have already passed by the car. The question gets answered with an, “I do not know." 

Some stuff he says I cannot hear at all. This might get better with time. For me, one of the joys of the bike commute is spending time with my son and that includes the conversations. I hope it is a leaning curve thing. 

To attached the Yepp seat, we took the bike bag and mount off the back of the bike. I considered biking to work this week and it hit me that I no-longer have a way to transport stuff. 

I bought a bike basket and I am happy with it. The day after I attached my bike basket, one reader sent me a link to instructions to attach 5 gallon buckets to a bike. I will say, this is a GREAT idea.  Bike stuff really is not cheap. What I see in stores is well designed and well made and pretty easy to implement, but pricey. I don’t even want to put in print what I spent on the bike basket.

Were Back on the Road.
On the test run, I got my son on the bike. I got on the bike. We had our helmets and sunshine and I pushed-off. It felt great, moving through the fresh air and I was surprised at a little sense of freedom I experienced. Over the winter months I forgot how great it felt to ride. The sensation was such a surprise that I had to check in to make sure I as not missing something. It was like I needed an extra strap or something to restrict me. But no, we were all good to go, I had honestly forgotten the joy of riding a bike. 

Another surprise, this is so naive that I feel dumb even writing about this, the more I attach to my bike, the heaver it is.  Crazy, ah? I had to carry my bike up a few steps and it is heavy, noticeably much heaver than last year. 

With the new seat and the new basket, oh yes I also got a new helmet; I am technically ready to start my bike commute.  After my test run, I have the confidence I can do it. The weather is perfect. My time management and schedule coordination is really lacking. Solving this problem is my goal for the weekend. I am going to come up with a schedule and a plan to ride. I have to get up earlier, budget extra time for the first week (you never know) and it will take a while to figure out a bike-to-work wardrobe, deal with helmet hair but it will be great to get started.

Note: I was going to work from home tomorrow but with it being Bike to Work day and all, I better Bike to Work.  

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Another Procreation Technique Detected and Quashed: My Obsession with the Perfect Bike

Another Test Ride: The Beautiful Civia Loring
I have been obsessed with how to get myself one of those cargo bikes.  

It has still been a bit too chilly and rainy for me to ride but there was one nice day and as I left my building, I sure wish I had had my bike with me.  Even if I had my bike, it would not help because at this point, I cannot ride with my son.  I need a proper way to ride with him.  He has outgrown the ibert and I have not gotten anything new for him. 

There are a few reasons why I have not purchased the cargo bike.  First is that they cost a lot.  I figured I would buy a new bike this year but did not plan on spending $3,200 and I still have to add tax and a few accessories.  I also worry that the bike is not very flexible.  It weighs about one-hundred pounds and it is bulky.  It will not fit in or on our car and this is a problem if we want to get out of town and take our bikes.  I wonder how it will handle for the long-term and if it will get to heavy or just to much for me to want to hassle with.  I don’t know.  Honestly, after all that, I still want one.

I have talked to a couple people who are like, “Oh ya, I got a couple bikes that cost over three grand.  It’s all good.”  I was like, really?  People do that?  Once again, I am a bit naive.  They tell me one cargo bike is totally appropriate and a reasonable purchase.  Yet, I still have a hard time spending the cash.

While I am thinking about buying a bike, talking about buying a bike and writing about buying a bike I have noticed, I am not riding a bike.  The weather is getting better, it is lighter out later and any day, we might have a great day and I could have my first spring ride.  It is time for a reality check.

Riding with my son is really what this is about.  The cargo bike is perfect (I think) and I want so much to have my son riding in front.  I have written about how much I have enjoyed the ibert seat and having my son on my handlebars.  With my son in front, we are both engaged in the ride together and it is way to much fun. 

I want perfection but if I am not comfortable spending the money today and buying it today, why do I think I will be ok buying it in a week?  There is also a chance that I cannot get one, seems that people order and wait a long time for these bikes.  

I am also concerned that I am finding ways to foil myself.  Obsessing over a new bike is a way to procrastinate the spring bike commute.  Starting the bike commute is daunting.  I have to leave earlier.  I have to find bike-to-work outfits.  I don’t even want to think about helmet hair.  The benefits of the bike commute outweigh the these "hardships" but it is still kind of hard to get going.   

