Thursday, December 31, 2015

My Cheshbon of 2015

What's a cheshbon? It's a Hebrew word that means an accounting. So, here I am about to make a cheshbon about  2015.

I know I've been busy, so busy to the point I neglect to even write something once a week. The funny doesn't come out of me all the time. I try to make my issues funny but some subjects are hard to make funny.

Cheshbon List 2015

He was very terrified of this. Somehow cucumbers were fine.
1. My garden suffered because of my bike activism. By full growing season I had some plants but not much to show for it. In 2016 I promise to grow more. I even started by cleaning up the garden this past Sunday when it started snowing on me. Yes, it snowed but didn't stick.

That time my kid kicked butt and biked more miles than adults
2. I want to blog more. It's hard, really, really hard. Having a tween and a toddler with no "buffer children" and that makes everything hard. So, 2015 was not my bloggiest year. Let's hope 2016 is better. I didn't even blog about my tweens epic adventure. She biked from home to UW then to Gas Works park and then home to the Rainier Valley. It helped we had friends along for the ride. Yes, she biked with the backpack the WHOLE TIME. It drives me nuts!

Riding the Rainier Valley Greenway as test experiments, not fun bike rides :(

Our pedestrian portrait. 

Ridiculous things we do when we are pedestrians

3. Ride my bike with kids every single day, except Shabbos. We had days this years where I was too pooped to figure out rain gear, baklava, shoes, snacks, blah blah blah. No, we didn't drive. I'm not crazy, we walked. My kids are great walkers. Walking requires all those items but at least I don't have to pack my disaster relief scenario on a bike because I basically do that every single time we bike.  They would win at kid walking races. Even the toddler is good to walk/run a mile. We are going to bike more but it requires I get organized.

Which window is she in? I was catching a train to Portland so no time to chat
4. I made it a whole year without meeting Reb Roush. Who is she and why do I want to meet her? Shouldn't I be satisfied that we are FB "friends", I follow her on Twitter and I have her cell number? I really enjoy looking and reading her Seattle Bicycle Portraits. When you look at bike propaganda it seems like the same 5 people are always highlighted, BORING. Her blog shows all the people who bike and all the kinds of bikes people have. I love that. Seattle is a city full of interesting people. I like seeing it in pictures. What makes this worse is that one day she encountered my husband with his bike. My husband likes to have is anonymity and refused his own Bicycle Portrait. Mr. Peyos has a really nice bike he loves. Oh well.

If you get one of these on your bike the other side has my info
5. Organize myself better. Mr. Peyos is really organized. He does it all. He's the modern Renaissance Man. I don't know how he does it. I actually do and should work on myself. Here's to better organization, which means I ordered business cards. 2015 put me in situations where I was writing my contact information on tiny pieces of paper. Those pieces of paper scream, "Take me seriously!"

Now that I have done a full cheshbon it looks like I need to get organized!

Oh and if I don't say it enough @SDOT, PUT A PROTECTED BIKE LANE ON RAINIER AVE.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

N-S Rainier Valley Greenway/Ride to Hell TWICE

I don't have a lot of time for anything. I have no idea why I am sitting here writing this. I should be doing something but my toddler is content playing with his toys.
Look at my kid in his plastic bubble (2nd Ride:More Wet)
As you know, I am not kidding when I want a protected bike lane on Rainier Ave. I'M NOT KIDDING!!


In order to prove a point I decided to convince someone from SDOT to take a joy ride with my bike gang here in south Seattle.  We are a hard core group of people with loud mouths and not afraid to say what's on our mind. We area also not scared by hills, wildlife (broken car parts) or getting shot in the butt. Yes, that happens.

How did I manage that? I go to meetings, specifically the ones about road changes. If you don't go to them you are not allowed to complain on Facebook pages with things like, "I didn't know?", "Why was the community not involved?". This is a common strategy in between the rants about how someone put their coat at a table at PCC to reserve a table and it INFURIATED YOU! Again, how did I convince anyone to bike with me? I blame another SDOT person, who shall remain anonymous. He basically said, "Hey, here's Shirley" and then ran for his life. Hahaha, it was so funny.

