Monday, April 26, 2010

Rock to Rock 2010

This year's Rock to Rock ride was as fun as we expected. The weather was tremendous and the energy of the participants was palpable. It was a treat to ride with friends and to run into more folks we knew along the way. It was fun to wave to people who called out from the sidewalks, to whiz through intersections as motorcycle police stopped the car traffic, to feel safe and free riding with all these energized, excited people. Most wonderful, for me anyway, was to watch my older sons, each seven, ride themselves across the city. If only, if only..... If only, the streets were safe enough for them to ride themselves everyday.

Team Cargo Bikes!

The start of the ride. We got to starting point on the later side so waited to the side and let all these folks lead the way. The group of riders snaked up and well beyond what you can see here.

E & T in action in their Joe-Bike bakfiets. My four-year-old had much to say about the size of their box. How the taunts start early!
Here are my guys, pedaling away. I was a proud mama. It's clear that the twins need new bikes.
At the different resting points, F switched from bakfiets to Xtracycle, back to bakfiets again.
We were so psyched to run into this mama rider. Look at her frock closely. We complimented her loudly and often on her Ms. Frizzle dress selection!

How cool to run into one of your preschool teachers on the ride.

I took this shot on our final stretch. It was amazing to watch the boys ahead of me.

Look what was waiting for us at the end! The CHEESE TRUCK. Yum. Amazing grilled cheese & tomato sandwiches.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Team Cargo Bike Handmade T's

We've been looking forward to tomorrow's Rock to Rock Earth Day Ride for months. Last year's was among one of our most fun days in New Haven since we moved here almost three years ago. You see-- while there is a growing bike riding community, we're no Portland, Oregon. I read blogs that continuously highlight fun community rides with envy. While there are regular group rides here in New Haven if you are a cyclist-- one of those lycra-wearing, racing kinds-- but outside of a monthy Critical Mass (that meets inconviently for us with little boys who desperately need to eat at 5:3oPM at you guessed it, 5:30PM), there don't seem to be community rides for us overweight, jean-wearing (never lycra!!!), mama types like me. One of the reasons that last year's event was such a blast was the array of folks who climbed on their bikes and joined in taking over the street on two wheels. This year, it seems like there will be far more riders and many more of our friends have committed to riding as well. It'll be a party!

When our friends who recently bought a Joe-Bike box bike came over to show us their new wheels, L said, "We should get team t-shirts for Rock to Rock." Suddenly that got my mind whirling. You see, besides being obsessed with bikes, my other obsession is making t-shirts. I started with creating shirts for my boys from those websites that let you customize shirts (like my Boys Like Pink, Too shirts-- see sidebar) and moved on to freezer-paper stenciling shirts. Early this winter, I tried to up my game by purchasing an at-home "easy" screening system called EZScreenPrint. I made a few screens in December with varying degrees of success, but I struggled with getting the timing right while exposing the screen to sunlight, and got crazed with work and buying a house so stopped messing with hand-screening for these months.

Soooooo, in order to avoid packing (moving day= this coming Wednesday), this week I suddenly decided to give the screen printing another go. On Tuesday I came up with a design, created the screen at 6:00pm after work--yay, sunlight in spring evenings!-- ran off to Target while P oversaw boy bedtime ritual on his own, and finished 13 shirts by 11:00PM. I have to admit that I am quite proud of the finished product. I made shirts for two families with whom we are friends who own cargo bikes. The adult shirts are in green with white print; little people ones are gray shirts with green print. I have to give a major shout-out to Travis Whittwer for his design inspiration. Many thanks.

Go, Team Cargo Bike! Rock to Rock 2010:

Tuesday, April 6, 2010



One of the many, many fun things about our cargo bike has been decorating the cargo box. We've made detachable signs for it and then, last summer we discovered that removable wall stickers work incredibly well. You can find a number of fun designs at craft stores or on the web; they are hardy enough to withstand bad weather; when you grow tired of them, you can peel them off and start again.

We decorated the box with multi-colored polka dots for the big guys' birthday and then changed to robots on Halloween. The boys have been begging me to change the design for some time, but I held off because I loved the robots from Blik and thought we should get full use out of them. I also kept thinking I wanted to customize stickers, creating text that would read something like, "Stop texting. Keep us all safe." or "A car is not a phone booth." However, the boys didn't seem to like this idea much and P was hesitant as well, worried that we might antagonize some already bike-hating crazy drivers.

Instead, a few weeks ago, I got on the web with my four-year-old and we started looking at new wall sticker graphics. Site after site, we couldn't find stickers we could agree on when suddenly I pulled up this one photo and F yelled out, "Sporkies!" Now those of you who don't speak F may not know what this means. Our F, you see, tends to be Suessian with his language at times, randomly creating words that pretty accurately describe what he means. One of his long standing words that the rest of the family has adopted is "sporky." F first used it when he went to kiss his dad after P skipped a morning or two of shaving. "You're sporky!" he called out when he rubbed up against P's whiskers. Sporky was also recently used when I got my hair cut extremely short and came out of the salon with it spiked in all directions. My hair, you see, was all sporky. So when F looked at these stickers and cried "Sporkies!" with delight, I knew we had a winner. While the company may have called these creatures "Fuzzles," they shall be known in our home-- and in our bike, of course-- as Sporkies. A cool thing about this site was that it had a huge color palatte so F also got to choose the colors he wanted the sporkies to be.

And so now let me unveil our newest cargo box design: multi-colored Sporkies. Since he was the visionary behind the design, F also wanted to be integrally involved in adhering the stickers.
The spikes were a bit tricky to get off from the backing without ripping so I took on the Sporkies' bodies, while F became the "eye man."
Design completed. One proud four-year-old.
No, these are not jazz hands you see. These are three fellas doing their own imitation of Sporkies!

Front view. Sporkies all around.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Another Box Bike in the 'Hood

We spent a fun long weekend hanging in NYC with friends and family, riding subways, visiting the lemurs at the Bronx Zoo, running around parks in Brooklyn, and a highlight, for me anyway-- spotting Ira Glass coming out of a Vietnamese sandwich joint. We arrived back in New Haven tired but satisfied, and were just finishing an early dinner when the doorbell rang. I looked out our front windows and immediately got jazzed, commanded all the guys to throw on their Crocs and get outside, and grabbed the camera.

And what to our wondering eyes should appear, but a new Joe-Bike boxbike with two helmeted cuties happily strapped in the cargo seat. Check out our friends and their brand new spanking cargo rig:

We are most excited that another bakfiets has hit the city-- even though this crew will be moving to Nashville this summer. The box is shorter than our long box so when I took Joe-Bike's version for a quick spin around the block, two things struck me immediately: 1. how light it was 2. how much of a 'regular' bike it felt like when riding. Mostly, it is just heartening that families looking to get into family bike riding have ever more options from which to choose

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Even Our Minivan Proudly Proclaims Our Bike Love

Most days when riding home from school with my fellas, we see a car parked around the corner from our apartment with this bumper sticker: We decided that our family's one car needed to be equally adorned:

Except, we decided that we needed to customize the bumper sticker just a bit: