Saturday, July 16, 2022

Hiking through Disability with Modo

two children & a woman stand on large rocks in front of a Modo carshare vehicle in a parking lot surrounded by tall trees in Lighthouse Park

Today we decided on a whim to grab a Modo & go to Whytecliff Park, to see what we could see at the still fairly low low tide. The weather forecast looked great--cool, overcast, 10% chance of rain. Maybe the park wouldn't be too too busy, since it didn't really seem like beach weather? When I left the house to go pick up the Modo that is just a few blocks from home, it had started raining. Guess we got lucky & were that 10% today? (sad trombone noises)

a girl touches a slice of a large yellow cedar tree & looks up at a sign with information about the 1400 year old treeThe short walk to get the car was still quite pleasant, as the rain was really light & I realized, hey! Here's another new thing post-hip surgery. It'd been ages since I'd just gone for a walk in the rain with an umbrella. When I used a cane before my surgery, It always felt way too awkward to also carry an umbrella, so on the extremely rare occasion I walked anywhere & it was raining, I'd just use a raincoat with a hood.

Once I drove the car back to the house, we decided to shift plans to a hike in Lighthouse Park, so if it continued raining, we'd at least be under the trees for a lot of it. When we arrived at the park, we were trying to figure out when we last visited. I realized as we were setting off on the hike that the last time was almost exactly three years ago. 

a man & two children walk down stairs on a trail toward a rocky shoreline in Lighthouse ParkHow did I know it was almost exactly three years ago that we were in Lighthouse Park? Well, that experience was what convinced me to apply for a SPARC disabled parking pass. Three years ago, we walked down the main trail--if you haven't been there, Beacon Lane is really more of a road, though it's closed to cars--then scrambled down to the East Beach. I remember that I was already nearly DONE by that point from the pain of my hip osteoarthritis. From about 800m of walking down a hill. But we still had to get back up to the car. I was so tired & in a lot of pain by the time we got back up to the car in the parking lot. 

When we got through West Van near Park Royal, bridge traffic was moving pretty slow, as usual, so we decided to stop at White Spot & wait it out while we had dinner. We ended up driving around & around in the mall lot, getting slightly lost because some of the exits were closed due to construction. We couldn't find any parking near the restaurant. It was incredibly frustrating: I think it took us 15 minutes to find somewhere to park the car & then we had to walk a a few hundred metres to get to the restaurant. After having sat in the car for a bit post hike, my hips were pretty stiff & painful, so this relatively short distance was really awful. 
the view of the gun emplacement looking west from above East Beach in Lighthouse Parka man, a woman & two children stand inside the graffiti covered old gun emplacement in Lighthouse Park looking out over the ocean
When I got home, I looked up the SPARC website & looked at the requirements for applying for a pass. I printed off the form, made an appointment with my doctor so she could sign it, then sent it off with the fee & my pass arrived in the mail soon after. SPARC passes are not tied to the license plate of the car, only to the person who has the pass, so we used them with Modo cars when we were parking anywhere with a big lot. It made my life a lot easier to have a wider space to park in too, so I could swing my door fully open & lever myself out of the car & get my cane or Nordic poles out. In the early days after my hip replacement surgery, I needed that space to get on my crutches too. 

About a month ago, I got a letter in the mail, letting me know it was time to renew my SPARC pass, as it would expire at the end of July this year. That was about two months after my hip replacement surgery, when I was getting to the point where I was starting to feel downright able-bodied. It's funny, because four months ago, I was making a mental note to reapply for my SPARC pass later this summer. Then, poof! I got the call for a hip replacement surgery date on a cancellation in three days, & my life changed.
a girl walks along a wooded trail, using Nordic poles
Not that surgery was an instantaneous fix for my hip issues--recovery felt slow at times & I've definitely done a lot of work to get here since my hip replacement. It's been about 15 weeks now since my surgery & I'm still adjusting to what my body can do on a weekly basis. Today when we packed up all our things to go on this short hike, I brought my Nordic poles to help me with stability on the rockier & steeper bits of the trails. However, once I got down to the water with them, I realized that they were more hassle than help, so I let Bronte use them on the way back up. 

