Friday, July 31, 2015

Rainier Avenue Corridor Project/same old same old routes for me

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Breaking the law, breaking the law....
If you follow me long enough, I have invested my time by going to the Rainier Avenue Corridor meetings. I brought my kids, went when I was tired. At one meeting I stood at the back with my kids and the baby, still small threw his apple at the mayor as he entered. This begins my career as an agitator right!

So, on July 30th SDOT finally came back to give the result of their fancy computer calculations. I was optimistic that finally we would get some change.

First, it was very hot in the building and for whatever reason the sound system was not set up properly. The only person with a voice the cranky people could hear was Bruce Harrell, bless him.

The meeting basically started with an overview of the project and reasons SDOT was taking safety seriously. It was a lot of information presented previously but it was necessary. Then a presentation of the "greenways" concept. Then their was a small presentation about Accessible Mt. Baker. This is an important component but at the first stages of planning. So, in essences, it was a tease.

Finally to the meat!

On Monday August 3rd SDOT will implement Phase 1. What does this mean?

It's the hybrid design. How disappointing but I do like slower speed limit. As a matter of fact, I probably could do 25mph on my bike. Can you only imagine a whole bunch of people biking at 25mph and meeting lots of anger from drivers because we are going "too slow". Oh but we are going the speed limit.

The turn restrictions are necessary. These are hot spots where building have been hit by drivers, people have been hit by drivers and drivers have hit other drivers. These crashes are caused by people's behavior and sadly it has to be changed by drastic measures. Cars aren't the problem, it's people who choose to drive in an unsafe manner. It also looks like enforcement will be working hard too.

With that presented I am still frustrated as this does a lot of curve driver behavior but what about everyone else. I know, these changes will help people on the Rainier Ave. sidewalks. When the meting was over I joined my women counterparts who live and bike down here in the Rainier Valley with our families. Somehow we managed to grab the complete attention of Scott Kubly who was basically held hostage. Maybe he felt like he was held hostage, hah! In the end Mr. Kubly suggested that the group of women were hostile. Having an opinion does not make a person angry or hostile. I have an awareness of my surroundings and could see the security guy behind him inching close. It also didn't help that one of us dropped a popsicle on him and then proceeded to clean it up with a clean diaper. The baby wipes were in my bike panniers. This conversation needs some follow up.

What I want @SDOT to know:

I feel marginalized. I am a person who does everything on a bike with her kids. That's how we live. When I cross the I-90 border to bike north I get more and more upset the better the infrastructure gets. By the time I get to the Burke Gilman I am pretty pissed off. As I bike north I also notice one thing and it is WHITE. Do people in the north end get nice things because they are white? It sure feels that way. I know, the north end isn't perfect but come on! I have to navigate weird street to avoid stuff like: violence, theft, hills, sidewalks with bulbs I can roll my bike across. I wish I could take the flattest most direct route. Let me see, what route would that be? Ok yeah, Rainier Ave. Well duh.

Don't characterize me like the guy you saw in the Admiral Way blowing the red light. I am not that spandex guy. I am also dealing with a different beast. It's called Rainier Ave. If you see me act in a certain way it's because drivers are WACKO and I have to bike in a defensive way. Stop giving me an ulcer every time I let the older kid ride her bike. She is 11, how long does she have to be on my bike for safety? She loves biking north but it requires we do a whole bunch of backwards routes to get to the nice stuff.

Also, just because I like to wear my Greenways t-shirt doesn't mean I give every project a cheerful yeah, seriously.

Not too long ago I helped a visiting family from Turlock navigate their way from downtown Union Station to the Columbia City. You know what, we had some crying kids on the Beacon Hill Greenway. The hills were unexpected even with seasoned urban riders. My older kid was encouraging and helpful by walking with the other kid and reassuring him that it's not him it is the hill. We had to loop up to Beacon Hill and down Columbian Way just to safely get to Columbia City. Can most adult do this route? Probably not, they would die with the hill coming out of the International District and half pass out on the Jose Rizal Bridge. Why did I take them on this route? I did it because Rainier Ave is A HORRIBLE PLACE for anyone outside a metal machine. I was concerned about their safety. This meant that we had to huff up a hill for the sake of safety!

