Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Day 3 of 30 - went around the block.

Yep, I know it's kinda cheating, but it was really windy and really cold. It's all about the habit, right?

I started another blog, care to join me?

I have a new blog, please take some time to check it out!

One month from now my family will be without a country. The simplest analogy I can come up with to explain our situation is to say my husband, Kyle, and I each have a key to open a door into a country. Kyle has an American key, and I have a British key. But in order for one of us to both enter the same country we need another key, for the deadbolt. We could buy the deadbolt key if we could both work, but when you fill out the paperwork to purchase the key for the deadbolt they require that only one of you is working, and that one person has to meet a certain level of income to support the other family members. But we, like most families in America and Britain, need two incomes to meet the living costs associated with a family of three. Does that make sense? I hope so, I know it’s confusing.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Day 2 of 30 - I like to ride my Brr-Icicle!

Day 2 of 30

We took an exploratory trip around town, made a few stops and then cycled home when Jack started to complain he was too cold. Another day down, loving the bike, hating the cold. Good weather should be here soon! Right?

Ride Rating 7

Outside the grocery shop, plenty of parking.

A little neighbourhood park.

Playing in the setting sun.

A modern canal

Monday, April 1, 2013

Day 1 of 30 Days of Biking - Yeah, so we went for a ride and we were all like, "yeah look at us!" And the Dutch were all like "What is wrong with them?"

Day 1 of 30

The sun came out to play for the first time in what seems like ages and with it the cyclists, young and old to enjoy a day off from work and school.  Jack was very much ready to rock as he'd already spent the morning striding on his loopfiets in the living room.

The covered corral for bikes at our apartment building.
We headed for the park, no set destination but ducks and geese are always a hit when you have an almost 3 year old. We'd just arrived when I noticed my saddle mounting was really loose, upon further inspection it almost fell off, so Kyle went home for tools whilst Jack and I hung out with some sweet ducks and rather aggressive geese. It seems like geese rule the roost in parks here, they are everywhere, strutting about the neighbourhoods bringing pandemonium with them. They actually spot you from afar and go out of their way to cause havoc, it's pretty hilarious.

After the saddle was tightened we followed a path around the park and found an amazing petting zoo. This little farm is nestled in the centre of the park, and is a maze of small paddocks, hutches and homes for a variety of animals from chickens, sheep and goats to parakeets and guinea pigs. They also had a mass of children's scooters and tricycles, so we took the opportunity to get Jack on something with peddles. He picked out a trike and within about 5 minutes had the thing scooting right along. The whole petting zoo experience was lovely and the best part is it's all FREE for the community.

Ride Rating: 7
Based on incredibly cold wind, excessive whining from Jack because of incredibly cold wind and the unexpected issue with my saddle.

Beautiful day to visit some green-space.

Our bikes had some company at the bike rack...

More bikes awaited their owners by the gates...

...and another little cluster of everyday bikes hanging out.
A giant bunny, there was about 4 in there we think, some thought it was a good day to sleep it off after a bust weekend.

This pleasant little pig was a sweetheart, each animal had a companion so no one was stressed and lonely.

More ducks hanging out. The sheep and goats came to say hello too.
The view of the Petting Zoo from the park. The whole place was clean and well maintained, with healthy animals who all seemed relaxed and sociable. We are impressed!

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Twas the night before 30 Days of Biking - A Poem

Twas the night before 30 Days of Biking, when all through the town
The snow was a falling, the drifts did abound.
The ponchos were hung by the door with care,
In hopes that no rain would find them there.

The cyclists were nestled in bed for the night
While dreaming that they would peddle with might.
My son's helmet's ready, and so is my cap,
Now, just settle our brains for some wintery crap.

When out on the bike path there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a magnificent group of cyclists of good cheer.

They gathered from everywhere, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment they must have commit.
To the 30 days of Biking in two thousand thirteen,
They whistled, and shouted, in support of me!

"Now Commuter! now, Mother! now, Child and Father!
On, Cruiser! On, Single Speed! on, Mamafiets and Road Racer!
from the top of the porch! to the top of the hill!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!"

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
So throughout the 30 days they did glide,
With the joys of their freedom, on their bicycles ride.

They rode to the mountains, to work and to school,
They made a statement together,  they yelled one and all.
That whatever you do, and wherever you glide,

You will make a difference with the smallest bike ride !

Happy 30 days of biking everyone, I can't wait to share my journey here again this year, this time from The Netherlands. Thanks for joining us, supporting us and making a difference!

P.S. no actual snow drifts here, just taking artistic license.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

30 Days Of Biking - I made the pledge.

In four short days the event of the year is set to begin, even now while you read this, people all over the globe are readying themselves with puncture repair kits and rain ponchos. The scene is set as thousands of cyclists both seasoned and novice have signed the pledge, the pledge to ride everyday in the month of April with the 30 Days of Biking challenge. I know, it's awfully exciting...but really it's just riding a bike.

The truth is every time I attempt to write about it I sound cheesy and slightly contrived, but I just love the 30 Days of Biking event! For me it was a life changer, I started the month as a person on a bike and ended as a cyclist, I felt a sense of community even when I was the lone cyclist on the road. Of course this year will be different, for a start I won't be the only cyclist on the road and I will be on a different bike, exploring different streets, but I know already I will reap rewards that will help me in the coming months.

