Monday, February 16, 2015

18 Biking years of Marriage

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Our Feb. 14, 1997 we got married in Denmark. It was a secular wedding. (We later had the whole Jewish wedding but we don't seem to celebrate that day) It was not spectacular but whatever, it was entertaining. So, Saturday marked 18 years of officially being married on paper, haha. What did we do? Nothing. Both my kids got colds and we stayed up miserable with them. Sunday was a beautiful day and so instead of taking an anniversary ride together Mr. Peyos stayed home with both kids while I bike to Trader Joe's for our 2 month supply of kosher meat. We don't eat meat during the week so the little I buy last that long.

I decided to experiment and record video of me biking. Usually I post pictures but I thought you might like to see what it is like if I mounted the camera on the back of the Yepp seat. I also experimented by finding a spot to mount the camera on the front. My gift to you, two bumpy videos of me biking. I left the audio on so you can hear that I am not huffing and puffing. Occasionally I will sigh, most likely from just thinking about my week.

Friday, February 6, 2015

The indignity of biking

The idea most people have of a bike.
I really don't need a car for a lot of things. In fact, I try really hard to make things work so that we can just live our life without it. I have also given up on using ZipCar for anything. Being in a car with a baby who hates sitting backwards, no thanks.

I can carry this!
This leaves us in situations where I need to haul stuff. For a brief moment in my life I joined the Buy Nothing Group for my side of town. In the beginning it was okay but I saw red flags as I went on my merry way. Their were a couple of post in the beginning where I thought people were rude or snarky. Other than that, I was able to downsize my own belongings. In return I was able to acquire stuff too. In my attempt to get more furniture I would post that I was able and willing to pick up a book shelf NOW. I never told the gifter that I was bringing it home on a bike. Some people think bike=tiny Schwinn. When I arrived the owner was not phased I was going to bike it home on the bike and she had her very sweet daughter help me load it. I made my jolly way along Rainier Ave with a couple of cheers. Someone yelled, "What the hell is that?"

This only padded my ego for more biking hauling glory. I offered to bring a large item I wanted out so I offered to bring it to the lucky recipient. I got lost somewhere on Beacon Hill. I was lost so that picture was the point when I asked the Seattle Family bike people to save me from getting even more lost. Doesn't my phone have a map? Yes? See that hill. Can you see the ice? It was icy and I was not having a repeat of me rolling down a hill with a bike. No thanks. Sounds funny too.

Hauling furniture on a bike doesn't mean people will drive slowly around or even slow down. This just means I suffer the wrath of people in a rush. I wasted 10 seconds of life, the horror! It doesn't matter. You in your car are the most important human being in the world! While you are at it, go ahead and hit more pedestrians. How many more "accidents" have to happen?

I'm lost. Save me!

I carried big stuff on my bike, big deal. I don't know what happens but somehow doing this schelpping makes me visible to everyone but not when people decide to back their SUV into a tiny parking spot in Columbia City. Most recently I had a screaming fit when a woman backed her car up onto the curb of the sidewalk and very close to my bike. What was on my bike, more furniture? NO! My baby. Here is her car. She didn't want to get out because she was more brave in it than out. When she got enough huevos to get out she meekly said, "I'm sorry to scare you". So, my screaming was for nothing. Maybe I forgot to say I was screaming my eyeballs out. I had the baby strapped in his seat and was trying to unlock the bike. I'm not a fan of posting pictures of cars that "scare" me but I am really tired of drivers. Parking that SUV in a tiny spot is not worth running me over on the sidewalk.
This is not going to discourage me from biking. This will only make me take more pictures.

I now have a bookshelf in my list of things I carried on my bike. How exciting. What's next? Maybe a mattress. Remind you of anyone?

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Baby on a Bike: Helmet training and beyond

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I have waited 9 arduous months for this day. Actually it was sooner than you think but let's just say nine months.

Baby Peyos is a strong little person. From day one he was on the move, rolling wigglying, exercising his baby legs. He was born to move. So, I haven't been surprised at his physical strength. Of course, my baby is the most special of all but the pediatrician even agrees with me at ever visit. So, it's true or she just says that to take our money.

