Homesick for the north, homesick for the south

Our first trailer ride

From Bellingham to Seattle to Portland: we have arrived, and so excited to see daddy again. I haven’t had much chance to update while gamboling around the Pacific Northwest mostly solo with two kids, but I’ve also been constrained by the constant barrage of fun. I grew up in Seattle and Bellingham and I was overwhelmed by homesickness. They are both really good places to ride bikes with kids.

So eight family bikers lock up together…

We stayed with my mom and rented a bike and trailer (the kids loved their first trailer ride). Then we stayed with the always awesome Family Ride and rode a Madsen, her pink Big Dummy, and a MinUte. We went to a Seattle Summer Streets and got to see Jen of Loop-Frame Love again. At the Seattle Cargo Bike Road Call my kids rode in a Cetma cargo bike and a Bakfiets and got chauffeured by Davey Oil around Gas Works Park in an amazing electric-assist trike. My son got to ride a handful of kids’ bikes and learned how to shift gears! Then we took an Amtrak ride south from Seattle to Portland. It is a good way to travel with kids, especially given that they seated us near the bathroom, which made it easy to clean up various spills.

Barbecue in Portland

Matt, although he is a committed Californian, loves Portland. He arrived before we did and went grocery shopping for us. Seeing the rib joint nearby, with its “Try our new vegetarian fare!” sign was almost enough by itself to convince him Portland should be our new home. We have seen many, many family bikes, mostly of the traditional variety with child seats and trailers, but I’ve always liked child seats on bikes. I’m coming around to trailers as well, at least in flat cities with limited car traffic.

My kids were the ones chanting “Amtrak! Amtrak! Amtrak! Amtrak!” in car #9 for most of the ride down from Seattle. I apologize.

We’ll be here for a week trying out even more cargo bikes, not to mention cargo trikes. The kids are so excited to see their dad again after a week away that I might even have some time to write about all that’s happened (and to answer a bunch of questions I’ve been asked in the comments).  In the meantime I hope everyone else is having a week just as awesome.

And I almost forgot: I just found out that San Francisco will be holding its first Kidical Mass on September 28th! Thanks so much, MizShan! The ride will meet at 6pm at the fountain at the southeast corner of Justin Hermann Plaza and head to Dolores Park. We will be there!

3 Comments

Filed under family biking, San Francisco, travel

3 responses to “Homesick for the north, homesick for the south

  1. I realize this isn’t family bicycle related, but the idea of renting an apartment for one week in a city eludes me. How do you do that? I couldn’t get a place for three weeks even with offering rent +1/2 this summer. (Granted it was Elkins, WV). Is this normal city accommodations, because if it is, and it’s ‘affordable’ we may have to consider this for our next great adventure.

    • We look for places on VRBO. There is usually availability in cities and vacation destinations–sometimes even if there isn’t, property owners will recommend a place they know that isn’t on VRBO. That’s how we found our Paris and Copenhagen rental apartments. We wrote to property owners who forwarded us on to someone else that hadn’t listed all their units on VRBO, and a couple of those places worked for us.

      Hotels in Portland were hard to find that week due to the International Tree Climbing Competition (Portlandia!!!) so we couldn’t even find one for all the days we were there–we would have had to move to two different locations, even if all hotels weren’t really expensive that week. The apartment we found was a little out of the way but very nice, had bike parking, two bedrooms and a full kitchen and laundry, free wifi, and with the weekly discount was cheaper than anything but the grungy Motel 6 that was strongly not recommended on the grounds of roaches and a rent-by-the-hour clientele. The one catch with VRBO is that you pay in advance, and there’s a damage deposit (which has always been returned to us). We’ve been staying in rental apartments on everything but solo business trips since our son was about a year old, after one too many take-out dinners in a hotel bathroom. We won’t go back.

      • Thank you! It must be a ‘big city’ thing b/c we looked on there for Elkins and nothing came up in town, just out in the country, where we couldn’t stay b/c of transportation. This is great information for future travel.

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