The best laid plans

Never work out.

With weather yesterday in the 70s and sunny I was dreaming of the beach! I was hoping to go to Olympic Sculpture Park and was able to rope in a friend to join!

Except that the baby didn’t want to go for a bike ride. He started out grumpy and his mood didn’t improve. I think it was a combination of sun, an overly floppy hastily attached sunshade, wind from not having the cover on, and DST waking us up later so we had less morning play to get our wiggles out.

Even though it was only in the 50s when we left home I didn’t want to bake the baby as the day heated up so we took off the cover for the bakfiets. I’d never ridden without the cover and it was so nice! It somehow felt easier to get places, although maybe it was just the nice weather.

A few months ago I ripped the sun shade from our stroller and it was under warranty so they sent us a new one. It has Velcro on the sides where it wraps around the stroller frame so we stuck the Velcro to the car seat. Then we tucked the back part of the sun shade down against the box to keep it from blowing away. I added a thin muslin blanket to provide additional coverage. But it was too loose! The shade ended up being too floppy and baby H was not a fan. But also he didn’t like the sun in his face. No winning kiddo.

So after many silly songs and no signs of cheering up we stopped for a quick on board nursing session. So much easier without the cover attached! While he nursed I watched some sparrows flit around in the trees and practiced my squats. I’m 100% people thought I was doing some sort of crazy dance but the baby was happy.

After about 10 minutes we were off again! But still unhappy. We made it about 5 more minutes of riding before a total meltdown. So out of the bike and onto the grass! At a very non scenic spot. But H was happy to throw his ball and wave his arms. Plus he discovered a new sound of the day: BEEP BEEP! Everyday he likes one new weird sound. But the next day that same sound is boring to him. Babies.

At this point I didn’t think we could make it to the park so texted my friend to see if they were down to meet up at the locks. They were! We hung out for about 20 minutes before starting out again. This time we were relatively happy (with a few roadside dandelion stops of course).

And I made it up Emerson! I had to walk up in the pouring rain 6 weeks ago so I was extremely proud! Go me! I decided to try out a new route to the locks. I rode up Gilman in the new protected lanes until the end then followed the signs for the locks. It took us down a relatively steep trail, across a narrow wooden bridge, and then down another steep but short street. And boom! Arrived! It was much nicer than riding on Market or even on 21st.

At the locks we picnicked for a bit and then Jen tested out my bakfiets with her nanny baby! He loved it! Or maybe just the new toys in the car seat. But then I remembered it’s a crazy expensive fine for riding in the locks so we put an end to that.

I’ve been biking around with a folding chair for 3 months and finally got to test it out while nursing! It worked great! Totally worth the extra 3 pounds or so.

I reversed our route for the way home, walking up the steep street. Of course as soon as we got to the bridge we had a massive diaper blow out! So out of the bike, onto the ground, changed him in a pile of pine needles. And then back on, and up the hill to Gilman.

He ended up sleeping the whole way home! It was fabulous! I stopped a few times to adjust the little blanket but he stayed asleep until I unlocked the door.

Overall a fun day!

Oh! Join me for full moon rides! Next one is 3/31. Ride from the Wall of Death at 9!

A Day at Discovery Park

Not too long ago I didn’t think it was possible to ride to Discovery Park. When I was 37 weeks pregnant I accepted the (self-imposed) challenge & rode over. And then down to the beach. And on the way back up (mostly walking) I thought to myself: if I can make it up this hill, I can totally give birth. I was pretty sure I’d give birth on that hill, I was having so many contractions!

On the way home I noticed new markings indicating a change in the bike lane. And while recovering from birthing H they did it! They made a protected bike lane from the end of the Ship Canal Trail to Magnolia Town Center (about 4 blocks away).

We had ridden over last month for a family picnic and hike and it was glorious (minus those last 4 blocks – WHY YOU DO THIS TO ME SEATTLE?!)!

So we were back! And I was determined to find a way up to the bluffs where there’s a big sandy patch perfect for exploring. We made it with only minimal breaking of the no riding on trails rules and I think I figured out how to go next time to avoid that issue. I’ll post the route once I confirm.

The day was clear and the Olympics were out! We spent about 40 minutes shoveling sand into our mouth before I packed us up and headed for the playground.

The playground squirrels are bold! One climbed into the bike trailer while we were on the swings.

The protected lanes worked well except when we had to turn from Gilman onto Emerson. I signaled our turn too adamantly & ended up biking into the soft bollard in the middle of the lane, where my toe got caught underneath it! I thought I was going to have to take off my shoe! After several awkward minutes of jiggling my foot I was free! And we made our way home without further incident.

Yay for safe infrastructure!

Moms on Bikes – Lynne

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!

What does biking with my kids mean to me? Peace, mostly.

Before kids, I commuted by bike and would occasionally bike for other errands. It was empowering being self-propelled and fun, as well as much easier (and cheaper) than trying to park near my work. Since I started biking with my kids, these things have continued to be true, but I also started biking for almost everything else as well. For me, it’s just easier, less stressful and overall more peaceful to bike instead.