Portland bike fun
Our Portland adventure. The recap is here: Oh Portland!

This does not qualify as a seat
When he was strong enough I put him here for fun. Excuse the mess, we had just moved in at that point. No bikes live here now because he is crawling, standing, attempting to climb. 

Just in case you didn't get a good look. Here he is brushing his teeth. We love that toothbrush. 

The first step in the baby bike journey is introducing them to the idea. On our trip to Portland Baby Peyos got to sit in a trike with his sister. He liked it. So after that we had different variations where we just sit him in something without the bike ever moving.

 Here he is sitting in a Metrofiets at G&O, the experience had him shocked he didn't spit up in it. Yes!

Here he is just hanging out in the basket of my Oma bike. Again, he didn't care because it was exciting when I rang that huge bell. You can see him getting bigger too.

At my last visit to G&O, which was basically to pick up the bike, I bought the baby his own helmet. That is a Lazer Bob helmet. It seems to be what most people use and so we decided to give it a try. When we came home we showed him the helmet. In his tiny face he seemed to understand the significance. I could see him thinking, "when they put something like that on their heads it means bike time!" He was eager and very excited. It also helped that we all put our helmets on as an act of solidarity. Food bribes work too. I know, this is not fitted properly but this is the phase we called helmet training. Their was a lot of broccoli involved.

It worked. This was the beginning of helmet training. We mostly fed him food to keep him distracted from the giant egg on his head. I solicited advice from the Facebook page for Seattle Family Bicyclist. I was given pro-tips. I'm not reinventing the wheel so if I can get help, please help me. Not only will you get help but the group is really positive and I have yet to encounter some snarky people. As my bike twin said, "biking makes people happy!"

Next came the balaclava. Kids need warmth when they are sitting and doing nothing. The best solution is to cover them up. So, because I don't have a sewing machine and some people have way better skills I ordered one from Marni at Rebourne. I have had lots of Twitter conversations with her and her bike wife Dena. After finally being left alone for more than 10 seconds I ordered from her.

Suddenly we had a Yepp Maxi in the house. Here it is:
Then we had to solve the issue of where to put him once he was all helmet trained. Next comes the Yepp Easy fit seat. I know the name of the seat says easy but seriously, is it easy? Let me show you:

Cut holes in your flight deck. Xtracycle makes that helpful with the new flight deck. G&O did the cutting and also added the extra bolts. You need those so don't forget them. Once that was done, I put the seat in the hole, slipped the strap through for extra security holes.
 You press the red button and turn the knob. TADA your are done. Just secure the seat with the lock and you're set for the mean streets of passive aggressive Seattle.

This is what it looks like from down under.

Here he is. Ahh but he needed some lifting so I used the pad from the flight deck and inserted into the seat. These were some that Xtracycle  made but then made newer ones. So, like I said, it was nice for the first five seconds when it was available, but now it is just great!
This gave him a little height so that the straps fit him better.
All this experimenting, he wanted to go go.

This was one of those times I was alone and needed to go to the bathroom and had no safe place to put him. This entertained him. He knows how to turn that bell.
The helmet and balaclava. Looks good.
This was his first attempt. I walked the bike to the library just so he go the idea. His face is just tired and probably cold. Put a snow bundting on your kids. They will be happier that way.
I know, fancy Ralph Lauren but really I bought this for $15 new at Macy's in January last year when everything was on sale. So instead of paying $125 for it, I got the super discount. Yeah and squoosh!

What does the whole set up look like?

The baby liked his first ride, second ride, third ride.... You get the picture. He loves the bike. Yeah bikes!

For most of the rides he remains awake. So, I didn't have to worry until the last ride where he did his whole baby grunting because he wanted to sleep and couldn't get comfortable. Taking tips from many people and my bike twin we got the perfect nap set up

In the end, it looks like a lot of steps. I guess it was but now that my baby has the physical and head strength of a 12 month year old I feel more confident on longer rides. Can't wait for us to make it farther than the Goodwill.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Put a menorah on it/How many bikes do I really own?

