Monthly Archive: September 2014

Circus Kidical Mass Ride!


Oh, that was fun. The Greatest Ride on Earth, if you will.  :)  It’s been one year since we started our Kidical Mass ride, and this was the most fun by far.  I was contacted by a PR person for Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, so we had real clowns, passes to the circus, and other giveaways.  So cool :)


Dot leads the kids in a pre-ride warmup. Kudos to the mom who planned the party- the cape party favors were amazing.


JimLa, one of the clowns- they passed out clown noses for everybody and had balloons as well.


Lining up!  Someone looks a bit aggressive- guess he's ready to go!

Lining up! Someone looks a bit aggressive- guess he’s ready to go!

Notice the birthday chalk- there was a little chaos because there was also a birthday party scheduled in the park… I just hoped no one would crash it.   I’m not sure they knew what they were in for.  But, hey- free clowns.


My niece, riding in our old Yepp Maxi.  Still getting to hear a lot of “whee’s” from the back of her Boda Boda :)



One of the best things about looking at cargo bikes is seeing what people invent to make them more functional or interesting. I’m in love with this family’s Extracycle deck.

I was glad to meet a Facebook friend in person for the first time, and to check out their unique setup for their Extracycle- decoupaged board and handlebar attachments fixed to the frame make a nice ride for their two bigger kids, little guy up front.  Great thinking!  I like this idea more than our rumble strap.


We stopped for a rest in Grant Park while some riders switched out Divvy bikes nearby.  That statue looks innocent, but the kids managed to get into mischief climbing too high.  I used to break near “Agora” but they’d run among the legs- then we did the fountain, and they almost got wet.  Still trying to perfect it!  But it looks great, doesn’t it?

wpid-20140920_113109.jpgkmass93Couldn’t resist taking one selfie when we were massing up at a light on Wabash- you can’t really see, but we pretty much take up the whole block.  That’s the statue behind us.  Does anyone know who it is?  I don’t…

Back at the playground, the birthday party is still going on, but our circus friends are gone and the kids run off to the sandbox, field, and slides.  Moms and dads get to visit a bit, and the weather is lovely- 70 some degrees, a welcome break after cold weather we’ve had for the past week.

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I finally threw some money at a banner.  Under $20, and now I don’t have to stay up on every third Friday night when I frantically realize I should make a sign.  Ahh.  I think they turned out pretty great!


Looks like no one told the kids helmets are not required for brunch.  Matching Berns, at that.


A new family tradition- brunch after the ride! (Camera is covered in greasy fingerprints)


My “Less Car, More Go” shirt from Liz Canning. Click the photo to go to her page- so excited to see the cargo bike documentary!

I found an AWESOME deal on the boy helmet online (like $25!) and had to get it even though little buddy just got a Giro about a month ago. Our daughter’s Bontrager broke- the adjuster snapped inside, and On the Route was great about helping us with the warranty and getting her into a new helmet right away. I have to say, I’m really happy with the fit on these, they don’t need adjusting to cover the front of their skulls.  If only the Winter kit didn’t cost as much as the helmet!wpid-20140920_142904.jpg Ah, it’s raining.  It’s pouring.  But we had a great morning, a nice lunch, and got to hang out with friends, new and old. So even if I’m damp and tired, I’d call that a successful Saturday.

Kids on Bikes

Awhile ago I ran into some friends and they said they just got back from Holland- their kids had a blast because they got to ride their own bikes everywhere.  This would be a pretty good measure of bike-friendly infrastructure, don’t you think?wpid-20140906_113525.jpgOur girl LOVES her bike.  It’s a Novara Firefly I picked up on Craigslist for $40 :)  It was in perfect condition when I got it, but it has a few bumps and bruises these days.  Still- with it’s light blue color it will be ok to pass on to our little dude in the Spring. (And I’ll remove the basket.)  A few complaints- no handbrake, no gears, and it’s heavy.

wpid-20140906_114407.jpgSo this beautiful little strip of sidewalk runs adjacent to the Dearborn Bike Lane, and leads into a cute little park in Printer’s Row.  One of our favorite bike shops, On the Route, is located here now, so we get to patronize terrorize the shop on a regular basis.   We’ve let her ride- at age five- with us on the Dearborn Bike Lane several times, but unfortunately 3 out of 4 times had to get her on the Yuba because the lane was obstructed at more than one point.  This seems to be improving, but we aren’t quite there yet.  For now she gets to ride on residential streets and on the Lakefront Trail, parks, and very, very infrequently in bike lanes.  Most of the time, she’s on our longtail, but she’s already wanting more independence.

Because of the concerns I have for my children, I was excited to see  People for Bike’s “Build It for Isabella“, a concept within their Green Lanes Project.  If we built infrastructure that worked for the most inexperienced riders, wouldn’t it be great for the rest of us?wpid-20140830_184626.jpgHere’s a photo of our current family fleet, minus our balance bike.  I’m still working on the MIxte, the narrow ten-speed grips plus lever shifters are just a bad combination for me…  but I love the idea of having something that weighs under 50 pounds for quick trips and my infrequent mom’s night outs.

Speaking of light bikes- I wish we could afford to add some Isla Bikes to the fleet, I read they are amazing.  Doesn’t anyone else want to make a great kids’ bike??  Yuba just released the Flip Flop, but I’m afraid my two are too large for it at this point, or darned close.  I actually nudged Shane McRhodes to talk with Bike Friday about this- a lightweight, folding kid’s bike…  with a large range for sizing… that would be exciting.  Now that my compact (relatively) cargo bike is lined up, I have to look ahead to something new. :)

divvykidsLast but not least- my kids on Divvy bikes this week- they were pretty disappointed when I told them they need to wait at least ten more years to ride them!  Maybe some time we’ll have the infrastructure and a program like the one they have in Paris, Petit Velib.  Or- maybe Divvy and other bike shares will find a way to be more inclusive of families- it’s not a total pipe dream, although this kid-carrying bike share invention kind of fell through. (For now!)  At least Divvy has gotten a lot of Chicagoans on bikes, and that is a win- I think even an occasional ride on a bike makes people more aware of how they drive and act in traffic, which is a boon to us, anyhow.

I’m really considering renting out our Yuba to families who’d like to give it a try after our Haul-A-Day arrives next month so they can give this whole family biking thing a try.

And- if anyone wants to try a family ride in nice, big group- our Kidical Mass ride is tomorrow!




I <3 Infrastructure.

Heading home the other night, I realized (too late!) that my battery for my rear light was worn waaaayyy down.  Ugh.  I had my front flasher, but I hate traveling sans lights.  This apparently doesn’t bother a lot of ‘bike ninjas’ in the city…  Anyhow- I didn’t feel bad heading home on Milwaukee Avenue in this nice wide lane replete with embedded solar-powered LED’s that give you just a little more peace of mind when cycling at night.

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LED lights embedded in the bike lane on Milwaukee Avenue.