I decided to outfit my current bike with the Yepp seat for my son on the back.  It’s a good option for my current bike.  That way, if there is a good day, we can ride.  I will still look for a bike to replace my old bike and then I can transfer the seat to the new bike.

Next, I’ll wait for one of those nice weeks and see if I can rent a cargo bike for a few days and give it a real trial.  I am actually pretty excited for that.  I hope it goes well because I really want to buy the cargo bike. 

This ends my obsession about how to get a cargo bike.  I will still do research and I cannot wait for my cargo bike test drive. 

When biking with a child, I think that confident and steady is the way to ride and I will apply the same rules to buying a new bike.  No need to rush or obsess.  I’ll take my time and buy when I feel very confident about the purchase.  I still totally want a cargo bike.  

Monday, March 12, 2012

Test Drive: Cargo Bike

I went to Dutch Bike Co Seattle and test drove the Bakfiets Cargobike with my son.  I wanted to hate the Cargobike but I love it and it will work for want I want and what my goals are.

I am a bike cheapskate so this is totally out of my budget and it was not in the plan.  I am just starting to think about a Spring bike commute.  I wonder if a Box Bike is in the stares for me.

This bike is considered heavy but compared to my old bike, this bike is GREAT.  I even tried a hill and it was not too bad.

I am looking forward to Spring biking and a little blogging.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Riding the Bus: Biking Motivates other People to Bike

On the Bus
There is a lady who drops off her daughter at the same daycare and she is riding her bike a lot more than me.  I don't want to be competitive with the other parents because parenting is hard enough without 'keeping up with the Joneses' but when I see her riding her bike it makes me want to ride.  It is not so much as competition but if I call myself a blogging, bike-riding mom, I need to be on the bike.  

And so I have discovered that people out biking motivate other people to bike.  This blog keep me biking and other cyclists keep me motivated.  Lets see if I can get some bike riding done in November…

I am commuting on the bus more then commuting on my bike.  I rode the bike home yesterday and I had ridden it to work the week before.  I am a little surprised that I even consider riding in late October.  My son does fine in the cold weather.  He has a parka and puts his hands in his pockets. 

When I stand at the bus stop and see other people riding their bikes by I wish I were riding my bike.  Realistically, I want to be riding my bike in proper cold weather gear because my chic bike-to-work outfits are not holding up in cold weather.  I don’t want to go shopping for a cold weather riding gear and I don’t want to pay for cold weather gear.  I did go shopping for cute boots that keep my toes warm while waiting for the bus.  Maybe I need to make warm weather gear as much as a priority as cute boots.

I experience the over heating from the inside because I am working hard at riding and my warm jacket is keeping the very cold from the outside, out but not letting any of my heat out.  My leggens from Old Navy do not keep out the cold wind.  I now get cycle gear and I want some cycle gear.      

Monday, October 24, 2011

Bringing Home the Bread: The Bread Made It Home!

This photo is how I brought home ingredients and bread for dinner --potato leek soup.  I almost lost my leeks on the ride home.  Also in this pack is a lunch box and my purse.

I am thinking of using a milk-crate to transport this sort of stuff.  I used a milk-crate when I was a teenager and it worked great.

There is a store on my way home and a very nice bakery and I could have made stops on my route but I did not want to stop riding and unload my son on our way home.  I bought the bread and leeks on my lunch break.

I might try biking and shopping sometime.  Just to see how it goes.

Monday, October 17, 2011

My Blog, Your Kindle

I am feeling pretty tech savvy. This will not last long.  You can now get my blog on your Kindle.  There is a fee set by Amazon but not very much. Search for us in the Kindle store under blogs.

Cool Bike Stuff is Really Expensive

My New Gloves, My Big Splurge
I think that had I been in a bike shop before I started riding, I probably would not have started.

I went out to bike store to buy gloves for riding and thought I would browse the gear and new bikes and refine my wish list.  I have no good reason for wanting a new bike but that I am an american consumer and my bike is really old. I do have a really good reason for wanting some bike accessories, especially the bags that will help me transport all the stuff a toddler and a mom needs to get through the day.

I knew that this bike stuff was expensive but I was not prepared for how much things cost.  Wow.  It was pretty intimidating. I saw a green bike that I liked, I just thought it looked cool, it cost over $1,000. I did not even look close enough to see what it was all about, like if it was a street bike or racing bike or any of that stuff. I looked at a bike on the sale rack.  It was about $800.00 off but it still cost over $3000.00. It looked pretty fancy, more then I would need but I have to admit I was not prepared to see that price tag.