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If you follow me on some kind of social media you might have seen my photo shopped bike menorah for almost every day of Chanukah. I might have given the impression that I own a ton of bikes. So, this is a good opportunity to go deeper behind the meaning of all those bikes and how I manged to bike them. Here goes, bike menorah by day;

1st Night Chanukah-The Bullitt Menorah

So, the genisis of the usage of the Bullitt bike happened when I posted Hvorfor Ikke? In Danish it means, "Why not?" It was my failed attempt at something that didn't happen but in the end this worked out for the best.   Someone in the Jewish community read my blog post about it and was happy to lend me one. Isn't that amazing!!  One day I picked up the bike and you get Bullitt at my Door. So, I borrowed the bike for an extended honey moon where I learned that the bike is fun but not really meant for me. My exploits are detailed in Bullitt in my Pocket (part 1 and part 2). I know some bloggers write pretty detailed technical aspects about a bike but I really need to know how soon I will ruin it. I am pretty hard on my bikes and this is always my main concern.

2nd Night Chanukah-Madsen Bike

Again, not my bike.  My adventures in renting this are chronicles in bad grammar and spelling here:

Adventures in Bike Rental Land

Electric Assist with no Assistance

Biking with an Electric Assist is Wonderful

Madsen Bike: Should you buy it?

3rd Night Chanukah: Workcycles Oma

This is my bike. This is the one I rode for three years of the 20 mile trek from down here in the Rainier Valley up to Capitol Hill every single day to take my kid to school. I don't know what I was thinking but let me tell you, I knew nobody biking, nor did the Facebok-Seattle Family Biking page exhist. So, I was kinda alone in my decisions to "cargo" bike in style. I love this bike. You might even see me biking with it too. At the time their were no such thing as a specific family bike shop. The closest we had was 20/20 in Capitol Hill just because they played soothing punk music and have the best My Little Pony puzzle. If you want to know where you can buy this beauty they still sell them at the Dutch Bike Company in Ballard but my guess they don't have a huge stock. Please correct me if I am wrong.

4th Night Chanukah/Shabbos
That day was so crazy. We didn't have a lot of time to make a menorah. Instead I was forced to take both kids with me on all my errands on Friday day. I will force you to look at the cuteness of my baby. He was happy to be out. We are pretty sure that "bi bi bi", means bike. This also means he knows that he can potentially go with me when I leave with my long hauling machine.

5th Night Chanukah: Fuji Bike

This is the bike I started on in Seattle. This was an internal 3 speed. What bike store tells you that 3 speed is enough in Seattle? Well, their is one that did! I think when an Orthodox religious family walks into certain bikes shops their is an automatic assumption that they don't want something real. Oh, they aren't really going to commit to biking. Ok, I learned to never shop there again but really don't judge our appearance on our knowledge or ability to bike. With that said, we were careful when purchasing any other bikes after this experience. So, if we bought a bike from you, it means you treated us like people. Thank you!

6th Night Chanukah: Workcycles Opa Bike

I got my act together and fancy. I added fake flames and my husband actually posed his bike next to the menorah set up by Chabad of Seattle. My husband is 6'5 so this is a bike I can't even get my leg over. I look hillarious next to it, like Frodo. In any case, this was bought at the Dutch Bike Company after my husband's bike was ruined when a woman drove her car right into him outside the Asian Counseling and Referral Services. His body was splayed across her windshield and he rolled off the hood, pulled his bike out from under the car and went to work. Looking back I wished he would have called the police because that elderly lady should not have been driving. Her family should know. As morbid as it is to think, "ah, maybe she is dead now".

