Randomly Bike Related

Chicago, bikes, kids. Love seeing more of this combination… (but two out of three ain’t bad!)

Wanna rent a Haul-a-Day?

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Picture by my princess: “Me, mom, and my brother in the bike shop where they hang the bikes on the walls.” (Is it just me, or do we all look a bit stressed? Flat tire visit, perhaps?)

I’ve decided my bike is going to start earning it’s keep.  I’d heard of Spinlister last year and have always thought it’s a great idea- it’s like Air BnB for bikes.  In Chicago, Divvy is really solid, cheap, and convenient- but if you want a specialty bike for racing, touring, or riding with kids, your previous options were limited to what was in stock at rental companies like Bike N’ Roll or Bobby’s Bike Hike (which I’ve heard are very decent, by the way.)  Mainly I’ve seen a lot of hybrids and cruisers at these places, though they do rent out Burley trailers, trail-a-bikes, and tandems… Bike n’ Roll even had a Gazelle when I checked them out last year.

I get a TON of inquiries when we’re out on our Haul-a-Day and have offered to let friends try it out, but Spinlister kept coming to mind.  We live very close to the museum campus and it’s an ideal place to pick up a bike for most people, so we’ve officially listed our bike on the site.  Unfortunately, it seems no one has really heard of it, so I emailed them a few weeks ago and they were kind enough to send me a box full of promotional materials.  I’ve had one request so far, but lots of interest.

Check. Out. All. My. Swag. Spinlister!!  Check it OUT! (filter for 'cargo bike' in Chicago. :)

Check. Out. All. My. Swag. Spinlister!! Check it OUT! (filter for ‘cargo bike’ in Chicago. :)

I like the idea of trying out another family’s bike- we are traveling later this month to not bike-friendly areas, but I can see us doing a trip where we check out a bakfiets for a few days and live in someone’s garage…  a dream right now but some day it might happen!

Also- we have big news- we are expecting cargo bike #3 in the next two months!  Bike Friday has been AMAZING and followed us since the first ride arrived, and has made some improvements to our beta model since it was built in the Fall.  We have decided to get the new bike and to keep the old one rather than trade it in, which should make for some awesome family adventures. (and business ventures, too- I will fill you in on that later!)

So if you want to rent a Haul-a-Day in Chicago, contact me!  I have a ton of promo codes good for $20 off your first rental, even if it isn’t with me.  To find us, filter for ‘cargo bikes’ and the last time I checked, ours was the only bike listed in that category.  Or, you know- click HERE.  (Edit- there is a Cristiana trike listed now!  That’s super cool!)

Happy riding, everybody!  I’m busy planning not one- not two- but three upcoming rides in our neighborhood, so if you don’t hear from me assume we’re out route planning and happy. :)

A little pick me up before a grocery run- which is a pleasure if I've got my daughter and our bikes.

A little pick me up before a grocery run- which is a pleasure if I’ve got my daughter and our bikes.

Family Biking Profiles (Chicago Kidical Mass)

I think the other biking families we’ve met are sooooo cool.  Roughly 90% of them have been doing this for way longer than us…  with more kids, more gear, longer commutes.  You get the picture- anyhow, I am so grateful to have found this group of people who were normalizing biking with kids before I’d ever even considered it.

I’ve met many of them through Kidical Mass. We started the South Loop ride a year ago in September, because we loved the rides but wanted to bring some closer to home.  We followed another ride’s lead and took a “Wintermission” (term unashamedly stolen from the great Rebecca) starting in December, and I have no regrets, though some of the rides do go year round.  We plan to start again in March with a ‘soft opening’ here, but I’m reading the weather blogs before making any commitments.profile collageIn Chicago, we’re now up to 7-8 rides in different neighborhoods, and we like to ride hop and talk with the other organizers.  So I was thinking it would be cool to show off these very cool families and their setups- and it’s resulted in a nice series of “Family Biking Profiles” on our Facebook page.  Check it out!

I’m happy we’ve gotten such a great response!  Hopefully this series will continue for awhile.  So fun.  So educational. :)

And some more good news- we are looking at temperatures close to 40 DEGREES starting on Friday!!  We are super duper excited about nice weather returning.  We did have the bike out today and it rode the green line, which I’ll be posting about tomorrow.