Both of my children have — to greater and lesser extents — hated traveling in the car as babies. My firstborn was so strong, I felt it required excessive force to get her to ‘unplank’ her body to bend into a car seat. My second child would be okay with the car seat, but would wail nonstop in the car after 4pm. Both of these problems went away when we were biking. The first day I picked up my oldest from her daycare/preschool with her baby brother in the box bike was the first day we made the ride home in peace. It was blissful. The stress reduction from this alone would have made the whole thing worthwhile, but there are other ways that biking is more peaceful for me too.

With the bike, we don’t get stuck in traffic jams (as long as I remember to avoid Husky Stadium during football games). There is almost always easy parking.

We can stop at playgrounds when requested. We can talk while we ride. I can open packets of gummy rabbits or granola bars when requested. Bike naps are a real and lovely thing.

I started biking with my daughter on a non-electric Edgerunner, with first a Yepp seat and then just a Hooptie when she got a bit older. I loved that Edgerunner! Just before my son was born, I got a Bullitt with a triple-wide box (to fit a preschooler next to an infant car seat in the box) and front-hub e-assist, in order to be able to carry a baby and also to improve weather protection for both kids. I love the Bullitt even more, mostly due to the canopy on the box.

Now I don’t even struggle to get weather-appropriate clothing on my children before leaving home. If they won’t put it on, it goes in the box. They’re usually okay anyway. More than once, I have put a child who won’t put on their shoes in the bike with their shoes. You can sort it out at the other end, when they’re more agreeable. Life is just more peaceful that way 🙂

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. 

2016: A Year in Review

2016 was a big year for us. We traveled quite a bit & then we sold everything we owned & moved across the country!

January

Puerto Rico! We took a delayed honeymoon to Puerto Rico & spent our days lounging by the pool & hiking in the rain forest! We hiked up a closed highway for an amazing view & then swam in a crowded and cold waterfall in the only tropical rain forest in the US. I brought back a mild case of Zika but the fried plantains were totally worth it.

February

Amsterdam! We took a whirlwind trip to Amsterdam after finding an amazing deal on flights. Mike forfeited his license at a bike rental shop so we could make our flight on time. We loved riding around & exploring the city & dreaming about raising our future babies in such a family friendly city. I sold my first painting!

March

Paperwork! After returning from Europe we finally worked on our name change documents. It’s complicated to change your name & it’s even more complicated when it’s a full name change (not a maiden name). I had been suffering in pain for a long time & finally found a diagnosis. I received my acceptance to the University of Washington. I was accepted into my first juried show!

April

I started treatment for my pain & was finally able to see some minimal relief. I was anxiously awaiting word on my application to Portland State University. Eventually I heard that I was not accepted to the program & was reconsidering our move to the West Coast. I sold a number of paintings in a prominent local show.

May

I spent some time in New Hampshire for my sister’s graduation. I accepted my position at UW. A quick turnaround lead me to Seattle for a few days in search of an apartment for us. I met some amazing & friendly humans who helped me get a better sense of the city & which neighborhood to live in. I sold 8 paintings & had my first solo show!

June

June was a blur! My doctor recommended surgery to cure my pain & we were able to schedule it for just 2 weeks later. I spent 2 weeks on bedrest post-op & the rest of my time was packing, packing, packing.

July

I left my job on a Friday & we left for Seattle the very next morning! We spent 2 weeks driving across the country, camping in national forests & failing to shower or brush my hair for many days on end. There were a lot of pit toilets. We cooked our meals over open fires & enjoyed a lot of canned beans. We arrived in Seattle with the dogs (still married) & picked up our few possessions from the train station. Our bikes arrived in the mail & we furnished our apartment with a combination of Goodwill & IKEA furniture. We sold the Prius & became a car-free family!

August

I did a lot of healing in August. My body was still exhausted from the surgery & our trip so I spent a lot of time reading on the couch. I also started learning to play the ukulele. I got back on my bike! It was slow at first but I was able to ride comfortably quite quickly after hopping back on.

September

My dad came for a visit & we did all of the touristy Seattle things. I headed up to Vancouver with my bike via the train for Pro Walk / Pro Bike / Pro Place. I met some fabulous new friends & made great connections with people working in urban planning! We took the dogs on our first true Seattle adventure: camping at Fay Bainbridge (& pt.2)

October

My program was in full swing! Lots of new people to meet & remembering how to be a student again. I went on my first Critical Lass with some amazing ladies & a ton of positive feminine energy. I thought about adding another 2 years & an extra degree onto my program. I found out I was pregnant! And we didn’t really know what to think because we were so sure it wouldn’t happen after years of me being told it would be difficult & I would need fertility treatment. Turns out doctors are wrong & it can happen the first time!

November

Being pregnant got more real & I felt nauseous tired much of the time. By the time Thanksgiving rolled around I was over this quarter & just wanted to be done with classes! I decided to switch my focus to Transportation Planning & take electives in Urban Design. I won’t be staying on for the additional degree. We took our bikes on the train to Portland for the weekend & enjoyed exploring a new city.

December

Finals seemed to stretch on forever & I think I spent 2 weeks not sleeping at all. I slept for 18 hours straight after submitting my last paper & then all of the pregnancy sickness caught up with me. Much of the last 2 weeks has been spent in bed eating saltines & drinking gatorade which has been less than ideal. I’m hoping to finish out the year on a positive note & eat a real meal (& keep it down) for dinner!

Here’s to finding out what 2017 has to offer!

 

 

 

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