It is so incredibly satisfying to really feel the progress like this. For weeks after surgery, I was walking up stairs with only my left leg, pulling my right leg up behind me each step. Then I started walking up alternating legs, but it was still painful to take those steps with my right maybe a month ago.

But today I did a 2km hike with about 100m of elevation gain with no pain at all. It felt so good to be able to just enjoy the forest; I was grinning all the way up the hill back to the Modo car. It's really funny how these two Lighthouse Park visits bookended my SPARC pass so perfectly. 

I cannot wait to do more hiking this summer!

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Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Family Biking @ WTQ Night - Our Community Bikes

I'm doing an informal talk about family biking for WTQ Night at Our Community Bikes on Wednesday, July 6 at 7:30-8:00pm. I put together a few images & resources I wanted to share in case people were curious about what family biking setups can look like. There are many other options out there, but here's a selection of the common ones you'll find here in Vancouver, as well as a few great low-cost options.

My Family Biking Evolution

2011: Started family biking with my then
10-year-old hybrid bike & a MEC trailer 
when my first child was nine months old

2012: iBert front seat with first kid at 20 months

2013: used Trailabike with oldest kid at age 3.5

2014: new Yuba Mundo longtail cargo bike with two child seats,
kids are 3.5years & 9 months

2016: used Bakfiets Long, kids are 3 & 6 here

2019: got a Tern GSD S10 e-cargobike when kids were 6 & 9.
It still carries them daily at almost 9 & 12 years old.

2022: got a used Bike Friday Family Traveller Tandem so either
kid (almost 9 & 12) can ride on the back 

Other Kid Hauling Ideas


Front & rear child seat are usually easy to find used,
can do DIY rear rack options for age 4+ like above
saddle strapped to rack, stem & small bars on seat post,
with BMX pegs for kid feet

Tow cables (red TowWhee on right) or
DIY option with 2 used tubes looped together (left)

"Bag & Drag" to tow a kid's bike when they get tired.
The child can fit on the rear rack seat too, mine tend to sit sidesaddle.
Note: They can NOT ride on their own bike in a bag & drag.


Vancouver Family Biking Facebook Group crowdsource info, buy & sell gear, meet other families

Let's Go Biking recreational ride ideas & maps

This Mom Bikes Calgary-based all about family biking

Two Wheeling Tots US-based reviews of family biking gear 

HUB Cycling Resources Page All about cycling in Metro Vancouver

HUB Cycling with Children Webinar recording of July 2021 webinar on Youtube

Project 529 Register your bike to recover it if stolen

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Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Where to Buy a Cargo Bike in Vancouver

Cargo bike party outside Velo Star Cafe!
If you're looking to buy a cargo bike in Vancouver, the options are getting better & better. More shops are starting to stock cargobikes & it's getting easier to test ride them, though you may end up going to a few different  shops to test ride a range. Quite a few brands of cargo bike, like our Bakfiets, aren't even sold here in brick & mortar stores--your only option is buying online.

A note about buying a bike online without a local dealer: you may save some money this way, or be able to get a specific bike that you want, but if you ever have warranty issues, it can be a major pain to get them addressed without a local shop that's invested in helping you out. Depending on the bike--& more so with lower end electric assist bikes--you may also have difficulty finding a shop who will work on the bike or can get parts in for you. I highly recommend buying a bike from a shop located near home so that you can easily bring it in for service.

Until we get a great family & cargo biking shop (like Seattle's G&O Cyclery) here in Vancouver, you'll have to pound the pavement a bit. 

In the interests of making that easier for you, I've updated my list of bike shops that sell cargo bikes here in Vancouver. There are increasing numbers of cargo bike retailers now, which is fantastic--so many more companies are offering different styles & price points as well. Here's what I have found & what brands they sell, alphabetically.

Cit-E-Cycles 3466 West Broadway Vancouver 604-734-2717
Riese & Mueller Load & Packster; Tern GSD & HSD; Cube Cargo; Moustache Lundi.
Cit-E has multiple locations in the Lower Mainland, so call if you're looking for a specific model--they may have it in stock at another shop.