Our brave group started at the Rainier Beach Safeway. You know, what. If you have not shopped there because you believe the scary stereotypes then you are missing something. That store is super nice and clean. Can you say that about the other two Safeway stores in our corridor? NO! They have a manageable bike rack that is in front of the store, not hidden and I appreciate it!

This is not the whole group but there we are in all our glory. It's odd how most of us were on e-bikes. One of us was on a Counterpoint bike with his daughter in the front. I love the family dynamic on that kind of bike. I want Mr. Peyos to get one and bike around with the older kid.

Curious about the route? Here is the LINK to the complete route. I have cut it up just for you but we did the whole route. A group had audited parts of the route but they didn't ride it the whole way. For many of us who bike down here, this route stinks! SDOT throws us a bone with "infrastructure" and we are suppose to bow to the supreme beings there and say, OH THANK YOU!

Let's see how it works before we judge.

The route is pretty smooth and flat at the starting point (Rainier Beach Library). Before we started Dick Burkhart brought along the Seattle bike map from 1997. I was so afriad to touch it because I am sure I had toddler slobber on some part of my body.

1997 Seattle Bike Map
It was in mint condition and it also had an interesting route, oh wait, what they called the zig zag route is a better version of the current proposed Greenway route. Why are we reinventing the wheel? WHY? I am so glad to get to talk to him because 35 years of biking in the Rainier Valley is really interesting. I had a hard time not picking his brain. This was not a social ride but a ride to give SDOT feedback.

The route is flat from the library to Othello Park. This was enjoyable. Lookie, we go past the completed East-West Rainier Valley Greenway. Remember, I biked it with 2 kids so you don't have to. We did stop in the segment where we cut to Othello Park. It's a little island where people have decided to use it as car heaven. All that illegal parking is going be put out of commission. Move your car!
Free parking just for you

It's pretty boring and flat until we get to Aki Kurose where hell begins. Why do I have be so darn dramatic? For the first ride we went the old and not improved way across Orcas at 42nd Ave. Lucky us it has a flashing beacon. Not to fast, this beacon only flashed so that drivers going east can see it. It doesn't make much sense to put a beacon if drivers from both directions can see it. Does it work? NO!

Everyone in the group worked as a test dummy. If we got hit by a car then we had an SDOT employee to witness our demise, how wonderful. Several of us though, f--this, I'm going across anyway. I got across and served as the flashing beacon pressing button person. It's an offical title I granted myself, "Queen of the flashing beacons". Nobody cares. You could be wearing bright florescent paint on your naked body and nobody is going to stop for you.
Morgan of FamilyBike attempted to cross the street waving her hands frantically but nada. In fact, when she was asserting herself in the crosswalk the women coming at her in their car waved back. What is wrong with people? Stop your car at the flashing beacons. 

In any case, this was not even the worst part. On a related note the route got changed but it's not great either. It was a substitution for avoiding the next part of this route, a hill that is not funny.
The orginal route has us turn west on S. Findley. While it might be fine for people traveling north when you decided to bike south you have to pay the price with an 8% grade street with no sidewalk to walk on. The change reroutes north bound people to Renton Ave. S directly from S. Orcas but the sight line is pretty bad but many of us do this intersection VERY VERY carefully. I do not recommend you let your kids do this route on their own. Also, if you are new to biking and you plan to use it, don't do it. Maps don't give you the whole story.

The next segment we stopped I call "Five ways to die". I know, so morbid but this intersection has 5 points where drivers can mow you over. At night it is really really dark here.

Who knew death could look pretty

Here is the air view of the section. What does it look like on the ground?

That little piece of grass obstructs anything. Oh yeah, makes it super exciting when a driver comes rushing at you, woosh. Everyone was just making circles because we can. I know, exciting.

Then a change in the original map we turn on S. Ferdinand to get across Rainier Ave. This is okay because we go past BikeWorks. Hi everyone!
Stop complaining Shirley! On our second ride we suffered through very cold rain and sad wet children. I know, we did this twice. My goal is to torture as many people on this ride until we can just get a protected bike lane. It would be must more efficient and faster if we didn't have to ride this loopy loop route. 
I know, It's so confusing. Look at use making loops in the hard rain. This was real rain but where are the tortured children? They are right behind me. Aw, they got covered up by Mom. Hi Steve. Gordon is pretending that it's not raining which is adorable. The second time around we tortured 19 people. I lost track because people joined the ride and then disappeared. 4 kids got so soaked. It was sad, so so sad.