Yes, I am biking on the sidewalk because biking on mega hills in 90F weather is NO BUENO
With that said, I am so discouraged and saddened. I don't know what to think. The road changes are good. As you can see, the changes were happening. In the end, this just means the same for me, same backwards roads to get where I need to get. @SDOT, I invite you to experience my world for a week, maybe you will reconsider. 

Sunday, June 14, 2015

The shady side of the Yepp

Hi Mommy, it's hot today and sunny
Seattle gets two weeks of sun tops. Okay, sometimes it's more. The other day I went on a Kiddical Mass ride with the Seattle Southenders to Madrona beach. It was a whooping 4 cargo bikes. That's fine. We had a good time and a good laugh once we got to the beach. The baby threw 2 apples and had the best time. He also insisted that he drink someone's soda. A lot of "I want". Don't worry, nobody gave him soda. After the long ride I realized I needed to do something about maximizing shade for Baby Peyos. I don't need him angry because the sun is on him.

A long time ago I read the most inventive way to get a baby stroller canopy on to the bike seat. You Ain't Got Jack was the first place I read and learned about it. This was later duplicated by our very famous Madi in the saga of the Unappreciated rain shield. Remember when they were so little and not able to kick you?

So, I needed to attempt this. Well it took forever. In my postpartum non-biking I bought something I didn't want, a stroller. Actually it wasn't that bad. I used it a lot. We walked and walked and walked and soon 9 month of non baby biking was over and we were on the bike again. I thought as soon as we transitioned I was going to made the rain/sun shade but busy life took over and we never did anything. Again, what need did I really have? It's Seattle. When it's warm, meaning 70F and up, everyone is naked. I don't think people own summer clothes.

This what we started out with. This is the MacLaren Triumph Stroller. Amazon tells me I purchased it December 10, 2014. Despite the current non use, we did use it a lot. I don't necessary endorse buying it if you just want the canopy. The rain/sun canopy detaches but it is not the best at protecting against sun head on. This stroller came with the rain guard so I look forward to trying that on a rainy day.
After detaching the canopy I took two bamboo poles that would fit the canopy slots. I put off buying the pvc pipes because I didn't want to venture into Lowes with two kids. No thank you! Do you like his balaclava? I don't see them on the website now, summer, but I bought it from Rebourne. When winter comes you will even want one. 

This is the view from behind. The tools required:

2 bamboo poles
Lots of zip ties
stroller canopy

Not the most elegant job. Here is what's going on. See that metal screw, or what looks like a screw? I looped two separate zip ties above and below it. What you can't see is a space between the canopy fabric and the screw. The middle zip tie connects the bamboo pole to the Yepp. I didn't poke holes in anything. The first photo shows that I looped the zip tie through the slot for the harness. So far, I have no complaints from the rider.  The very bottom zip tie makes sure the bamboo pole stays in the canopy slot. It's a slot and I was lucky enough to have bamboo that fit it perfectly. 
Finally, I zip tied the bamboo pole to the Hooptie. The Hooptie is the metal around the passenger part of the bike.

Our initial ride kept us close to home. In order to do a real test we went downtown to the gritty street of aggressive drivers and wind. Without fail it is always windy when I go downtown. As you can see. I pointed the canopy down. In the normal stroller position it is not like that but after many uses I find this the optimal position for maximum shade. You might have to fiddle around with what works best. I also think that by not using pvc I was able to modify the position much better and make the head/helmet clearance much higher. The wind did not make the canopy feel like a sail, an issue I thought might happen. I might have to bike across the I-90 to make sure. 

Here he is on our test run. I caught him in a moment of reflection. His favorite activity is eating apples. 

Working backwards, this was our test run. Here we are contemplating the new PCC bike parking. I hope they listen and make better bike parking. The bike parking right now in Seward Park is not very desirable. It is so squooshed between plants and carts. No bueno!

Did he like it? I didn't see a difference in his behavior. Instead, it gave me peace of mind. I don't like him sitting back there with full sun on him. The shade didn't prevent him from doing his favorite things, throwing and grabbing. Occasionally I will hear, "I grab it", mostly it's plants. 

Here he is grabbing lavender. He loves sticking it next to his nose. Smells good right!