If I had a bike that cost that much, I am not sure how comfortable I would be leaving on the street.  I would be much more worried about it being stolen and that would take some of the fun out of biking.

I confirmed that the bags that I need (want) to transport stuff are about $165.00 plus the tax will cost me almost $200.00.  I am glad I was able to salvage the rack that the bag attach to, that rack costs about $60.00 new.  That $260.00 just for the rack and the bags and if you add a cheap bike lock you have dropped $300.00 and you do not have a bike.

I left the store with bike gloves.  They were $36.00 and I have a 30% off coupon.  I am glad I have the gloves and I am sure if I had the bags my riding would be easier and I would be happy I had them. I do not want to buy them and it would be very had to part with $200.00 in exchange for sacks to carry stuff.  I admit, nice sacks that are well made but still sacks.

To follow up, I look around on the internet and found bag for about 60.00 at Target.  Not as cool as the 200.00 set-up but I am not trying to prove anything here.  I also think it is worth looking for used stuff.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

I Wish I Had Ridden Today: Fall Riding is Possible

What do I write about now that I am not riding?

First, I wish I had ridden today.  It was stormy last night with rain and wind so I did not even consider riding this morning.  Although it is a crisp fall day there is no rain and it would have been nice to ride.  If it rains in the afternoon, I can leave my bike and bus home so I am not trapped.

Fall riding requires me to be checking the weather reports in the evenings.  It is possible to still catch good days for riding and I miss my rides.  According to the weather report, riding my bike is something I can do tomorrow.

I will be buying bike gloves today.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Reflections on My 8-Week Bike Commute: The Car is Sold

After Our First Test Run Ride

The car is sold and I am committed. The bike commute is a good thing. It is great for me to get exercise in my daily routine, I am able to appreciate and enjoy my neighborhood and the bike commute has made me more aware of all the great spots in my neighborhood. South Lake Union and Eastlake are changing so much and so fast and new restaurants and services are popping up all the time. Now that I am on my bike, I see the new restaurants and new services every day and I am more likely to remember the new spots and even old spots and give them a try. I even went to Serious Pie and Banya 5 for the first time ever. (Note to retailers: SLU and/or Eastlake needs a great shoe shop.)

Since our daycare moved my route has changed and I now ride through the campus. This is a busier route and previously it would have been a more intimidating route for me to try. Since my first blog entry, I am a much more confident rider. I am still a very safe and mindful rider, and seeing my son on my handlebars helps keep that in check.

It is great to be part of all the activity in my neighborhood and I love being social with people and I do feel more connected to the community. I even found out about two (count them: two) farmer's markets on my route.  I never would have found these in a car! One is on the campus and the other is on a boat at South Lake Union Park. A farmer's market on a boat is fun.

My son is pretty cute-looking sitting on the handlebars and we get tons of smiles and waves when we ride. It is a very nice way to start the day. I am not big on being a spectacle or attention-seeking and tend to shy away from engaging with strangers -- especially before my second cup of coffee! But I have to admit it is pretty nice to make people smile and that makes me smile and the day starts out pretty good.
I Should Not Have Gone Shopping This Day
My son loves to ride by the construction at the Mercer freeway exit and on-ramps. He has suggested that my next car should be a dump truck and he is hopeful that he can ride the “little bulldozer.” I think he is enjoying cycling too.

I started the bike commute hopeful that I could keep it going but not sure that I could. I am a working mom, I am busy and so many things that I want to do just do not get started, or if they get started they do not get done.

Another challenge with bike commuting is the extra time it takes and the challenge of transporting all of the stuff my toddler needs at daycare and the stuff I need for my job. I was not sure I could get myself, my son and all of our stuff back and forth. Me, I can manage if I forget something, but it is a lot harder to explain to a toddler and his teachers at his daycare if I forget something. That has been a challenge.

For the most part, I have the transportation of the day-to-day stuff figured out and sometimes we have had to drive or take the bus. I try and keep that at a minimum but if I am very tired I do not ride. That is just not safe. Other times, I catch a ride with my husband mostly because I can. I am not a hardcore rider.

Now that the rains have come and the weather is changing I will still ride my bike on dry days.  I bought a bus pass and I have a Zipcar membership. I am committed to alternatives to the car commute but you will not see me riding with my son in the dark in the rain. For my personal comfort level, that is too much.

