Sunday, December 9, 2012

Tree Haulin' By Bike 2012

One of the things about not having a smart phone is that we do not get cool bicycling photos when we are out and about. Today, I would have liked to been able to document our adventures pictorially.  It was one of those great New Haven days: church, coffee and biscotti, tree picking out and hauling, Shake Shack, and the Nutcracker at the Shubert-- all by bike.

These year, I got to ride the tree for the first time. Wild to think that we started this four years ago.  It amazes me to see those photos because the boys are so young! For our past Christmas tree hauling adventures, we used our bakfiets. Since that bike is now living semi-permanently with friends, this year we used the Xtracycle Radish.

It didn't take much to load the tree. Our tree place does not wrap trees so we used a few pieces of twine to pull in some of the branches and then the amazing Freeloader straps did the rest.  The stem of the tree sat far enough away from my left pedal that I didn't bump up against it at all.

It was fun riding along, the five of us, with me bringing up the rear with tree-- getting looks from other folks out on a Sunday morning. We got some great smiles and nods as we made our way downtown.  We had about an hour before the Nutcracker show so P took the fellows off to the Shake Shack for burgers while I zipped home and dropped off the tree, turned around, and met up with them again.

I would have loved to get some family Christmas tree bicycle pictures but alas, here are the lone shots of the Xtra loaded with the tree. Ho Ho Ho.

What We Look Like When We Ride Now....

This is what we look like most weekends nowadays...

We have almost fully gone to the boys riding themselves.  We ride to music lessons, birthday parties, church, whatever comes our way on weekends.  The guys are mostly on the sidewalk while P and I ride the street, doing a lot of communicating and blocking, particularly at street crossings and intersections.

The boys have become great city cyclists. They are pretty steady and hearty and mileage does not seem to be much of an issue.  They are good at sharing the sidewalk with pedestrians, taking turns, slowing down near others, and kindly announcing, "Bike left" when coming through. 

Sidewalk bicycling, of course, is not ideal and watching the boys get around by their own pedal power highlights how different life would be if we had real bicycling infrastructure 'round these parts with things like protected bike lanes. The fellows, and others, would so easily be be getting around by bicycle.  For instance, right now we have no ideal bicycling route to school. My older guys are very dedicated bus riders. My youngest is not a fan of the AM bus so while I am headed to school too (I work there), F acts mostly as a passenger on my bike, and despite the years I've been doing this, I can still feel uncomfortable at times riding through downtown with anxious morning commuters.

Due to the change in our riding, we did make another bicycle change.

Oh yes, we did.

We got a Yuba Boda Boda. We'll have tons more stories to tell about that but we're downsizing-- the Yuba Mundo is for sale. Know any families on the East Coast looking to haul two kiddos or significant cargo that you can point our way?

The Boda Boda is tons of fun because it feels like a 'single bike' but I still have the ability to haul one kid when needed. I feel so quick and zippy on the Boda Boda! I had become so accustomed to hauling tons o' kid cargo weight these past four years, it was just the way it felt to bicycle. Now-- now's a whole 'nother story.

UPDATE 1/22/13
We did find a new home for our Yuba Mundo. It's close by and will be well-used by a family with two younger children. 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Xtracycle Hooptie in Action

One of these days, I might just write about what's going on with the Full Hands Family and our newest bike adventures.  However, for now, I can not help but share wonderful family bicycling videos that are popping up on the web.
Who doesn't want to hop on a bicycle after watching this lovely video of the MacRhodes crew out on a family ride? Yes, folks they have three kiddos-- a singleton & twins-- and they are a multi-cargo-bike-ownin' family. We might just have a few things in common :). Shane, of course, is the founder of the Kidical Mass movement.

Here the MacRhodes family is trying out their new Xtracycle Hooptie. You can tell that the kiddos are loving getting around Eugene, OR this way.


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Video: "A Family That Bikes Together..." from Public Bikes

I realize that I have done very little writing but a whole lot of sharing of family bicycling videos on this blog of late.  I do have a few things to write about but less time outside of parenting and work to do so these days.  However, good stuff in the family biking world is out there.  I am often astonished, and truly delighted, to see how this has grown, both locally here in New Haven, and in many other places as evidenced by a thriving internet presence of family bicyclists.

