This past Saturday we spent the day at Oakland's Jack London Square for our favorite annual bike festival, Pedalfest. We watched BMX riders do amazing stunts, we helped provide pedal power to the pedal powered stage, we rode around on crazy bikes, the girls decorated their bikes with ribbons and stickers, we ate tasty food, and the girls took part in the kids' bike rodeo to learn bike safety skills.
This year's Pedalfest seemed a little smaller than it has in past years, but there was still plenty of fun to be had. Unfortunately we arrived just as the kids' bike parade started (earlier than advertised), and as the parade route was shorter this year we only managed to catch up with the parade as it finished. The kids were a little upset that they missed out as they had been looking forward to taking part again, but I guess there's always next year (and we'll plan to arrive extra early next time!).
There was a stand giving out free popsicles by the end of the parade route so the girls quickly forgot about missing the parade once they had their delicious icy treats. While we ate our popsicles we watched the BMX riders do amazing stunts on the ramp, including one which involved jumping over a group of people standing on top of the ramp.
When the BMX show finished we headed inside the nearby building for the Kids' Bike Rodeo. Oh, but first Mathilde had to test out the ramp on the way!
In the bike rodeo the kids were given a refresher course in bike and road safety. They had their helmets adjusted to fit properly (why do kid's helemts always come loose?), they learned basic safety rules about stop signs, yielding and signalling to turn, and then they were let loose on the track where they rode around for quite some time. Ava and Lola were pretty good at following the instructions and stopped each time they came across a stop sign on the track. Mathilde was too little to understand so she just followed which ever one of her big sisters was nearby! She was by far the smallest kid on the track so the instructors just let her go without following the rules.
When the girls finished the Bike Rodeo we headed back outside where the BMX riders were doing another show. We watched until the end and then went to meet the riders and have a photo with two of them.
We were all getting a little hungry by now so we headed off to find some food. Clover Organic Farms were giving away their delicious Geek yoghurt so we stopped for a cool snack in the shade. Perfect on this hot day. When the girls hopped back on their bikes we happened upon the Clover cow who was walking around the festival. I thought the girls might like to stop for a photo but Mathilde was terrified! You can see her and Lola making a quick getaway in the photo below!
We stopped by the kids' bike decorating station where the girls covered their bikes in ribbon, pipe cleaners, wool, stickers and tape. Their bikes were all still decorated from last year but now they're even more festive!
We took the girls' bikes to the free bike valet parking then headed back to the festival for some more food. Crepes for the girls and I, and a lobster roll for Kim. After filling our bellies we headed to the Rock the Bike pedal powered stage where we helped generated the power for the stage by pedaling bikes. There were no bike smoothies or spin art bikes set up this year unfortunately, but the kids still had fun powering the stage for the band that played. Oh, and I should point out that in the photos below of Mathilde on the front of my bike, the front wheel was not moving. Only the back wheel was spinning, so her little feet were not in any danger. I know it probably looks bad!
By now it was getting quite late in the day and the girls still hadn't tried out any of the crazy bikes. Riding the crazy bikes made from re-purposed bike parts is always one of their favorite things at Pedalfest (and also at Make Faire). Lola is still a little small for most of the bikes, but Ava was able to ride most of them this year. My favorite (and I think Lola's too judging by her smiles) was the bike that they rode together.
As well as the crazy bikes that the kids could ride, there were plenty of fun bikes to see around the festival. The bike below with the three fish/monsters was my favorite. The karaoke trike looked like a lot of fun, but it was quite popular so we didn't get a turn. Last year the kids got to sit up on the seat of the double penny farthing bike, but this year they didn't seem to be letting kids on it. The scraper bikes are always one of my favorites at Pedalfest. There's nothing super crazy about them but I love seeing them ride together in a group.
As I mentioned earlier, the festival seemed a little smaller this year. I was hoping that I could convince Kim to ride the whiskeydrome this time (he promised last year that he'd ride it this year) but it wasn't there. I think he was pretty relieved about that! I'll get him to ride it one day!
The girls had a great day at Pedalfest. It was pretty hot and sunny on Saturday so we were all starting to feel a little tired from the heat. We took a break inside at Plank to escape the heat for a bit. The girls played all sorts of fun games and won a lot of tickets that they exchanged for a whoopee cushion each at the end of their time playing.
Have you been to Pedalfest before? It's such a fun festival and Jack London Square is such a great venue. We always have a lot of fun, although the girls are usually pretty exhausted by the end of the day. We can't wait for next year's festival. Hopefully by then we'll all have bikes again (I still haven't replaced my cargo bike after it was stolen from our garage) and we'll be able to ride there.
And I'll get Kim on the whiskeydrome next year. Just you wait!