Friday, September 7, 2012

Back(b)Logged

It’s been a while since I last posted – okay, a long while – so let me tell you what we’ve been up to:
1. I had an idea for a bike helmet sun hat where a sun hat brim would fit over the bike helmet. Genius! I’ve never seen one and it seemed like the perfect way to keep the sun away on longer rides. I did a whole tutorial on this project with pictures and everything. It took at least 4 weeks to complete. The result was so cute – a wide brim that clipped onto the helmet with tiny magnets for easy removal. (I had a great picture that unfortunately fell victim to premature erasure.) Then we went for a ride. Not so Genius. I forgot to account for the wind factor. Even on a very still day there is enough of a breeze to flip the brim up onto the helmet rendering it useless. Peanut looked like the Flying Nun. Not one to give up super easily, I then remade the hat with a stiffer brim to the same effect. Then I gave up. Now I know why they don’t exist. There might be a way to tie the brim down with ribbons attached on the outside but I think that might look a bit 1800’s even for me. In short, my Bike Helmet Sun Hat works perfectly if you happen to be standing around in the sun wearing a bike helmet.
2. We hosted an exchange student. Ivan (his “American” name) came for two weeks in July/August. He was wonderful and the kids thoroughly enjoyed having him around. He wasn’t very fluent in English (although he spoke more English than I do Chinese) and probably understood about 40 - 50% of what went on around him while he was here. Fluency issues aside, it seemed he was easily and simply absorbed into our family during his stay. One of the things we did not get to do with him was bike. He had listed it in the things he would like to do while he was in the U.S., however, I was VERY hesitant to take him out on the streets of Sacramento since I felt I couldn’t get across basic information like: stop, follow me in a single line, ride on the right, ect… I was feeling a bit guilty about this until we got the bikes out one Sunday morning. He was definitely excited to ride and after strapping on a helmet (backwards) took off on my pink bicycle. He zipped up and down our street with a mix of great joy and total oblivion. Guilt trip over.
Ivan with my boys
3.I am still getting used to my new set-up. I traded in the front child seat for a baby seat in the rear and a bread basket. This means that all three younger kids are riding behind me, which means that the rear rack is a bit crowded, which means there is more touching, leaning, and kicking. In short, the rides have gotten noisier and bit less comfortable for everyone except me. This change really robbed me of most of my “stuff” capacity since I can no longer use the bags with the back seat. I have a very nice Basil bag that holds all of my must haves – bike kit, people kit, tire pump, ect… with a bit of room left over for small things. Everything else I want to take has to fit in the bread basket. The only thing I haven’t been able to carry thus far has been a take and bake pizza. I guess I could have folded it but then all my vegetable toppings would have contaminated my husband’s meat toppings and that, of course, is completely unacceptable.
Loving the new seat! So much room to stretch...
4. In other news:
-Charlie has upgraded from a 20” wheel seven speed to a 24” wheel 21 speed bike. He’s now quite happy and very speedy. His latest wish list includes a rear bike rack, front and rear lights, a new helmet, a bell, and fenders. Dear me, I think I’ve created a bike commuter!
--I have discovered a love of knitting which, along with my delusions of being an inventor (see Bike Sun Hat above), has completely distracted me from my work as bike blogger. I’ve made at least five baby hats, two pair of mittens, and numerous headbands thus far. I can only hope that those on my Christmas list are fond of knit.
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a sampling of my latest addiction
--We’ve acquired a new car – a Toyota Sequoia – that I am fondly referring to as the Anti-bike (You have to say it in a funny voice to get the full effect). It is a huge car and requires quite a bit more gas than our old mini-van, and thus has me longing for an e-assist. I don’t NEED and e-assist but it would definitely make the longer trips to soccer practice and games feasible – they aren’t right now. It also would make any trip we made faster and quite a bit shorter which would help with the fighting - because the shorter the trip the tighter the grip. :)
Kate

4 comments:

  1. for the sun visor, perhaps an "msa hard hat sun shield" would work? google and you'll see what I mean :)

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  2. I noticed this helmet sun shade in the Adventure Cycling catalog this summer... seems interesting:
    http://www.dabrim.com/. I also remember reading about a sunshade made of a thin plastic cutting board cut to shape... Sorry all your efforts to make one didn't work out :( I definitely would have followed your tutorial and made one!

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  3. Kimberly already linked to DaBrim. I remembered seeing this online on the Path Less Pedaled video of this product from 2011 Interbike: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SpAfIUhh24M

    Great minds, you see!

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  4. Hi Kate! I love your blog! I'm trying to make the jump to a Yuba Mundo/less car reliant family transport myself. I'd love to pick your brain re: challenges, etc. so I can better prepare! My daughter is 6. Thanks! (Rebeccaahwall@gmail.com)

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