OH! AND I rode home a few blocks tonight with 3 children on the back of the Haul-a-Day… 3.  With an average/median age of 5… so that was impressive!

Stay warm and well, everybody!

Polar Adventure Days and more…

Working bikes human-powered music!  Pedal to make the vinyl spin...
Oy.  That's not nice.

The view from our window yesterday… all day.

 

"MOM! My forehead is freezing!"  (Direct quote.)

“MOM! My forehead is freezing!” (Direct quote.)

Yikes.  We got a ton of snow yesterday, and our one attempt to go out was unsuccessful- I underestimated how strong the wind was, and we made it about 20 feet from our front door before turning around!  We headed back in to make some ‘snow’ and play.  Super easy- just some cornstarch and shaving cream mixed together.  I’m going to help out at little guy’s pre-K on Wednesday, and I figured I’d pilot my project- and make sure no one hates me afterwards if it’s tough to clean up :)

How to have fun with snow when the wind speeds are >35 mph...

How to have fun with snow when the wind speeds are >35 mph…

It's snow!  Cornstarch and shaving cream.

 

Last weekend the kids and I took a ride over to Northerly Island again for their “Polar Adventure Days.”  There wasn’t any snow, and the weather was actually pretty decent- but there was plenty to see and do.  On the way over we stopped to watch the skaters again- that park is crazy busy for the middle of winter!

Checking out the action at the Grant Park Skate Park (is that a redundant name?  Maybe I'm wrong?)

Checking out the action at the Grant Park Skate Park (is that a redundant name? Maybe I’m wrong?)

At the event they had hot chocolate, marshmallows and a fire (contained in a metal pit, of course), a team of sled dogs, some wild animals from a rescue preserve, a green screen photo opportunity, a booth with pelts and skulls by the forest preserve, some Cliff bar samples, a craft area, and a tent with various toys.  We missed out on the marshmallows- but luckily there was another festival this past Friday where we got to check it off our list!  Oh- we also got to try out a very cool setup by Working Bike featuring a human/pedal powered turntable.

This is Hal- the prognosticating groundhog from the Big Run Wolf Ranch.

This is Hal- the prognosticating groundhog from the Big Run Wolf Ranch.

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These birds were rescues- the Flint Creek Preserve has an operation at Northerly as well, where you can bring injured birds (a lot of them fly into glass and buildings in the city!)

These birds were rescues- the Flint Creek Preserve has an operation at Northerly as well, where you can bring injured birds (a lot of them fly into glass and buildings in the city!)

Mush!  Here come the sled dogs- and they are pulling a modified bike.

Mush! Here come the sled dogs- and they are pulling a modified bike.

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The wolf was a hit- so was the coyote and the groundhog.

The wolf was a hit- so was the coyote and the groundhog.

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Roasting marshmallows outside Women's Park and Gardens.

Roasting marshmallows outside Women’s Park and Gardens.

Working bikes human-powered music!  Pedal to make the vinyl spin...

Working bikes human-powered music! Pedal to make the vinyl spin…

His legs were a little short- but with some serious assistance, he was able to get the "Grease" soundtrack blaring!

His legs were a little short- but with some serious assistance, he was able to get the “Grease” soundtrack blaring!

 

So quiet!  So pretty!  I never knew it was here!

So quiet! So pretty! I never knew it was here!

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Interesting collages outside the Winter Garden on the 9th floor of HWLC.

Interesting collages outside the Winter Garden on the 9th floor of HWLC.

 

A nice day for a ride!  She's getting the hang of those hand breaks. :)

A nice day for a ride! She’s getting the hang of those hand brakes- they are really tough to use with mittens! :)

.I’m throwing in some photos of my latest discovery- the Winter Garden at Harold Washington Library.  We have spent more and more time there as the weather deteriorates, since it’s a decent ride but not too far away.

We’re planning a KIdical Mass ride to the final Polar Adventure day in February- I haven’t had a chance to check the trails this week, but hopefully we’ll have a clear-ish path…

Stay warm!