Friday, May 28, 2010

Bike To Work Week

Oaklawn participated in this year's Michiana Bike to Work Week. Three of five participants have logged their miles so far for a total of 135 miles. It's been exciting to see folks take the challenge and make the commitment to ride instead of drive. This was the first week in a long time when I had the opportunity and good weather to ride in all five days. I'm so grateful to live close enough to my job that bike commuting is both reasonably easy and practical.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Bicycle Manufacturing 1925

Some interesting footage of bike manufacturing from the Netherlands in 1925. Saw this originally on and thought, once again, "Gee, this could be Elkhart County circa 2010" given the right people, resources, and circumstance.

Gazelle 1925 from Gazelle Bicycles Australia on Vimeo.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Making Garden

We spent part of the morning over at our Garden group's greenhouse learning about planting seeds in soil blocks. Carol and I biked over and the kids rode on the back of the X with B wrapping his arms around Alta to grip the stoker bar (We did order the PeaPod LT and look forward to Alta riding more securely!). The morning was very cool, but incredibly sunny - a perfect Spring day. After seeding, we did some birdwatching across the Mill Race. I lucked out and spotted a Baltimore Oriole nest hanging from a low tree branch over the Race. I noticed the brihgt orange flash of a female flitting about in the tree and followed her to the nest with my binoculars. Carol spotted some warblers for her list. Later on while chatting with friends, we were amused by the long-winded "caterwauling" of a catbird. A lovely morning!

You can ride a bike

I rewrote the lyrics to "Drive My Car" by the Beatles to work out some feelings of frustration over the BP Oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. At the time we were contemplating getting the Peapod LT, a good quality child bike seat for the back of our X. Originally posted this in the Yahoo group Roots Radicals for all things Xtracycle, Xtracycle picked it up and posted it on their blog. It's only fitting to post it to my own blog!


Asked my girl what she wanted to be.
She said Daddy, can't you see?
I wanna be healthy,
Have planet that's clean,
But you can do something in between...

Daddy you can ride a bike.
Pedal power's what I like.
Daddy you can ride a bike,
and we can be car free.
Ding ding a ling ling, yeah!

Told my girl that my prospects were good.
She said Daddy, it's understood.
A clean environment is more than just fine,
It gives me a chance to live a long time.

Daddy you can ride a bike.
Pedal power's what I like.
Daddy you can ride a bike,
and we can be car free.
Ding ding a ling ling, yeah!

I told my girl I can start right away
When she said listen Dad I got something to say
Just one less car is a fantastic start,
and lets get our friends to take on their part.

Friends you can ride a bike.
Bad balance? You can get a trike.
Friends you can ride a bike,
and we can be Oil free.
Ding ding a ling ling, yeah!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Bike Elkhart

So, where is Elkhart and why do I care? I live in Elkhart County, IN. If you've not yet heard, we were once "the RV capital of the world." RV manufacturers in Elkhart were major employers in this region. As you might imagine, this luxury vehicle industry went belly-up (mostly) with the economic downturn. So, now there are many skilled machinists and plenty of manufacturing experts with little hope of finding work in this region. Gee, doesn't this sound like one heck of a retro-fit: Let's move from producing luxury-oriented, gas-guzzling RVs to economy minded, health minded, green-friendly bicycle production. Could happen!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Peapod order

We've taken the plunge and ordered the Peapod LT. While Alta can hold onto the stoker bar, we simply don't trust her ability to manage staying on the back of the X by herself. As a person with Down Syndrome, she has low muscle tone. Being herself, she's pretty amazing for someone with DS. However, we'd rather play it safe when it comes to being on the back of the bike. She's a small person, weighing just over 30 lbs, standing just about 39 inches, and being all of 6 years old. She should fit for quite a while. The Peapod will make commuting with her much easier. We've used a trailer for a few years and have liked it, but are ready to add more "freedom" more frequently (2 wheels = much more ease of transportation than 4 in a 2 + 2 configuration).

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Doing more

The oil spilling disaster in the Gulf has once again galvanized me to try and do more to bike more and drive less. We're now considering getting a Peapod LT accessory for our Xtracycle that will make carrying Alta around town much easier than hauling the trailer. The trailer may be transformed into something much more utilitarian.

Here's what boot_spurs set-up looks like on Flickr: