Tuesday, December 30, 2014

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

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

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!!

36 MPH too slow?
You're SO vain.....you 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!

Bike Escape: Fay Bainbridge Park 2019

I went camping without kids. How did I manage that? (insert shrug) One of the old time pedal parents went with me. Our schedules for this ...