This is part of the group waiting for the light to change at S. Ferdinand and Rainier Ave. None of us had the magic ability to trigger the light so someone biked over to the push button and begged it with a finger, not the middle one. 

Another wacko hill. It doesn't look bad but we know better than you 7% grade. All ages road means all ages, not just 20 year olds who are not carrying wiggly screaming toddlers or wiggly screaming tweens who will REFUSE this street. 

Then the icing on the cake 13% grade road! This is what death looks like from the top.
Yes folks, that's the top of a tree. Look at all the parking everywhere. Looks safe to me. 13% GRADE ROAD!!!

The rest of the ride was not as dramatic but this section illustrates our inability to escape the Rainier Valley. Hillman City to Columbia City is a big barrier for people who just want to get out. It only makes sense to put a protected bike lane on Rainier Ave. 

How many SDOT people do I have to take on this segment so you get my point? This is a brutal route. I hate when people say how they bike down here occasionally. They don't even know the half of it. Seriously, come out and join me on another ride and I won't slow down for you. We aren't going to go on Lake Washington. I will take you Rainier Ave. For the second ride that is what we did riding south. I was not joking around. 

I am so tired of the south end completely neglected. I only stay with Seattle Greenways because they take me seriously. Telling people how difficult it is for families to access the rest of the city just produces blank stares. Riding with some seasoned south enders has shown me that we are not alone in our routes and desire to have safe connections. 

We want to access the city completly, stop keeping us trapped. In the meantime I will take my kids on these rides regardless of the weather. See, REGARDLESS!!

Pretty soon he is going to need a real place to practice his circus biking. COME ON!!


Wednesday, December 9, 2015

I have an email ADDRESS..WHAT HAVE I DONE?

Donuts! Just to mess with your mind.

In the interest of NOT clogging up my email with a combo of stuff I have created an email for bike advocacy stuff.

I am now wading in the waters of bike advocacy.


Here is my email if you want to know the following:

-Hey, when are we going to get a protected bike lane on Rainier Ave.

-You want to tell me your harrowing story about trying to bike in the Rainier Valley and not die.

-You want to donate to FamilyBike. You know you want to.

Don't bother me with anything else, I will ignore you!

Shirley/No Spandex Required

nospandexreq at gmail dot com

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Give Big to FamilyBike

So proud, bike up 31st Ave. S. Downtown Seattle in the background.

My entry into cargo biking began alone. My daughter was 3 and I had a internally geared 3 speed bike. I know, who rides on that with a trailer? I did. I didn't know any other person who was biking with kids on the crazy hills and Seattle Family Facebook wasn't even a thing. On a particular Friday in 2008 I was biking East through Sam Smith park making my way to the I-90 tunnel and there she was. Who? Morgan Scherer. We were in a hurry to get home for Shabbos but her and her bike fascinated me. Did I finally meet someone who also bikes with kids? YES! That brief encounter always stuck with me. On all my rides I was motivated knowing she was out there riding with kids.

I was motivated to ride from that brief encounter. Later on I found her again through BikeWorks. This time I had a reason to track her down. Turns out Morgan was head/person in charge of a non-profit called FamilyBike. Don't confuse it with FamiyRide. I know.

After paying my dues and killing myself biking with a trailer and the heavy Oma bike I came to the realization that I needed a cargo bike. In order to help me make this decision I rented a Madsen from FamilyBike. I had a joyful two weeks of fun.

You can rent this too, it's FUN!
Much like me, FamilyBike other people have a similar story. FamlyBike has paved the way for people to decided what works for them.

Not only that but FamilyBike has leads rides throughout the city for FREE, helping others to meet each other, encouraging us to bike more.

So, why so much about FamilyBike?

For one, I am now on the Board of Directors. Hooray for me!