On Our Way Home We Play in the Park
So far, I am happy with my cycling success. This is something I have wanted to do for a long time and I finally got it started. Initially, I did not want to invest any money into it just in case I could not keep the bike commute going. In the past, my bike has been used for recreation and only occasionally. In other words, I have been leisurely riding my bike about four times a year.

It is easy and fun to go out and invest in new gear. I like that it is called investing -- investing in your health and safety I guess, but really it feels like shopping to me. Years ago, I spent good money after deciding to take up rollerblading and I bought all the gear. I went once, it was scary and then five years later I donated the equipment to Goodwill. But if I keep this commute up, I think I will splurge. This winter, I am going to look into buying a new bike or a new used bike. That will be fun!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Follow Us On Twitter

Surprisingly, it is easier than dropping leaflets from the Seaplanes. You can now follow us on Twitter @StylenCycleMom.

Thanks to Tom at Seattle Bike Blog for the suggestion.  

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Bike Ride for Two Weeks!

I just found this blog entry that I started but I never finished and never published.  Even though it is a little late, I am going to finish it and post it.  

I was off the bike ride for two weeks and really felt the effects. Remember the post:

I Got on the Slippery Slope: No Bike Ride for TWO WEEKS

Getting started again was hard.  I had bad luck, I was lackadaisical in my planning, that turned out poorly and I had bad helmet hair. But I did get going. The best part is that I kept going.  There is not much to write about and that is also good.

My helmet hair got under control so I felt better about my bike-to-work appearance.  I even got a compliment on my ability to bike and still look chic. I figured out a new route to the new school that works well and I also minimized uphill climbs as much as possible.  (Still not a fan of uphill.) I rode my bike to work for two weeks, no car, no rides, only the bike. TWO WEEKS!  I am a little proud of that.  

Monday, September 26, 2011

Retired Soon: My Son's Handlebar Seat

Riding in the fountain at South Lake Union Park

I love my current bike setup but as my son transitions from toddler to preschool, so must my bike configuration.  My favorite thing about having my son on my handlebars is that I can talk with him and see him.  I know myself well enough to know that I do need this exercise but what really keeps me on my bike is that it can be so much fun!  I hope the next setup is as fun for both of us as this ibert has been.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Another Word About Safety: Honestly, I don't want to write about this.

Since I have been riding my bike there have been three fatalities in the area that I ride.  I wrote about Mike Wang’s death.  It was an actual hit-and-run.  Then on the Fairview (my route), Brian Fairbrother, a manager at Vivace, took a wrong turn, crashed and died.  I ride by this spot twice a day.  I understand how this happened.  Stairs that go down to a dock are not marked; it is a very confusing point in an established city bike route. 

Another cyclist was delivering sandwiches for Jimmy Johns and he was hit by a car.  His name is Robert Townsend and he was 23 years old.  These are just the fatalities I know of since I have been riding, but who knows how many accidents there have been.

That is why I am writing this.  I want to write about happy, uplifting events, but with the three deaths I don't want to gloss over the reality of the state of biking in Seattle.

In Seattle I am seeing more people biking than ever.  On places previously reserved for cars there are new bike lanes and new bike routes are being created.

The city is changing.  Change is hard but I do not think people need to die. 

I know some cyclists fight with cars and are aggressive.  I have seen cyclists ride in front of cars and purposely ride slowly to prove a point.  I have seen cyclists spit on cars and of course yell things that I don’t want my son to hear. 

I have seen drivers that are texting, writing, reading maps and even attending to their grooming. 

What I say is CYCLISTS PAY ATTENTION.  Don’t take anything for granted, give yourself extra time and never ride on auto-mode.  Seattle is trying to be a bike town but it is not there yet.

Drivers, really, you’re still texting while driving.  How is that even justifiable?  I suggest this idea that DRIVERS PAY ATTENTION.  Also, look left and right to make a turn.

I know, call me crazy.

There is one classification of drivers that I never have trouble with when I am on my bike and they are the delivery drivers.  I do not see them texting, they look both ways, they make eye contact and even wave to let me know that they see me.  I so appreciate that.  Drivers, give it a try.

When I ride, I am sociable.  I like it.  I feel more connected to my community and it is nice to wave and smile; it starts the day out right. 

I recommend driving with your windows down -- be sociable, wave to let people know that you see them, make eye contact with other commuters.

