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Bike Flag Light Pole, made in Oakland

Riding our light up bike pole lights (aka Bike Beam) in Oakland and Berkeley

Family bike riding around Oakland and Berkeley Our child is old enough to pedal themselves around to school, the library, and to sports practice.  Sometimes it’s hard, but usually we have a good time getting to where we need to go.  We get some exercise, take in our surroundings, wave to neighbors, give names to cats and dogs, and appreciate random sidewalk finds. And we can get around in an environmentally-friendly way. We ride around with a set of bike pole lights that I have been developing for a while.  The bike flag lights make us pretty easy to spot. If you see us, wave and say hello! I made our bike pole lights (aka the “Bike Beam” light) to keep my child visible When we first started riding around on neighborhood streets, I realized that my child was hard […]

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Bike Soccer Dad

Bike Soccer Dad (No Minivan or SUV Required)

I’m enjoying being a bike soccer dad. I guess I’ve become a soccer dad now.  Our kid has practice on the weekends, but we bike to the field instead of taking a the stereotypical soccer mom or soccer dad minivan or SUV.  We do it because we rarely drive, but there are plenty of benefits to doing so.  It’s good exercise, and it’s a great way to get outside and enjoy nature.  It also helps reduce car traffic congestion and pollution. It’s about a 3 mile ride that takes us 20-25 minutes. We selected our route based on Oakland’s Slow Streets (which are being taken away soon, sadly!) and other low-car-traffic roads.  Berkeley has done a decent job adding physical barriers on designated routes to promote safety by slowing the flow of automobiles.  There are a couple of hairier intersections […]

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Child riding on Milvia Street Protected Bike Lane in Berkeley, CA

Fantastic Berkeley Bike Lanes: Riding on Milvia Street on a Sunny Day

Protected Berkeley Bike Lanes on Milvia Street We rode the new Milvia Street protected bike lanes in Berkeley again a few days ago.  These lanes are protected from automotive traffic in a few different ways.  There are concrete islands with metal rails in some sections (by Berkeley High School, for example) and then simply concrete barriers in other parts.  There are a few unprotected paint-buffered areas.  In general, the lanes allowed us to feel more comfortable riding around Berkeley with a physical barrier between us and moving automobiles. We were on our way home from getting lunch.  Our route took us south on Milvia Street from near the Cal campus in order to get back to Oakland.  It was a short but enjoyable stretch.  A few students were milling about and the vibe was nice and calm – perfect for […]

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Children riding bikes at night - Kids Bike Parade

A photo from December’s Kids Bike Parade

A Photo from the December Kids Bike Parade Adults and children ages 4-7 rode together for our December Kids Bike Parade.  We got together for an evening ride around the neighborhood on Oakland’s Slow Streets.  We made a stop in the middle on Lawton Avenue to see some of the fancy holiday light decorations.  There was unfortunately no pizza this time because Sliver was closed, but the kids still had fun riding together. Group riding helps get children excited about riding their bikes Our bike parades are a way for kids to have COVID-safe fun while building community through bicycling.  At each of our bike parades, adults ride along with the children to make sure they’re safe.  We provide childrens bike lights to make sure they’re visible to us, each others, pedestrians, and the occasional driver.  Group bike rides in general […]

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Oakland Slow Street Sign with Scraper Bike

Goodbye to Oakland’s Slow Streets

Slow Streets are ending in Early 2022 We sadly received notice that Oakland’s Slow Street program was being discontinued in last January/Early February 2022.  The threat of being hit by a car is the biggest safety risk for anyone riding a bike with a child. Slow Streets helped by reducing (but not eliminating) automobile traffic, and by promoting a sense of belonging for people who want to use shared public space to walk, bike, jog, and play. We’ll miss these slow streets.  We’ve seen 10-20 children learn to ride their bikes on slow streets, and we use them for our monthly Bike Parades.  They were integral to giving our child confidence to ride their bike on the road, and to giving us the confidence to safely ride bikes with our child. Oakland Slow Streets Video We ride on these multiple […]

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USB Headlight Tail Light Kit

My choice for children’s bike lights: Inexpensive (less than $15!) but effective

Getting a set of children’s bike lights probably worth it for your kid.  You can get a functional set for $10-15.  It’s an easy safety upgrade if you ride in anything but normal daylight. Bike lights for children’s bikes Your kid might need bike lights if you do anything more than recreational daytime rides. A lot of people view riding a bike as recreation.  That’s fine.  But if you’re also riding your bike to get from point A to point B with your child, sometimes you will have to ride in the dark.  It starts to get dark around 4:30pm during the Bay Area winters, so you may need lights even if you’re not staying out late.    Our school day ends around 3pm. If you have scheduled any after care, you’ll be coming home in the dark for at […]

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Bike safety flags for being extra visible while riding a bicycle, even in the daytime

Bike safety flags can help keep bicycle riders visible The greatest risk for someone riding a bike on roads with automobile traffic is being hit by a car.  I strongly support infrastructure improvements that physically protect someone riding a bike.  Dedicated bike paths and protected bike lanes can help a lot with this. I don’t like putting the burden of safety on the more vulnerable in general.  At the same time, if there’s a low-effort way to improve safety, it’s probably a good thing to do.  According to the NHTSA, the 2nd leading factor in bicyclist deaths is “Not visible (dark clothing, no lighting, etc)”.  Vehicles are getting bigger, which causes more line of sight problems for other users of the road. Adding a flag is an easy and low-cost way of improving visibility, but it does have a few […]

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Klein Quantum Road Bike with two-toned paint job

A beautiful two-toned Klein Quantum

On the way home after school dropoff a little while ago I saw a sharp-looking two-tone Klein Quantum. I can’t help having a soft spot for now-vintage bikes like these. My heart always beats a little faster when I see nicely-restored (or well-kept!) vintage bikes.   The USA-made Kleins were known for having meticulous attention to detail, fantastic paint jobs, and impressive frame stiffness.     Or follow along for updates:

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The east side of the Emeryville bike bridge and pedestrian bridge

New Bike Bridge! A great first ride on the new Emeryville Pedestrian and Bike Bridge

I took my first ride across the Emeryville bike and pedestrian bridge recently.  It just opened on December 3rd. According to the Emeryville Eye, the idea was first officially conceived in the 1980s.  It’s amazing that it has taken this long.  But it is very nice. The South Bayfront Bike and Pedestrian Bridge Its official name is the “South Bayfront Bridge” and it has been a work in progress since 2002 and cost $21 million.  At one point, the city of Emeryville had to sue the state to recover funds for the bridge.  The bridge connects the Bay Street shopping area on the west (and even has an entrance to the parking lot from the ramp up the bridge) and Horton Street on the east side, just south of 53rd street. The bridge makes crossing the railroad tracks much much […]

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Adams trail-a-bike replacement spacer shim for hitch

A replacement Trail-a-bike hitch seatpost shim to help fix your trailer

  Trail-a-bikes We use an Adams Trail-a-bike (aka Tag along, as some people call it) to tow our child occasionally.  The steel hitch slides onto a seatpost, and clamps on via 2 bolts and a hex-wrench.  The other end of the hitch has a square-shaped key and a hole for adding a retaining pin to hold the trailer in place.  There are spacers included that fit in there for different seatpost diameters. We have a Weehoo trailer as well, and this shim should fit that hitch as well.   We sometimes swap the trailer between bikes. Unfortunately, the bikes have different seat post diameters.  I was trying to set up for a ride the other day and could not make the Trail-a-bike hitch fit onto the seat post. None of the included spacers either, which was pretty frustrating!  I may […]

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