Archive for the 'Bicycle' Category

Birthdays and Bikes

Posted by laura on Oct 08 2008 | Bicycle, Fun, Holiday, Sewing


Someone in my house is now eight.


It might be a good moment to note that the day after this certain person was born, she received a letter from my dear brother, in which he promised that when she was eight, she could indeed have a pony. Thanks for that, Joe! 

Her birthday morning was wonderful and filled with amazing treats from all around the globe. Such a lucky girl. Josephina was a lucky girl today too – look what she got!


Oh yeah. Hampton in the house. Mum found this while we were all on vacation this summer, and I’d completely forgotten about it. It was a HUGE hit.

I made Josephina a little dress out of some scraps from the fabric bin. (Fabric going out instead of in! It’s a miracle!)



Here’s a look at the hem, which took me too long because I didn’t gather the ribbon at all and the hem flipped up so I had to tack it down all the way around on the inside. 


Today is also International Walk To School Day, which is a little more like walkbikescooterandskateboard day when you get right down to it. Whatever you call it, it’s great. We loved seeing all the riders on the bike path this morning.








What a morning!

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Biking to Soccer

Posted by laura on Oct 06 2008 | Bicycle, Fun

We rode with one of our daughter’s friends to soccer practice last Friday, and it was such a pretty afternoon.


At their practice field, there’s a beautiful arrangement of trees off to one side – the ideal spot to park the bikes and spread the blanket.


It’s yet another moment when I’m happy to have my xtracycle – it carries all the backpacks, the soccer snacks for the kids, the soccer snacks for the grownups (the end of the day on Friday should always be celebrated) and the soccer bag. I love you, xtracycle.

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Sending My Egrets

Posted by laura on Sep 11 2008 | Awesome, Bicycle, Fun


Yes I know. I’m just too funny for words. I’m sorry. I just can’t help it.

Ok, tacky titles aside – Hot Wheels and I had the best, best, best bike ride home from ballet this morning. It’s bird heaven here these days. I just simply had to take a few mediocre photos.

The bike path was quieter than usual. We could spot about a dozen different birds, and the long, still egrets were nicely juxtaposed by fast packs of small birds flying in close formation. We could hear fish darting up against the surface of the bay, and we sat out on rocks for what seemed like a week and a half trying to get a good look at them. No luck, but it was divine. 

(Check these guys out. The one on the left was saying, “I’m not talking to you,” and the one on the right was like, “Fine. I’m not talking to you either.”)



I have to confess a bit of confusion regarding the egret, heron and crane families. They’re like keeping track of second cousins and first cousins once removed. It gets a bit blurry. But they’re beautiful!

We did see one gigantic blue heron, but not until it was too tricky to get a shot. (Of it, not at it – this ain’t Palin country, people.) When I was in Peru, Tom and the kids actually saw a blue heron dart down, grab a gopher and eat it in one gulp. Tom is now a blue heron devotee.

I’m still mad at that heron for completely disappearing from the bike path for the duration of my parents’ visit last winter. My parents were all, “Oh you have a humungous blue heron that hangs out along the path to school? What’s his name? Harvey??” I ought to give that heron a piece of my mind. He sure made me look bad. Although eating a gopher is a nice way to make up for it.

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Sausalito Sundays

Posted by laura on Sep 07 2008 | Bicycle, Fun

There’s a wonderful bistro style restaurant in Sausalito called Le Garage – aptly named, it occupies the corner of one of the big old shipyard buildings along the marina, and its two exterior walls are each dominated by huge red garage doors. One is always open and the other gets rolled up when it’s sunny.


We’ve taken to biking down on a Sunday morning – their brunch starts at 10, and it’s quite tasty, but we just love getting there an hour earlier, when all they have is counter service with drinks and a couple of different pastries. Tom favors a latte that they serve in a big white bowl. We get hot chocolates and croissants and sit and watch the boats and the early morning passing parade. We’ve biked down a few times now with friends and it’s always been just a stunning start to weekend morning. C’est magnifique, I tell you.

This morning there was a nice old Yamaha at the bike racks. 

A couple of weekends ago, we stopped at the Bay Model on the ride home. This place is wicked cool, as we’d say back east. It’s a working model of the entire bay – it simulates currents and tides, and it’s over 1.5 acres in size. That’s just nuts.


Hey look! It’s a tiny Golden Gate Bridge.

Perhaps our favorite section of the Bay Model building is off to the side of the model itself, and it talks about the history of Marinship, the WWII Liberty Ship building unit that originally erected all the buildings along this stretch of the marina. The Marinship exhibit was spectacular. 





There were so many amazing stories behind these ships, from the logistics of getting the shipyard up and running in record time, to the individual stories of the workers themselves.

I was particularly fond of one original poster for female shipyard workers, instructing them on proper bandana-tying technique. It never occurred to me that the Rosie the Riveter bandana arrangement wasn’t just for safety – it preserved the hairdo! Here’s what I learned.

“A gay bandana, properly tied, means efficient charm on the job, undiminished allure after hours.”

Because there’s nothing worse than diminished allure, right sisters?




Don’t you just love how the woman in this photo is just rockin her bandana and goggle look? Fabulous.

My friend Joan pointed out a terrific story about a man who left the shipyards every night pushing a wheelbarrow full of hay. The security guard at the gate carefully looked through the hay each night to be sure the man wasn’t stealing anything, but there was never any contraband to be found.

Eventually the man was fired, and the day he left, the security guard asked him why – was he stealing something?