The other activity he can still do is throwing. The throwing mostly comes in the way of food. When he is done with the apple he usually just tosses it. We are trying to teach him to give it to us and not toss it. Most recently when we tested out the canopy he threw his graham crackers into the 2nd Ave protected bike lane and managed to hit a guy on a bike. That guy wasn't happy. Have you ever seen someone mad on a bike? Well, now I have. 

Here we are on our way to epic cookie throwing. Those poor drivers, you have no idea how much fun it is to be on a bike. It was an easy project. It took me about 20 minutes with Baby Peyos strapped into his seat. 

Monday, May 11, 2015

May is Bike Everywhere Month

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Just like in years past, except last year, I joined the May Bike Challenge. As part of the emerging Seattle family bike community I now have people who will join a team with me. It's amazing!! In many ways this is motivating for me. I have been in a bike slump. Getting out of the house with two kids has proven challenging. The ever changing mood of a tween combined with the unpredictable nature of a 1 year old who walks, runs, states opinion, and then goes boneless is very challenging. So, I have limited my rides with both children for the most part.

So, I made a team. Here is our logo. Our motto: Family biking is all about unicorns and rainbows

Yes, it is cut and paste because sitting in front of the computer and cropping the bike, unicorn and rainbow was just too much sitting in front of the computer. I can't!! You can keep tabs and see our progress. I'm just saying, family biking is killing it this year. Out of 1,853 teams we are in the top 10. 
So far I am happy with my biking. I have managed to average my old weekly average of 100 miles a week. This is with both kids aboard, which I love.

What have we done in May? Let me show you:

We kicked of the Month by biking downtown. I used my  Oma bike and the older kid road her bike on the protected bike lane on 2nd Ave.

She looks so cool. This was her second time. We did this before. Her first time is here. She alone and I was biting my nails the whole time. She handled the road like a pro. 

I biked to Wallingford to buy plants because I'm insane and love the Seattle Tilth's plant sale. 

 We biked to the mythical town of Georgetown to  Costco for cheese. Here we are going down a major road. As hard as it is to believe that road actually has a sharrow on it. Seriously, I want to know if cars will actually slow for anyone who is not in a car. We are on the sidewalk. I hate the sidewalk.

Costco has bike parking. It's not horrible but I am the space hog cargo bike. Lots of bikes were locked with cable locks. Stop doing that! You are killing me when I see your nice Rodriguez bike ready to be stolen. 

 We did one day of fifty thousand errands. This one required we eat kosher gourmet cake. YUM!

I got a lot of exercise. What hills behind me?
We biked into a storm with thunder. ACK!! The baby loved it and the older kid thought we were going to die. The guy biking in front of us just told us to bike faster, hahahaha.

We did more too but when I forget to put the camera on the lanyard around my neck I don't take pictures. I need a video camera permanently mounted on my helmet. Soon, I hope. The last trip, so far, was to participate in a group ride for Seattle CycloFemmee 2015. All three willing south Seattle bike families made the trek through Mt. Baker, up to Capitol Hill down to Lake Union. It was nice and slow. My daughter and I went on this ride while the baby stayed at home with Mr. Payos. We had fun. So far we have managed to get out of the house and save me from feeling like I don't bike. 
Pig on wheels
 Stuff we spotted in nature. A metal pig, oooh la la...
Here come those north end riders, all one bazillion of them..
Finally here she comes in all her bikey glory. I wonder who that could be??

Monday, April 6, 2015

Baby Peyos Turns 1. Happy Birthday!

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Remember a year ago when Baby Peyos was born Erev Pesach? You don't? Here is my epic journey to the hospital on the bus!

Our sweet baby has grown into a toddler or a baby Cookie Monster.
Baby Peyos has taken public transportation many times. See, he survived!
We tried taking him in the rental car my mom had while she stayed with us. Does he look happy?

He took lots of naps next to his bike pillow. This pillow has become a favorite and he can't really sleep without it. He likes taking his hands and scratching it with his baby claws.

We took him to the Farmer's Market.
His first taste of baby food, yum yum

Here is is practicing his food charming. Someone was eating a tortilla and he was trying to charm the eater out of it.

He ate and grew more, trying to eat everything that comes with a fork. 

