Thanksgiving/Chanukah by Bike

So, this Chanukah is extra special.  Chanukah and Thanksgiving happen on the same day. Yeah! What is a Jew to do? Well, this year should be extra super duper special. Why not put a menorah on a bike. If Chabad can go our there and put menorahs on their minivans why can't I bike around with one? So, for the past month I have been tempted to buy this.

We are not in the habit of doing Thanksgiving. I got married in Denmark and we lived there for a while so when Thanksgiving rolled around we tended to forget. In the US we didn't celebrate it much because when you have Shabbos the next day you really don't want to have two big meals one after another. It's a lot of work.

Then we had our first kid. At the tender age of 4 she became obsessed with Thanksgiving. She wanted mashed potatoes that year. She likes vegetables and I am not kidding. Lots of people say their kid eats veggies but this kid will seriously eat a spinach salad if it was sitting on your table. So, we made mashed potatoes and thought it was slightly disgusting. Why mash perfectly delicious whole potatoes? The next years she wanted other Thanksgiving related food, including cranberries. Last year we finally worked up the courage to make a whole turkey. So, we flipped on a YouTube video on how to make the perfect one. We plan to eat our Turkey with friends Friday night not Thursday. It was a plan concocted by this pregnant lady and hosted by another VERY pregnant lady. You can watch how we plan to make our turkey below:

So, back to the menorah idea. I know, it's an electric menorah. I plugged the idea to my family and they just look at me crazy. So, as to not to further embarrass anyone with my ideas because frankly the Edgerunner idea is driving them nuts. Yes, Xtracycle, you drive my family crazy with your delays! At this point my husband wants me to ditch the idea and just buy some pimped out other bike. I am stubborn and I do want this bike.

Back to the menorah. So, I won't drive anyone crazy by buying and electric menorah and I won't put our honking huge menorah with flames on the bike.

I might tone it down and put lights on my bike in response to the early darkness. I like the idea of putting these on my bike and they don't cost a fortune. Plus, I could take them off when I want.

So, I want to salute those brave souls who put a menorah on a bike. I looked for some and here they are and I will let you guess which was made me snort and laugh the hardest.

Pretty inventive right? Madi from Family Ride is not impressed because it doesn't have flames.

How about this? Does it offend everyone who has been blinded by the blinking lights. Seriously, lights should be used not to just blind people but light up the dark road. You know that wonderful discussion on Crosscut and Seattle Bike Blog. OUCH! You blinded me with the shamas!

Then you have Chabad:


This guy has the whole getup. Don't mess with this Jew!

Okay okay, no flames. I know but Pittsburg does a whole Bike Menorah Parade. Why didn't I think of that?

It's the guy with the whole non-impressive front menorah! I am a little offended none of these menorah riders are women. It's hard to put an oil menorah on a bike. I mean we struggle with having ours in the house. Mr. Peyos has a history of burning some surface. He has burnt two tables in making experimental menorahs and somehow last year singed my rolling cart. While I do want to put a flaming menorah on my bike I know that's it's just tempting luck. Do, I really want to burn my bike? No, not really. So, get your olive oil, wicks and clean out the glass holders. Chanukah day 1 starts Wednesday night!


  1. Bike Menorah Parade?! Next year! I love all those other pictures, by the way. I'm inspired to bring the impulse-buy Fred Meyer musical (and light up!) dreidel the kids were so excited about last week along on the north-end holiday lights rides this year. I guess the parade should be near the end of Chanukah so we're most lit?

    1. The pictures make me laugh so hard it makes the baby move. I must wake it up. I did go to REI today and buy those ENO lights. We saw some at Target that were battery powered but why would you make lights that say, "do not expose to moisture"? Basically that is ALL of Seattle. Maybe I can bribe people with a little Seward Park menorah parade. I have eight nights so maybe someone will pity me.

  2. Hey, first- great blog. Second, I'm the guy (goy!) with the whole non-impressive front rack coroplast Menorah! We DO have female cyclists riding with us, and one of the photos above is from one of our female cyclists! I know Sue and Hyla rode last year, I forget the other girls.

    We're having our second annual Menorah Ride next Monday, Dec2nd.

    If I may, there's a couple of things about this ride I'd like to mention.
    -- Although we follow the Car-Parade and we're absolutely Chabad-sponsored/approved, most of our cyclists are from outside the synagogue.
    -- This is a chance to ride with our Jewish friends who can't make the Friday night / Saturday morning rides
    -- This is bike advocacy with a community we don't usually have overt interaction with
    -- Lights, a night ride, police escort, happy waving people on the sidewalk, warm latkes afterwards - what's not to love?
    -- Looks like San Francisco Chabad is following the Pittsburgh example, they're having their first Bike Menorah Parade in 2013.
    Come ride with us in Pittsburgh sometimes. Cheers, Vannevar.

  3. Two other things. PittsburgH, it has an H.

    Also, kudos to Ben Yogman for taking the initiative with the Pittsburgh Bike Menorah ride, and for coordinating with the Chabad and the rabbis - who have been very kind and make us very welcome.

