Monday, December 31, 2012

How about another year?

At the beginning of 2012 I remember contemplating my commitment to be car free for a year and wondering if I'd make it, and if I did indeed make it, would I go back to driving in 2013? Ha! As if.

I'm quite enjoying this non-driving lark, I love bikes, I like buses, I love trains, especially now that I have a bike that fits on them. Of course there are drawbacks and moments when I wish we had a car...generally those moments come when its pouring with rain and a car has just past me by driving through a large murky puddle, thereby covering me with drainage water. Yuk. It happens more often than you would think. That being said, those moments are just that, they are moments. Fleeting and momentary.

I'm immensely proud of this year, I may not have changed a ton about my life, but the things I did change made a ton of difference. I fell in love with bikes, I met some amazing people and I finally found my way home to England, something I'd been wanting to do for 20 years.

What's next? I was thinking of riding my bike some more. Whose with me?

Happy New Year!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Jack's first cargo haul

Jack sped his way to the co-op today, pulling me a long with his harness (the roads are far too busy and the pavements far too narrow to trust a daydreaming toddler to ride solo). After we'd got our last few Christmas groceries we let him grab a sweet treat, he choose a Kinder Surprise and carried it home, along with a package of yoghurt, in his basket. So sweet, I love these little moments.

Happy Holidays and all that~  L

Friday, December 21, 2012

Jack's Bicycle Basket

The perfect two minute project for the sick mother of a toddler, he's been toting his teddy bears around in it ever since.

This project certainly doesn't need a video tutorial. Zip ties and a milk jug, he loves it.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Smiley and his Jiggy

Today the little one and I headed to the Doctor's office. Every time I say that I think people are going to think I'm bragging, but maybe that's because I spent so many years with no health insurance.

Jack and his bike are practically inseparable these days, I think he'd take it to bed if he could. He made it all the way to the clinic and back with no rests, waiting at each curb for me and practising "waiting, looking and listening".
I feel so repetitive but you really have to be if you are going to let a 2 year old ride on a bike that can potentially go as fast as these little bikes will go. We paid twenty pounds for this bike, but they are really reasonably priced brand new.

Tomorrow if the weather is enjoyable (today was wonderful) and my throat isn't hurting so much, I want to take the Boda Boda out for our trip to Jack's playgroup. Jack will be ecstatic - playgroup AND a bike ride! One of the things I have noticed about the Boda Boda is it's gearing and lightness enable me to take off quicker than I can on the Mundo. I feel quite nimble on the Boda, even on the little rolling inclines of our area.
The revolution will not be motorised - Joe Bike

I realized the other day that I have taken just over 1000 photos since we've arrived, here's a sampling of some of the bikes I've seen since we arrived. Thanks for reading!

This is how our mail gets delivered, I must have collected at least 20 pictures of stunned looking postal workers since we've been here, the novelty is starting to wear off now. This guy was very nice, his thick Bristolian accent was cool!
Pretty little flowers displayed on one of Bristol's many display bikes.
I know it looks pretty, but I really hope this bike is more than just a prop!

We spotted this cruiser in Taunton, advertising a local bike shop.

One of the loveliest bakeries I've ever had the pleasure of visiting. If you're ever lucky enough to be in Congresbury you must stop by the Cottage Loaf Bakery and Sandwich Bar, we can't get enough.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Winter riding on the Boda Boda

Yes, I know, I know! Its been AGES since I wrote a post. I feel slightly guilty, but then again I have been exceedingly busy rediscovering the joys of living in Britain, does that excuse me? Probably not, but I'm going with it.

The last 30 days have been full of rediscovery, some small realizations have crept up on me and some have slapped me in the face. I love it here, we love it here. If we really get down to the depths of it, I'd say I'm resentful that I have missed out on 20 years here. I know they say you never appreciate something till you lose it, and that "absence makes the heart grow fonder" and let us not forget "the grass is always greener". But I assure you I felt this way 20 years ago when I was dragged to California by my Mum, dragged might be a strong word, but I did cry when we left the ground at Heathrow. It's not that I don't miss certain aspects of the United States, like my family and friends, and Portland of course, but I know for sure that I am home finally.

We've been a car free family for almost 6 weeks now, and whilst I have personally been car free this year I have until recently benefited from riding in one regularly. Now we are absolutely car free, (except for on Wednesdays when I carpool with our friend Sarah to our Slimming group). Kyle explains the change by saying "we've walked more in the last 6 weeks than we did the entire rest of the year" and that feels pretty spot on to me. Where we live right now it is so conveniently situated that it would almost be inconvenient to drive. Everything is within walking distance and the buses and trains are available for anything further.

There was a low spot that will forever stand out in my mind. It happened the 2nd week we were here, I was walking home from a Doctor appointment, I was winded, sore, tired and fully depleted. My legs and feet hurt so much from all the extra walking, I felt defeated and used the rain to mask my tears. I look back now, 4 short weeks later and I'm amazed at the difference I feel. I no longer get so winded and I if I take small breaks here and there I can keep walking for hours, in fact last week we walked for 4 hours straight and it didn't even phase me.

Today I overcame another obstacle, I finally got the courage to take the Boda Boda out on the roads with Jack. This morning I'd zipped to the clinic for a Doctor appointment on my own, just to get my first solo ride in. I knew I'd been procrastinating riding my bike for numerous reasons and it was time to overcome and move past the fear, so when I got home Kyle was ready with the Mundo and we decided to do all our chores on bicycle rather than walking. It felt wonderful to be out riding, the air was crisp and whilst the narrow roads felt a little intimidating I do feel like I overcame my inner obstacles.

We made 5 stops in the village today and everywhere we parked them the bikes garnered a lot of attention, their vibrant colours in stark contrast to the grey frost of winter.

It's going to be a privilege to write about my experiences here, I feel so inspired by this place. I realize I need to write a new introduction to the blog as we are no longer in "small town America", instead we're in a little English village of about the same population, comparing the two places is only natural, but I may find my blog takes a political turn if I delve too deeply. For the most part I try to keep the blog bicycle oriented, but it is of course an extension of myself and all my opinions and thoughts, I'm sure that year two of blogging will have all the ups and downs of year one. I know I'm already looking forward to the 30 days of biking, which was certainly a highlight of 2012. I wonder if I will win another bicycle, I don't want to be greedy but I'd certainly love a bakfiets.