So here you go-- another day, another blog post of another great family bicycling video. This one comes from Public Bikes, featuring a family that bicycles to school in San Francisco.  What I like most about this piece is the focus of the FUN of riding bikes.  We can talk about exercise, lessened impact on the environment, dodging daunting gas prices, forming community connections, always find good parking, etc. which are all great reasons to cycle, but truly, we should not overlook the message that bicycling is just darn fun. 

p.s. See that title, "A Family That Bikes Together...,"it  kind of reminds me of one of my earliest cargo bikes t-shirt designs.  Great minds, I tell you :)

Monday, October 15, 2012

Video: To School by Chrisitana Trike in Washington, DC

Here's a great video out of Washington, DC put out by a bike shop there, BikeSPACE.  There's great footage of the biking-commuting Showalter family as they tried out a Christiana trike.

Come on, doesn't this make you want to commute with your kids to school by bike?!

Friday, July 13, 2012

The Biking Family

You just have to watch....


Love that Emily, her brood, and her bicycles are getting this attention.  I am a very content mother of three and biking with my guys does require coordination.  I did grow up in a family of seven kids (loved growing up in a big family!) and I so admire what it takes for Emily to be out there with her crew. 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Video of Our Bike Commute Home

Last week, we spent a lovely commute home riding with our friends S, S, and C and a new friend, Ian Applegate, who shot some video of the trip.  "Ian is my new hero," one of my sons declared.  Ian is a multi-talented fellow who promotes his hometown of New Haven with great enthusiasm.  He keeps a New Haven blog that includes one-of-a-kind videos from around town with his cool Lego Spaceman reporter, Space Cowboy.  He's also an amazing flipbook artist and teacher of flipbook making. Check out his flipbook work here.  My boys also love that Ian can talk the history of video games with resounding expertise AND he is the owner of a Radio Shack Armatron.

Oh, he also composed the music for this video he put together of the Full Hands family and friends out on our cargo bikes....

Thanks, Ian!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Two Cargo Bikes thru Five Boros (Part II)

OK, I know you were waiting with baited breath for the end of this story. In the meantime, Heidi from The Pedaled Powered Family managed to post about the Five Boro Ride well before me AND finish their year-long+ ride so no excuses on this front, I guess!

Riding into Queens.
Photo credit: The Pedal Powered Family

After hauling our longtails up the subway stairs to street level, we took a moment and watched the flow of other riders mounting their bikes and heading off to starting line.  This year in an attempt to 'thin out' the riders, there were three different starting points and start times. We were in the last batch, the silver crew, beginning the furtherest south and at the latest time of 9:15AM.  Riding with both auto and bike traffic down to Battery Park was fun with the highlight of passing Trinity Wall Street Church where our boys got to visit the bell tower last year, thanks to my brother-in-law who is a change ringer there.

The start was a mass of people. We knew it would take time to get going so we broke open the snacks, and just looked out at the sea of green-bibbed folks ahead of us and the riders pulling up behind.  Starting took a whole lot of patience, and P and I kept having to decide if it was worth dismounting the bikes and walking with them or continually hopping down off the saddles with our legs astride the top tubes, shuffling along still balancing our passengers.  With the boys on the back, we did a combination of both.  The guys are really adept at mounting and dismounting, but we had to take particular care given the crowd of bicyclists, some it seemed who had not participated in a group ride before.  Of course, we had never bicycled with such sheer numbers, and may never again, but smaller group rides back in New Haven gave us some excellent experience with awareness of spacing, communicating, passing, etc.  Overall, we found that at times we did have to ride pretty defensively as some other participants rode unpredictably.  We are happy to report though that no injuries were had and the only times we stopped--outside of the bottlenecks and the one rest area we decided to pull into-- was when we dropped a cell phone (yes!) and when one of our chains popped while shifting on a hill.

Once we were riding, really riding, it was all quite cool and magical.  Having lived in NYC and traveled in the city for multiple years, it was amazing perspective to do so now by bike.  There were times, especially when pedaling fast down the FDR Drive, having the boys excited by seeing a Water Taxi skimming along the Hudson, when it just felt surreal. I could hear a voice in my head saying, "Wow! I am riding my bike down the FDR!"

