B-Town Biker Wants You To Bike More; Plus, Upcoming Burien Bike Classes


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by Brooks Stanfield

About seven years ago, while living in North Seattle, I started riding my bike to work. I can’t even remember what gave me the idea, but since that time cycling has turned into an obsession. My understanding of exactly why, however, has recently and unexpectedly changed.

Over the last few years I’ve tried to pass along my passion for cycling to my wife, Marya, and our two small kids. And last summer we had a breakthrough when we scored a long-tail “Xtracycle” bike off of Craigslist. This station wagon of a bike allows, among other things, for a child (or two) to ride seated right behind mom or dad. With this, Marya began riding to school along side our first-grade daughter with our 4 year-old son mounted on the back.

A couple weeks later, Marya was sold. “This way of getting places just gives you something back”, she proclaimed. “When I drive I feel like I’m wasting my life away.” After just two weeks of pedaling my intellectually superior spouse was able to articulate what I had not after seven years. She also reported that when my son rides on the back of the Xtracycle, he likes to sing. “He’s my little radio”, she said. Can It get any cooler than that?

The popularity of bicycling has growing pretty dramatically over the past decade and there are endless studies on the benefits of biking. Bicycling is, of course, greener than driving a car and people have figured out that it’s a good tool for short trips. Bikes also save you money (especially at $4 a gallon) and they strengthen neighborhoods (it’s hard to chat when zipping by at 30 mph). Bike are good for local businesses and every mile I ride equals about 35 calories.

I care about the planet, my community, and my health. Heck, I work for the EPA! But I’ll be honest; the reason I logged 6,000 miles on my bike last year is because…. well, it’s fun. Between work, soccer practices, and other demands there simply never seems to be time for quiet reflection or new discoveries. When I’m my bike going places, however, I get something back on the way. It’s the antidote to road rage, information overload, and to Seattle’s winter doldrums. Pedaling from A to B makes each day an adventure and brings out the best in me (just ask my family).

So if you see someone out on a bike braving the rain or pulling groceries in a child trailer, don’t  assume they’re nobly sacrificing for the betterment of society. It could just be “fun with benefits.” And if a friend or family member tries to talk you into bicycling with them to the park or store. Be extremely cautious!  Seven years from now you may find yourself smiling because you’re pulling 50 pounds of groceries in the rain and pedaling hard because you can’t wait to tell your spouse about what happened along the way.

(Brooks Stanfield is a co-organizer of the B-Town Bike Fair. You can join the discussion about bicycling in Burien by visiting the B-Town Bike Fair blog or Facebook page.)

Burien Parks & Recreation, along with the Cascade Bicycle Club Education Foundation, is sponsoring several bike classes over the next few months – check out their offerings:

MARCH 2011 RIDE IN THE RAIN: BIKE SKILLS FOR WINTER COMMUTING
Join us for a discussion of bike commuting centering on inclement weather conditions. Class discussion on the principles of traffic law, urban cycling techniques (lane choice, lane position, changing lanes), and special maneuvers (rock dodge, emergency stop, and instant turn) used during wet weather commute.

  • Age: 18Y and up
  • #12702
  • Monday, March 7, 6:30 – 7:30 p.m.
  • Location: Eagle Landing Room
  • Instructor: Cascade Bicycle Club
  • Fees: $27
  • Registration: www.BurienParks.net • 206 988-3700

SEE AND BE SEEN: LIGHTS AND REFLECTORS TEST LAB
Many bicycle crashes happen at night and too many involve cyclists who don’t have any (or adequate) lights. How visible are YOU at night? Come find out at this drop-in opportunity to test your gear and learn how to enhance your visibility.

