Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Kidical Thinking

This past Saturday I took the family down to the ABC's of Family Biking at the Capital Hill Montessori School. With my oldest daughter on the LHT, we meandered through Silver Spring and Takoma Park eventually connecting to the 14 St. bike lane. I hadn't taken this route into the city before and was pleasantly surprised. It's a great hilly ride through beautiful mostly tree-lined neighborhoods. We took a detour past Obama's house on my daughters advice but upon arrival she was less than enthusiastic.

The event had a good turnout with lots of cargo and family bikes accompanied by cargo and family people. It's always cool to swap ideas and share tips with like minded bikenerds. 
I was able to test ride a Christiana with a full payload which was fun. 
My daughter was partial to the Bullitt.
...and of course there were Xctracycles everywhere.
By far the biggest plus of the day was learning that after 20 miles my DIY child seat was fully naperational.

Kudos to Megan and the gang for throwing together a very cool event.

Video from the event.

Phoenix Bikes Show Fundraiser This Thursday

Phoenix Bikes Show fundraiser is this Thursday, April 26, 7-9pm, in the Crystal City Shops, 2100 Crystal Drive, Arlington. There's will lot's of funky bikes to see and bikes rebuilt by kids in our program for auction. Proceeds support Phoenix Bikes, a nonprofit community+youth bike program in Arlington.

Monday, April 23, 2012

April Harvest: Morels And Ramps

WARNING: The following post is about another hobby of mine and has nothing to do with bikes.

I think April is my new favorite month. I'm a huge fan of foraging for wild foods and April has quite a bounty. This month I've found my usual morel mushroom spots to be producing quite well. I found enough morels for a few meals which is not always the case. 
Sauteed in a little butter and shallots, these yellows and greys let off a succulent hazelnutty flavor.

This year I was fortunate enough to stumble onto a nice sized patch of ramps, (aka wild leeks) while foraging for morels. If a very yummy onion and a clove of garlic made sweet sweet love and had a baby, that stinky lovechild would be a ramp. The ones I found don't have the reddish stem color that most do but turn out to be much more tasty.
After making a few ramp omelets I did a search and found two recipes on Food52. The first was a pesto from the greens which turned out great. No garlic needed.
The second was for spicy pickled ramps which should be done this week.
I should note that if you find a patch of ramps, harvest sparingly to ensure next years crop.

It's nice to find and eat local foods sans food industry.

DC area wild food resources:
The Natural Capital
Slow Food DC

Sunday, April 22, 2012

A Quick Tale From The Commute

Last week while biking home from work, the car in front began driving erratically and slowed down to around 10mph. I went to pass the car and saw that the woman was texting, holding her iphone in the middle of the steering wheel. I leaned over and screamed "STOP TEXTING!!" into her open window. Startled, she tossed her phone onto the floor and sped off. Social justice feels so good sometimes.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Kidical Mass DC: The ABC's Of Family Biking

This Saturday (4/21/12), a group called Kidical Mass is teaming up with DDOT and WABA to put on the ABC's of Family Biking.

This free event, the first of its kind in the Greater Washington area, will celebrate the joy of biking with children and introduce local families to the tools, skills and equipment that can help them start biking together. 
This event appeals to me as I have a family and we're often found biking. I'll be the one drooling over the Belgian cargo bikes.

Saturday, April 21st from 11am – 2pm at Capitol Hill Montessori at Logan

On the family biking front I met this dude, (hand and shin are shown below) who came up with a pretty cool solution for his daughter's foot rests on his Kona Ute. He uses static line to make stirrups. This seams like it would give a passenger piles of leverage. I'm also digging the flipped up drop bars, well played dude at Whole Foods whose name I forgot.
On the anything bike related front, I spied this Bone Shaker in an old barn and took a picture of it. That's pretty much all that happened.

I'm as Tuesday as hell, and I'm not gonna take it anymore!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Xtracycle: DIY Child Seat

My first project was to make a new snapdeck and attach a child seat to it for my eldest. As I spec'd out wood for this project I found the scratch and dent section on Xtracycle's website and scored a scratched and dented snapdeck for half price. Perfect for drilling holes into! 

After dremeling the legs and springs off a Topeak child seat, I attached it to the snapdeck using 5, 1/4" bolts with large washers for stability. Now, when I'm taking the little one to school I put her snapdeck with the seat on and when I'm going to work or running errands I put the regular one on, easy peasie. As a precautionary measure when I have her seat on the xtracycle I strap the bars together in the front and back to make sure they tight and secure against the snapdeck. 

When she's older I will move the seat back for my youngest, put a pad on the snapdeck and add a hadelbar for my oldest.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Xtracycle: The Longer Haul Trucker

As previously stated, I have been slacking. Here is my attempt to catch up.

For a long time now, I've been wanting a sport utility bike of some kind. I think this has to do with the amount of kids I have. When the first one was born the idea crept in that it might be nice to have one some day. By the time number two arrived I was in a state of full on man/gear lust. At first I thought I might just spring for a bike trailer and the I could tow the kids to school and go to work in one trip. The problem with this is that I park my bike in my cube and it would suck to have to negotiate a trailer through the office every day. I definitely wanted an SUB.

Being a Surly fan I considered a Big Dummy, but I am a cheap scrounging bastard so the consideration was fleeting. The logical step was to put an Xtracycle on the LHT(yeah you know me), but that too had a stiff price tag (cheap scrounging bastard*).

I decided to use the vast social media empire I built over the years to my advantage. On February 21st I tweeted "anyone in DC want to sell me their Xtracycle?". At the time I thought this was one of the douchier things I've done, which it was, but it worked!
Soon I had a shinny used Xtracycle Free Radical with bags waiting to be installed. I had to purchase another chain and tandem length shifter and brake cables for the extended rear. I also had to do things like measure the elevator at my office to make sure this SUB would make the trip I wouldn't be hiking a 7 foot bike up the office stairwell.

The install went smoothly with no troubles. I had heard of LHT owners complaining that the Xtracycle didn't fit well because of the LHT's longer chainstay but I didn't run into this problem.

The Xtracycle and the Long Haul Trucker seem work pretty well together; the LHT is strong and is already geared for hauling heavy loads. The Xtracycle design is impressively simple, it's easy to install and has a cult following that documents tons of mods and DIY projects.

Now it's time to get my DIY on.

Monday! Thou yeasty milk-livered haggard!