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!

The Hill Topper gets suited up!

I have some pretty epic plans for bike camping this summer (maybe too epic, we shall see) so I wanted to outfit the HT with racks and bags.

I was able to score some SWEET panniers at the Swift Industries “seconds” sale last weekend. They’re so pretty! The sale was a bit crazy! When we first arrived there was no line, but the wind was gusting 30-40 mph so we headed to a coffee shop in Pioneer Square. By the time we got back there was a line! I was able to grab a set of big rear bags for the back that I would’ve been happy with, but then a friend traded me for some that were a different color & gave me a front bag she didn’t want. It was kismet!

This week I dropped the bike at G&O for racks. I opted for a pretty standard rear rack (holds 50 kilos!) and basic front rack. The Straggler can be hard to add racks to, but they made it work! I like that the baby will be a bit further back to give him more space.

I’m hoping that the bags will fit down under the foot rests and then to use the front bag for easy access items.

I was looking to find a used Yepp seat in black, but opted for the newer version once I learned how easily it attaches! And it’s so light! I think it can go on any rack that can hold the weight, so it’s good for switching around bikes with Mike or visiting with friends! But of course color matching is a very important consideration, so I ordered it in the all black version. Hopefully it’ll be in next week!

I rode back to G&O with Lynne today while everyone else was at swim class. It’s a good thing I did because on the way over my gears were skipping. I had them shorten my derailleur cable to keep it from interfering with the bags.

The verdict is still out on if the left bag will interfere with the rear brake at all (fully loaded) but I’m goin to try to rig up a shim for the rack to hold the bag a bit further away if that’s the case.

On the way home we stopped off at R&E to check out their annual party and bid on some bikes! Woo!

Chilly Hilly is tomorrow! Going to fill up my bags with ALL THE SNACKS!

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

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.

3-Speed in Seattle

I’m always amazed that people don’t realize you can ride a 3-speed in Seattle.

We pulled up to Red Mill Totem House after spending the day at the beach on Sunday. A couple sitting at a picnic table offered to move their bikes, but we were able to sneak ours into the rack without having to reshuffle. They have the hanger-style racks there which means that my bike can only go on the outside anyways (because of the front basket).

When I came back out after ordering the woman asked me if my bike was a single-speed. I get this question a lot because most people haven’t seen an IGH set up before. After telling her it was a 3-speed she asked me where I ride my bike. Um, here? Obviously. She said I must not go up a lot of hills (truth) or be very strong (semi-truth).

I always think it’s odd when people riding road bikes with drop bars fail to understand how anyone could ride around town running errands or carrying humans. Riding a bike with drop bars seems crazy to me!