Thanks to all who came out, despite the drizzle, for yesterday’s Critical Lass ride!
Here are a few candid shots I took at the beginning of the ride. Sorry, no group photos this time.
My husband was out of town, so we chose a short, level route in the neighborhoods surrounding the university – then cut it even shorter when my littlest on his single-speed kid bike had clearly had enough. Oh, parenting. At least my eldest was a trooper. I won’t repeat the experiment of bringing both kids along for another couple of years. I am so grateful that everyone was patient and wonderful with them. Bike people are the best.
I promise next ride will be longer and more interesting, and there will be photos from en route!
We ended up at Gracious Goods in Belgravia, where we took over a cozy corner of the cafe and had a lovely chat. The food was delicious.
Then Karen, Erin and her kids, and me and my kids bailed and headed home. I hope the rest of the riders continued on and explored the neighborhood a bit. Thank goodness several of them had also attended the Vintage Ride organized by Raving Bike Fiend during the morning (I’ll update with links to those ride reports when they go live)!
Upcoming Critical Lass Dates: Sunday July 21st (to Highlands, coincidentally on Marshall McLuhan’s 102nd birthday) and Sunday August 18th (Fringe, anyone?) and Sunday September 15th and Sunday October 13th (a River Valley leaf-viewing ride). As always, we meet 1pm at Bicycle Bottleneck, at the lamppost at the south end of High Level Bridge. (I’ll update this with links to the Facebook event pages as they go live.)
We’ve been talking among our circle about organizing a Kidical Mass ride in Edmonton for ages now, and decided that this is the year it’s going to happen! Our planning team includes me and Angel, and our friends Karen (who might not be able to come to this one since she’ll be caring for a newborn, but will be a regular in the future) and Erin (who has just moved here, and was an enthusiastic participant at Victoria’s Kidical Mass events).
Kidical Mass is a lighthearted family- and kid-centred group ride that is now running in most North American cities. For more information, check out their About and FAQ pages.
When:June is Bike Month in Edmonton, so it seems like the best time to hold our first one. Since the 3rd Sunday was clear of rides last year, we chose June 16th and checked with the Bikeology Festival organizers to ensure we wouldn’t be overlapping with any of their major events. They gave us the all-clear, and search engines gave us nothing to be worried about on the date, so: Sunday June 16th it will be!
Where: We wanted a central location, so we chose Hawrelak Park. It’s nice and big, there are picnic facilities and a playground, any vehicular traffic moves at a speed slower than typical residential roads, and there are lots of unpaved bike trails if anyone wants to take their kids for a different sort of ride, in addition to the official KM ride. For anyone who needs to bring their bike quite a distance, there’s parking, and the ride there from the closest LRT station is pleasant (well, hilly, but pretty!) if you prefer to go multi-modal. Before we announced it, a couple of us met at Hawrelak to try out the route and do some brainstorming.
We have booked Picnic Site #1 for 11am-3pm, with the intent being that our route around the park includes a stop at the playground beside site #3. The whole loop is 2.53km, and takes about 20 minutes total, with the playground stop about halfway (so, 10 minutes of riding, stop and play for 30 minutes, 10 minutes of riding). Here is the park map with our picnic site and route highlighted:
Food and Activities: We agreed that the best idea this time around is to keep it relatively simple. Bring your own picnic; we’ll provide some fresh fruit, bottled water, a lemonade stand, and peanut-and-tree-nut-free ice cream and popsicles. We will also have a craft table for making sparkly spoke cards, a bike decorating area, and face painting! Update: there will be face painting and balloons by Wonderstuff, and a booth by Pedalheads childrens’ bicycle camps.
Safety Thoughts: For liability insurance purposes, all participants (not just children) are required to wear helmets, and we’ll go over how helmets should fit. We’ll also remind everyone how to do hand signals. We will assemble for the ride in the parking lot beside Picnic Site #1, which we will close to traffic while we’re getting ready. We will be riding on the road as a group, but traffic within the park is restricted to a 20 km/h speed limit, so it will be a very safe introduction to riding on the road. Our ride leader will keep our speed moderate, and our ride sweep will make sure nobody gets left behind; both will have signs and flags on their bikes and high-vis sashes.
Other Housekeeping: Picnic Site #1 does have shelter and washrooms. We will doing the ride rain or shine. Need to find the organizers? We’ll be wearing high-vis sashes and balloon hats, and I’ll be the one in the polka-dot helmet.
Followup: During the event, we will also do an informal survey of our attendees to gauge interest in a smaller monthly Kidical Mass ride and in an annual Fiets Of Parenthood event, and to get a sense of the proportions of new vs experienced cycling families in attendance. If we get enough interest, we will do a second family event in the fall, then might set a monthly schedule starting next spring.