I see a lot of progress with integrating bikes on the roads.  Now we need to integrate cyclists and drivers.  City of Seattle, please move quickly on this.   My family is worried and with these three deaths, it is hard to justify biking. 

Serafina Panini Window: APPROVED

It’s about time that I checked out the Serafina Panini Window.  As my loyal readers know, about a month ago I was walking my bike up a hill when I saw an awning that I had never seen before at Serafina.  The awning was red with white letters and said “Panini Window.”  I mentioned it in this blog and I was curious to what this Panini Window was all about. 

The next week, on my bike route, menus for the Panini Window were posted on telephone poles. It was as if Serafina had read this blog and put the answer on my bike route. 

This Monday I tried a panini and I will be trying more and more paninis from this window.

I ate the salami panini and it was perfect.  It was toasted and stayed perfectly crispy while I ate.  I am a very slow eater.  It was not too crispy so it was still easy to bite off and chew.  And the artichoke olivata?  Ahhhh, perfection. 

My friend enjoyed the caprese and it looked so good that I will be eating that next time I visit the Panini Window. Although the Popchetta's pickled onion and salsa verde has got to be amazing.  I can't wait to try that too!  

I would like to see more fine dining restaurants offer good takeout lunches.  Thank you Serafina

Check out the other post about Sarafina: 

Monday, September 19, 2011

Things We See

A great day for truck-spotting.  This is one of my son's favorite hobbies. Today we saw:

1 garbage truck
1 dump truck
1 dump truck pulling a bulldozer
1 double dump truck
1 red streetcar
1 UPS truck
1 fire engine with lights and sirens
1 purple streetcar

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Bad Hair, Bad Outfit, Skinned Knees, But Nice Ride

The Tuesday after Labor Day Weekend was the day that my son started his new school. It was also the day that I was determined to get off my slippery slope and ride my bike.

Our morning started out OK. I had trouble finding a bike-to-work outfit so we left a bit later than I would have liked.

We had bought Parker a new lunchbox for school and it did not fit in the little bike bag I was using. I found my bungee cord and strapped the lunchbox on top of the bike bag. That took a little time and now I was leaving much later than I wanted. Still I was determined to ride the bike.
Initially, the ride was pretty nice. Nice morning, not too hot but looked like it would be a nice, sunny and warm day. I felt good about getting on the bike. My son seemed happy to ride.

Then the lunchbox fell off. At this point I'm thinking I should have taken the hint that it was not the right day to be on the bike.

I had wardrobe trouble, trouble with securing the lunchbox and we almost lost the lunch. (Special thanks to the lady who helped me pick up the box and get it back on the bike.)

Next, I overshot the turn for the new school and had to backtrack. I brushed that off too. It is a new routine and I need to create new habits. At the new school, I had trouble with my bike lock and it took me about 10 minutes to lock the bike up.

In retrospect, this ride was not meant to happen. I found that out for sure when I got to the new school and they were closed and having an in-service day.

My son was sad. He cried. That made me sad and I was frustrated.

I contacted my work and said I had childcare problems and would be late. I told my son we would play at the park, this made him less sad but he still was disappointed about not playing at the new school.

I had pushed through many setbacks, kept going and then this! I had trouble, again, with my bike lock and in the ten minutes that I fussed with the lock my son fell and skinned his knees. He cried, again.

I rode my bike home. We did stop at the park and my son played. I called grandma and she agreed to watch my son and by 11:30 I was back on my bike riding to work.

This was a tough morning. It still would have been tough if I had been in the car, but I have to admit I think it would have been considerably less tough.

By the time I got to work I was tired, mentally drained, in a bad outfit, my shirt had blood on it from the skinned knees and I had a halo of helmet hair. I had to work late to make up for the morning. It was a bad day.

I felt good about handling all the snafus. I never felt good about my outfit or helmet hair.

The next ride will be better.

Monday, September 5, 2011

I Got on the Slippery Slope: No Bike Ride for TWO WEEKS

The good kind of Slippery Slope that we use
when we bike home.

What do all the things in this list have in common?

My work got busy.
I had to travel.
I had to lug equipment.
I was tired.
I worked from home.
I had errands to run.
I overslept.

These are all reasons (excuses) I gave over the last two weeks that prevented me from riding my bike to work.  

My son even asked, “Ride bike?” and I said, “No, not today.”  I missed a lot by not riding my bike.  I especially felt the effects of not getting exercise.  I am not sure if there was more stress but I do know that it was harder to shake the stress.  It took longer for me to fall asleep and wake up and I was tired and less motivated to do anything.