We put him in and in bikes for fun. Here he is sitting in the bike of the Oma. 

More bikes he tried to sit in. 

He  cuts all the Shabbos toilet paper. Look at those clean cuts. 

He joined me on the Errandonnee challenge. 

He indulged me in many bike trips. His farthest trip was to Capitol Hill to eat lunch at the Jewish retirement home. Most likely we will have to go back because he has so many friends there. We even discovered a new park on the way downtown. 

We love you and your baby ways! I can't wait for more biking and more adventures. 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

#Errandonnee 2015 with a baby

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Looks gross!
Baby Peyos was racking up the miles during this year's #Errandonnee challenge. On Monday he sat nicely for many miles. Okay so they weren't all at once but little errands. The first errand was a quick hello to the mythical Reb Roush. We have yet to meet so my goal is to meet her in real life. It has been one missed connection. Every time I manage to get myself over to where she is located she is either sick or on vacation! AWWWW!

The next errand required that my transit card get fixed. I loaded money on the card on March 1st and then when I decided to use it some days later it didn't even beep. Turns out the antenna was defective so we stood in line at the Metro office and waited nicely. Babies who just learned to walk LOVE standing in line. We stood for 15 minutes and my card got fixed.

The next errand required that we get from King Street station to Target off of 2nd/Pine. I had to find the beginning o the 2nd Ave. protected bike lane. This would be the first time for me using this lane since Sher Kung was killed by a selfish person paying more attention to their phone. I was nervous also because people driving have still managed to cause accidents. The path starts on 2nd and Yesler.

We spotted another G&O creation at the beginning parked. Everything was easy except for the people who thought the bike path was a nice social area before getting into their cars. Ok fine, I will yeild to you but seriously get out of the bike lane, it's not your private smoking spot.

Target was eventful and Baby Peyos enjoys sitting in the shopping cart. He mutilated my Passover shopping list because, not thinking, I handed it to him and he ate the paper goodness. I managed to recover the words so we could go shopping. Probably the most terrifying part of the bike ride was riding south on the protected bike lane. I don't trust people in their shiny gas machines. How do I know you will not plow into me and my kids. So, despite the dedicate light for anyone on a bike I was paranoid when going across the corner streets. Why does the one on Broadway feel safer?

We made it home in time for lunch.

We took a break because those miles wore me out. Having a baby on a bike is mental challenge. He needs lots of snacks and it requires lots of stops to accommodate my baby Cookie Monster.

The next miles came two days later when I told the older kid I would take her to coffee. She doesn't even drink coffee. This just means I drink coffee, she drinks a juice and Baby Peyos gets Mommy MOOLK. We managed to sneak in another errand for fill our Pesach list. Nobody handed paper to the little guy. Instead he was given a plethora of snacks.

Here are all my pictures as evidence. We managed to rack up 48.2 miles just in this challenge. I have a whole bunch of shopping trips I didn't calculate but not bad considering how hard it is to get out of the house with a baby

Errand #1: You carried WHAT?/Gift Basket deliveries, like his cow tights?

Errand#2: Wild Card/Hello @Reb Roush. Don't you feel special you have your own category?

 Errand#3: Non-Store Errand/Visit to Metro's main office to fix my Orca card. In the meanwhile, eat my errands list.

Errand#4: Store/Target Passover Shopping. Don't buy plastic folks because after a year in storage, EWWW.

Errand#5:Work/Library field trip. The bike was pretty loaded but let's add the weight of books.

Errand#6: Personal Care/Daughter needs Mommy time. Mommy time requires staring at LOTS of toys together

Errand#7: Social Call/Starbucks with kids. I'm just going to say, it was a quick trip and I don't understand what I drank. It was coffee with ice, that's it.

Errand#8: Store/More Passover Shopping. What else could we need?

Errand#9:Personal Care/Mommy Time. Can you see my braces tween right behind me?

Errand#10: Art/Touch all the art at the University of Washington Campus and draw some cherry trees. Oh and eat grass too, EWWW. We did not bike here completely, only very partially the rest was by bus.

Errand#11: Wild Card/Hello @Reb Roush When will we meet???

Errand#12: Personal Business/A not so complicated matter but a visit to exchange bags