  4. And finally: you want flames? From one of our women cyclists:

    that's a flat board, coraplast cyclinders cut to length, and little battery-operated tea candles, the way Hyla explained it to me.

  5. Well, thanks for making that menorah on a bike. I found few examples online. Maybe people are just shy. Yes, I do envy this menorah bike parade. I would love to do something here but it takes a lot to get anything done in this community, meaning the Jewish hood of people I live in. Between the bazillion shuls here to do something on a day that doesn't conflict with something more food oriented is hard. My people like food and will stop at nothing to eat. Riding a bike is more like, you have latkes at the end of the ride? Thanks for reading my blog and Chanukah Sameach!

    1. We were fortunate in that there was a car-parade for us to follow, the rest was easy. First year there was just about ten of us, but we got some newspaper coverage and news spreads. Chag Chanukah Sameach to you and yours!

  6. another pittsburgh cyclistNovember 27, 2013 at 12:56 PM

    Actually, if I'm not mistaken, we /do/ have latkes at the end of the chanukah ride ;-)

    (Most all of our local group rides end in either a potluck picnic or at a bar or restaurant. It wouldn't be that hard to have, say, a Sunday afternoon ride that ended at a Kosher restaurant if you've got any. Don't worry about how many people will show up---set the route and a meeting point, let a handful of people know about it, let them tell their friends; it'll grow organically, and by a year or maybe two on, you'll be what people are planning around.)

    1. I really appreciate your feedback. I think at this point it might be too late to reach out those Lubavitchers who would be willing to help me but it is a good thing to get involved with their car menorah parade. I might ask if one of them is doing one and maybe I can bribe people with food. I have been trying to bribe people for years. I tried to get people bike with me across a floating bridge to the kosher pizza restaurant but that has failed. The only people who will do my "Bike for Donuts" ride are my own family. They love me.

  7. It makes me so happy to see this idea catching.

    Vannevar pretty much said it all, only thing I'll note is that it was 12 riders + 1 joiners on bikes at the destination (well actually, two if you count my daughter). We had two female riders last year I believe, not counting my daughter. I know we'll get another by a light kit order (the cheap indoor use only kind, but... held up last year's light drizzle ok) and we may get a father/daughter duo this year if we're lucky.

    There is a Lubavitch guy I'm loosely acquainted with who's lives in Pittsburgh now and actually rode a strider + menorah in Philly solo last year in their car menorah parade. But I don't know any of the details. Does seem kinda late in the game to do this year. But no matter what, please do ride around with a menorah this year in your normal biking routine. It's too fun not to do, and you'll generate a lot of smiles.

    In terms of getting in with a car menorah parade next year, which may be more realistic, you will do better to just ask nicely rather than bring food. Strict kashrut is... very, very strict.

    I had a major advantage liaising in Pittsburgh being a Lubavitcher myself, but seeing as this is now year two in Pittsburgh and year one in San Francisco, there's precedent at least.

    Good luck, and if you have any occasion to be in Pittsburgh we'd love to ride with you. And feel free to join the bike-pgh board, Vannevar's facebook group, I've got some junk on google+, whatever. We'd love to hear more from you about how this goes in Seattle.

    1. Ahh, so you see the food issue. To be clear we are very religious. We are not Lubavitch but that doesn't mean we don't have high standards. We are sent some very chosheva guest who gladly eat our food and many times these are strangers. It is a complete hachnosas orchim for us. My daughter's favorite guest was the guy who spoke zero English and zero Hebrew. He only spoke yiddish. That was really interesting.

      Today's requirement was if a meshliach came to the door today they couldn't leave without eating and they will gladly eat.

      I honestly don't like the idea of potluck because not everyone is comfortable with other people's kasrus, many times this happens, for good reason. That is why I try to bribe people to go on the tour de Mercer Island to the kosher pizza place but it means crossing a floating bridge, exercise and possible sweat.

      I would like to keep a parade mainly in the Seward Park area so that people don't feel like they go out of their way to get here or worse they can actually feel like they accomplished something. The religious community has zero ladies (except me) who bike with kids as part of a commuting lifestyle. It can be hard for families with more than 3 kids and biking is an initial investment many people in this community do not have the gelt to put out.

      Heck, one winter it was so cold I biked to work with my sheitel on for extra warm.

      What is Vannevar's Facebook page?

  8. Sorry if this appears as a dup, browser being finicky.

    I'm a recent Bal Teshuva just trying to play catch-up with my wife who felt a stronger inspiration sooner, and now my daughter who's learning in the girl's yeshiva.

    So, was never trying to come across as overbearing. I made an assumption based on what I don't see here, frum women biking. It would be great if that could change. I'm hoping my daughter will still want to ride and not think it weird when she gets older.

    As for the facebook link, I'll paste in what Vannevar did before:

    Activity is split between that, his blog (google type 2 clydesdale), my google+, and of course, the thread:, but definitely concentrated on bike-pgh first, with facebook second.


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