Friday, April 17, 2015

7 Things About Biking in the Rain

I live in a city that gets A LOT of rain. I often jokingly hashtag my photos #Raincouver & the statistics bear this out: 164 days with rain per year. I also bike rain or shine, & have been doing so for over 15 years, so I consider myself somewhat of an expert of the topic of biking in the rain. I had some thoughts recently while riding in the rain that I thought I'd share with you:
  1. Getting soaked, then changing into warm dry clothes, maybe having a hot shower to warm up, reminds us of the modern conveniences/luxuries we take for granted. I don't think it's good to be too comfortable all the time & getting wet when you're on the way home from somewhere isn't really that bad in the grand scheme of things. I'll admit that getting drenched on the way TO somewhere really does suck though.
  2. It rains a lot here, as I mentioned above, but it doesn't necessarily rain all day. Often the times you actually need to be out & about, it's not coming down. & you feel like you won a prize or got away with something because you dodged the showers.
  3. Rain does increase the chance of rusting & means you should probably do a bit more upkeep on your bike, but I'm terrible at this...
  4. My kids don't mind getting wet. I assume it's because that's what they're used to & I don't make a big fuss about it. I dress them appropriately (muddy buddies, gumboots, maybe sunglasses if it's really driving rain) & they're fine.
  5. Even when it's raining quite a bit, if you have a longish coat & wear gumboots, you won't get that wet on shorter rides. My knees get a bit of a sprinkle, but not enough to justify changing my pants.
  6. Just like when you're driving a car, it's worth being a little more careful in the rain. The roads are especially slippery immediately after it's started raining & there's a thin layer of water & oil on the roads.
  7. Not going out because you don't want to bike in the rain is also cool. Staying in a cozy warm house on a rainy day & hanging out over a lego set, or a movie on the laptop is nice once in a while.
What about you? Do you ride in the rain or are you more likely to drive or bus when it's precipitating? Got any good stories about getting soaked on your bike?

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Thursday, April 16, 2015

#30DaysOfBiking Week 2

For our next week of #30DaysOfBiking, we again didn't ride that many kilometres, despite participating in a big group ride.

April 9 I biked the kids to the park (under 2km) just to get on the bike that day. The next day's riding was just preschool dropoff & pickup (4km). Saturday the 11th was Bike the Blossoms, where I think we rode about 15km underneath the pink trees of East Van. I wrote a recap of the Bike the Blossoms ride here, if you want to read more.

Sunday I decided Linnaeus & I would check out an aquarium store in Kitsilano that I'd heard about & run some other errands (13km). Monday was a bit rainy, but not too bad during our quick rides to & from preschool (4km).

Tuesday the 14th, the weather was glorious. I loaned our trailabike to a friend & her niece & we all rode down to the seawall on False Creek & visited Charleson Park (7km). Since we have so much gear for biking with little kids, I love loaning it out & giving other people a taste of how much fun it can be to ride.

Wednesday we skipped our usual quick preschool rides because Linnaeus stayed home sick. He wasn't that sick though, so we rode to the park in the afternoon (3km). Now we're at the halfway point of the month & I've added under 50km to my total this month. The point isn't how far, however, it's just that I ride daily, which I've done. About half the time it's just a given that we'll bike somewhere, like preschool or running errands, but there have been a few days that I've had to come up with a reason or ride somewhere that I might ordinarily walk.

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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Wordless Wednesday

Did a big water change on the weekend: now we are ready for fish! 

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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Vancity Member Perk: Visit Science World FREE

Did you know that Earth Day is happening in just a few days? This year, two of my favourite things are coming together to celebrate--Vancity & Science World. In honour of Earth Day (4/22), on Saturday, May 2nd, the first 422 Vancity members will receive free admission to Science World. Additional members & their guests will receive 50% off admission (that's a savings of $11.25 on adult admission!).

Vancity is making Science World even more awesome that it already is--they will be onsite throughout the day with fun games & prizes, of course. Just show your Vancity member debit card or Vancity enviro Visa (or some other form of membership verification) at Science World's Guest Services desk to get in.

Go green to Vancity's Earth Day celebration at Science World: take transit or ride your bike! If you arrive on two wheels, the Bicycle Valet will be on hand to park your bike & provide basic tuneups too. Both for free!

For more information, visit

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Sunday, April 12, 2015

Bike the Blossoms Ride Recap

The last few riders Biking the Blossoms
Saturday turned out bright & sunny, not a raindrop to be seen. We got ourselves ready & our friends came over to borrow my old bike again & hook up their new double child trailer to it. I rode with both kids on the Yuba Mundo & Oli was on his mountain bike commuter. We weren't running too late, but arrived at Trout Lake a few minutes after 11am to find the group already riding out. We turned our bikes around & joined the 150+ people biking westward.

The route was intentionally circuitous, following as many pink-canopied streets as possible through East Van. It was an enjoyable pace, easy enough for the handful of kids on the ride to keep up.
However, the route went up & down hills quite often, which was a struggle for some of the parents pulling trailers. Since we were such a large group, we needed to brake down all the hills.

Eventually, the riders got spread out & separated into a few smaller groups when we were stopped at lights. Finding our way was still easy, as there were arrows marked in chalk on the roads at all the turns & several volunteer riders waiting at intersections to direct us. Earlier in the ride, because there were so many of us, drivers just had to stop & wait a few minutes until we passed. But as the riders spread out, the drivers were just forcing their way through impatiently, rather than letting us pass together. I didn't see any major conflict between riders & drivers, but it meant I had to focus on riding defensively as I usually would on my own, instead of enjoying the ride & chatting with friends, like I'd been able to do earlier.

Climbing on our "portable jungle gym", aka, Yuba Mundo
We rode for about an hour & a half total, ending up at the Winter Farmers Market in Riley Park. Most of the riders stopped for snacks or shopping at the market & the kids had a chance to run around a bit & burn off some energy saved up from being on bikes & in trailers for so long.

It was great to get out & bike around with so many other people--we saw five other families we knew & a few people who we'd met once on other rides. Ending the ride at the farmers market was definitely a great decision--lots of space to picnic & lots of food trucks & vendors to buy food from. I look forward to doing this ride again next year!

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Friday, April 10, 2015

Linnaeus 4.8

One of the "rocket ship swings" in our neighbourhood
Thought I'd post a list of Linnaeus' favourite things these days for his four-&-two-thirds years old update. His favourite... cheese
...drink: milk--he drinks about a litre a day, I think any of them--he loves looking at the non-fiction books on dinosaurs, pirate ships, vehicles, etc.
...toy: his new Ikea egg chair
...park: Mount Pleasant Park (or any park with a "rocket ship swing") Twinkle Twinkle--he knows all three verses pretty well "Super Machines", which is Mighty Machines  in French
...chore: he likes washing dishes occasionally pretending he's a vehicle or an animal
...activity: riding trikes at preschool, the community centre & the family centre drop-in

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