Saturday, December 31, 2011

Riding to South Beach just like Oscar

Quin only got his training wheels off in October and he was fantastic at riding within a few days.

He had a love/hate relationship with his old bike. He totally loves riding and every waking moment we have to go and 'ride on the road'. He is particularly good at bombing down our little hill then doing long snakies on the road...but alas, all this joy had been tainted with the knowledge that his bike said...'Princess' and had purple flowers on it. We think his neighbour told him it said 'Princess'. He was devastated when he found out.

So for Christmas we got him a new bike. It came second hand from FERN, then we had it serviced and cleaned and put a new seat and flame grips on it. Now he has a boy bike that says 'Explosive'. Much better.

He is still a little wobbly on the new bike because he is about 2cm to short for it, but did this stop it did not! Quin insisted on riding all the way to South Beach which according to google maps is 4.1km. We only had to push the bike about 20m up a huge hill.

Quin is only 5 so we stay 100% on the footpaths and it works well for Ads to ride the cargo bike on the road to check side streets ahead of us and I ride behind Quin on the foot path. After some practice, Quin is getting better at following our instructions, you know the important ones like 'Stop, car coming!' and I think he is learning his left and right. But mainly I think his enthusiasm is due to seeing his friends and his family ride. Quin's little friend Oscar is a year older and has been riding to the beach for a while. Quin was so proud to say he rode all the way, 'Just like Oscar'.

And the other fantastic thing about the cargo bike is that it fits a kid, a bike and a beach bag for the trip home...

Friday, December 30, 2011

Tweed Run 2011 and Freo Parade

The 2011 Fremantle Tweed Run was on recently, so we dressed up and went for a ride on the cargo bike. Here we are doing the dress rehearsal the day before...

We rode from Leighton Beach to Clancy's Fish Pub in Freo and listened to the cranking Big Old Bears, had some chips and ran around on the grass. 

It is my strong opinion that everyone should ride bikes and that the way to achieve this change is to ride bikes more often. In Freo we really don't need too many more cycle paths or bike racks or showers at the train station - don't get me wrong, I'd prefer this to more roads for cars, but more than just pictures of bikes on the side of the roads we need real live bikes on the roads! People on bikes makes drivers slow down and be aware way more than signs about it. And I know that seeing sustainable behaviour in friends has been crucial to me changing my behaviour. The tweed run is so fantastic for this, great job Dismantle! So get out and ride!


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Big Old Bears

Amy and I have a new favourite band, Big Old Bears. I saw them play after The Tweed Run a few weeks ago, before Quin dragged me away. I liked them and then checked them out on line and loved their stuff. They play beautiful melodic music with folk/country influences and instruments like the banjo and mandolin. Think mellow Mumford and Sons, with a daughter. They are very cool!

Check out this beautiful acoustic song, Never Haunting Storm. What a gem, if I had a record label I would sign them up straight away.

And I can't believe I almost got in to a kind of video of theirs, The Streets of Fremantle. Some friends of ours are in it, we were actually at this event, must have got there too late...

Unfortunately they only have one EP out at the moment, which I got at 78's in Perth. Maybe you can get it on line somehow? I think a new record is in the pipeline though, so fingers crossed.

The greatest bit for us is that they are a local Perth band, so I'm looking forward to going to some of their gigs. I think they will be big, so maybe they'll be coming to your shores sometime soon. Check them out before you have to share them with 30,000 others.

Thursday, December 22, 2011


We've been having a few problems with our old bomb (an '88 Toyota Camry) for a while now. It ran really well for about 18 months and then I ran out of fuel once. I now know it's really bad to run out of fuel in an old car. Ever since then she hasn't been the same. She's been conking out all over the place and it's been quite nerve racking. It's not that great a feeling driving to work praying you'll get there without breaking down. Then Simes told me that it needed a new distributor, so I thought great and I got one and it made no difference! So when Quin left the lights on a few weeks ago after having a play in there, of course it didn't start. When I finally got it going again I took it for a spin to charge the battery and it conked out a few k's down the road. So I think the battery is dead (couldn't start it again) and the conking out issue is still there. Amy and I have been talking about whether we can live without a second car, so we took this opportunity to say bugger it let's lose the old bomb and see how we go (as permies say, try to turn a problem into a solution). It's really hard to cut your reliance on the car. We've tried and we know how hard it is. Below is a chart of the k's we have done for the last few years. We really haven't reduced our car use that much, even since getting the cargo bike. I think the best way is to go cold turkey, we can always buy another car but I don't think we will.

It's never really sat well with me to be a two car family, since I didn't even own a car until my late 20's. We both work about 20 kms from home, so it's a bit of a challenge to ride to work and drop off and pick up Quin from school without 2 cars. It's been a year since we got our electric cargo bike and that's been a great help, so we think we'll muddle through with the help from friends and relies. We're also going to buy a new dutch cargo bike, the Workcycles Fr8. It will look something like this (with a rear seat for Quin, plus panniers).

                      Photo source: Workcycles

Since riding our Bakfiets I don't think I could ride a bike not made in Holland and the Fr8 is a beauty. It's a smaller bike than the Bakfiets, with a modular design which allows many combinations of cargo/kid carrying. It still has some serious cargo carrying capacity (up to 250kg total). I was quite keen on getting a non-electric bike this time, but Amy is adamant that it should be powered. She thinks that way we will use it more often and be less reliant on the car. I really want a Fr8 so I'll go along with it I guess. It makes it rather complicated, since the bike needs a few modifications, but I think it will work out in the end. The theory is that the Fr8 will be more of a commuting bike, with the option of carrying Quin plus the shopping. The Bakfiets will still be useful for trips when we need more cargo space (eg putting Quin's bike in when he gets puffed out). Our aim is to take our average k's by car down by at least 10 a day and by bike up the same amount. I bet we can do it.

Cargone is the past participle of cargo by the way (I pinched it from this cargo bike courier).

The wrecker came today, so bye bye Camry. The family footprint keeps on shrinking...