8th Night Chanukah: Edgerunner Bike

Finally the bike I ride the most and for all different reasons. This is the bike I will be riding for a while. It has a been a year since owing the bike and it has really saved me. There you have it, your torture explained.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Home Sweet Bikey Home

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Do you like this sidewalk replacement ON Rainier?
I did eventually pick up my bike Kiss kiss, love! My family stayed home because the trip for someone with two kids on a bus was too traumatic. So, I ventured alone, hopped in a car2go and made my way north. Hey, their was some sports thing going on so I ended up stuck behind people who were more important than everyone else. I almost witnessed a family in an SUV almost hit a woman crossing the street with two little kids. Everyone in that scenario was dressed in that team sports stuff. What's with the rush? They were all going to the same place. I don't get it.

Oh but before I got the car I have to complain about the lovely on street sidewalk. This is a great place for drivers to plow into me. You see it? This is a problem. People pulling into the bank don't see you coming out of that hamster tunnel.

I think when I got to the shop I declared my feelings about sports stuff.

I drove a car, crazy!!
 I had some time to kill because my BionX needed to charge. I wanted to do a major shopping trip which included buying a Turkey at Trader Joe's. So, after some chit chat and learning about ways in which I can prevent wear and tear on my bike I asked to take something out for a ride. Look at me, trying to take a selfie. What am I riding?
I am really bad at taking pictures of myself

 I went out for a ride on the Haul-a-Day. You have time before the kick starter ends. When the bike came to Seattle I missed the test rides but got a good look at the bike at the 2014 Bike Expo. The bike even impressed Mr. Peyos. At the time pregnant hormones dictated that I wanted this bike. I promised no more bikes. We seem to buy more bikes but I promise not to torture everyone with my bikey dreams.  Then the kickstarter campaign appeared and all I can think it, "I bet someone in the house needs a bike". Who could that be? Well the giant daughter of the Viking offspring needs new wheels. She is close to five feet or she might already be that tall. I stopped looking.  I can dream. I went back to the shop and got to meet the owner of the orange Metrofiets. Cool!

So, after stopping at Trader Joe's for a dead animal I walked my bike through the Ballard Locks. It's so pretty.
 After racing my way along Elliot Bay I arrived down to bike near Big Bertha. You know, that gigantic hole that will slowly swallow that ugly viaduct. It's strange and exciting. I took the road. Nobody is here on Sunday.

I see a bike lane

 Here is the problem. This shared path is one of those ever changing paths. This path always looks different. From this vantage point you see the beautiful viaduct on my left. I drove there once and that was by mistake. Everyone in the car was traumatized. As I made my way down the road I was met by several people who didn't think bikes needed to be on their path. Whatever.
Defying death to avoid getting hit by cars
 This path is so confusing. Frankly, the road is so confusing. I love how this city really works on safety.
 I don't know what this is a picture of. I am also too lazy to turn it around. Blame, the thesaurus and vocabulary design class I took.
 Here is the most beautiful picture of all. What street is this? It's Rainier Ave!!!! FRACK!! I see a bike lane. It is so wide. I road on Rainier Ave. I do admit to biking on the sidewalk after I took this picture so I don't die.
Disastrous Relief Trial
For my finale, I had to get up the steps with my bike. My daughter calls this the disastrous relief trials. This requires that she holds the front of the bike straight while I lift the back. The neighbor saw the old way we did this and donated this ramp. After many times doing this we have a system and are pretty fast. We are so ready for the DTR Seattle 2015, just saying.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

YOU'RE a BIG pain!!

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36 MPH too slow?
You're SO really think this blog is about you.......

Ahh, I'm not talking about ANYONE! So, get over yourself. This blog is about me and my quest for cheese, gefilte fish, and bike lanes.

What's this pain? I am talking about my physical pain. Maybe I mentioned it before but I have sciatica which was the result of trying to birth the first kid. I am going to tell you. I tried. I was in labor so long. So, my back is out of wack and if I don't keep active then it slowly becomes inflamed and BAM, I am immobile. It is the worst feeling ever. How can this be? Since the baby I have been less active and so it has slowly been building until one Friday morning I was basically lying on the ground letting both kids use me as a jungle gym.