North bound,  the FDR was open to cars but we were cruising along by bike going south.
One of the boys took this photo from the back of the Yuba Mundo.

It was fun going through tunnels with bells ringing and participants calling out to hear the amplification of their voices. Riding the bridges were both the toughest parts of the route, often the long slow uphills, and the most satisfying, knowing these views could never be repeated by car.  Another highlight-- on Fifth Avenue, just before entering Central Park, P called out, "Hey, there's Bill Cunningham!" I looked to my right to see the famous NY Times photographer, and city bike commuter, snapping away with his signature blue smock coat.  Right after, another participant, an older woman, rode up behind us and said with sincerity, "Thank you so much for bringing your kids on this ride. I think it is so important that they have an experience like this."

Heading into the Park, we were focused on getting to the 96th Street Playground where we were meeting up with The Pedal Powered Family, Heidi, Reuben, Eden, and Harper.  We had connected on Facebook and then exchanged some messages right before and during the ride, hence the dropped cell phone!  I actually have some great video footage from our handlebar-mounted camera (Thanks, Liz Canning) of our rolling meet-up and now we were three cargo bikes and bike and a trailer. Riding with their crew was a friend that they had met on the road, Erick, and we all enjoyed chatting as we went along.

Stopped in Harlem
Reuben's Big Surly/ Xtracycle with homemade kid seats and sunshade garnered much attention.
F got a different view as he rode with Reuben and Harper for a bit.
He was the perfect banana distributor, reaching into the panniers and handing them over!
It was clear that very few cyclists had ever seen a cargo bike before and we got lots of questions about them throughout the 40+ miles.  I did note that Bike New York needs to update its language about riding with kids: "Youth ages 3 to 9 must ride on a child bike seat, tandem bike, tagalong bike, or a bike trailer."  Of course, cargo bikes should be included in that sentence!  Often other riders could not believe that we could haul the boys the whole way and many warned us about the Verrazano Bridge.   While P and I do not ride for distance, our everyday family cycling put us in good steed for this bike tour.  At times when some other cyclists dismounted and walked their bikes up hills, we simply put the cargo bikes in low gear and pedaled along slowly.  And so when the long, slow rise of the Verrazano came, right near the end of the ride, we pedaled on through, rewarded by cool, crisp air at the highest point of the bridge, and strong breezes rushing by on the way down.

We were pleased when we rolled into Staten Island and did not hang around the Festival much. It was crowded and from what we understand, there was little food left as we were in the last group of finishers.  Getting to the famed Staten Island Ferry and then on a ferry took some time, and it did become a bit torturous waiting with the throngs of others.  The boys, however, were troopers and engaged in multiple conversations with strangers. It helped that we continued to ply them with snacks-- a huge advantage of doing this tour by cargo bike was that our carrying capacity far exceeded most others!  The subway trip back up to P's brother's apartment was an adventure unto itself, one I do not wish to repeat. It included us separating and taking the bikes on different trains, my car filled with annoyed passengers who were not keen on sharing the limited space with my long tail bike.  So while it may have been advisable to ride back uptown, at this point in the day, I was just too darn tired.  In the end, we did make it to our subway stop despite the grumbling.

After feeding the boys their first real meal of the day, we headed by taxi (AHHHH!) down to Grand Central Station and hopped on an 8pm train back to CT.  We were all grubby and tired but there was a real feeling of satisfaction and of shared adventure and an air of possibility of what we might be able to pull off together in the future.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Two Cargo Bikes through Five Boros (Part I)

We would likely not have gone for it if another local bicycling family hadn't asked if we wanted to join them and create a team to go into the lottery together.  Riding around all five boroughs of New York City sounded extremely cool, but there would be tons of logistics to figure out, including just how we were going to get our cargo bikes from New Haven to New York City and back again. Oh, and 40 miles? Yes, we ride around nearly every day but we weren't ones for tracking our mileage. Just how would 40 miles feel when it was all said and done?

