Moms on Bikes – Ines

This post is part of a series (hopefully) of mothers who ride bikes with their children. If you’re interested in contributing send me an email or reach out on twitter!

This post was written by Ines, a mama from Mexico:

I use my bicycle almost daily, since I discovered that it is a way of transport that beats not only public transport, but also private automobile.  I am never worried if there is gridlock: I always arrive on time to my destinations, and almost without stress. Also, I do not need to allocate extra time, to exercise or practice some sport to be healthy.

I have been a mom for 9 years, and I used the bicycle even during my second pregnancy. (Contrary of what my first gynecologist told me, the increasing weight wasn’t a factor to lose balance). I have continued to use the bicycle at first with one, and now with two children. Of course my activities and my responsibilities have changed, however, I have found means to adapt the bicycle for the new needs. When the second child arrived, I put a child-seat between mine and the steering wheel for the smallest one, and another one on the rear, for the older one.  When my firstborn didn’t fit anymore on the child-seat, I bought a cargo bike (where I have carried up to 4 kids –my sister’s and mine-, or two children and a dog).   It sure is worth all the money I spent on it. Almost like an investment, and no spenditure.

Every day I see expressions of approval, of joy, of tenderness, of sympathy, even of envy -the good one- from motorists or children, as well as pedestrians who see us pass by. I have also seen looks of disapproval, impatience and anger. But the amount of the kind looks exceed those of the nasty ones.

I cycle most of my transfers, either alone, or with my children.

We go by bike: to the school (and to my workplace), to the bakery, to the tortillería, to the market, to the supermarket, to the hairdresser, to the tailor shop. If we go downtown, we ride transit, and we only use the car when we go out at night, leave the city or when there are more people than usual.

To my sons, it is normal that the mean of transport selected to travel, adapts to the need of the moment. There are trips that can be done either on foot, by bicycle, or even on a scooter. We choose the mean according to the destination.

But I have thought of many children in the city. They do not know another way of transport beyond the automobile. For them, the normal thing is to be transported everywhere in that insulating and alienating machine. I do not blame the dads and moms who are full-time drivers. There are many important reasons why, nowadays, Mexicans choose private cars as their only means of transportation.

I am sure -because it has already happened to me- that more than one will wonder when they watch us enjoying the journey, if it is true, that “to be happy, you need a car”.

Little by little, paradigms change. Slowly there are more people who, in spite of the hostile conditions of the interaction with traffic in the Mexican cities, choose the bicycle as a way of transport. Because that means a better quality of life, savings, different experiencees, less stress, and so on.

I can not imagine a life as a working mother, without my bicycle. I simply would not have time to myself.

Always be #coffeeneuring

Always be #coffeeneuring!

Our fifth coffeeneuring adventure was riding to meet a friend at Seattle Center. Coffee was tiny for a hefty price but I hear that the “shop” rotates monthly so they may have better options another time.

  • Where: KEXP
  • When: 10/27/17
  • What you drank: cafe au lait
  • Observation: it was an amazingly beautiful fall day! Our way home was through South Lake Union at rush hour so we ended up on the sidewalk because people driving had taken it upon themselves to block the bike lane in places (“if I have to wait in traffic so do you”).
  • Theme: (SUPER) skeptical baby
  • Total mileage: 12 miles

 

Coffeeneuring number six was on a train! We drank coffee on our way to Portland!

  • Where: Amtrak Coast Starlight
  • When: 11/2/17
  • What you drank: home brewed coffee with milk
  • Observation: this train is so fun! We spent our whole trip in the observation car because windows are like baby tv. Plus there’s no wifi so watching the scenery kept me entertained as well.
  • Theme: skeptical baby
  • Total mileage: 1.1 miles of riding to the link station and then we took the bike on the light rail to the Amtrak station in Chinatown

 

For our last official event of the challenge we had coffee with a friend who just moved to Portland. What could be better?

  • Where: Spielman Bagels (SE Division)
  • When: 11/4/17
  • What you drank: cafe au lait
  • Observation: babe was conked out when we arrived so we wheeled the bikes onto the back patio. It was pretty chilly so we were the only ones outside. The owner (?) brought out chairs for us but in his desire to inspect the baby (he’ll be a first time grandpa in January) he woke him up. Oh well. No bike racks out front but there’s a nice deck in addition to the patio space.
  • Theme: skeptical baby
  • Total mileage: 9.5 miles or so total since this was a stop on our way to the train station

 

Because I totally lost count (and not because I have a coffee addiction) we continued on our coffeeneuring challenge for number 8!

  • Where: Roxy’s Diner
  • When: 11/10/17
  • What you drank: coffee with cream
  • Observation: the latke sandwich is amazing. Why don’t I put sour cream on my eggs normally?!
  • Theme: skeptical ( dragon) baby
  • Total mileage: 6.5 miles

 

On a very cold and wet and genuinely dreary day babe and I rode to Montlake to meet up with friends for a walk around the arboretum. But first, coffeeneuring number 9!