Passing on an announcement from the fabulous organizers of Edmonton’s bike month:
Bikeology Festival – June 1-30
Bikeology is a mobile festival for the bike-curious and the seasoned rider.
During June you can go to any number of cycling events, at various locations throughout the city. We welcome, encourage, nurture and celebrate cyclists with a regular menu of our own themed events, AND we support a growing number of unique and eclectic, one-off, cycle-oriented happenings all month long.
The options are endless, and varied. Come learn to about cycling in Edmonton, ride your bike, fix it, celebrate it, write (nay obsess) over it, or otherwise learn that cycling is a viable mode of transportation, an enjoyable recreation, and ultimately a community-building machine of glory. Help spread the velo-love…
Our Vision: Edmonton is a city in which bicycling is increasingly celebrated, supported, adopted and enjoyed.
The previous owners brought it home from their travels in Vietnam. It’s a single-speed steel-frame Miyata Remy with a Thai Binh headbadge and lots of parts stamped made-in-Japan. There’s a frame lock (with key!), a kickstand, front basket, rear rack, a National (Made In Japan) bottle generator headlamp on a braze-on, a Karasawa drum brake, and 26-inch wheels. The frame is enough shorter than the standard North American bike that the previous owners had listed it as having 24-inch wheels. It’s kitted out in standard practical southeast-Asian commuter style. Both tires were flat, and it hadn’t been ridden in awhile, so I took it to my favorite LBS for some love. Not realizing it had 26 inch wheels, I bought it originally for my daughter, but now it’s destined for Angel’s fleet, if Monica can figure out a way to upgrade it to multiple speeds (adding a cog and derailleur? new 3-speed hub?).
The style of the decals compared with vintage Miyata catalogues places this bike between 1984-1988. The pearly purple paint with slight damage kind of says 80s to me, too. The usual searches yield nothing that looks anything like it, but then, people never lovingly photograph ubiquitous bikes, do they?
TB155 = serial number, with TB no doubt standing for Thai Binh. (If you have a single letter at the front of your vintage Miyata’s serial number, this list might prove helpful.) I can’t find any further information on this marque, but Thai Binh is a province of Vietnam. So the bike was indeed made in Japan for export to the Vietnamese market.
Rear hub stamped 7H, SUZUE, Made In Japan. The front hub is also made by Suzue. My guess is that the 7H is a manufacturer’s date stamp, so maybe this is a 1987-August hub, but nobody seems to have put a list online that I can check it against.
During April, I spent a lot of time supervising my 7- and 9-year-olds as they rode up and down our cul-de-sac getting used to their new-to-them bikes from local not-quite-little bike shop United Cycle (they had both outgrown their previous rides). Dom (above) has a Norco ZX-80 steel-frame mountain bike. It has 20-inch wheels, a hand brake, and a rear coaster brake. Audrey (below) has a Norco Groove with 24-inch wheels, an 18-speed derailleur setup with twist shifters, and hand brakes. Both of them are now riding confidently enough that we can go for longer rides, and travel the mile to their school in about 10 minutes (depending on the timing of the lights where we cross the busy road).
On April 9th, I did a 30 minute ride by myself to explore the other end of the multi-use path along the top of Whitemud Creek Ravine in my neighborhood, on Trudy Phillips. Had to do a snowbank portage around a crane that was installing windows in a house under construction, and the path was mostly largely wet and sandy, but it was just above zero and the sun was shining. I found a feather on the path, watched some crows and a raven about twice their size, and found a new secret entrance to the big field under the power lines beside the Henday.
Multiple snow storms plus a newly-discovered allergy to snow mould that knocked me flat for two weeks meant that I missed much of the rest of April. But look what came in the mail while I was waiting for conditions to improve:
By early May, the snow had melted, the snow mold had dried up, the paths had dried out (although they’re *still* covered in grit), and it was warm enough that the pussywillows were coming out and we could wear tank tops.
The Canada Goose sightings were also giving us hope that spring had finally arrived:
A week later it was 20C and glorious. I often joke that Edmonton gets only a week of spring, but this year it really was true.
We had a gorgeous, windy night for our Make Something Edmonton video shoot on Wednesday night, and a fabulous group of seven riders (and an enthusiastic passenger). Yvonne, Aaron, and their assistant made the process so fun and painless, and everyone enjoyed themselves thoroughly. The video will be out sometime in June. We met at the SitNChill bench at the south end of High Level Bridge, rode across the west side of the bridge (and really struggled a little with the wind gusts!), circled in the park at the North end of the bridge, took the residential streets through to Grant Notley Park (the one with the gazebo at the top of Victoria Park Hill) where we did a spoken bit (where little Eli got to have a starring role) and more circling, then along the sidewalk on Victoria Promenade with the river valley as a backdrop. Filming done, we then chose to go back the way we came, and a few of us had a snack at the Sugarbowl. I took these candid shots with my phone, mostly when we stopped in Grant Notley Park and on Victoria Promenade. Of course I didn’t think to do a panda shot at all, so the only photos of me were taken by the pros. I’m noticing that a couple of the fab ladies who rode with us are also missing from these shots, as luck would have it.