With 32,000 riders The Five-Boro Bike Tour is a huge ride.  In fact, it is my understanding that this is the first year Bike New York went to a lottery for registrants given that they had capped the numbers of bicyclists who could participate and it had sold out within hours last year.  But P and I didn't know any of that, we just said, "Sure!" when our friends asked, and so they went online and filled out our lottery registrations.

Weeks later we received emails confirming that we got the thumbs up and could now register for the actual ride.  I was a bit taken back by the cost of our family's total registration fees (pricey!) but I figured that the funds were going to a good cause furthering bike education and advocacy in New York City and this would be a one-of-a-kind family experience.  I will add that when I was riding, the enormity of the logistics it took to pull off the Tour struck me, a realization of the amount of people and cost it must take to plan and run the ride.  I should note, too, that one can ride for a charity without paying the registration fee (there is a fundraising amount participants must reach) or folks can also volunteer to work the Bike Expo and/or tour and be guaranteed a spot in the following year's Five-Boro.

We began brainstorming ways we were going to get ourselves and our bikes to New York but hadn't settled on anything when just a couple of weeks before the Tour, we heard from the Ts that they had a big conflict and were going to be unable to make the ride.  At this point, if P had said, "Sara, let's skip this," I have to admit that I likely would have agreed. When I shared my doubts with him, P reminded me that we had always been up for adventures, we met as Peace Corps volunteers, traveled a lot together, and had always expressed a desire to share unique experiences with our sons.

Another incentive came through the online cargo biking community.  We had been following the incredible journey of the Pedal Powered Family and learned on the Facebook page of (R)Evolutions Per Minute that Heidi, Reuben, and their kiddos would be in New York at the time of the Five-Boro and hope to join the ride.  Reuben and I ended up emailing and texting about meeting up and riding together.  However, up until the Saturday before the Sunday ride, it wasn't clear if they would be able to get numbers to join the ride.  Thanks to a serendipitous turn of events when the PPF was at the Bike Expo, Reuben, Heidi, Harper, and Eden ended up with the official green bibs we had picked up the Thursday before.

Train station in New Haven
Getting the two longtails down to NY? Our minivan did the trick-- without any passengers or seats in the back.  P loaded up the Yuba and the Xtracycle in the emptied back of the van, drove to the City, stopped by the Expo to get our registration packets, and proceeded to his brother's apartment on the Upper East Side. There, he unloaded the bikes and turned around and drove back to New Haven.

Getting to the train with our bike helmets
Late Saturday afternoon, our family took the train to NYC.  We ran out to the local grocery store and loaded up on snacks and tried to get the boys to sleep at a decent hour, rightly anticipating a long next day. The next morning, we affixed our official stickers to our helmets and bikes, slathered sunscreen on the boys and ourselves, and stuffed our Freeloader bags with water and food-- one huge advantage of taking on the Tour on cargo bikes.  Donning the green participant vests and our bike helmets, we rolled the bikes out the apartment door and on to the relatively quiet 8AM Sunday streets of Manhattan.

I got a real rush climbing on the Xtracycle Radish with one of the guys on the back, pedaling down to Lexington Avenue, and riding the six blocks to the subway station.  This was a 'coming together' for me of some sort, being so comfortable riding our cargo bikes at home in New Haven but despite multiple years of living in NYC, this was the first time we were riding them in this place.

The Yuba on the subway platform
The positive buzz quickly turned to anxiety though when we reached the subway station. First, we had to figure out how to carry these big bikes down the stairs. Then, we needed to get them on the train so we could get to the starting point of the Tour at the bottom of Manhattan.  P managed to pick up the monster Yuba and carry it down the stairs his own, but when I tried to do the same with the Xtracycle, my arms buckled and I realized that I was not going to be able to pull it off alone.  So we had the boys stand together down in the station next to the Yuba while Peter hustled back up the stairs so we could carry the Xtracycle down together.  Given the relatively early Sunday morn, the station was not overly busy so we could swipe our Metrocards pretty easily and roll the bikes through the emergency gate without too much fuss.  Likewise, rolling the bikes on to the train in the AM was not too bad considering their lengths, but we did split up and go in separate cars.  We were not the only riders with bikes on the subway that morning so it helped alert other passengers that some sort of bike event was happening.