Dream Cycle 1010 Commercial Drive Vancouver 604-253-3737
Soma Tradesman (cycle truck, not really a kid hauler); Surly Big Dummy (wait list til 2023)
Dream focuses on building custom bikes from the frame up. They have a Soma Tradesman in the shop as of May 4 2022 to test ride, but call ahead if you want a test ride in case it's sold.

JV Bike 929 Expo Boulevard 604-694-2453
Tern GSD
JV is an all-round shop that sells a variety of bikes & ebikes, with just the Tern GSD cargobike. They generally have a Tern GSD available for a test ride, but best to call ahead to check.

Mac Talla Cycles 2626 East Hastings Vancouver 604-707-0822
Bullitt; Kona Ute
Mac Talla tries to have floor models available for test rides, but with supply chain issues they can't always keep them in stock. Call ahead to ask!

Rad Power Bikes 3296 E 29th Avenue Vancouver 1-800-939-0310
Note that you can test ride bikes at this location, but they are currently not offering ebike purchases from the Vancouver retail store. All ebike purchases must be made online.

Reckless Bike Stores 110 Davie Street Vancouver 604-648-2600
Babboe City; Benno eBoost; Tern GSD; Urban Arrow
Reckless has two locations, they generally have one of each available for test rides but it's best to call ahead so they can schedule some time for your questions.

Sidesaddle Bikes 3469 Commercial Street 604-428-2453
Yuba Boda Boda; Bike Friday Haul-A-Day & Ever-E-Day; Bombtrack Munro Cargo (cycle truck, not really a kid hauler)
Andrea opened Sidesaddle specifically as a women-friendly shop & I posted about the shop not long after they opened. You can drop in to look at the bikes, but if you're looking at test riding & buying a cargo bike, it's best to call ahead so they can set aside time to answer all your questions. 

Velo Lifestyle 1350 Nanaimo Street 604-216-0111
Muli; Creme; Veloe; Triobike; Black Iron Horse.
This shop is the latest addition to my list, only opened their Vancouver location about a year ago. They specialize in European brands, mainly front loaders & several models of trikes.

Velo Star Cafe 3195 Heather Street Vancouver 604-376-8223
Due to supply chain issues, it's been hard for Clint to get cargobikes in, but he occasionally has or knows of used ones on sale.
VeloStar is where we go for service on all our bikes--the mechanics here really know & love cargo bikes & we've always had gread service there.

That about wraps up my updates to the list. Please let me know if you know of other cargo bike selling shops in the city that I've missed!

Disclaimer: I was not compensated in any way to list these bike shops & have no affiliation with them, other than being friends with Clint & Kat from VeloStar. The above information is correct as of the writing of this post & opinions above are my own, as always.

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Sunday, March 27, 2022

Delivering Girl Guide Cookies (& Relive Review)

& a quick review...

Relive missed out on many cute pics
like this one of B on our way out

I saw a Relive video on a FB group recently & liked the data visualization & the way it integrates photos into the video, so I downloaded the app & tried it out for this ride. 

Unfortunately, although I took 20 photos in the app along our way, it only included the three I took with my camera outside the app. I couldn't find a way (with the free version, anyway) to edit the video I'd created, or anywhere along the process where I could have added more photos. 

When I tried to view the video in the app on my phone, it immediately crashed every time. I managed to see it by logging in on the website. But this was also a hassle, because the app had allowed me to create a video without setting up a password, but the website doesn't allow for setting up passwords, so I had to go back & forth from the app to the website. 

So, I'm not terribly impressed & unlikely to pay for an app that is this unstable. I may try again later if I can figure out why it's crashing, but maybe it's another of those apps that doesn't work well with Android. I wondered if I included too many pics, but the person whose Relive video I saw included far more than I did, plus video, if I remember correctly.

Have you used Relive? What was your experience like? Do you have another data visualization app like this that you use for documenting bike rides?

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