Incidentally, I got some bike grease on my sundress when I was loading the DL-1 back onto the car rack after the ride, and it’s not coming out with either of the stain treatments I have. Anyone got a magic trick to share for getting grease stains out of cotton?
Well, to be more accurate, they rode. I am recovering from a miserable virus that’s left my lungs achy and my throat raw, and my kids and husband are ill too. So, I only met the group at Bike Bottleneck to hand out the Cyclofemme tattoos and snap this photo. Karen is 8 months pregnant, and a total badass. Erin is riding a sweet Extracycle conversion with front and rear seats for her gorgeous children. Mary, Adele and her mom, and Coreen (who rode up on her CCM loop-frame just after this was snapped) rounded out the group. It’s hard to get people out to ride on a busy day like Mothers’ Day
The group went on the the Alberta legislature grounds, where Karen snapped this shot.
We have a few events to share! Mark your calendars:
Yesterday I was lucky to be able to try the new Bobbin Shopper, thanks to my favorite LBS RedBike. I rode it around for about 20 minutes in the neighborhood around the U of A, and stopped on the path on Saskatchewan Drive for some quick iPhonography. You should also check out the more detailed review by Lovely Bicycle! – but I thought I’d share my observations.
It’s fun to ride! A comparison with a Raleigh Twenty is inescapable, because its’ design is so similar. Like an R20, it feels like riding a full-size 3-speed, but the smaller wheels make the steering a bit more responsive and the whole bike more maneuverable. Unlike an R20, it has a front caliper brake and a 3-speed coaster brake. The small wheels do mean you can feel every bump – not so good on a pothole-ridden stretch of construction-abused 110th Street, but perfectly fine for most sidewalks.
It is adorable, too. I had three different people I passed during my ride give me big smiles and say “nice bike!” – including an elderly woman who had looked apprehensive when she saw me coming up the sidewalk, before I hopped off the bike, pulled onto the grass, and gave her a friendly smile. Mary Poppins Effect in full effect!
I’m strongly considering this bike as a fun-but-practical summertime ride that could become my winter bike with the addition of studded tires (Update: I’d have to DIY these with EBC’s help, because I just looked it up and the Schwalbe Marathon Winter studded tires are 20 x 1.6 not 20 x 1.75, darnit!). In my neighborhood, the MUPs and sidewalks are (mostly) cleared, but only the major roads get plowed, so a bike designed for sidewalks is preferable for winter use. Yes, I could pick up a Raleigh Twenty for cheaper, but by the time I upgraded the wheels and brakes to improve the braking and make it winter-worthy, I’m not sure I’d be saving any money. Yes, a Twenty’s frame might be a higher-quality build, but it’s also a bit heavier. I’m also not sure I’d feel comfortable desecrating a pristine R20 with modern upgrades so that I could subject it to winter abuse.
(PS: What the heck has 20 x 1.6 tires? A Dahon folder? Who are Schwalbe making those studded tires for?)
(Update: Read the comments for tire info!)
(2014 Update: This year’s model has a very nice looking porteur rack in place of the front basket, so has upgraded cargo capacity, and teal or ivory paint. I am still strongly considering it, but haven’t pulled the trigger because I need to sell part of my stable of bikes first. I’m also tempted by the Tern Swoop and Dahon Vitesse folders, but haven’t yet found a local LBS where I can try them out.)
Bike Seats for Bigger Kids, part 3: the Bobike Junior+
Trudy, a 1972 Raleigh-built Phillips 3-speed, as found.
For the last two years, we have been using a Bobike Junior+ child seat on the back of Trudy (a ’72 Phillips 3-speed) to carry my son Dominic on longer rides. It has worked wonderfully for us, allowed us to take longer rides we otherwise wouldn’t have been able to do, and Dom (ages 5 to 7) has been thrilled with it, but we don’t have many photos of it in use – when I’m riding with a passenger, I feel less able to take a panda shot, and it never occurred to me to ask my husband to take some photos.
Until yesterday. We took a short family ride – our last one before we remove the seat. Dom is now able and independent enough to take longer rides under his own pedal power on his new-to-him bike, or as stoker on a trailer-bike. In fact, we hardly used the seat last summer. He is also is tall and heavy enough that when he is in the seat, it rests on top of our fender and moves the fender to one side, which it never used to do. (Also, he’s heavy enough that I’m starting to struggle to get him and a heavy old steel bike uphill. Oy vey.)