  • Where: Fuel – Montlake
  • When: 11/16/17
  • What you drank: chai tea latte
  • Observation: I forgot how much I loved chai tea lattes! Babe fell asleep on our ride over and despite making a detour wherein we rode downhill only to find our way blocked off for construction and had to ride back uphill (being passed by 2 women jogging), we were still quite early to meet our friends. So I rode many loops around and around and around until babe woke up and I determined it was time to get inside to warm up.
  • Theme: skeptical baby (not so skeptical anymore)
  • Total mileage: 4.2 miles not including our many laps near the arboretum


And for a super spontaneous extra coffeeneuring we stopped to grab a coffee on our way home from an errand!

  • Where: Seven Cafe
  • When: 11/19/17
  • What you drank: chai tea latte
  • Observation: a sleeping baby should not be woken! I left babe in the trailer to snooze while I ordered. It was easy to keep an eye on the trailer & then we sat outside (he was still sleeping🙌) on the cute chairs on the sidewalk.
  • Theme: sleeping skeptical baby
  • Total mileage: 3 miles

More Adventures in #coffeeneuring

More #coffeeneuring!

For our second outing we actually made the coffee at home but I’m counting it because we biked far away and drank it once we got where we were going (which did not GASP have coffee).

  • Where: PEPS group meeting – Matthew’s Beach
  • When: 10/17/17
  • What you drank: home brewed coffee with cream
  • Observation: the rainy season has begun and there was a LOT of debris in the road. Also it’s really hard to walk backward with the trailer attached.
  • Theme: skeptical baby
  • Total mileage: 13.5 miles

For our third adventure we rode to #coffeeoutsideforher at Gas Works park but we were the only ones so we abandoned our post to ride on to Ballard for errands and coffee inside!

  • Where: Ballard Coffee Works
  • When: 10/19/17
  • What you drank: cafe au lait
  • Observation: This place is super expensive & what I thought was a plain croissant turned out to be meat filled. Also babe was very content to coo & watch me knit!
  • Theme: skeptical baby
  • Total mileage: 10.2 miles

 

Our fourth ride was to a new-this-year home coffee shop! We brought bread and butter and our sewing project and drank coffee & had someone fix out sewing mistakes! It was a party! Coffee! Mimosas! Glow sticks for the children! Acro yoga for the babies!

  • Where: Anny’s Cafe and Dance Club – Crown Hill
  • When: 10/21/17
  • What you drank: home brewed coffee with cream
  • Observation: we totally rode out of our way to meet up with someone but she had assist and we did not & HILLS BABY HILLS. There was much walking.
  • Theme: skeptical baby
  • Total mileage: 8.6 miles

Coffeeneuring 2017 Has Begun!

Every year I say I will successfully complete the #coffeeneuring challenge put on by Mary at Chasing Mailboxes, but I don’t know that I’ve ever done it.

So here’s to another year of starting off strong and probably not living up to expectations!

Babe and I rode to the Top Pot in Ballard for coffee and donuts before our grocery shopping adventure. In the spirit of taking things much too far I’ve made a giant spreadsheet to track how much we spend on specific items in order to reduce our food costs. Fun fun fun!

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But back to the coffeeneuring:

  1. Where: Top Pot Donuts – Ballard
  2. When: 10/13/17
  3. What you drank: cafe au lait
  4. Observation: my rear fender kicks up a lot of debris into the trailer (which babe loudly protested) so I really need to get a mud flap put on!
  5. Theme: skeptical baby
  6. Total mileage: 8.6 miles

The ride there was uneventful if chilly. People walked in front of me when I had a green light because they were texting. I was annoyed. I moved my safety cone back into position. Some dude passed us super close and fast on the trail at Stone Way. I’m still super paranoid about turning across the railroad tracks to get from the “trail” to TJ’s.

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SAFETY CONE MAKES EVERYONE SAFER

I’m 90% sure someone dumped a cup of water (I HOPE) on the trailer because it was the only thing wet & the sidewalk elsewhere was dry. Good thing I thought about rain & closed the plastic rain cover. WHO DOES THIS?!

I bought a lot of beer and the bag was super heavy so I stuck it in the trailer behind the child seat. I made it up our hill faster than usual, although I still took my requisite break by my favorite fire hydrant half-way up.

Some dude in a giant truck waited and waited and waited in a driveway until I was *right* in front of him before pulling out. THANX.

As usual babe woke up on the way up the hill so he could scream us home (I wish I could harness this energy to propel us). He continued to cry in the elevator so an ever helpful neighbor asked super helpful questions like: why is he crying; do you think he’s hungry; is he wet? This culminated in my favorite thing, which was patting babe on the arm and saying “baby don’t cry” over and over. Note to self: don’t get in the elevator with this guy again. Walk up the 9 flights of stairs.