I sure missed the whimsical time with my son on the ride.  We do things like stop to look at a dump truck, ride over a bridge that is out of the way, sing Take Me Out to the Ballgame together, talk about the boats we want to ride and what seaplane we will take to the islands someday.  My son wants to take a blue plane but it looks a little rickety to me and I am pushing for a white one that looks like it has a few less miles on it.

My car commute is about 10 minutes one way; my bike commute is about 30 minutes one way.  I spend about an hour each day riding my bike or 20 minutes each day in my car. For a working mom, 40 minutes is a lot of time and time is the most valuable thing to me.  For my birthday, I just want a little time, time to do something or even do nothing.

When I look at all the effects of not riding, the 40 minutes that I added to my commute could be the best 40 minutes of my day. When I am behind or overwhelmed, it seems so beneficial to drive and I get that 40 minutes back. In reality, the benefits of the exercise are what really help me stay on top of things and help me deal with stress, and I get more done with a better attitude.

That’s what I mean by slippery slope -- I am running late so I drive, so I do not exercise, so I take my stress home with me and my stress causes me to toss and turn in bed, and I get to sleep late so I have a hard time waking up, and then I am running late so I take the car, again, and again, and again. 

This week, I will now break the cycle and ride my bicycle.  

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Serafina Panini Window: Demystified

Ask the universe and it might just place an answer on your bike route.

A week or so ago, I rode by one of my favorite restaurants, Serafina. I was riding uphill -- OK, I was walking my bike uphill -- and for the first time I saw a sign for “Panini Window.” I love to eat at Serafina and I would like to eat more food from Serafina. I did not know what this Panini Window was, and then I was riding my bike and found this flyer on a post. It was like they had read this blog and stuck the answer on my route. Totally cool for me. Next on the list is to eat food from Panini Window.  I can’t wait. I’ll let you know.

Orginal Post:

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Get Going with the Go Pro

I am doing testing with a Go-Pro camera.  By testing, I mean I am trying to turn the thing on.  What this means for you is that you can look forward to a virtual bike ride with me and my son.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Dear Bike Thief: Take the Lock Not the Bike

I now own a nice bike lock.  It is super strong and really heavy, possibly heavier than my two-year-old son.  It is orange and black, and I open the lock with a key.

The sales guy at the store asked me where I was planning to lock my bike and recommended a pretty hefty lock, much heftier than I would have bought. I have not been locking my bike so my sense of security is pretty high. On the other hand, he is a salesperson and I might have been shamboozled.
(Shamboozled is bamboozled but by a sales person.)

This bike lock is probably worth more than my bike.  I am guessing the bike lock is easier to sell than a bike.  So, Dear Bike Thieves, I would recommend stealing the lock, not my old bike.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Reflections on Week Two

Last week I felt I was really getting into this cycling thing.  I was more likely to think of my bike in the morning than my car.  I also managed to keep riding even though my son was sick and that created major schedule changes.

On Friday, I was too tired to ride my bike home and I felt OK with that decision. I did not feel defeated or as if I was cheating. I think with a bike commute you have to be flexible.  Everyone has good days and bad and sometimes I am just tired. I feel good knowing that I can check in with myself and take a bus or call for a ride.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Thank Goodness It Is Friday!

This Friday I hit my stride. I needed to be at work early and I had a long day ahead of me.  It was a gray morning and that didn't even bother me. Even so, I found myself prioritizing the bike commute. I did not consider driving the car a good option.  I am really getting a lot out of riding my bike: the exercise, fun times with my son, and discovering new things in the neighborhood.

There is an annual South Lake Union Block Party and every year I try to go, and every year I forget.  On my ride, I saw volunteers setting up for the block party and this is the first year I made it to the party!

After seeing the volunteers set up for the block party I rode to work and I faced a big project with a tight deadline. I am a video editor and producer. Friday, I had to edit a cooking show on a very tight timeline. I did not take breaks from the computer and I had to smooth out many production problems. I had not slept much Thursday night and on Friday I worked really hard.  My poor brain was done.  I called my husband for a ride home.  This time I did not feel defeated. It was a good decision. I was not in any shape to be sharing the roads with five o'clock traffic especially with the baby on my handlebars.  If my husband couldn't pick me up, I would have taken the bus, with or without my bike.