Yup – wheelbarrows.

My last two shots for today’s post are of some pelicans that we saw on the way home this morning. Pelicans!

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Xtra Greatness

Posted by laura on May 16 2008 | Bicycle

I’m interrupting my Lima broadcast to put up a couple of photos of my xtracycle, which finally arrived last month. Shiny! Here it is after one of our grocery runs:


My daughter was riding on the back – she kept and eye on the bread, which was threatening to jump ship the whole way home.xtracycleloaded2.jpg

It is everything I hoped for – in dozens of configurations (3 big grocery bags + one child, 4 big grocery bags + 1 watermelon, 2 children + backpacks + fireman lunchbox, bags + cookie tins + party paraphernalia…) it’s been a dream every time.

I added the foot pads and am currently looking for a good small tandem handlebar setup so the rider feels more comfortable. My friend Haywood calls it my caddy – I’d better figure out where I’m going to put the subwoofer, don’t you think?

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New Wheels!

Posted by laura on Feb 21 2008 | Bicycle

Last weekend we went up to Petaluma to scout the consignment stores for a nice old cabinet or armoire for our art/guest room, and we came home with this!


Nice armoire, eh?

So how exactly does this happen? How do you head out for a nice old armoire and come home with a shiny new bike with internal hub gears and disc brakes? Particularly when the type of bicycle you’re pining for looks something like this?


(Electra “Amsterdam” series bicycle photo courtesy of

Well, here’s how it happens. First, you try to find an Amsterdam style bicycle here in the US and find that they’re just a tad more expensive here than there. Next, you go on a scouting trip for a completely different item, in charming Petaluma, California. You stroll down Petaluma Blvd and wander into the Sonoma Bicycle Company, just out of curiosity, and ask them if they carry any bikes that would work nicely with, say, an xtracycle. Turns out they do have a great bike that looks like it would work well for your daily commute with the kids, and will you look at that? It has all kinds of nice additional perks, like the aforementioned gearing and brakes, as well as fenders for those rainy day rides. Then you decide that it’s a great bike and you really like it but it’s still more than you can spend, so you thank the great guys at the shop and move along. At this point things get good – they send someone out after you to chase you down and tell you that they’ll sell you the bike for a ridiculously fantastic price!

And that’s how an armoire gets turned into a brand new bike. 




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Bicycle Love

Posted by laura on Feb 18 2008 | Bicycle

My good friend Amy from mom go green included a great link in her comment to my working bike post. The blog she linked to is Copenhagen Bicycle Chic, and it’s a site I visit regularly for biking inspiration. Here is a city that knows how to bike. Certainly not the only city – there are plenty of places in the world where the bicycle is actually viewed as a very reasonable form of everyday transportation. But shoot – these folks have some style! You have to check it out. There’s more bike greatness to be found at The Copenhagen Bike Culture Blog

Here in Marin, where I live, there seems to be some unwritten rule that you cannot possibly hop on your bicycle without a minimum 95% lycra content to your clothing, not to mention loud endorsements printed all over said clothing. So I get great pleasure from photos of people around the world, riding their bikes with umbrellas, high heels, building supplies, pets – you name it. Why not put some style in your ride?

Some of my other favorite bike fashion/attitude sites are:

The Sartorialist’s bicycle section. I’m no fashion plate, but I love seeing people who have a great sense of style. This hugely popular blog posts photos of people with terrific style, and it’s fun and inspiring even for someone like myself who is not really connected to the fashion world at all.

The Velocouture pool over at Flickr is good fun too. Just folks on bikes – but again, with less spandex and more style!

There’s a family in Seattle that keeps a great blog called Car Free Days, and I love their family biking attitude. Now that I (finally!) have an order in for my own xtracycle, I get lots of inspiration from this family – you should check out how nicely they tricked out the Mum’s bike. It’s beautiful!!

And finally, here’s a photo that should really inspire us to think about our car/bicycle ratio. It’s from, surprise surprise, Amsterdam – courtesy of a great bicycle parking post on the David Baker + Partners Architects website. Check out this parking garage:amsterdam_bike_garageproject_large.jpg

NOW we’re talkin. 

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Working Bikes

Posted by laura on Feb 07 2008 | Bicycle

working bicycle 

Check out this great working bike. No matter how many little comments a certain person in my household makes about its cranky gears or its general age and infirmity, I still love it. It was a super cheap San Francisco Bicycle Coalition bike swap find, and we have become fast friends. Now that everyone in our family is riding solo, I’ve taken the child seat off the back, and I think it’s really working that dashing new silhouette. (Also, it no longer sounds eerily like the rattling overhead cargo bins in an ancient 737 as I taxi down the bike path!)

I took this shot at the end of a great bike commuting day. We dropped the first child off at elementary school. Doubled back to drop off the second child at preschool. Rode downtown to work. At the end of the school/work day, picked up first child, rode to grocery store. Both cyclists brought in bike baskets to shop with and pack up the groceries in – somewhat bewildering the perpetually grumpy bagger. (Every grocery store has to have one official Grumpy Bagger. Hey – that would be a good name for a band!) Stopped for a snack break. Then picked up second child from preschool, rode home, took picture.

See how noble this bike is? Groceries and all. Don’t tell it that I’m planning to buy a new bike. I don’t want it to feel threatened, because I still love it.

Here is a look at Ricochet’s bike:


Check out the mud on the back of that thing. Now close your eyes, and visualize the racing stripe up his back! 

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