  • Age: 18Y and up
  • #12703
  • Monday, March 14, 6 – 8 p.m.
  • Location: Eagle Landing Room
  • Instructor: Cascade Bicycle Club
  • Fees: $27
  • Registration: www.BurienParks.net • 206 988-3700

ADVANCED BIKE SKILLS
To further stoke your knowledge, skills and enthusiasm, join us for an advanced discussion of bike commuting that builds upon previous classes as well as your personal experience. Class discussion on the principles of traffic law, urban cycling techniques (lane choice, lane position, changing lanes), and special maneuvers (rock dodge, emergency stop, and instant turn).

  • Age: 18Y and up
  • #12704
  • Monday, March 21, 6:30 – 7:30 p.m.
  • Location: Eagle Landing Room
  • Instructor: Cascade Bicycle Club
  • Fees: $27
  • Registration: www.BurienParks.net • 206 988-3700

SPRING CLEANING: A MAINTENANCE OVERVIEW FOR YOUR BIKE
Has your bike been languishing in the garage all Winter? Are the tires flat? Is the chain rusty? When was the last time you replaced your cables? This class will give you an overview of what you can do (and what you should take
to a professional) in order to get your bike in tip-top shape for Spring riding.

  • Age: 18Y and up
  • #12705
  • Monday, March 28, 6:30 – 7:30 p.m.
  • Location: Eagle Landing Room
  • Instructor: Cascade Bicycle Club
  • Fees: $27
  • Registration: www.BurienParks.net 206 988-3700
  • Register for the series & SAVE 35% on registration fees!

MARCH MONDAYS BIKE SERIES

  • #12706
  • March 7 – 28, 6 – 8 p.m.
  • Age: 18Y and up
  • Location: Eagle Landing Room
  • Instructor: Cascade Bicycle Club
  • Fees: $68
  • Registration: www.BurienParks.net 206 988-3700
  • Provided by Cascade Bicycle Club Education Foundation in partnership with Burien Parks & Recreation

MAY & JUNE 2011 ANCIENT SECRETS OF BICYCLE MAINTENANCE: FIX A FLAT
A need-to-know skill for any cyclist. Gain the confidence need- ed to deal with unexpected flats on any ride. Class is hands-on, so dress to get dirty. Bring your bike to class.

  • Age: 16Y and up
  • #13043
  • Wednesday, May 11, 6 – 8 p.m.
  • Location: Eagle Landing Room
  • Instructor: Cascade Bicycle Club
  • Fees: $40
  • Registration: www.BurienParks.net 206 988-3700

RIDING WITH CONFIDENCE
Are you new to cycling? Just getting back on your bike after years away? Confounded by the gears? Not sure where on the road to ride? Let us help you gain the skills to ride safely and confidently. Learn basic bike handling skills and maneuvers; how to shift and brake smoothly and effectively; how to share the road with other users. Two sessions include classroom information on laws and safety as well as on-bike handling skills and drills. We will apply our new found skills with a group-riding experience on neighborhood streets. Bring a bike in working order and a helmet to 2nd class. Course is designed for those who already know how to ride a bike.

  • Age: 16Y and up
  • #13047
  • June 15 -18, 6 – 9 p.m.
  • Location: Eagle Landing Room
  • Instructor: Cascade Bicycle Club
  • Fees: $80
  • Registration: www.BurienParks.net 206 988-3700

LOCATION: Burien Community Center 14700 6th Avenue SW Burien, WA 98166

CONTACT: Burien Parks & Recreation www.BurienParks.net 206 988-3700

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Comments

2 Responses to “B-Town Biker Wants You To Bike More; Plus, Upcoming Burien Bike Classes”
  1. Eric says:

    As “fat man on a bicycle” a performing arts piece, http://www.b-townblog.com/2010/07/29/%E2%80%9Cfat-man-on-a-bicycle%E2%80%9D-asks-you-to-help-burien-little-theatre/, I must say, keep up the good work Brooks! Let’s ride together sometime.

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    • Brooks says:

      I somehow missed the “fat man on a bicycle” but I love it! And yes, let’s do ride together sometime soon. Contact me through the http://www.btownbikefair.org blog or our facebook page and we’ll invite you to our next family ride.

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