Carrying the longtails up the stairs out of the station took the two of us two separate trips.  We were both breathing a bit heavy when reached the top of the stairs the second time but it was fun to see the myriad of other riders emerging from streets around us, making their way to the start of the tour.

To be continued....

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Kids Riding Bikes to School

May, as we know, is Bike Month.  There seem to be loads of bikey news out there and one topic, in particular, has interested the Full Hands Family tremendously.  Bicycling magazine recently-published article, Why Johnny Can't Ride and the NPR follow-up interview with the author, David Darlington, look at the sharp decrease of children walking and biking to school AND some school policies that actually prohibit kids from riding to school on their bikes.

One cannot help but shudder to see these statistics from Darlington's article:

"According to its surveys, in 2009 only 13 percent of all children walked or rode to school, whereas in 1969 nearly half (48 percent) did. The remoteness of the new schools is not the only cause: Among students who lived within one mile of school 43 years ago, 88 percent walked or bicycled, while today only 38 percent do."

It made me reflect on my childhood experiences and to look at what's happening with my boys.  Due to my father's job, my family moved numerous times throughout my elementary and high school years.  I lived in multiple towns in NJ, one suburb of Pittsburgh, PA, and in a Los Angeles suburban town for a lone school year.  And you know what? I cannot remember my parents driving me to school.  Ever. I suspect that it happened a few times, but we walked or took the school bus, depending how far away from school we lived. Given my numerous siblings, there was always someone to walk with and I can remember meeting up regularly with neighbors, becoming part of these packs going to and from school together. When we got home, we would hop on bikes and ride all around the neighborhoods, generally unsupervised, but always making sure to be home for dinner (you had to know my mother).

My older fellows started preschool when we were living on a school campus in rural Maine. In order to get to preschool, driving was the only option.  Moving to New Haven was a big change on many fronts and the twins spent their last year of preschool at a school within walking distance of our apartment.  And we did-- we walked, and sometimes scootered, always pushing their two-year-old brother in a great hand-me-down jog stroller that had survived multiple cousins.  The route took us up a big hill and at times, there were complaints, but we always seemed to get there.  To distract the boys from complaining, P began a never-ending story of a cheeky squirrel that survived many adventures.  When our little guy started at this same preschool the following year, P became the primary drop-off person and he often braved the steep hill by bike, F strapped in a Topeak childseat on the back of the 1968 Rudge Roadster.

This, of course, was the year that we discovered cargo bikes.  It took us until February before ours arrived so the older fellas and I went to school by car those first six months.  But finally, finally -- with the arrival of our bakfiets, we became a bike-commuting family.  And that was that.  But not really.  Because then our boys grew older and heavier. And we moved across town, doubling the distance of our commute. And this year, transportation to school has changed again. Our older guys now take a yellow school bus and the little one and I ride together.  The school bus arrival time has forced our family to wake up a full half hour earlier each day but my twins love the experience of it-- perhaps, as my husband and I surmise, it is because it is the only time of their days that they are really unsupervised.  Yup.  

My boys ride for recreation.  We ride them on cargo bikes for transportation. And now we are trying to make the shift so that they, too, can ride themselves more and more for transportation.  Wednesday, May 9, will be a first as we participate in the inaugural National Bike to School Day and S and C will ride the four miles on their own bikes.  It looks like we may be joined by a few other folks, which is great, but we expect it to be slow going. The adults will ride on the streets and the kiddos will (mostly) ride the sidewalks. The direct route from our neighborhood to school, and I should clarify that we do not go to a neighborhood school, takes us directly through downtown with minimal bike infrastructure and many anxious, zippy, and red-light running drivers.  So we will be going a longer route, definitely a bit out of the way, but also a bit less busy and a bit more sane. Yet it still will be city riding and it will be somewhat stressful (crossing streets with the kids going from sidewalk across to the other sidewalk is daunting). But we will get there. And the kids can proudly say they rode themselves to school. And they can know that they are able to.  And we will see what happens from there....