April promises to be a high stress month for us, so initially it worried me to take on the added commitment of daily rides, but I realize it's just what I need to keep me focused and moving forward. Are you joining in on the fun this year? I hope so!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Liebster Award and more good things to come

News of good cheer has dwindled low in the last few months, not that they have been cheerless by any means, to the contrary there have been many wonderful memories made in the last 5 months but they have certainly been toned down by the ever present stress of where and when we will find a home.

I remember before we left College Place, Washington, a fellow Facebooker said she was too busy to meet as she was busy moving, I mentioned that we too were moving the following week. She went on to tell me she was moving to the opposite end of town and was finding it rather stressful. I wholeheartedly agreed, moving is stressful, very stressful.

The wonderful thing about down times is they make you enjoy the good times, it adds some prospective and spice to what would otherwise be a rather dull life. One such "good time" reached me this week in the form of a comment from a reader, informing me she had nominated me for a Liebster Award. I was unfamiliar with the award, but Meg was kind enough to write a description, which you can read about here on her blog.

Part of the idea behind the Liebster Award is you answer some questions posed to you by your nominator, and in turn you nominate other writers with the award and some questions. So here are Meg's questions and my accompanying answers:

  • What would you like to be acknowledged for? My sheer terrier like capabilities, when I make up my mind I'm a woman on a mission. 
  • What three things does the world need most, right now? Empathy from us, towards not only each other, but also to the planet itself and the other inhabitants we share it with. More bicycles. Less cars.
  • Who is someone in your life whom you feel doesn’t understand how much you love and appreciate them? What would you like to tell them? My son Jack, that little guy has no idea how much I adore him, it is simply unfathomable for a child to realize how much love a parent can bestow on them. I tell him everyday, but I think that's the easy part, showing him in actions, like trying to be a healthier example to him are much harder.
  • Honesty is always the best policy, no matter what. True or false? Why? I'm almost certain it is, but there have been times when I have wished I had lied and times when I've wished I had been honest, both with myself and others.
  • Name one woman and one man, people whom you have never met, with whom you would like to spend one day. What would you say/do/ask?  This is the hardest question so far. I guess for the woman it would have to be Ellen DeGeneres, I just think she is hilarious and I could do with a good laugh! For the man, it would be Nicolas Kristof, he is an amazing humanitarian and his work with the Half the Sky movement is brilliant.
  • What are three things on your bucket list? To really get to know my family in Australia, to go on an extended cycling holiday and to own a horse (or more!) again one day. I'm pretty low key.
  • With whom might you like to trade places for a week? I really have no idea, why is this one so difficult? I think a week is too long, I'd miss my family unless I could take them with me and then it would alter the concept of the question.
  • What is love? Love is brilliant and extraordinary, a complex set of emotions and chemicals that bind us together in ways that would be impossible without it.
  • What is truth? I think truth is something that is always adapting and evolving. Even things we consider universal truths, like gravity on earth, will change one day.
  • What does a world that works look like to you? It has bike paths, lots of gardening and parents that have the ability to stay home and raise their own children if they choose to.
  • What is one habit you would like to kick? What stops you from kicking it? Eating late in the evening, it is disruptive to my sleep and health. I haven't found a decent habit to replace it with yet. 
Thank you again to Meg for the nomination, which is the award in itself. It certainly provides writers with a chance to share their appreciation for fellow bloggers. Here's my nominations-

Family Ride I'm pretty sure Family Ride has far too many followers to meet the criteria of a Liebster Award, but that's something I'm willing to overlook if you are? It's an excellent blog from the Pacific NW, check it out!

Tiny Helmets Big Bikes Elle started her blog a few months after mine in 2012, she is pretty much a warrior woman who can do 500 miles in a month from her saddle with or without 2 kiddos attached! But more than that, Elle is a genuine human with a good deal of likeability and I'm thankful for her.

A Simple Six Another bikey mum, Stacy makes minivans look so boring, I'm sure she too has far too many followers to be officially nominated, but once again, do we really care? Stacy has a busy, busy life right now so I'm hesitant to add to her load with lots of questions, but I had to nominate her anyway- she can ignore the questions just as long as she knows how much I appreciate her blog.

That's about it from me for the day, as I'm working on a few large projects, that I hope will be of great interest to my readers. 

One involves some short interviews with cyclists who live here in Amsterdam, it seeks to uncover their opinions in regards to cycling infrastructure here and abroad. Almost everyone involved has cycled extensively in other cities and countries, like New York, Edinburgh and London.

The second project is something even more exciting in my mind, it's a video recap of how we came to be living in The Netherlands right now, it deals with the hot-topic of Immigration as it relates to our lives and he lives of tens of thousands like us. It's very low budget, a little entertaining and will hopefully answer all the little pieces of information that put a puzzle together. 

As I was sitting here writing this last paragraph, I noticed a passing cyclist stop and adjust her load of 3 toddlers in her bakfiets, she then paused a moment to look up at our building, quickly produced a camera and snapped a picture. That small series of events reminded me of two things.  Firstly, we're in The Netherlands now and I can stop admiring every single bakfiets I see, as it's getting quite exhausting. Secondly, it reminded me that we have found ourselves living in an amazing space and I should share a picture of it here. It's only a temporary home that we're basically house sitting for a short time and I sure wish we could stay, it has been an awesome experience nevertheless.