Also, I want you to give tzedakah (charity). It's good for you. Currently we are in search of awesome people who want to encourage more biking. Become part of our Sustainer's Circle. Yes, I am a a sustainer. You can give small amounts per month. How about $18 for month? CHAI! Let's get FamilyBike running so others can enjoy biking.

Click on the link and choose your level.

If you enter today (DECEMBER 1st) you get prizes!!! Everyone wants prizes! Even if you don't get prizes you can get discounts. Everyone wants discounts. In the end we will have a party for all Sustainers! Here is the low down:

10 Reasons to join the Familybike Sustainer Circle by December 1st:
10. You want to get more people biking, and know that Familybike’s programs are effective!
9.  You can’t wait to be entered into the drawing for prizes from 20/20 Cycles and the Electric Lady.
8.  You want to save money at G&O Family Cyclery! This family-focused bike shop (and more soon!) is showing their support by giving 10% discounts to members of the Sustainer Circle.
7.  Donating a small amount monthly is unnoticeable to you, but has a big effect on Familybike Seattle’s effectiveness.
6.  You want to join your friends at the Familybike Sustainer Circle THANK YOU PARTY at the end of January, 2016!
5.  You are a family biker, and know that supporting the one organization dedicated to your needs just makes sense.
4.  You like the feeling of coming together as a community to support something visionary.
3.  You know that Familybike is a young organization with a big impact, and you want to see what new projects can happen with some funding!
2. You believe that biking can save the world, and want to support an organization that believes that too.
1. You’ve rented a bike from the sliding scale rental fleet, ridden a Kidical Mass ride, taken a workshop, or enjoyed the bounty at a Family Bike Expo, (or want to!), and want to make sure these valuable services are available into the future and to a wider community!
You will help to maintain our existing bikes and hopefully in the future get more bikes. Rentals are on a sliding scale, people are not turned away if they can't afford to rent, family biking needs to be accessible, right! Check out all our sweet rides. We even have a Haul-a-Day. OOOOH!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Don't fall in that pothole! Vote YES on Prop 1

That time I biked on the street ON the Ballard Bridge. Let's NOT fix this.

I was going to update you on my epic adventures but I need to stop and be POLITICAL for a minute. Oh no! Is she going to discuss Bengazi or Bernie? Nope, I ain't.

What I am going to talk about? Prop 1. What is it? It's a Levy asking all of us to fund the road. Oh no!! Don't make me pay $12 a month on improvements. I already spend $150/month on coffee because I can't brew my own, lazy.

A lot of media has circulated how we should all vote NO. Let's go deeper in the mind of the no.

So, a lot of people are saying that it's not transparent, we don't know where the money is going
Where is the money going to go. In one word, ROADS. The very road you drive your beep beep on. Did someone tell you that the money was just going to fund evil bicyclist? Well, look at it. Sad to say, Seattle Times actually had a very nice graphic. I know, Seattle Times, ughh.

Are you too lazy to click that link. Here, I did the work for you.

Where it the biggest chunk going? ROADS for you car! Don't let the bridge fall on you or from under you while you enjoy total and complete freedom in your car.

What else? Infrastructure to get stupid bicyclist off your ROADS

and...ROADS! Getting people off your special road so you can drive you car in complete freedom.

ROADS! Re-timing the lights so you can press down the accelerator and crash into another beauty salon. 

more.. ROADS! Especially to bring in those "Made in not USA" automobile parts to fix your car.

What is so hard to understand? It's about the friggin ROAD where you drive. What is so hard to understand? Oh wait, you need to do more internet research. Let me help you, I have an almost degree in library science. Type...type...type...keyword search (the only advanced way to do REAL research)...found it!

OMG!! What happened. Well, it rhymes with "pinche way". One person is on a personal campaign to get you to vote no. ONE person. As of today 10/28/2015 and additional $175,000 on this NO campaign. Why are you trusting one person with all the money? Think for a minute people. Isn't everyone against the 1%, the "man". I mean, look! $325,000 could get one a wild party or do real good in the community. How many tiny houses would that fund for the homeless at Nicklesville? Not only would you give someone a home but you would give kids skills. I thought I would give you the most adorable picture ever. Why is she in the road? It's so dangerous. WHY?? Someone is able to teleport and not telling.

