Friday, September 14, 2012

More on Biking

I've had some unique experiences riding my bike this week.

First, on Monday, I rode Margaret to the dentist. Biking with just one kid in the trailer is easier, but the dentist is pretty far inland in Berkeley, which means it's uphill on the way there. In fact, Google maps estimated it to take 17 minutes to get there and only 11 minutes to come home- that's quite the difference! Of course, with a 1 speed and a trailer, it was closer to 25 minutes to get there. I always account for that when we leave the house, though, and we were there on time.

On Tuesday I had an optometrist appointment for new contacts. I learned that my prescription improves while pregnant! -2.75 to -2.00! That's big. It was also my longest bike ride to date (5 miles there, 5 back), but McKay (and then a friend) watched the kids, so it was just me. FYI: without a trailer, bikes go pretty FAST! I was zooming all over Oakland! It was so much fun. I remembered why I love biking. I've told McKay that if I ever leave him (which won't ever happen), it won't be by bus or train or car. It'll be by bike. If you're going to start a new life, start it right! FREEDOM!

During the week, I started connecting with car-free and/or biking Twitter people. Check some of them out! Their names are linked to their Twitter. If they have a blog, I include it afterwards.

Family Ride. Blog: Family Ride
The Main Tank. Blog: The Main Tank
Simply Bike. Website: Ruxandra Looft
Shetha. Blog: Shetha
Kath Youell. Blog: Biscuit Raising
Emily Finch.
Hum of the City. Blog: Hum of the City
Tiny Helmets. Blog: Tiny Helmets Big Bikes
iBikeuBike. Blog: iBikeuBike

If you know of other great bikers on Twitter or on blogs, let me know!

When I went to the grocery store this week, I had an interesting interaction. We parked our bike and trailer outside, and locked it up between a couple of other bikes. While we were at the checkout lane, a man came up to me and asked me if that was my bike outside. His bike was one of the bikes we parked next to and he had seen the set up (1 speed bike, coaster brakes, trailer, 3 helmets all tied up together) and was impressed with it. At the checkout lane, I also had a week's worth of groceries with me and an obviously pregnant belly. I think I gained a couple of extra points of awesome with that. He and his wife are big bikers and he just wanted to say hi to another biker. That was kind of fun.

Because of that, I wanted to share our set up with you all.

Here is my bike.

The bike was secondhand. When McKay first started working at Pixar, Pixar did not have enough space for their employees so the company rented part of a building a couple of blocks away. So that the employees could travel from campus to this extra building for meetings and other events, the company provided 10 or so bikes. When their new building was constructed on the campus and the extra rented site wasn't needed anymore, they offered the now unnecessary bikes to their employees. There was such a demand that the names of those who were interested were put in a hat and drawn. The first person got to have first pick, and so on. McKay put his name in and was the 5th drawn out of 10, so we got a bike in pretty average condition, for only $75. It's a Fuji and came with headlight and taillight that both blink and hold a steady ray. I'm guessing from looking around on the Fuji website, it's this bike, or similar (perhaps an older model?), but with fenders. In my picture, you can see the sticker Pixar put on the bike. There is also a sticker for a local bike store; it's nice to know that Pixar supported local businesses when they bought these.

We've only had to do two repairs on my bike so far. We had to replace the front tire and inner tuber after a pretty bad flat. I also replaced the pedals last weekend at Spokeland. The stock pedals that came with the bike were plastic and could not hold up to the force I was exerting on them, especially since going from stopped to moving on a 1-speed bike uses a lot of force when you are also pulling almost 100 pounds of people, trailer, and stuff. I bought some new pedals on Amazon and decided to go to Spokeland for the pedal wrench and grease. Unfortunately the screwing mechanism for the new pedals didn't fit my bike (I had assumed they were standard since none of the youtube videos about changing pedals didn't mention size!). Spokeland sold me some used pedals for $3. Very good deal and I like the earth-friendly aspect of reusing things. I'll go there first next time instead of second! They have hours for their bike shop every Tuesday and Sunday. Thursdays are youth days by appointment and once a month they have a Saturday for women/trans people.

Here is our trailer.

It was given to us for free by a friend. It can convert into a 2-seater jogging stroller. It's not an American brand; American brands plaster their name so everyone can see them! The instructions are in both German and English and a google search makes me think it is this Red Loon TJ2 Kinder-Fahrradanhänger. Comparing it to the few Burley trailers I've seen around, I actually think the canvas on ours is heavier and a better quality. And it was free! My friend didn't give us a flag with it; we need to buy a couple so our trailer is more visible. I also want to knit a sign for the back that says something clever like "0 Emission Vehicle" or "My other car is public transit" or "Have fun in traffic!" Can you believe you can buy reflective yarn? Oh yes, you can!

 So that's our bike and trailer! I'm hoping to upgrade to more gears someday or get a longtail bike or bucket bike. This post is long enough, so future biking plans will be another post.


  1. Check out Family On Bikes. They're a family of four that recently travelled from the tip of Alaska down to the tip of Chile on bikes. It took them about two years to make the trip, and it was fascinating. Lots of awesome pictures.

  2. Wow, you are hard core!! I only pull my double trailer when attached by clipless pedals to my road bike which has a million gears.

    1. Haha! Thanks! I have a friend who has offered me a 24 speed- maybe I'll get a little reprieve!


Please review my blog comment policy here before commenting. You may not use the name "Anonymous." You must use a Google Account, OpenID, or type in a name in the OpenID option. You can make one up if you need to. Even if your comment is productive and adding to the conversation, I will not publish it if it is anonymous.