Switching to Cycling with Elsbeth Cool

Elsbeth Cool was car-free for years in Chicago before becoming a cargo bike enthusiast and now owner of Four Star Family Cyclery. In this episode she shares how she went from walking and using public transit to riding all-year round. We have a great conversation about the evolution of her biking set-up, her advice for biking through the winter, and how she handles the curiosity and judgment that comes with biking as a family. Tune back in next time for part two where she shares more about why she started her business, what they do, and what it’s like being a female entrepreneur in a male-dominated industry.

Links and bikes we discussed in this episode:

You can find Elsbeth on Instagram and Twitter.

Active Transportation Advocacy with Lisa Corriveau

Lisa Corriveau–aka Spokesmama–joins me for Episode 5 to talk about living car-free in Vancouver, British Columbia. She shares how she started cycling, how her family uses car-share, which cargo bikes she prefers, and how she advocates for active transportation both through her work teaching cycling classes and as a member of Vancouver’s Active Transportation Policy Council.

You can find Lisa on her blog, Instagram, or Twitter.

Links and resources mentioned:


Family Bike Camping with Mark Stosberg

Mark Stosberg joins me for Episode 4. He lives a car-lite life in Bloomington, Indiana with his wife and two kids. In addition to riding all over town, he regularly goes bike camping with his family, including a ten-day tour of Southern Indiana in the summer of 2016. He is writing a book called Let’s Go Family Bike Camping that will include stories from his many trips, detailed gear explanations, and tips for making these adventures a success. You can find Mark on Twitter, Instagram, or on his blog.

Here are the links we mentioned in the show:

Life Lately

Amazed by the eclipse. We traveled to Missouri to see the totality. We missed out on the shadows due to a thin layer of clouds, but could still see the eclipse and the ring during the totality. We are already counting down to the totality here in Bloomington in 2024!

Enjoying the time when both kids are in school. E started preschool at the beginning of August and is now going three mornings a week. It feels like the start of a new era for our family–both kids in school, no diapers, and the youngest in preschool!

Proud of HP. He is now a kindergartener! It was a bit overwhelming at first with all of the new things, but he has settled right in. I am so impressed with his teacher and the school community. When I would think about HP starting kindergarten a few years ago it seemed like so long for him to be gone and like a lot for a newly minted five year old, but now that we are here it feels like the exact right thing. Funny how that happens.

Struggling with the after-school hours. Pick-up takes always takes longer than I think. HP is hungry and tired after holding it together at school all day. And there there are all the sibling squabbles. I am now going armed with a variety of snacks to feed him before starting the walk home in the hopes that it improves the situation.

Featured on the Sarah R Bagley Podcast. We had a great conversation about creativity, motherhood, and the launch of Family Pedals. It was a fun experience to be on the other end of an interview. I’d love for you to give it a listen!

Walking regularly. As much as I would like to, making it to the gym regularly is not a happening thing in my life. Instead of fighting that, I am shifting my expectations and going for walks while catching up on podcasts–two things I love.

Listening to the We Live Here podcast about race and class. I especially enjoyed the most recent one about the “Woke Spectrum.”

Celebrating Neil’s birthday this weekend with rock climbing, dairy-free desserts, and random presents made by HP out of tape and paper.

Thinking of everyone affected by Harvey, and now Irma. The amount of destruction is overwhelming. I am terrified that this is our new normal re natural disasters. Stay safe, friends.

What I Read: August 2017

Oh, August. I was so looking forward to reading the books on my list, but three out of the four were disappointing. I have high hopes for September reading-wise and am already flying through a one with two more on deck. Do you ever have those months where nothing you read is as good as you were hoping?

The quick round-up:

  • Favorite: Black Man in a White Coat
  • Least favorite: Finnikin of the Rock
  • Most likely to recommend: Black Man in a White Coat
  • Most thought-provoking: Black Man in a White Coat

Based on the above list, I think you can guess which of the four books I did enjoy…

Books are listed in the order I read them.

All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders / I don’t have much experience with sci-fi, and this was a sci-fi/fantasy crossover chosen by my book club. It follows two characters, Patricia (a witch) and Laurence (a computer genius). We meet them in childhood and follow them through adolescence and early-adulthood. The story is set-up as a clash between nature and science/technology, but it never truly delivered. The concept was fascinating, the writing was fine, but the character development was lacking, which made it hard to feel invested in the outcome. This was one of those books that seemed right up my alley, but fell flat.

Who Thought This Was A Good Idea? And Other Questions You Should Have the Answer to When You Work in the White House by Alyssa Mastromonaco and Lauren Oyler / Mastromonaco worked on John Kerry’s presidential campaign and then as a staffer for Obama when he was a senator, candidate, and president. Her resume is impressive–deputy chief of staff before the age of 35!–and I loved hearing how she got to where she was, especially since politics is so often the domain of white men not young women. I have two complaints: (1) I did not think she was able to pull the stories together into a cohesive narrative, and (2) I did not love the tone. Partway through the book I discovered that the intended demographic was 15-25 year old women, which explained the tone, even if it didn’t make me like it. Even so, I enjoyed hearing her story and her commitment to public service. Also, Obama-era nostalgia.

Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta / This series came highly recommended to me by multiple friends. Sadly, something about it did not work for me. I found myself avoiding reading because I didn’t want to continue, then feeling annoyed when I picked it up again because I forgot some of the details and was confused. I wanted to like it, but just couldn’t. The premise is that that someone invaded Lumatere and killed the royal family. A curse was then placed on the kingdom so no one could go in or out. Finnikin is outside of Lumatere and trying to determine the next steps for either getting back in or creating a new homeland with other exiles. Then add in romance + magic. Most everyone I know that has read it loves it, so if you are into YA fantasy you should probably ignore my review and give it a try.

Black Man in a White Coat: A Doctor’s Reflections on Race and Medicine by Damon Tweedy / Without a doubt, this memoir was the best book I read in August. Memoirs are often hit or miss for me but Tweedy’s was spot on. He tells stories from medical school, residency, and as a practicing physician. He beautifully interweaves his own experiences, the stories of his patients, and larger discussions about race and medicine. It made me think about both healthcare and race differently. There was so much there, I know I will be thinking about this book for months to come.

I’d love to hear what you’re reading!