The past two weeks have been all about the bike fun. Last weekend we traveled to Portland for Fiets of Parenthood PDX, which was a HUGE success. Big big thanks to Sarah Gilbert, Clever Cycles, Urbanmamas, and the local crew who put it on. It's been well-written up at Clever Cycles, and at CarFreeDays. Check it out, and don't miss Todd's curated image gallery - this was one of the sweetest collections of family bikes ever assembled. Kudos to Anne and her daughter for winning in style! We are very excitedly planning the Seattle event for this August.
Our Sunday in Portland was lovely as well. Luc decided to grace us with his presence at 5:30am, so we headed out on bikes from 7am until we left after dinner. We visited 6 playgrounds, rode across 4 bridges, joined the Teddy Bear Ride (thanks!), loitered at Clever Cycles, played in a fountain park at the Pearl with our friend Sheri, and finished at a brewpub with 4 free-ranging kids disturbing the peace. Portland is such an effortless city to tour by bike ... I hardly bother to look at a bike map, since bike routes are so well-signed, and bike boulevards (in the SE, at least) are everywhere. I think this might have been the weekend that sold my wife Kim on going by bike.
And this weekend Anne & Tim of CarFreeDays talked me into joining them on the 2nd Annual Nine-to-Five All-night Solstice Bike Scavenger Hunt, organized by Ryan Schuetze and the GoMeansGo crew. I did have my doubts - am I too old for all-night bike events? Do I still have my residency-era all-nighter skillz? Can four parents roll with hipsters on fixies?
Answers: Apparently not, yes (if on a bike), and hell yes. In fact, er, we won. Aided by my sister-in-law and her family's treasure trove of scavenger hunt items (bridal veil, bike store employee badge, sporks, etc), their random tipsy neighbors up the street (god bless their paella-offering hearts, but we politely declined the savory seafood), Tim & Anne's neighbors who came up with two issues of Boy's Life magazine, Dan's long-suffering wife, various bartenders, the bouncer at re-bar, the 3am drunk-in-the-street guy that told Tim he was planning to "f*** his face" (thus inspiring our unofficial team name), and most of all to Ryan and Melissa with bakfiets-transported coffee and snacks through the night, and honest-to-god delicious hot breakfast at 5am.
Tim and I shared a special moment at re-bar, which seemed to be the only place in town with an all-night photo booth. Double-points for topless pix? Double-done. But perhaps more embarassing was me giving a big "right-on-my-bikey-bruthas" smile to these other sweaty, fit shirtless dudes coming out of the bar, assuming they were co-scavengers. Which they were, in a way, just not on bikes, and probably not for old copies of Boys Life.
But despite a pretty righteous collection of scavenger hunt items, our winning recipe came down to this: 2 xtracycles + brompton with touring bag + MTB + (96 cans of discount tuna x 2 points each) = victory. While there were many sweet rides to be seen that night, it's a little hard to carry that many cans-for-charity in a messenger bag. Drunk with cargo-carrying capacity, I ended up carrying bricks and cans for most of the night, while Anne lugged a cinderblock on her xtra for about 4 hours. Next year we might strategerize that a bit better. At least we waited until 4:30am to hit up the Safeway for several cases of tuna, which Tim lugged to the finish.
We worried a bit about a beatdown by hip-holster U-lock for exploiting the intentionally-left-open can loophole, but the other teams were lovely, and the whole night was more about shared enjoyment than posturing or competition. It's surreal and surprisingly invigorating to race through near-deserted streets at 3am, and the two meetups were a nice chance to rest and recharge with the other riders, many of whom we'd run across in odd parts of the city. Anne and I kept nudging each other and whispering "we're in an AlleyCat" whenever some fixed-gear freestyle would break out. I threatened to slay some folding-bike freestyle moves. But didn't. It's OK though. Ryan the organizer said we could tell our kids we were in a "full on scavenger-cat".
Thanks to the GoMeansGo crew for making it so fun and so inclusive. They are the future of Seattle bike fun. Here's to working together on a Pedalpalooza-esque week of bike events later this summer or next year, at least.