Category Archives: bikety bikety

All things bicycle related.

Our bike setup


We got a hand-me-down iBert bike seat (thaaaaaank you A+S+J).

Most people biking with a kid have the seat that attached to the back of the bike. There’s also the trailer that sits on it’s own wheels, down on the ground behind the bike. Our front-attached bike seat is much rarer. It’s a newer design, and there are grumblings that it’s not as safe — though I disagree.

I’m not an expert. I’m not sure who would be the most qualified to speak to the safety of each bike seat, but I can give you my opinions. I’ve been in bike crashes before, and if my bike slides out from under me I’m going to have my hands on my handlebars and be able to have a small amount of control of the front of the bike, and help guide it down. If it’s a head-over-handlebars, I don’t know if either seat is going to be better or worse. That’s where wearing a helmet, long pants, and shoes is important.

In summary, the iBert is the best commuting or street-biking seat style.

The other option I’d consider is the bike trailer:


The safety issue for me is having a trailer down where cars can’t see it. An upside to this kind of trailer is that there’s lots of room (you can put two kids in there), there’s protection against the elements,  and if you were to lose your balance they’d be low to the ground already.

The trailer is a great option if you’re on bike trails, or otherwise not in traffic.

The most popular bike seat I’ve seen is the rear-attached seat:
Bike baby seat test run

I’m not a fan of this seat. It puts the kid level with your ass, so their main view is blocked. It’s also hard to hear them, and you can’t see them without turning around and looking down (which is hard to do and dangerous while biking). They do have a higher back, providing more support for wobbly heads. The downside is some models don’t account for the child wearing a helmet, which means the child’s head is pushed forward and they can’t rest comfortably.

You can get the iBert on Amazon for something like $90, which is the same price as the mid-range rear-attached seat, so I can heartily suggest the iBert.

Here’s a video of Jason and 80 in the seat:

Anything to not get effing hit by a car

Maybe that should be a new category. I keep my eye out for bike-related safety stuff. Ever since I crashed, I’ve been WAY more focused on the safety side of things.

Via Marylaine (of course), I found a forum site called TransportTrends. Within it, I found a post about Safe Turn bicycle indicators. They’re little blinky LEDs you strap to your wrists, which don’t blink until you lift your arm to signal your turn.

I like this idea. Kind of like the SpokePOV Jason’s going to make for me, it’s a flashy way to be visible. I don’t want Safe Turn lights specifically. I think I’d prefer to have $1 LEDs on elastic that blink the whole time – it’s way more raver.

Be still my biking heart

This is a visual riff off of an ongoing Gmail conversation (I just love that you can do that), from El Chipps:

bike light

This image is the opposite of what it’s like to bike in New Bedford / Fairhaven.

Broken wing

I need to build a lightbox to display the sweet x-ray film I have of my clavicle.

broken wing

This is the second x-ray taken of me. The first, at the emergency room, showed the bone broken but basically in shape. At some point (I shrugged a little) it disaligned. This is what it looks like now, but smoothed over with new bone growth. The jagged parts are filled in with my internally-created spackle. You can only kind of see the bump, although it’s easily felt.

Next time you see me, ask to touch it. It’s neat.

I got my bike out yesterday, and fixed it. I need to buy a new helmet, and I’ll start biking to work again. I’m sure I’ll bike slower, at least for a while.

Clavicular update

I’m working with one hand here, so you’ll have to deal with my update being text copied from an email to my Aunt Who Wanted Details:

All pain associated with the accident decreased over time. The most pain was directly after the fall. I was riding next to the line of traffic, as opposed to in the line of traffic, so I remained out of mortal peril. I hobbled to the side of the street, and by that time the pain had reached its peak. I knew my head was split open, and I didn’t yet know that my clavicle was broken. By the time I called Jason to come pick me up, the adrenaline had worked its magic. At the hospital, they offered me a painkiller, and advised that although i wasn’t feeling too bad, the adrenaline would be wearing off. Even with the percocet, i could feel things moving around in my shoulder. They had put a neck brace on me, which was mostly uncomfortable and made me worry I had neck damage.

The x-ray showed my clavicle resembling a twig snapped cleanly in two, and no spine damage.

They stitched up my head (3 stitches?), put me in a sling, and sent me home with more percocet. I have an appointment with a specialist in 2 weeks to check on the bone healing.

I haven’t taken anything stronger than a Tylenol after the first day. The muscles in my left arm and shoulder get fatigued, and if I move wrong (and ‘wrong’ changes daily) it’ll hurt a little, but mostly grind disturbingly.

I felt the padding crunch in my helmet too.

I still don’t know why I crashed. I remember my front wheel/handlebars moving back and forth (like a side-to-side wobble), and thinking “that’s weird” right as I lost my balance. I didn’t feel any nudge from a car or rock under my tire. Other than my brakes being dis-aligned from hitting the ground, my bike is in perfect working order. I have to chalk it up to a mystery and leave it at that.

Jason’s been my left hand, and doesn’t seem to mind. The car is stick shift, so he’ll be my chauffeur for a while. 4-6 weeks is the average healing time.

I don’t plan on being average. We Greens heal fast.

Now for a well-propped nap.

Knittin’ Bones

Today, I had my first bike crash, and came away from it with a broken collar bone, a pert little head wound, and some kick-ass road rash. If you’d like to see more pictures from today’s emergency room adventure, click here.

