I signed up for this cool thing that some nice people in Minnesota are organizing. The idea is that you ride your bicycle every day for 30 days, starting September 1st, and tweet about it using the #30DaysOfBiking hashtag, or blog about it, or otherwise discuss online. Doesn't that sound like terrific fun? And a nifty way to force yourself to bike that extra little bit, and blog that extra little bit? And don't you want to have spoke cards like theirs, and just generally be part of the awesomeness?
On Day 1, I tried out my coblogger Angel's new-to-her mixte Ella, while our boys had a playdate:
(Yes, this is another amazing Kijiji find. Angel knows how to score the good stuff. Full post to follow.)
This was my first time ever on a mixte, and my first time on a bike with dropped bars since about junior high and my crush on Duran Duran. So may I say, wow, it feels very different to ride leaning far forward and resting more on your pelvis and less on your tush. The bike itself is swift and light and shifts effortlessly between the gears. The step-through on the mixte frame isn't as low as I would prefer for carrying a load on the back, so I would use one for recreational rides, or commuting if I didn't have too much stuff to bring with me. I definitely want to borrow this bike for a longer ride (mine was under 5 minutes) and get a better feel for it.
For Day 2, I went on a twilight ride around the block with my 7-year-old daughter. I rode Mary Poppins, with the addition of some Knog lights I had purchased recently. A white 4-LED Skink went on Mary's basket, and I was surprised by how bright it actually was. For rides on brightly-lit streets it made a passable substitute for a proper headlight:
I also attached a 2-LED Beetle to the rear rack, and a 1-LED Frog for under the seat on Audrey's bike (you can see it in her photo above). The bendy silicone straps made them really easy to put on and take off, they hardly wiggled at all during the ride, and they were visible from a fair distance.
We got to see this lovely sunset view across the soccer field, and some rabbits that my phone camera was unable to show you:
On the morning of Day 3, Audrey rode her bicycle to and from her newly-opened elementary school. I got to pull her little brother in a wagon, since he can't keep up on his bike yet. I want a bakfiets, please.
I'm impressed with how much use the bicycle racks are getting, despite an atrociously-worded we-discourage-you-bringing-such-items-to-school-and-can-take-no-responsibility-if-they-get-stolen paragraph in the school handbook:
I got to admire the bikes of friends at a picnic in Hawrelak Park during the afternoon of Day 4. (I live far enough away that riding to the picnic with my kids in tow was not an option, sadly.)
However, non-cycling daytime plans with friends, a cold and a migraine and rainy weather, and the needs of my family and new 4-month-old puppy took precedence over solo bike rides on days 3-5. Lame sauce! Clearly I am going to need to be very proactive about scheduling in some solo riding time or getting hubby to watch my little guy (he's too big for most bike child seats) so I can ride with my little girl to her school in the mornings... or get myself that bakfiets so I can ride with both kids.
Despite my apparent slackerness, I am intending to get back on the horse and keep trying to ride daily. I hope my persistance will pay off!
Day 6 update: after supper tonight I took Audrey for a 45 minute ride around our neighborhood, on the Violet-plus-trailer-bike setup we used on the suburban Critical Lass ride. We swung past the community garden and the new elementary schools, then turned and headed south to explore the roads where houses have been built in the past couple of years (I love the way the exteriors of the duplexes recall the area around Dalhousie University in the south end of Halifax). We stopped and took some photos by a little park with a pretty pond just as the wind started to pick up (brr, it is starting to REALLY feel autumnal). As we rode home we were rewarded with amazing pinks and violets in the sunset.