The lesson here is know your limits, take it easy and take other transportation if you're feeling less than whole. I think that will make for safer cycling; that could be applied to drivers, too.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

A Very Sobering and Very Sad Sign: Hit-and-Run

I saw this sign on a telephone pole on my way to work.  The police are looking for a hit-and-run driver who killed a cyclist.  The cyclist's name is Mike Wang and he had two children. It is very sad.

This has made me really think about what I am doing.  This happened one block up from where I ride. I do see a lot of drivers texting; they look one way to make a turn but not the other way to look for cyclists.  On a bike, I am very alert and I am conscious of everything around me.  Maybe driving should be the same experience.

My condolences to Mike Wang's family. Please drive consciously and bike carefully.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Serafina, How Long Has Panini Window Been Here?

Serafina is one of my favorite restaurants of all time.  LOVE LOVE LOVE everything about this place.  When I was pregnant I did not drink soda pop and it was hard to find an interesting drink to go with a good meal.  I don't like sweet drinks so the standard Shirley Temple is not for me. I told the bartender my trouble.

He asked me what I liked and mixed me up a special mocktail.  Actually, mocktail doesn't seem like the right word because although it was non-alcoholic, it was a wonderful drink, not a mock-anything.  I would even order one now!  It was a little savory, the perfect amount of spicy and a bit of citrus. This was the first time in seven months that I sipped my drink and did not feel left out when everyone had their pre-dinner cocktails.

Oh, I am off the subject, I have never noticed this Panini Window before.  I must learn more. This window has got to be a good thing because I love Serafina.  I love paninis.   This is an example of why I like my bike commute and it is one of the true joys of a bike commute.  I get to see my neighborhood from a different perspective.  I find new things that I don't see when I am on the freeway in my car.

Tomorrow, it is no more solo, back to me and my baby.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Riding Solo: Riding Home

I did not stop for Happy Hour.  I had to get home and start my shift as a caretaker for the little one.  Grandma had been watching him for about six hours and even Grandmas need breaks.

I did decide to try and new route.  The route I usually take is more scenic than direct.  There is a very direct route that even has designated bike lanes and I have not taken it because I like the scenic route.  We go by seaplanes on the south side of Lake Union, ride through South Lake Union and count the scooters at Scoot About.  More importantly the scenic route does not have very many inclines. Sometimes, with my baby on the handle bars, I can go two blocks on an incline.  Even so, usually I walk the bike after half a block.  On my own I decided that I was ready to try the hills.

Downhill was GREAT!  I forgot how much fun downhill was.  On the uphill, I made it over two blocks but ended up walking my bike.  I am not really proud
of that.  I have to consider that the baby is a good excuse for not being able to ride uphill but there is a chance that I am not strong enough to even get my own self uphill.

I am going to stick with my usual scenic route.  Downhill is pretty fun and I am sure my son would love it but I am not comfortable going that fast on a busy street with a baby.  I would have to break the entire way.  That would not be great for the bikes behind be and the joy of downhill is gone and then I still have the uphill to face.

Riding Solo: Found a Useful Fact

I am sure this information will come in handy.  I am not going to verify it.  I will stop for coffee.  I really need a bike lock.

Riding Solo: Happy Hour?

I love being a mom but riding solo I thought it could be nice to stop and check out a place that looked fun.  I have been riding by the Venik Lounge.  Have never seen it before.  Maybe on my way home.....

Riding Solo

Tuesday Grammy took care of the baby so our commute together was four blocks to Grammy’s house. Then I was on my own. I sure missed my companion.

Riding by myself I found that I was a little more aggressive and a little more impatient. There is a long traffic light on my route. With a baby on my handlebars, I have no trouble stopping when the light is yellow. Without a baby, I went on the yellow. I do not think I was in violation of any laws, it looked safe and technically I was in the right but I would not chance it if my son was with me. It surprised me how differently I approach the same situations when I am solo.  

Monday, August 8, 2011

Mondays Are Mondays

Monday's commute was canceled. My son had a rash that looked like it needed to be seen by a doctor. (I will not post a photo.) I was correct. He was prescribed antibiotics. I had to work from home and try and find help with childcare for the rest of the day and Tuesday. I am lucky that my work is flexible and I can work from home and change my schedule. Thank goodness for grandmas! Grandma played with the sick little boy so mommy could work. 