In the meantime, keep doing your "helpful" keyword searches and complain on Facebook local pages. I will be over here teaching kids mad teleporting skills!.


Don't let the 1% win!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Seattle Central District Greenway Phase 1/#Coffeneuring trip 3

As required by the law of #coffeneuring I must make my trip to find coffee somewhere. A plain black  cup of coffee is really a lost art. People put too much junk in it to even taste the coffee goodness. So, when you ask for a plain cup give me something good, don't just make  mediocre coffee. With that said, let's get to our adventure.

I decided to try the Central District Greenway. So far Phase I is mostly completed. Let's get to mostly.

In order to get to the beginning I have to get through and around my hood where we have ZERO bicycle infrastructure. NOTHING! I thought I should remind you just in case you missed it the first time. I have to bike on part of Rainier Ave that is poo. So I make it to the beginning of Phase I (Jackson/25th). I managed to get there by biking north on 31st, which is fun once you get to the top and you can wheeee all the way down Jackson. I made sure to be careful because the road was wet and kinda slippery. I love the woman sweeping all the leaves into the road. Thank you!

Now that we can be certain that I did not fall off my bike while making a right on to 25th I was surprised and pleased to find a brewery on the corner. Sadly they were not open because I would have happily had a beer at this point than another cup of coffee. Mr. Peyos already made me a cup of coffee so I was set.! They were closed but the outdoor seating was covered and looked inviting. I can't wait to go back with Mr. Peyos and our kids. 

I'm off.....

My all time favorite part were these buttons in the street so I don't have to park the bike like a maniac, run and press the button and return to my bike. When you press the button, suddenly lights flash, and rainbows are displayed to mark you as the most important person crossing the street. No rainbows but the flashing lights were fun. Thank you for making me look less crazy, at least here. Around Rainier Ave. I have perfected my technique and either utalized the older kid to press the crosswalk button or dismount my bike and run to press it myself. I know, my bike could trigger the sensor, NOPE! Doesn't always work. 

Everything is fine until I get to the section where I have to turn on E. Columbia. Put a street sign there. I had no idea that it was E. Columbia until I turned and saw the street sign a block later. Then you have to get across 23rd Ave. Say a prayer during the week because, GOOD LUCK. The fancy button is not here yet because 23rd Ave. still under construction. This rules out using it with my daughter on her own bike. The best solution will be to turn right on 23rd, ride north until Union and cross the street to rejoin the Greenway. 

I'm confused....
Why would I want to do that detour? Well, you want to press another bike button of course, this one gets you across Union. It's a big middle finger to the people driving west on Union because that means they HAVE to stop. I pressed the button and waited. This caused so much confusion. A guy who had the green driving on Union seemed so perturbed by my waiting, he stopped and waved me through. You know what? I was not going to go. I was waiting for my light for me to go.
I was talking to the pedestrian to my left so I didn't take a great picture of my bike beg button. 

My destination: Ada's Technical Books. I wanted to try my luck at coffee. Not to be mean but it was not all that desirable. I know he used a cone but I get cone coffee all the time at home from Mr. Peyos and he makes an excellent cup. My guess, I was suppose to fill my coffee with sugar, creamer and more sugar. Yes? Oh well, I got to look around the store and try to find the database book I never found. 

I ended up dropping the coffee and had to search for a garbage can. Where are all the garbage cans in Capitol Hill?? WHERE!!!

Mr. Peyos was excited about this comic book. I didn't buy it but showed him the picture once I got home. After this I did boring stuff and went home. The total millage was about 25 miles. I went all the way to the end of Phase 1 of the Greenway where it goes past Safeways, across Madison and ends at Thomas. 

My final impression, this thing is not done. Safeway is like a death wish. NO WAY would I bike on that wonky section with my kid. It needs more barriers and spikes to prevent idiots turning from 23rd into the greenway fast, which is what happened. I had expected this so I was prepared but some people are going to think this is a nice way to go and BLAMO here comes the beep beep metal machine keeping a person captive inside. 

