Monday, September 28, 2009
With apologies to the tunemakers of Sesame Street, I couldn't help but alter this line from "Who are the People in Your Neighborhood?" when thinking about my latest post. Anyone who spends time on a bike probably has a long list of why s/he rides. I know I do. I can talk about the fun, the easier parking, the savings on gas, lessening my carbon footprint, getting exercise, modeling a good habit to my kids, and on and on.
One advantage of bike commuting that I didn't anticipate, however, has been meeting a number of interesting individuals in the past eight months, people I don't think I would have met if I weren't riding a bike or paying close attention to the bikes they were riding. Yes, I have 'met' some of you out there virtually as we share a passion for city cycling or cargo bikes or family cycling and I do so love reading your blogs. But in my every day life, too, I have crossed paths with people whom I was probably crossing paths with while driving in my car but perhaps didn't notice or have the opportunity to speak with before I began pedaling. And so, I would like post from time-to-time about folks I have met thanks to bikes and my new-found bike love....
Kerri was riding along Ocean Avenue on her much-loved and well-used Xtracycle when I was loitering on the sidewalk near the beach while on a short vacation in Bradley Beach, NJ. I couldn't help but get excited by her bike and I called out, "Hey, Xtracycle!" when Kerri heard me and actually turned around to say hello. While I was holding a squirming F, she and I got to chat just for a short bit and I heard some of her story. Kerri told me that she was surprised to hear someone randomly call out "Xtracycle" since she's had hers for years but hasn't run into too many other Xtra owners in her corner of the Jersey Shore.
It turns out that Kerri is hard-core committed to bikes, promoting cycling, and recycling used bikes. To that end, she runs TWO amazing nonprofits called The Bike Church and Second Life Bikes that serve various-aged kids from Asbury Park. Kids learn to ride, get lessons about bike safety, practice basic bike repair, and earn their very own bikes by putting in 'work hours' through her programs. Read about her mission and kids here and here. Ever-cool Kerri also has a pedal-powered blender rigged on the back of her xtra so kids can pedal their way to healthy smoothies using their own power. Love this!
I wish I had gotten the chance to check out Kerri's programs first-hand and when I am back down the Jersey Shore I hope I can. Meeting Kerri has inspired me to find out if my city has a similiar earn-a-bike program targeted for kids from low-income backgrounds. In the meantime, I am so thankful that our paths crossed and I send a big shout-out to Kerri for allowing me to write about her and for turning her bike around to stop and talk with the crazy woman who yelled out "Hey, Xtracycle!" as she rode by.
Now I hope she doesn't mind that I am reposting some photos from her website. Photos courtesy of Kerri Martin , The Bike Church, and srsphotographer.com
UPDATE NOVEMBER 2013
Kerri is still doing amazing work at Second Life Bikes. She has an awesome website and they have recently launched a crowd-funding campaign with a big goal-- BUY the building where they currently are. I would so love to see Kerri be able to continue to do the great work she's been doing in the site where she's been doing it. A perfect holiday gift, perhaps, for someone who doesn't need more stuff but is all into kiddos and bikes?
Check out the campaign here!
Monday, September 21, 2009
The ultimate combination of entertainment and bikes coming together:
A big shout-out to Elly Blue from bikeportland.org. You may remember Elly from my wonderful encounter with her some time ago. These are here snaps and here is her story of the amazing Hopworksfiets.
Saturday, September 19, 2009
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
It's a toy cargo bike, hard at work carrying mail, brought to you by the folks at Playmobil. Gotta to admit that our older guys were never Playmobil fellas so I didn't know much about this toy company. However, I immediately suspected it was European: mail carriers, readying to distribute their mail by bike and by foot, and nary a helmet in site (although the gentleman's plastic cap on the right just may do the trick). Sure enough, Playmobil is a family-owned company from Germany, and while I was checking it out on the web, I found this interesting article.
As for the present buying, we ended up going for the pirate ship as F has become quite obsessed with these sea-faring vandals. Mostly I think he likes wearing hats and eye patches and yelling "Arrrr!" but perhaps I will head back to the store for a toy just for me.
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
F helps load the Xtracycle with all his preschool-required gear. Packing for college just might be easier.
P and F on the Rudge Roadster. F's days in that seat are really limited.
F, with one of his teachers, happily lugs some of his stuff into school.
F gets busy making playdoh pizza with his classmates and another teacher. Doesn't worry too much about his parents heading out... or not at all.