Even this font is messed up.  Dear Monday, please be nicer.

A Word About Safety

Of course I worried about starting the bike commute. I had read the safety reviews and other parents' comments before I purchased the child seat. The one I have is made by iBert and it is called a t-seat.

I had bought the iBert the last summer and tried it out without the baby first. Then I rode with the baby for a few blocks to test the balance before I went on a longer ride.

When I ride I know I am not strong enough to go uphill and I don’t try and push myself. I have also mapped out routes that, although they take longer, have less traffic and official bike lanes.  I tested the route on my own before I rode with my baby.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Reflections on the First Week

It was hard to get started but I really enjoyed bike commuting. It was nice to get out and enjoy the summer, get some exercise and have new experiences with my baby. My approach was just to go and as long as I had the basic safety stuff I figured that I could make do. This approach served me well. The few things I need, I still have not found the time to go to the shops and buy. For example, the bike lock. That’s a pretty important item but it worked out. I still have my bike.  Had I waited until I had all the cool gear I would still be waiting.  

Friday, August 5, 2011

Again, To Bike Or No?

This bike commute with a baby is full of choices. I will buckle the sleeping baby in the car seat, and then do I ride my bike home or put the bike in the truck and just go with the family?

Not So Far, Not So Good

The city workers hit a gas line and rather than deal with an evacuation, I took my baby out of daycare. I still need to finish a project for work and I have to do that using my home computer. The project needs to be emailed by the end of the day.  In other words, I need to ride from work to home with my baby and when I am home, I need to get back to work.

I almost took a bus home but thought the ride would be easier. To take the bus I have to load my bike on the front of the bus, which is impossible with a toddler. I am sure a kind stranger would help but that leaves me with the same problem getting off the bus. It seemed easier to ride my bike, but the little man fell asleep.

I did not like to see him looking like a bobble-head on my handle bars. He was still supported only by the chair with no support for his head and neck.  His head bobbed up and down and back and forth with the motion of the bike. It is freaky.  For me, I think he needs to be an active participant in the bike ride and if he is asleep, I need to be even more protective of him. I could feel the mommy protection instinct bubble up. I had to call for a rescue.

It feels like defeat as I wait for my husband to pick me up with a toddler sleeping in a bike helmet on my lap two blocks from work.

To Bike or Not?

It is gray and feels like rain. This is demotivating for a bike ride. My reasons for bike commuting are exercise, getting outside, enjoying the summer and spending time with my baby boy.

On my to-do list I have: touch up a project, work that I have complete on my home computer, buy gifts for a party tonight and be home, dressed and ready with wrapped gifts by six o'clock. All this could be done in a day using a car. Oh yeah, I also have to mail packages.

This day is a hard day to justify a bike ride. Guess I could babble on about air quality and sustainability and how my green ways are more important than blah blah blah. But that is not true for me, and that is not why I am riding. There are many great side effects to bike riding but these are not my primary concern. Bike riding is for me and all this stuff (mailing, projects, gift buying) is for others so you know what? I am going to ride!

At 6 PM we'll see how I feel about this decision.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

No Bike Lock

I still do not have a bike lock. I guess I have one but it is being used on our BBQ. I park in an underground lot and I still have a bike. I would not leave my bike on the street and I am glad this has not turned out badly for me. I'll buy a bike lock eventually. Being a working, bike-riding, busy mom, I don't have much time. I'll get to it one of these days. I have to keep riding -- lock or no lock.

If you are a thief and reading this, my bike is about 15 years old and I bet I could not give it away.

Smiley People

I get so many smiles from people when I have my two-year-old on my handlebars. It makes for a great start to the day.

Locked Out!

Rode the bike home and found that I did not have my keys. That is where I have to be careful. When I drive, I know I have my keys.

Drove Car to Work, Rode Bike to Work

I needed to get my son to daycare by 9 AM so that he could enjoy the music man. The music man is a guy who comes to the class once in awhile and plays music for the kids. My son LOVES it and so it is important to me that he is at school on time on those days. At 9:15, I realized the time, I realized I was late, and I jumped in the car and dropped him off. Next, I drove home and I was back home at 9:45. 

Yes, I drove to work, dropped my son off and then drove home so that I could have a bike commute.  I realize I did nothing for the environment but what I did accomplish was meeting my goal to keep this bike commute up.  It is a slippery-slope back to a car commute and I know that I am very susceptible to falling into old habits.