Let's backtrack. Before I reached this point I was without a bike because I took it on an Epic trip to Greenlake. I have another pain. Guess what, it's Rainier Ave.
The most recent crash we photographed. We have others SDOT! The tree was NOT HI-VIZ enough!
The week involved a lot but what I really wanted to do was attend the SDOT meeting on making Rainier Avenue safer. We have had a lot of car crashes on this street because of negligent, illness and plain fast driving. I've taken pictures and we have heard crashes from the house. A couple times we all walked down to Rainier to see if an ambulance or police needed to be called. Several of the accidents were caused when  people drove their cars into buildings. The news says cars but it is really the PEOPLE behind them.  I went to the first meeting and saw the proposal, which didn't really impress me. How are making Greenways suppose to slow down Rainier Ave? So, I have to use a greenway because people can't slow down on Rainier? That's the message I was getting. Getting around is not so easy. We have a lot of weird hills and some of them don't even have sidewalks.

This made me kinda mad and really discouraged that anything ON Rainier Ave will be done. As a person who bikes and walks, this sends a message that I need to: "get a car hippy". We don't own a car and I DON'T want one. Rainier Ave. is the flattest fastest route but a really dangerous too. The next meeting I missed because it was late and the baby needed me more. The 3rd meeting was located at the Ethiopian Community Center ON Rainier Ave. The most direct way, down Rainer Ave.

The older kid wanted to bike. I wanted to bike too but we haven't reached that point with the baby. The week before I bought a $20 stroller at Target because I am cheap and I know the baby will be on the bike very soon. I wasn't wasting $300 plus on something that is not easy to take on the bus but I will save that for another story. So, we did what I call "stroller biking".

Off we go. She is pretty fast on that bike, despite the single speed. I get really nervous when we get to a driveways, intersections or anything that allows the opportunity for drivers to hit her. I mean, you can't see her. She is wearing pink. NOT HI-VIZ enough!

Let me give you some examples where we are invisible.

This driver. Notice how I say "driver" and not "car". The "car" does not have a mind of it's own!

Turned right in front of us. Who cares. Pink is NOT HI-VIZ enough!

Then we have this guy. Happy family blocking our way and backing away from Paradise. 

By the time we reached the meeting the older kid forgot her lock and the baby was SO cranky. He though we were going on a wonderful walk, not a meeting. We got to hear the mayor declare something about making Rainier Ave more hospitable to everyone, including bikes.

 Does this mean hope for a cycletrack? Want to see people a whole bunch of people biking on Rainier Ave?

HELLO!!! Feel free to experiment here.  After that, their was whole lott of wiggling and plain not happiness. The older kid wanted to go, knowing that chicken soup awaited her after a long ride. So, we left. Before we did, we managed to take a look at SDOT's Collison Records for Rainier Ave. Take a look, not one single intersection has zero crashes. They all have some. I was suprised that Orcas and Rainier had a whopping 37 despite a red light camera. Rainier Ave Between Charlestown and S Andover had 51. Wow!

I am trying to be involved. Taking a baby to a meeting is hard. My kid wrote a letter describing her kid perspective. This was her answer to What else? Do you have other comments you would like to share with us? So, while we are waiting. If you drive a car, please so down because every single day I hear about some driver ramming their car into a building.

To add a bit of humor. We were told to take as many reflective key chains as we wanted. Never say that to me because I will take so many it will make your eyeballs roll. Plus, I would sew them onto some jacket and look awesome. For the record, we took 3 but at the next meeting watch out. I may take 5, oooooh!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Epic Bike Trips are EPIC

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Is their a giant pumpkin behind me?

It is almost a year of owning the Edgerunner and it has been whispering something to me, "take me to a check-up". The whisper became louder and I had no choice but to bring it in. Oh but baby Peyos is not able to ride on my bike yet so this was a hard thing to plan. The baby eats food but he is still nursing and needs me since I am a baby water bottle.

I put a call out to invite people from the family bike group to join me on my epic voyage so I wouldn't be alone on my ride. Here is the note I sent out:

JOIN ME. Sunday November 16th 

What: I will be biking to G&O from Seward Park. The voyage will be epic, their may be crying, coffee and beer. 