Looking over all these photos, I can see now that the seat stays have moved a bit over time, and the seat post attachment point has gradually crept up the seat tube by a couple of inches (which may only be possible because old 3-speeds use different diameter seat tubes than modern bikes). So, that is my only point of caution with this seat – to make sure it’s in the correct position and the screws are tightened up frequently, as part of your regular maintenance routine, especially if you’re installing it on a vintage bicycle. Maybe comparing with a photo taken right after installation would help you catch it instantly if the seat shifts position like it did on my bike. [Update: I just uninstalled the seat from the bicycle, and the hex-screws holding the seat stay attachment in place were indeed a bit loose, causing the whole seat and the seat stay attachments to change angle. If I had been more vigilant about checking the hex screws, I think the seat might never have moved.]
If we still needed the seat for Dom, I think we would have it re-installed on a lighter modern bicycle, to make it more secure and make it easier for me to get uphill. There’s a reason those Japanese mamachari come standard with pedal assist!
It would also be preferable to install this on a bike that has skirtguards/coat protectors. Bobike sells these as part of the Maxi’s assembly, but not the Junior’s. This wouldn’t be a problem in the European market, but it’s more of a challenge here in North America. Dom has been conscientious, and I’ve always ridden slowly with him on board, but it’s too easy for a foot to slip off a footrest into the spokes. If we’d been able to find solid skirtguards to install on the 3-speed, we would have – but we couldn’t, and we felt that crocheted ones wouldn’t have provided enough of a barrier.
My only other quibble with the Bobike seat has been that I couldn’t figure out how to carry anything on a rack underneath it, if I had been able to install a rack (which the geometry of my vintage bike plus the child seat forbade). That limited me to what could be carried in the front basket, a crossbody satchel, and a little lunch bag attached to the clamp – which meant, only little errands and no grocery runs for this bike. Hum has that issue all sussed out: Basil panniers on the rack of a newer bicycle are the answer! She discusses the options for both a regular bike and a mid-to-long-tail.
So. I hope this review of my experience with the Junior+ child seat helps those of you who are weighing your options, and I hope it helps Miss Sarah figure out which bike it will go on for rides with her little guy. It’s a great seat that fills an important niche in family biking – the ability to carry an older kid on the back of a bike is a huge thing for expanding how often you can use your bike. But it’s not optimal for installation on a vintage bicycle. A modern bicycle that’s not so heavy, isn’t undergeared, and has an integral rack (for panniers) and skirtguards – like, you know, a standard-issue city bike from Europe – would be the ideal ride to install this on.
Our ‘best-of’ list: most viewed and most commented posts of the last 4 years
Before we shut down the old website, I thought I’d take a look at the stats and list our most popular and most commented-on posts.
We averaged between 2500 and 5000 pageviews per month, depending on what we’d written about, and had a total of over 108K views between Oct 2009 and March 2013 , with the majority of views from the major English-speaking countries (no surprise) plus Germany, Russia, France, and the Netherlands. That blows my mind, considering we always thought we’d be lucky to get our friends and families to read this stuff. Thanks, you guys.
Our most popular posts on the old blog, with links to their new homes on this domain:
Laura’s Eaton’s Road King (Much of the interest came from the Czech Republic where it was built! It’s a super-sweet late-1950s design. Update: Laura has since found a new home for it, because it was just a smidgen too tall for her. New owner, if you stumble on this, please leave a comment!)
The Twins: 1983 Norco Folders (This one also generated a lot of discussion – we are really passionate about vintage small-wheeled bikes in our corner of the interwebs! Update: It turns out these little guys have a few mechanical issues, and are comfortable to ride for Angel but not for me. So, they’re still in the project pile. And I’m contemplating getting a Raleigh Twenty or one of its’ modern shopper clones, whose geometry works better for me.)
Antique Cycle Chic, part 1 and part 2. (Update: I do have quite a few more old RPPCs in my collection, and promise I’ll share them soon!)
Bike Seats for Bigger Kids: part 2 talked about the Asian metal basket child seat we bought online through Bicycle Hero. In the end we installed it on a sturdy rack on the back of Angel’s bike Daisy as part of an upgrade to mamachari-ness that also included a couple of souvenirs I brought back from my trip to Japan, and I got a Bobike Junior installed on one of my 3-speeds to carry my youngest. He’s now graduated to pedalling independently, so I’m passing it on to Miss Sarah to use for Little D, but I realize I’ve never written specifically about it… stay tuned!)
Jen’s descriptions of Seattle’s Kidical Mass and the Neighborhood Greenways campaign in Ballard also garnered lots of views, but not quite enough to hit the top 10 – only because they haven’t been up as long, I think.