Monday, June 25, 2012

Sore knees...

I biked all of about six miles (to swim lessons and swim practice) today-- pulling the trailer on the triple, my way-of-late to carry four kids aged almost 1 to 7. My knees really hurt. With all the wiggling through tight spaces and the stop-and-go of suburbia riding I have the seat low-enough so that I can put my tiptoes firmly on the ground while seated. I know if I raise the saddle, the pain would likely go away, but I just feel like I can't confidently ride the triple like that. The ride home I was just pining for my bakfiets where the bike is designed to allow for the rider to stay seated at stops and still have full leg extension while pedaling. I've been riding the triple only because I don't know what to do with my 7-year old-- too big for the bakfiets and there'd already be three kids in the box anyway. I'm considering a Follow-Me-Tandem Coupler on the bakfiets for him and sometimes his 5 year-old brother. (There is a seller on German eBay that will ship to the U.S., since-- as Hum of the City blogged-- there is no longer a U.S. distributor). The Onderwater Tandem looks good too (perhaps similar seat/pedal geometry as the bakfiets?), though I can't really justify the expense. Our poor garage has enough bikes/bike pieces.

And because I didn't have enough hands to take any pictures of my cute kids swimming today, here's some pictures of the bike things I'm thinking about (this is a bike blog after all):

The XL Onderwater Tandem (in non-swimming weather)
Follow-Me-Tandem Coupler

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Another chat with a cop about the bakfiets...

This morning I had another chat with a cop about my bakfiets... but this time the exchange was, I'd say, positive! After being stopped by a cop in May, I sent off a couple emails and then, recently, a few more follow-up emails. The issue has been, so I'm told, brought to the attention of the chief of police, the CHP, the city attorney, and the judicial system. This morning, a lieutenant came over to get a closer look at the bicycle with car seat attached. I have to admit, I was a little nervous about the visit (even though it was totally voluntary on my part), but it went fine. The lieutenant seemed to think the set up was just fine, though he did reiterate that officers have discretion in deciding whether to pull me over or not. He's pretty sure that the judicial system will get back to him with the explanation that the bike can't be deemed "legal" until someone gets ticketed and successfully challenges it in court. But the quick emails have at least helped create an awareness in the department about the bike. The lieutenant mentioned one of the city's motorcycle cops saw me riding and left me alone because he knew the issue was being investigated. Feeling bold and full of bike advocacy-ness while standing in my garage full of bikes, I asked the cop about the legality of children riding on the back of longtail bikes. He was aware of them and said they'd been challenged in court (California, I assume) and deemed a legal way to carry children. Woohoo for longtail riding parents in California! I specifically thought of biking mom Kate and the letter to the editor that claimed she was breaking the law by carrying her children on her Yuba Mundo. Not so! Anyway... happy biking to all. Time for me to go to bed...

Friday, June 8, 2012

No bikes allowed in the In-N-Out drive-thru

Yesterday evening, Jonah and I were out running errands in the bakfiets after dropping the girls off at gymnastics. I decided to pick up food at In-N-Out for dinner. The bakfiets had a few shopping bags with birthday gifts, Jonah was happily sitting, and we were in a bit of a hurry to pick up the girls, so I decided to bike through the drive-thru. I pedaled myself slowly in the line for a bit until an employee came to me and informed me that, "Non-motorized vehicles are not allowed in the drive-thru." So silly, but what was I to do? I understand and respect that the company can make its own rules. We went inside to purchase our food.

After returning home, I sent off an email to In-N-Out, requesting that the no bicycle policy be changed. I received a call from a customer service rep this afternoon explaining that the "no bicycle" rule is for my safety. A car could bump and hurt me and they'd be held liable. Sounds pretty lame to me. The cars are moving so slowly that even if I did get bumped, I seriously doubt any harm would be done.

Out of curiosity, I did a quick google search of "bicycles fast food drive-thru". My impression is that sometimes restaurants allow it, sometimes they don't, and often there is no company-wide policy on the matter.The only restaurant that appears to explicitly allow bikes is Burgerville. They created the policy after family biker Sarah Gilbert tweeted about her experience of being refused service on her bike at the drive-thru.

So, now what? I could boycot In-N-Out. I could try appealing to someone higher up. Or I could just get on with my life and not worry about it-- which is probably what I'll end up doing...

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Bike Tire Swing

While Grandpa was at our house this afternoon, my girls convinced him to make a swing. We found a great rope in the garage, but I vetoed the idea of a simple loop in the rope as a swing seat (visions of the little ones strangling themselves). Old bike tire to the rescue. (I knew there was a reason we have a little pile of worn out tires). Fun, fun.