26 September 2011

Moving Planet Seattle

Saturday was the Moving Planet Seattle Event. The theme was transportation, so it was fitting that folks met around the city for group rides to Lake Union Park. About 20 of us met in Ballard for the ride, including three families.
Our trail-a-bike.

A kindred spirit had an Xtracycle.
A tandem bike completed the set.
Our fearless leaders set the pace in the awesome, traffic-stopping conference bike from the Dutch Bike Company. This beast is mighty, but slow and a tad too wide for the trails. So, we took a traffic lane and made a slow parade to Lake Union Park, with enthusiastic waving and bell-ringing at passersby. Once there, the group dispersed to explore the different events, though we did run into each other throughout the day. Metaphorically speaking, that is.
The conference bike in all its glory.
The Center for Wooden Boats had wooden sailboats for kids to play with on the boat pool. Spencer was so excited to see the boats, that I could barely get him to leave long enough to lock up our bike. We probably spent 20-30 minutes there.

I was more excited to see this bike, which looked suspiciously familiar....

After looking around for likely suspects, I took a deep breath and asked "Hey, are you the Family Ride blogger? I recognize your bike." Yes! It was Madi from Family Ride, who was friendly, charming and  happy to talk about bikes, boats and kids. She asked if I'd been on some of the Totcycle rides, because I looked "sort of familiar". After a minute, she realized that she'd seen us here on the blog. That, my friends, is the kind of fame that blogging can bring you! 

Jennifer and Madi, who both looked "sort of familiar".
Spencer eventually had his fill of the boats, so we wandered off to see more sites. Along the way, he was caught by the plastic bag man. The costume was made from 500 bags, but he'd lost a few along the way. Kids just couldn't resist trying to pull them off. At least, my kid couldn't. And I did make him stop and give them back.

There was a great kids' craft table, which spawned many masterpieces. A fish doesn't need a bicycle, unless, of course, it's a bicycle powered by cocktail umbrellas.

I was delighted to run into my friend Arvia. The folks at the family bike expo talked her into taking the kids for a spin in this:
I tried it out as well. It was reasonably easy to pedal, at least on flat pavement, but quite tricky to turn. It has an extremely wide turning radius and you end up leaning over ridiculously far. It felt like I was about to fall over, but it's really quite steady. Not exactly a practical bike for most people, though. 

Some bikes were made just for fun:

More crazy bike-like objects.
Oh, yeah, there was also a rally:
Mike McGinn, Mayor of Seattle
We listened for a while, but when Spencer tried to take a nap in my lap, I knew it was time to go. All in all, it was a great event on a beautiful day. The organizers did a good job of combining fun, family activities with real activism and awareness, a tricky thing to balance.

12 September 2011

Critical Lass 7: New Southern Bike Lanes

In summary, the new bike lanes are pretty sweet...
and we're really excited that they connect up all the bits of
previously-disconnected bike infrastructure on the south side of Edmonton...
but you'd like to see some photos, right?

We first attempted this ride on the last Sunday of August,

but too few people were able to make it, so we rescheduled for yesterday.

Laura and Angel

We waited for about 25 minutes at Century Park,

L-R: Laura, Angel, Emma

then we were off.

There were shiny shoes


and fabulous lace tutus.

Karen and Robert

We crossed the LRT tracks,

admired a cool tandem while we waited for the lights,


and started counterclockwise around the loop,

opting for the road instead of the under-the-power-lines multi-user path for the first bit,

and stopping only so our littlest attendee could be given more crackers.

The section of the route south of 23rd Ave has just been repaved to fix the potholes, 
and is still awaiting paint.

The city has put these awesome signs up all along the loop.
Millwoods' sharrows could use signage like this, too.

Several sections, like this one, could potentially put you in the door zone of parked cars, so stay alert!

The area has a couple of big parks with playgrounds in them, several schools, 
and a mix of single-family housing and apartment-style condominiums 
(in addition to the big transit-oriented complex at Century Park),

and a fire station! Sadly, the brave uniformed guys had other things to do than flirt with us.

Our route circumnavigated the area of strip-mall shopping and grocery stores, 
but we did see evidence of it. 

It was cool to still see all the ghost marks in place that precede application of reflective paint.

The bike lane turns the corner at a three-way stop at the southern end of 106th Street, so, so did we.

We had to veer around a curb repair. We were really glad for the barriers.

Then we took the multi-user path beside 34th Ave back to 111th Street,

By this time the wind had really picked up and we wondered where the sun had gone.

So we were glad to wrap things up (for those of us who could stay)
with brunch and fancy coffees at Bistecca.

There was Italian Eggs Benedict,

and Southern French Toast,

with a side of cutie pie

Robert's always a charmer.

and lots of great conversation.

I want a wrist tattoo like Laura's.
We were so glad Judy caught up with us.

We emerged from brunch to rain and wind,

but it didn't stop us from admiring all our sweet sweet rides, 
before we fled to the warmth of the LRT or our vehicles.
PS: Since our tentative date of Oct 9th is Thanksgiving weekend, we need your help rescheduling the next Critical Lass ride: please participate in our Doodle poll to see when works for the most people! We'll announce the date and create a Facebook event page within the week.