Thursday, September 20, 2012

My To-Do List

Check out some toddler shoes for Matty
Go to the chiropractor
Pick up popcorn at the Farmer’s Market
Grocery Shop

I was all pumped up to knock out this to-do list by bike and as the morning hours started to fade away, I told myself that I should use the car instead.  The kids haven’t been feeling well and as a result they are moody and irritable.  And with the cloud cover and chill in the air today, I thought I was justified in using the car.  Besides, with two kid seats on my bike, I am always intimated to go grocery shopping with both the kids because it seems to be difficult to fit all the groceries on the bike.

After a quick pep-talk, and scrapping the popcorn pick up which would have been a 20 minute out of the way detour, I got myself and the Little Z’s all geared up and out we went.  

About ½ mile away from me was a woman from a resale group I’m a part of, selling shoes I thought would be a good fit for Matthew.  It didn’t work out, but the short ride did convince me to head back home and pick up a sweater for all of us.  For the first time in a while we had a misty cloud cover kind of day. 

Then it was off to our chiropractic appointment. 
After everyone was nicely aligned, we headed off to the local grocery store.  On my way to the store, I was reminded once again that there is a new knitting store around the corner I’ve been meaning to stop by.  So I U-turned up onto the sidewalk and as I was unloading the kids, the owner, Tina came out to welcome me.  The store was opened and I got some Christmas yarn shopping out of the way.  That wasn’t even on the list!

And since we were so close to the grocery store, Matthew decided he was going to walk alongside the bike while I pushed Dani, who was sitting in her seat.  We made it there – not without him falling and scrapping his knee of course – but I did it!
 I finally went grocery shopping by bike with both kids!!  And I was able to share my excitement with two women who stopped to look at and get information on this bike that they’ve never seen before.
To top it off, being out of the house helped everyone fell better…and tired which meant I got a quiet afternoon while the two Little Z’s got a much needed napped.  What a lovely unplanned adventure we ended up having today.  So glad we took the bike.  

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Training Ride

The We Go By Bike family was cooking up something special: a Labor Day bike camping trip for the whole gang! It would be my (Katie's) family's first time bike camping with Fabi's family, and their first time bike camping, period. But with the campground just under 30 miles away, Fabi and I decided that we should squeeze in a training ride a week before the trip. We would ride the bikes we were planning to take on our trip (Xtracycles), and practice some hill climbing since our camping route involved an incline. And what better way to reward ourselves after a hard ride than getting to sit down and relax at a winery?
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Fabi and I met up with our families at the local Saturday Farmers' Market, then peeled off from the dads and kiddos to begin our ascent. Well, we had a pretty general idea of what the cycling route to this hilltop winery would be like, but the steepness was even more than we had realized when there were a couple of stretches where we had to push our heavy bikes along.
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Luckily, we had lots of water and took breaks, so moving slowly was not a problem. Eventually we crested the hill just above the winery, so after that it was a short downhill and straight into their gravelly driveway.
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We definitely got some odd looks from the other winery patrons as we rolled up and parked our big bikes, but we were too busy catching our breath and taking in the scenery to worry about that.
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After removing our sweaty helmets and belting down some water, we were ready to sit down with a glass of wine! Thankfully, the winery also sold small cheese snack plates, which we two hungry cyclists were happy to purchase.
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All told, we spent almost three hours chatting and snacking and enjoying the lovely view. And when it was time to go home, we had a really sweet downhill descent to start off our journey. It was a trip we would definitely make again!
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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Pedal Bike!

Alton is riding his first pedal bike! Followers of We Go By Bike might remember when Alton acquired this bike, as a hand-me-down of his two cousins' first bike. A few months down the road, and now Alton can ride like one of those big boys. With two velophile (bike-loving) parents, it's wonderful that Alton can share even more in this family pasttime. You can see the video here of his very first ride on the bike; since that day last week he's asked to go out and work on his newfound skill many times, so he gets better every single time he rides! Pictures to come soon.

We Go (By Bike) By Bike

Last week, my co-author Fabi and I (Katie) were planning a Girls' Night Out with a mutual friend of ours, Carrie.  As we were tossing around possibilities for the simple drinks 'n dessert outing, I asked if we would be taking the MAX light rail to our chosen restaurant destination. Alas! My head was up in Bike-land, knowing that the place we were headed was only a brisk 5 minute ride from the train station. But since Carrie doesn't own a bike, our trip from the station would have to be on foot, which we vetoed since the street would be poorly-lit late at night. Hatching a plan, I queried whether Carrie would be willing to pedal with us cycle-happy gals from the train station if I could bring a bike for her to use, and she was game!  I got to work in my garage with bungee cords.
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Most of the time, bringing an extra bike somewhere is no challenge for my household. Both my husband and I own Brompton folding bicycles, which sturdily fold down small enough to fit side-by-side an airplane overhead bin. One of these little bikes (or even two!) in its folded state can ride shotgun in the side bags of our longtails, or perch proudly in the box of our Bakfiets, the wheelbarrow with handlebars.  However, neither the longtails or the Bak is allowed on the light rail, since they would block aisles. I needed to create a bike-on-a-bike setup that would involve two regular-sized bicycles so that I could hang or fold them out of the way on the train. Knowing that the 27-pound Brompton would be unstable teetering so high on the rack of my skinny-wheeled hybrid bike, I decided to unfold the little Brommie, lash it to my sturdy metal rear rack, and tow it along behind me with its front wheel in the air.
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Now came the fun part! I rode to my nearest MAX stop, where Fabi was waiting with her hot pink Brompton folding bicycle, cheering on my homemade tandem rig. We folded her pink Brompton and my aqua one, then boarded the train with our suitcase-sized bikes and hung my hybrid up by its front wheel. A few stations farther down the line was friend Carrie's stop, which is walking distance from her house, so she had started off down the sidewalk once we let her know we were on the train and hopped into our train car when we pulled in.  Another couple of minutes on the track, and we disembarked at the station nearest to our restaurant. Bromptons unfolded, we fitted Carrie with the helmet I'd brought for her, adjusted the height of her seatpost, flicked on her lights, and she was off!
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It was a nice warm night, so we pedaled easily through the evening air in our dresses and sandals, and snagged a patio table once we arrived at the restaurant. Our bikes parked close by on the concrete, we enjoyed late happy hour pricing on some wine and ordered decadent desserts. After much talking and laughing, we clambered aboard our saddles once more and cycled our trip to the train station in reverse. After waving goodbye to Carrie, Fabi and I rode a few stops farther, where we pedaled to her house and utilized her car to haul my two bikes home. Although I was proud of our unusual utilization of person-powered and public transportation to have a fun night out, both Fabi and I felt uneasy about me riding the farthest distance home with the bungee'd tandem so late.  So she kindly shuttled me to my door after tucking this latest adventure under our belts. Cheers!
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