HUH? You can't see it? 23rd Ave. is the vertical line going north south. Hey, let me take a short cut and turn on E. Olive because I am way too important to go another way. SDOT is going to play mind games with you because they put a stop sign you will run it because YOU DONT' CARE. What's that weird poo thing that looks like a foot print?

It's a diverted. HAHAHAHAHAHA, Barf!

Shut up Shirley! It's not done. AWWWWW, I want to love it but I give it the following narrative evaluation in the style of UC Santa Cruz

Grasp of Forms: Fuggggggg...Fair
Skill in Executing: Good, no SDOT employees were harmed or run over (I think?)
General Comments: It has a fair start but needs to be finished for me to actually go all wacko on this evaluation. 

On a side note: Mr. Peyos's Master's Degree is signed by Arnold, the Governator. We should frame that. 


Sunday, October 11, 2015

#Coffeeneuring 2015: Ride 1 & 2

oooh, just needs a unicorn
I love a good challenge, especially one that motivates me to get out of the house. So, for the last two weeks I have been #Coffeeneuring on Sundays. I have managed to keep up with the challenged, only 5 more weekends to go.

Did I have a theme within a theme? I truly wanted to have a theme. I was thinking "chia". I find chia pets and chia food fascinating.

October 4th, 2015 :
I know, it was erev Yom Tov, I am totally insane. Let me take a relaxing ride with one of the more temperamental kids. Who am I talking about? In this case, it is the toddler. He is like a wildcard. I never know. So, Mr. Peyos brought him out to the bike, buckled him in and wave bye bye. Where can we enjoy a refreshing drink, tea for me and chocolate milk for him? Columbia City PCC has a nice selection of tea. So, I guzzled mine and watched the little guy look sleepy. Uh no, there goes our plan to sit at a park and enjoy our chia crackers.

Too late. Do you like his lumberjack outfit? He loves having his socks like that. Don't even try to fold them down, he will throw a tantrum. He is ready to be declared an old man.  So, I biked us home and our total mileage came to an astounding 3.5 miles. WOW, impressive, heh.

October 11, 2015
In between my bike lane stunt and other stuff I did something that has NEVER ever happened. I POOPED, I mean popped a tire. I was trying to make my way home at super lightning speed at night, rounded a corner and pooped my tire. Since receiving the bike in 2013 I had yet to change a flat or pop anything. It's a miracle!
Unfortunately all they could do was change the tube. Turns out I had a HUGE gash in my tire and I have been riding around like that since September 6th. ACK!!

I always try to make a social ride but nobody ever wants to ride with me, whaaaa. I got on my trusty fast bike (I'm not talking about the Edgerunner) and made the uphill ride to 20/20 Cycles in Capitol Hill.  I can't tell you how much I love that shop. In any case, more on my love later, let's get back to coffee. Did you know that people who drink black coffee are more likely to be psychopaths. WHAT? It's true, because I read it on the internet. Everything on the internet is true!  Here I am drinking black coffee because, "soy loca"
I have a tire around my neck. What is going on? Oh but that's the tire for the Edgerunner so I don't endanger myself any longer.  The fast bike stayed with the bike shop and I walked to Trader Joe's. I was bummed. As I was leaving I saw a gleaming green, it wasn't pot. It was a Cycle Pronto. I really want to try those.

They have a surprising low height range. Short people can ride this bike! WOW. I biked down Pine through Westlake and then turned on to the 2nd Ave Bikeway. I "docked" the bike at International where I became super paranoid it wasn't locked. It's interesting how the green light displays for locking and unlocking. It took me twice to pull on the bike to make sure it wasn't going anywhere. On my way through Westlake I also almost got smooshed by a driver because waiting behind me as a rider utilizing the complete lane was stupid. Somehow bullying me to move closer to parked cars was better for them. Who cares about me? I'm not human! Sadly, I do not have this on camera, it failed to film this.

In any case, no chia was acquired in the second trip. No chia pet, chia smoothie, chia cookie. I failed my theme within a theme.

I think my new theme will be "desperate for coffee". I know this trip was more than 2 miles because Capitol Hill is not even a hop skip and jump, so I completed that requirement. Next week, my hope to find a new place to drink coffee.

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 ...