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Bikemobile October 19, 2008

Posted by Merrilee in Environment, Family.
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A few weeks ago, we bought a used bike trailer. Nothing fancy, since I don’t anticipate going on long rides pulling Karydis along behind. I was interested in something that could get to the farmers’ market, the library (story time!), the grocery store… In short, something that would allow me to make short trips without the car.

I kind of went nuts and used it 3 times last weekend. To the library (Saturday), to the farmers’ market Sunday), and an extra adventurous trip on BART to San Francisco and back (Sunday, again). The occasion was Decompression. Decompression is a post-Burning Man event which is held in Dogpatch, near Potrero Hill. Parking in that area is a pain (and I hate driving to San Francisco anyhow), public transportation takes too long, so taking bikes seemed like an ideal solution.

Taking bikes and the bike trailer on BART was a little complicated, but we soon figured out the ropes. It works best for me to take the trailer, de-coupled from the bike, on an elevator or escalator. Keith then has to wrangle both bikes up the stairs, because you are not supposed to take bikes on elevators or escalators. He seems quite capable of this sort of bike wrangling, so this works out.

Once we were off BART, getting to Decompression was easy. Then we saw the line. Out the front, down the street (way down the street) around the corner, up a hill… It went on and on! Fortunately, the line moved quickly and people were nice. Once we were there, we spent a bunch of time hanging out with Jon and Kyrsten at the Golden Mean. We did get to wander around for a bit, and ran into various friends. Soon Karydis was tired, so we headed home with Jon and Kyrsten’s daughter Zolie. The two girls loved being in the trailer, and I had fun riding along the Embarcadero. We rode under the Bay Bridge, which was nicely lit up, and along the water. The weather was warm, the bay was flat and beautiful, and it was a perfect night to be out!

This trip (along with Karydis begging for more bike rides) stirred my imagination, so when I saw the announcement for Biketoberfest in Fairfax, I told Keith “okay, we are going.” Bikes and beer? What could be more fun?

Yesterday, we got up, packed up the bikes and the trailer and headed off for the ferry terminal at Jack London Square. We were running late, so decided at the last minute to take BART instead. I think this was a good decision. From West Oakland BART to Embarcadero, the trip is under 10 minutes, and the ferry takes about 40 minutes. In short order we were in San Francisco, we had the trailer hooked up and were underway.

It took a long time to get to the Golden Gate Bridge. The tourists were out in force enjoying the good weather, and we had to contend with numerous people who had rented bikes. These intrepid travellers were intent on seeing San Francisco and Marin on wheels. Few of these people seemed to have biking skills (or helmets!) but I must say they all seemed to be enjoying themselves. Once we got across the bridge, the bike-tourists persisted all the way through Sausalito. We continued on, making our way onto the very good bike paths that go through Mill Valley and into Corte Madera.

At a certain point, we stopped and conferred. Although we were making good progress, we would only have about an hour at the festival before getting back on our bikes and reversing our steps. Riding home would be less fun after beer. Going to the festival would not be so much fun if we weren’t able to enjoy the beer and rest for a bit. Karydis seemed to be loosing patience. We were hungry. We made the best of it and turned around, having a lovely and leisurely lunch at Fred’s in Sausalito. On the way home (making our way back through the endless bike tourists) we even managed to stop and visit a friend in San Francisco. We got home before dark. Another good day with the bikemobile.

Biketoberfest, I will be back next year. Today, I decided to walk to the farmers’ market.

Merrilee and Karydis (in trailer) above Ft. Point

Merrilee and Karydis (in trailer) above Ft. Point

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