Overall an outing much like many of our outings: we bought stuff, we cried, we forgot essential items, we smiled a bunch, and we got a little nap in.

Coffeeneuring suggestions welcome!

 

Gaining Confidence 

On Friday I was planning to bike to the Fremont PCC with babe in the soft structured carrier. There’s a closer PCC but the Fremont location is along a protected bike lane, making for only 3 on-street blocks, all down a local only, virtually traffic free (thanks contsruction!) street. 

But wait! A friend asked if I wanted to have a playground meet up with her 2 littles! She met us at our place & we rode to Green Lake instead. I was nervous about riding in the road, but having a friend there gave me so much more confidence!

We made it about 3/4 of a mile before babe decided he was wet & hungry & started screaming. He kept that up for about 5 blocks before falling back asleep. We could’ve stopped & regrouped, but he’s not the best with transitioning & he nurses for long stretches so I figured it would be best to see if we could make it all the way there. 


After some time watching the big kids play we headed over to PCC to return something & grab food for dinner. I don’t know that I would’ve found it if I had been by myself; it’s tucked back into a courtyard. Bike parking is tepid at best. Some nice staples far from the entrance and then really awfully place hanger style racks right by the door. With baby in the carrier it’s hard to bend & lock so the fact that PCC had shelves of plants up against the only spot I could lock to was quite annoying. 

We parted ways at the library, where Mike met up with us to ride us home after finding some new books to read. Roosevelt is a great example of bikewashing, where infrastructure looks great but actually doesn’t do much to protect riders. The sections by the library & the Trader Joe’s are especially bad. 

It’s not a ride I would’ve done by myself, but now that I have more confidence riding with babe, I think I would do it again (probably not Roosevelt though) alone. 

Saturdays sans Bebe

I’m in therapy for birth trauma. It’s a thing here. I love Seattle. Anyways, my therapist said I should take 3 hours on Saturday morning to run errands or ride my bike alone.

Last week I went to Joann’s Fabric to buy way too much fabric that I don’t need. Unless, of course, I take up quilting. I should totally do that with all my free time (you know, outside of writing a thesis & caring for baby). It was my first bike ride alone since giving birth & it went surprisingly well! I even got all the way back up the hill to our place without walking! My thighs were sore afterwards, but no other issues.

Today I decided to check out Petite Boutique on 45th, in Magnolia. It looked to be right off the Burke Gilman & it was for the most part. I turned off the trail at Fiddler on the Tooth and rode along the service road to get to the shop. There’s no bike parking on this side of the block so I locked up to a NO PARKING sign. Fitting.

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Overall the boys selection was disappointing, similar to other “high end” kids consignment stores I’ve been to. I also popped into Felipa’s Consignment, but struck out there too.

I figured I’d stop by University Village for a while since I was already here. But I didn’t want to ride uphill to go downhill so I rode slowly along the sidewalk on 45th until I got to the QFC parking lot. This parking lot is a total shit show. Seriously. It’s terrifying that so many people wielding 2 ton vehicles are texting while also competing for a parking spot as children try to cross in the crosswalk.

I checked out the garden store first, then decided to lock up by Sephora. I bumped into Chris taking a coffee break! Yay for bike friends! I needed mascara but when I read the label (hello NYLON) I decided that I didn’t want to put plastic on my eyelashes and left without buying anything.

I decided to poke around at Hana Anderson where it was assumed that I was buying a gift for friend. It’s weird being out without baby. Are you still a mama if your baby isn’t with you? Maybe.

I found a steal on a faux nursing tank at GAP. A tank top (on sale!) that’s open crossed in the back – just flip it around so the opening is in the front & you’ve saved yourself $40!

By the time I headed out it was pretty hot. I decided to try to find a route through Blakely Village to avoid the big hill & it was a success! It’s slow and includes a pretty tight switchback but still doable! On my way home I had to stop & hold my chest to prevent a letdown. But the time wasn’t wasted because I spent it clutching my boobs with one arm and picking delicious blackberries with the other. Ah, that nursing life.

I took the meandering campus route back to avoid the steeper climb up from the trail. I meandered even more than normal in order to stick to the shady spots. Campus was deserted. It was quite nice.

Baby on a Bike

I rode up until 40 weeks of pregnancy – right up until the day before I went into labor. So obviously I love riding my bike. It gives me a sense of freedom and control to be able to go where I want, when I want. Walking is too slow. Taking the bus requires too much planning. I can just hop on my bike and go! Not to mention all of the things I can carry!

But it wasn’t as easy getting on the bike with baby as I thought it would be. I was nervous about riding too fast; nervous about him bouncing too much. But most importantly I was nervous about what other people would say. Am I a bad parent for riding with my baby? 

I thought I would have more confidence and less doubt about my choices. So for now we’ll stay close to home and probably focus on rides we can do with Papa Bear along for support. 

I dream of living in the Netherlands where one can ride without worry. Now that would be freedom.