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Thursday 3 August 2017

Pedalfest 2017

A few weekends back we spent the day at one of our favorite local festivals: Pedalfest at Oakland's Jack London Square.

If you're not familiar with Pedlafest, it's a whole day dedicated to bike riding fun. There are all sorts of crazy bikes to try out, fun rides for the kids, tasty food, amazing stunt shows, markets, a bicycle powered stage and a ton of other bike related fun.

We arrived just in time for the girls to decorate their bikes with streamers and colorful tape, and take part in the kids' bike parade which made it's way through the festival. We've missed it in previous years so the girls were happy to make it in time, even if it was a little smaller this year. They joined a group of kids and followed a tall bike along the parade route.

As the parade made its way through the festival, it was a great way for the kids to check out everything on offer. They spotted some fun rides and as soon as they were done with the parade we made our way straight there. Ava was excited to take a turn on the pedal powered ferris wheel that she has ridden in previous years, as well as at Maker Faire. Lola was a little scared though so she gave this one a miss. She was happy to join Ava on a ride that spun around rather than up and down though.

Right by the rides we came across an art installation in progress so the girls put on aprons, grabbed some paints and brushes and added their mark to the artwork. Both Ava and Lola painted a sunny scene with a bike, while Mathilde painted a helicopter, a person, a bike, some flowers, a bottle and an attempt at writing her name - or just random letters.

We were pretty hungry by this point so we headed to a crepe stand and ordered some lunch which we ate under the shade of tall palm trees. And yes, those are Nutella and strawberry crepes that the girls are eating for lunch. Hey, it's a festival!

The market stalls at Pedalfest featured plenty of local bicycle companies, including Yuba, the maker of Mathilde's balance bike (and our long ago stolen cargo bike). I've been wanting to add a few accessories to Mathilde's bike (it is a mini cargo bike, after all) and they just happened to have baskets and saddle bags for sale so we kitted her bike out with a basket and saddle bags. She was pretty happy about her new accessories

We then headed to the kids' bicycle rodeo where the kids practiced bike and road safety skills in large room. As Mathilde rides a balance bike she was grouped with the kids who were learning to ride for the first time. Most of these kids were much older and were riding regular bikes with the pedals taken off while they practiced their balance. Mathilde is a pro on a her balance bike and zooms around everywhere with her feet up, but during the bicycle rodeo she decided to copy the bigger kids who weren't used to riding a balance bike. This meant that she purposely wobbled when they wobbled, she rode her bike slowly like they did, and several times she even threw her bike to the ground and pretended to fall off it when a bigger kid fell of theirs! She's so used to bigger kids being better at things than she is so she was confused! After a while she worked out that she could just ride her bike properly and not worry about what the other kids were doing.

While the kids were inside taking part in the bike rodeo a BMX stunt show was happening just outside. I stepped out to watch it just in time to see one of the BMX riders jump over a family standing on top of the ramp.

It was a pretty hot day so once the girls were done with the bicycle rodeo we grabbed some (free!) ice cream from a nearby stand. Mathilde decided that her new basket was the perfect place to put her ice cream so she could eat it while riding!

Ava and Lola's favorite part of Pedalfest every year is riding the crazy up-cycled bikes, so they were keen to head to those as soon as possible. So once we were done with ice cream we headed to the back through the festival to the crazy bikes. Along the way we came across some pretty fun bikes. The girls especially loved the dog in sunglasses hitching a ride in his owner's vest!

Dogs are pretty cool, but bubbles are even better, so when we came upon the Bubbles not Bullets group with their fleet of bubble making bikes Mathilde didn't want to go any further. Kim took Ava and Lola to ride the crazy bikes while I spent a good half hour attempting to coax Mathilde away from the bubble fun.

Eventually we made our way to the crazy bikes. As always, most of them were too big for Lola and Mathilde, but there were plenty that Ava was able to ride, and even one that the girls took turns in taking Mathilde for rides on.

The day always goes by super fast when we're at Pedalfest, and before we knew it it was time to go home. The girls had had a ton of fun on the bike rides, eaten lots of tasty food and enjoyed being out in the sunshine for the day.

Have you been to Pedalfest before? Do you have a bike festival where you live? I'd love to hear.

P.S. You can see our previous visits to Pedalfest here:
Pedalfest 2012
Pedalfest 2013
Pedalfest 2014
Pedalfest 2015
Pedalfest 2016

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