Route: I am will be taking the "crazy route" from Seward Park to downtown up 2nd and then along Westlake. Once I get to Fremont I will bike up that mega hill I may or may not have use of the BionX so it you see me cheer me on or scream "CHEATER"". It you are interested in biking with me PM me and  we can meet at some check-point. 

Needless to say, by the time we reached Sunday I was alone in my journey to the mythical land of G&O. This is where I bought the bike and where I thought best to take it, otherwise if it was a regular bike I would have gone somewhere closer.

I know when people say stuff like, "my car broke", people are more sympathetic. When you have a bike only other bike people truly understand your need to fix your transportation. I really need my bike fixed so that we can live. I know the baby is not bikeable but I have managed to do a lot on the bike without the baby.

So, I filled up the baby's tank and made my way up north to the furthest bike shop. Thinking that I can just leave the house with a phone on low battery meant that I was planning to charge my phone while biking. Oh, no! My plans seem to go to poo. My phone kept getting unplugged so nothing was happening. This also meant that I was totally freaked out that  Mr. Peyos would try to call me to meet at some check-point so I can nurse the baby.

Meanwhile, my husband is preparing his first bus outing with two kids alone. The man is so good with our kids so I did not blink when I left him in charge of the kids to meet me at the bike shop. Little did I know Baby Peyos was screaming his eyeballs out because he refused to be diapered and put in his snowsuit prison. He was more than happy to be at home naked but people were trying to force him into something he didn't want. I was told that once they got going the bus was exciting because, you know, weirdos on the bus.

Got the bike out the house.
I actually took the BionX battery off the bike and put it in the pannier. This seemed to resolve some of my issues but I could still hear my bike talking to me. I biked to Columbia City light rail and took the train all the way to downtown to Westlake. YES, my bike does fit in the elevator. Alas, my phone died and I had no way to take a picture. What else was in the elevator? A huge puddle of urine! It's sterile right?

This just meant I didn't get to try the 2nd Ave. Bikeway but I was kinda of in a hurry to get to the shop and make sure I meet my family in time. Once I got passed Westlake I put the BionX back on the bike. So, nobody can call me a cheater because the bike with that BionX wheel adds some weight. Unassisted is like carrying a kid, right?

It was smooth sailing up Fremont Ave at a nice pace of 17mph. Seriously, that street never ends. When was it going to stop? I was being assisted but I was getting a workout.

My family had not arrived and Davey allowed me to charge my phone on his computer. Donald was nice enough to hear me story of bike whoah and took my bike out for a spin to hear for himself. He put the bike up in the stand and found one thing, my brake pads were worn. I ground them down. If you have disc brakes check them every 4 months! Don't do what I do. I also got to feel the hefty weight of the BionX wheel, that was an interesting experience.

The baby had the time of his life, looking at Davey and deciding if he want to pull his beard or not. In the end, Baby Peyos saw the short beard as a boring activity to his notorious beard pulling. Davey convinced Baby Peyos that a helmet was good for him and the baby did not protest a head prison. The Lazer  BOB helmet will fit him fine with a hat and some adjustments.

Baby Peyos was excited to see so many bikes. I even put him in a Metrofiets and he liked that. He also like all the dodas at the bottom of the box. What was down there to chew, nomnomnom. See how he is reaching for something shinny to chew. This was a mistake because afterwards I tried sitting him in a Yepp and he would not allow me to tie him down with Yepp prison straps. Afterwards we meandered, he nursed and I put him in a Bike Friday. That seemed to do the trick.

As we were leaving Davey's family came him to bring him birthday cupcakes because it happened to be his birthday. How sweet! We were trying to discreetly leave so that he could enjoy family time but the Baby Peyos caught them eating. He did his, "HEY FOOD", call and he were like, " BYE!!"

The bus ride home was more painful because everyone was cranky but we made it home.

So, my bike went to the shop for a week and while I was in the shop I used another bike, but more on that later.