Pedaler’s Fair crafty fun time

by Jessie Kwak

Hey, Seattle gang! What are you up to this Saturday?

Are you going to Pedaler’s Fair?


Pedaler’s Fair is a marketplace of Washington based, bicycle-inspired small businesses – but it’s way more than that! There will also be live music, workshops, presentations, and a Bicitoro Craft Table for your crafty pleasure.

Check out the schedule of events for everything that will be happening, including Bicycle Yoga, a camp cooking presentation, and a film screening.

I’ll be there from 11-5, hosting a table where you can come get your bike craft on. Come say hello!

If you’re planning on biking there, consider joining up with the Critical Lass Ride, which will be starting at Fuel Coffee in Montlake at 9:30. I’ll be riding along.

Hope to see you there!


Will someone please make this for me?

by Jessie Kwak

And once someone has made this for me, will someone please lend me their children and man friend* so that I can sew while they pedal?

*Mine doesn’t like tandems**.

**Are we calling this a tandem?


Bike Keeps Family in Stitches

CARRYING four persons and a sewing machine, the world’s weirdest bicycle recently had a tryout in Chicago, Ill. The two-story vehicle, known as the “Goofybike,” is the creation of Charles Steinlauf. It carries the whole Steinlauf family. The inventor rides at the top and guides the contraption by means of a huge automobile steering wheel. Mrs. Steinlauf sits below, operating a sewing machine, while her son pedals behind and her daughter rides on the handlebars in front. When the odd vehicle is at rest, the projecting legs of the sewing machine prevent the lofty cycle from tipping over.

Via Modern Mechanix.

I wasn’t able to find much more info on this contraption, though admittedly I left it at a Google search. I saw it originally here, a Distractify photo roundup where pretty much every photo is an awesome short story prompt.

And speaking of old timey contraptions I want, the Distractify post also featured this Whisky vending machine:


I’ll take two.


On making friends in the Pacific Northwest, or, Hey Kwak! How’re you liking Portland so far?

by Jessie Kwak

The first rule about making friends in the rain belt of the Pacific Northwest is this: the warmer the weather, the friendlier the people. We’re a hibernating folk, and I’m absolutely no exception.

Warm, sunny days will find every Seattleite (and Portlander, apparently) drinking cocktails on a patio. You’ll suddenly discover that a family of five lives in the apartment next to yours. You’ll be invited over for a barbecue.


Rainy winter days are a good time to walk briskly, and put your collar up as a ward against the sleet and the stranger.

This cultural hibernation couldn’t have come at a better time for me. I was so burned out by the time we moved that I have basically spent the last four months staring at text messages with suspicion and inventing excuses not to leave the house. Like the rest of Portland, however, I’m starting to thaw.

So how do I like Portland?

For one, even during the Great Winter Hibernation it’s been way easy to make friends. Say you meet someone at a party in Seattle. You have an awesome conversation, you exchange phone numbers, and agree that you should totally hang out again.

The follow-up email/text exchange may go something like this.

You: “It was so great to meet you last night at the party. I’d love to grab a cup of coffee if you’re free in the next couple weeks!”

Potential Friend: “Definitely! I’d love to hang out!”

You: “Awesome. What’s your schedule like this week? I’m free Monday and Wednesday after 3.”

Potential Friend: *radio silence for 3 months until you awkwardly meet at another party and they gush that you should totally hang out but then don’t answer your next texts.*

In Portland, in my experience, that frustrating radio silence has been replaced almost universally with the prompt finalization of a coffee date. I’m not sure if people in Portland are less busy, more unemployed, or just friendlier, but it’s made it way less frustrating to meet people.

I’ve also been taking advantage of Meetup to connect with other writers and cyclists, and have met some fantastic people through groups like Women on Wheels. The Portland Society has been another great source of awesome like-minded folk to hang out with.

Last Saturday's Women on Wheels ride to Lake Oswego.

Last Saturday’s Women on Wheels ride to Lake Oswego.

I feel like I’m almost done with my hibernation period. Maybe by the time May rolls around I won’t freak out if I have more than one event on my calendar in a single week. (I’m serious. I’ve been a total shut-in.)

I like Portland, though. I can’t deny that.

I thought you could fly your freak flag in Seattle, but it turns out that Portland is trying to win some sort of championship in freak flag flymanship. It’s kind of amazing. As I write this, the dude sitting across the bar from me is wearing full on purple pajamas with rainbows on them and a chullo hat.

Anyway, if you’re still reading, that’s how I like Portland so far.

It seems like everywhere I turn people are moving new places. Did you? How are you coping? How have you created a new community from scratch?


Crafting with Inner Tubes is now available

by Jessie Kwak

Okay, all the teasing is over — I’m now officially ready to launch the first-ever Bicitoro ebook: Crafting with Inner Tubes.

Click to read more about it. You can even snag a copy of your own if you want – I won't stop you.

Click to read more about it. You can even snag a copy of your own if you want – I won’t stop you.

I already gushed about it a ton last week and on its sales page, so I’ll spare you much more here.

I’m selling it for $6, but I’ve got a special deal for anyone who’s subscribed to my email list — it’s only $0.99 until April 15. Sign up for the list and I’ll send you the code.

Happy crafting!


Flooding in Burundi hits close to home

by Jessie Kwak

This has nothing to do with bikes, nor crafts. A few years back I worked with an organization called Global Citizen Journey as their communications team leader. At that time, they sponsored a women’s farming collective in Burundi – but in February torrential rains and flooding wiped out the women’s livelihood. Their crops were destroyed in their fields, and all the tools and supplies GCJ helped them purchase were lost. About half of them lost their homes, as well.

The floods moved this storage container full of tools almost 65 feet.

The floods moved this storage container full of tools almost 65 feet. Photo by Prosper Ndabishuriye.

I wrote an article about it for the Seattle Globalist, and I wanted to share it with you all. GCJ’s contact in Burundi is raising money to help the women rebuild – there’s a link at the bottom of the page.

These women could use a hand up if you’ve got a few extra dollars to spare.

Three of the women pose with what rice they've managed to salvage from storage after the flooding. They lost nearly 2 tons. Photo by Prosper Ndabishuriye.

Three of the women pose with what rice they’ve managed to salvage after the flooding. They lost nearly 2 tons. Photo by Prosper Ndabishuriye.