Weekend with Squirrel*

This weekend Dr. Kim came all the way from Seattle to visit. Part of me wanted to horde my time with her, keeping her up all night by plying her with Fresca, putting the cat on her so she sneezes and wakes up, the kind of effed-up stuff you can do when one of your BFFs is finally near you. The other part of me wanted to be mopey because having Kim here reminds me that I miss my friends.


Instead we just drank a lot of Oyster Bay sauvignon blanc (it’s good and from New Zealand, like Kim’s sig.oth.) and talked about the world. And then figured out how to make Milky Way martinis.

On Sunday we drove to Woods Hole with bikes, got on the ferry to Martha’s Vineyard, and biked around the island for the afternoon. You know how food and beer tastes better when you’ve been working hard? Add sea air and islandness, and you can imagine how good our slices of pizza were. I won’t even bother describing the ice cream.

05-13-07_1904.jpg 05-13-07_1905.jpg
Click for larger

Kim is gone now, and I’m hoping that this email full of fun events and … foofy martinis is enough to convince SOMEONE to move here. C’mon. It’ll be fun. Bikety bikety, drinkety drinkety, kittety kittety.

Doesn’t this look like a girl who’s having a nice time on a ferry?

*I should clarify that “Squirrel” is the college nickname of Dr. Kim, not to be confused with Librarian Kim, who has the power to summon squirrels.

Hey. I got a new job. I mean, another new job. I’m a mechanic. I’m not kidding.

I decided a few weeks ago that getting a part-time job at a bike shop for the summer would be a good idea. After reviewing this, I decided that it actually was a good idea. I’d meet other human beings, I’d learn how to fix bikes, and I’d give Jstar more time to work without being interrupted. All fantastic things.

Maybe two weeks ago, on the way home from Lee’s Market (it’s like Whole Foods, only indie and local, therefore even better) I decided to stop at the nearby bike shop. I walked in, explained that I was a full-time librarian who wanted to work part time – and BAM. I had a new job.

I was a wee bit nervous about working there, because I’m not a roadie or a racer, but the owner is impassioned to provide accessibility to biking for everyone, so I convinced myself that I’m a legitimate commuter, and that’s my angle. I don’t own spandex, or shave my legs, but I do know the perfect kind of skirt material and cut to bike to work in.

Anyway, it was awesome. The crew at the shop are really nice and not at all roadie-snobby. We listened to reggae (SB would have thrown up) and the second disc of an Ani Difranco live album, if that’s an indication of the variance and awesomeness.

So I thought I’d probably end up a sales girl, despite my indication towards maintenance, but I spent the whole day tuning bikes. My bikety sensei was a good explainer, and by the end of the day, I had fused together a lot of previous bits of knowledge. I think I was at the cusp of a basic understanding of bike mechanics, and today really gelled it. For instance, I know about truing wheels from hanging out at Bruce’s in C-U, but I had never trued my own wheels. I knew what a ‘cone’ was from my new friend Matt, but I didn’t really know how to use a cone wrench, and I have definitely never taken apart a wheel to the point that I could see vulnerable, naked bearings looking up at me thirstily as I bestowed grease upon them. I really hope I remember all of this tomorrow.

So I’m jazzed about what I learned today, and about my coworkers, and about this little side job. Now my goal is to get all good at being a librarian and shit, same with the bikety bikety, and then move to Iowa City or wherever and be a part-time librarian (and god knows, there are LOTS of part-time positions) and also run a bike shop. With Wadsbone. And Allison. And Alena and Anton. And the McQuerdas. And we live on a commune. And all my other friends come to visit during the summer and we all go on bike rides. *Falls over in happiness*

In the meantime, I’m feeling (positive) pressure to ride more, so I Bikely’d myself a little route to the shop. Enjoy.

It’s My Butt!

Critical Mass

Another month, another Critical Mass. Here are some more pictures I drummed up.

It felt akin to the drum circle I participated in once (no judgement) – a bunch of random people spontaneously doing the same thing, and I don’t know how to express it other than the feeling of that spontaneity and kinship – and in this case movement – gave me a big rush. I was grinning.

Critical Mass performance art

Best Critical Mass ever

Well, of the two Critical Masses I’ve been to, this was one rocked my socks.

Don’t you think I need a cape?

The semester has just begun, and went to my first Champaign-Urbana CM. We started off on campus, rode into Champaign, then into Urbana, and ended up at the Sweet Corn Festival.

My bike weighs like 75 lbs, which makes for a slow start, but it’s kind of like driving a station wagon – once you get going, you can coast for quite a while. I ended up in front (with Lena, in the white sk8er helmet) at the end, and we spied an empty parking lot, so we ended up in this gigantic space, and as we coasted in, we began circling around, and although I want to use the term “whirling dervish”, I won’t. We rode around in a circle, and then two opposite-direction circles and everyone was grinning and it was awesome.

I have to thank Laurie for taking picture – ones that may become famous sometime soon, I hear. You can see the rest of the Critical Mass in all of its glory (and circliness) at Laurie’s Flickr site.

The Chicago Critical Mass in July was amazing for the sheer number of people. This month’s Critical Mass was amazing for the coziness and spontaneous public display of synchronized biking. I wonder what next month will be like. I kind of think I need a cape.