If only every day, looked like this day.
Photo credit: Peter Hvizdak / New Haven Register
That's my older guys in the Nutcase helmets, riding with two of their classmates, right out there on the streets, enjoying this year's Rock to Rock Earth Day bike ride.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Guest Post: When the Perfect Cargo Bike is Not Perfect...

It is such a pleasure to present this guest post by Philadelphia-based Marni, a bicycling mama of three and incredible designer, creator, upcycler, owner of Rebourne Clothing. I so appreciate Marni's honesty in sharing her tale of what happens when the first cargo bike really is not the right bike, being brave enough to admit it, and then trying again for that happy ending.

Hi! My name is Marni. I'm a wife and mom living in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I'm here to write about choosing the right cargo bike for your family. 

First, a little background on me:

I was a cargo bike baby.  My mom hauled my little brother and me around our small Michigan town. Groceries and school drop offs were done via bike trailer! 

Fast forward to my early 20's. I was trying to get in shape and brought my mom's old bike into our local bike shop. My now-husband worked on my bike and the rest is history! Bikes have always been a part of our life together.  He is still a local bike shop manager and an avid mountain biker. 
We have three kids, Sage, 5, Fern, 4, and Ryder, 1. 

We were inspired to buy a cargo bike because our friends bought a Kona Ute. Our primary goal in having the bike was to get exercise, promote green transportation, ride a bike, save money, and be able to do trips to school, the YMCA, the playground, and the grocery store.

When we bought our first cargo bike, we had two kids. As I did research, I was drawn to the Surly Big Dummy (hereafter called the BD) and the freecycle setup. We bought the frame and my husband built the bike up. We designed and built our kids' seats

All photos credited to Marni @ Rebourne Clothing
We thought we had the perfect family bike!! 

And then I rode it without kids on it. I hated it!  It was even worse with the kids on the back!

Here's why: 

1) No step-through-- the top tube was super high!  For me, even at 5' 9" and with a strong upper body, it was incredibly hard to balance the weight of two kids, step over the top tube, and get the bike moving. It was equally hard to get off and park the bike. This was not as tough for my husband.

2) The weight of the seats and the kids was up high. The bike is made to haul weight mainly below the seat level in pannier bags. Having the weight up high made the bike extra-tippy. Again, this was not as tough for my husband to handle.

3) I couldn't see the kids. Is Fern pulling Sage's hair? Why is Fern crying? Is Sage choking? Did Sage take her helmet off?

 4) The bike had the same profile as a "regular" bike. In Philadelphia, that meant that cars didn't give me any passing room or attention. There were not many ways we could make the BD noticeable from the front/back to signify that there were small children riding.

5) The stop-and-go traffic meant balancing the bike a LOT. As stated above-- very challenging. Here in Philly, most drivers do the "Philly Roll."  When coming to a stop sign, they rarely come to a stop for three seconds. They just slow to a very slow roll and continue moving through the intersection. If you do come to a complete stop, you get honked at! This is not conducive to safe cargo bike riding in a city where bikes are often invisible. 

6) I couldn't ride the bike in snow.

7) I couldn't really load the kids and a pannier full of groceries, as I was already strapped trying to balance the kids. This defeated the plan to grocery shop by cargo bike.

8) I couldn't lift the bike if I needed to pivot it. It was impossible for me to pull the bike up close to a wall in order to lean against the wall to get the kids out. To store our bike, I had to lift the back wheel, which I could not do.

9) I fell with the kids on the bike. They were not scathed, but I was pregnant and terrified. If the bike had been easier to balance, they wouldn't have been at risk. 

So here is the moral of my story: Choosing a cargo bike a personal journey, and you don't have to marry your cargo bike. 

I started to feel bad about not loving the bike that I spent so much time researching, so much time convincing my husband to buy and build, and so much time trying to make work. It was really hard to accept that it just didn't fit our family. However, we sold the bike two days after listing it on Craigslist!

After welcoming our third child, I decided to look at cargo bikes again. A friend showed me Haley Trikes. We met with Stephen, the owner, and test rode a bike. I loved it! We got to put the kids in the box and get a good feel for how it managed with and without weight. 

Our trike was handmade for us, with our specifications in mind. The length of the box and the gears are customized to our kids and our terrain. Do note, however, that
Stephen does not do any modifications of his bikes for kids, and generally discourages the use of his trikes as a family bike. All modifications were done by us.

The Haley is a box trike, so it's always balanced. I can see all of the kids. I can carry cargo and kids in one area. There is total step through and I never have to get all of the weight of the bike balanced. I can lift up the saddle end of the bike and pivot it, which means I can move the bike wherever I want it, regardless of how much cargo is inside. I can move the bike, with all the kids inside, to where it needs to be locked up.

Because the bike is so unique looking, I (generally) get a lot of respect, space on the road, and attention from drivers behind, in front, and to the sides of us (retro-reflective stickers and lights also help!). There is a joy that people get when they see our bike; it seems to disarm some aggressive and impatient drivers. I am more confident and happy, which makes riding more fun for all of us.

In closing, remember this also: In choosing a cargo bike that's right for your family, remember that it's a personal, temporary decision. This means that your body type, your kids' ages and temperaments, your city, your daily usage, your ability to store a bike, the weather where you live, the hills where you live, your commitment to buy local/USA made bikes, your goals for riding, your budget, and many other factors personal to you will come into play. Researching on a computer is not the best way to figure out your ideal bike: test riding (on streets similar to yours, with your precious cargo if possible) is. 

Also, your decision can be fluid. Don't feel like you have to stick with the bike you first choose. I felt really silly for choosing the BD for our family, not using it, being scared of riding it, and then falling with my kids on it. If the bike you choose doesn't work out, sell it, move on, and find your perfect bike. We're now a one car family and we put gas in our car only one or two times a month. 

Lastly, you want to invest in a bike that you love riding, that is easily accessible, and that instills a healthy level of confidence. 

-Marni @ Rebourne Clothing

Thursday, March 22, 2012

This is what it looks like...

when we ride our bikes.

We continue to be excited by Liz Canning's crowd-sourced cargo bike documentary, (R)Evolutions per Minute.  After months of thinking about it, but not doing anything about it, we finally got a move on this weekend to do some cargo bike filming.  Most exciting, a friend who is a filmmaker kindly volunteered two hours of her time and came over Sunday to film some short interviews we conducted with local cargo-bike-riding families.

Then, one of these folks passed along a mount for a Flip video camera which we could velcro to our handlebars to try and capture some riding footage.  We gave it a go the next day as we rode downtown together.  I rode the Xtracycle, one son on the back, the camera mounted on my handlebars, capturing P in front of me with our two other fellas on the Yuba.  The quality of this video is pretty weak (don't get sick from the shakiness), BUT it does show the ease in which my boys ride on the back of our bikes, interacting with each other and the world around them.

Monday, March 19, 2012

"And polar bears are EPIC!"

Hats off to Kona Bikes for this well-done short bike documentary How Bikes Many Cities Cool -- Portland.  Inspiring, and envy-producing for those of us who don't live in PDX, this video captures the incredible spirit of how bikes add to city-living.  I particularly love all the kids' comments and contributions, from noticing the birds to helping family finances by saving money on gas to.... Well, just watch it and see.

Portland - Mini doc from Kona Bikes on Vimeo.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Bikes, Travel, Stories, and Food

It is always exciting to learn about other's adventures.  We recently learned about a wonderfully cool project through Kickstarter.  Amie from Seattle, Washington and Olli from Helsinki, Finland have set out on a bike ride across Europe and Asia. They plan on sharing meals and chatting with others along the way.  Really, what a great combination: bikes, travel, stories, and food!

Here's their Kickstarter plug:

You can find their blog here. See photos of folks they meet and the meals they share and read their stories.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Buff Fun

Yes, the Full Hands is still here and still bicycling despite our poor posting these past months.  As the weather turns warmer 'round these parts and there are loads more bikes out on the streets, I found these photos from a cold weather ride.

We are big fans of Buffs in this house.  F, in particular, loves dressing up and walks around often with a Buff knotted on his head in his best pirate impression.  He also loves using a Buff on cold or windy days.  Hence this mini photo shoot I can't help sharing....