June 29, 2022 – Wednesday
First and foremost it is important to share that I would not be able to do a single thing I do without help from my husband. Whenever I am not available to do the “mom” things – he steps in and takes over (including full time when I am traveling for work). He cooks and cleans and takes care of the kids – he helps with their education, with homework, with all of the various crises that invariably sprout up. He helps manage Avi’s OCD and the complications that arise from that (that’s a full-time job right there!) He also takes care of me when I am working and have deadlines or tons of work to do at home; he makes sure I eat healthy foods and also that I take breaks to move my body (going on walks with me in the middle of writing marathons or short bike rides whenever possible) and he even encourages me to try to sleep every now and then! Since I broke my Leg (January 6, 2021) he has been working double overtime on all of that too!
Outside of being an amazing husband and father (and “silent” business partner) he has been an inventor and builder of folding bicycles, folding bicycle component innovations and bicycle trailers for decades too. He has designed and created the lightest folding bike (about 15 lbs) with the biggest gear range (27 speeds) that also folds up the smallest (fits in the overhead bin in a standard airplane.) [It’s not the lightest folding bike ever – but it is specifically the lightest folding bike with the biggest gear range – so it’s actually rideable, like your regular road bike or mountain bike!]
Unfortunately his work with bikes was put almost fully on hold when we chose (as a couple) to prioritize my childhood Lead poisoning prevention advocacy work (and made it a full time commitment) back in early 2012. Then, with the formation of my *new* business model (back in December of 2016) and subsequent creation of Lead Safe Mama, LLC (in January of 2018) as the vehicle for the work we both do helping families around the country (he edits nearly everything I write – especially for punctuation, which I suck at! – this post is a good example!) we deliberately chose to include in the new business model the development and prototyping (and hopefully eventually the production and sale / distribution) of environmentally conscious products (products that are a better choice for the environment in one way or another.)
We are actually working on developing several environmentally conscious products (including a few key Lead-free kitchenware items), but the development and prototyping of most of those products has been on hold while we focus our time and financial resources on the Federal Civil Rights legal battle I have been part of that has been going on now for more than 6 years.
One of the product projects at this moment is our work (together) finalizing the design and production specs for the Ultimate Folding Bicycle (his ongoing prototype project of the past 30+ years, starting long before we met.) The Ultimate Folding Bicycle is an environmental initiative (in line with the work of Lead Safe Mama, LLC) in that the goal is to completely replace the function of a car, making the use of a car (in an urban environment with intermodal transit available) not necessary. Removing cars from the bigger equations is – of course – one of the best ways to help save the environment for future generations (especially in the context of reducing the pollutants in our air and soil and water). A focus of this project is also to create a bicycle that has a majority of components that will last practically forever – or at least as long as possible (versus the planned obsolescence of components that is integral to the design [and revenue streams!] of so many bicycle manufacturers today.) As a means to an end (as part of the prototyping and design process) he also – occasionally – takes on custom bike modification projects for clients looking to lighten their folding bike (typically working with Bromptons – but sometimes with other folders as well) or to make their folding bike more functional (for whatever their daily practical use of the bike might be.)
To help keep this bike project alive (even during times when we don’t have the financial resources to make any progress on the project) we like to engage with the public on the issue whenever possible (and especially each year for Portland’s Pedalpalooza event – every year that we can fit a free open-to-the-pubic folding bike event into our schedule!)
We had a “Folding Bike Summit” at our house (earlier this month, June 2022) as a way to connect with other like-minded folding bike enthusiasts – to share ideas and discuss the pros and cons of the various folding bikes on the market. A videographer was present at the event (which was part of the 2022 Bike Summer / Portland’s Pedalpalooza) and he filmed it and then cut together this fun little video which I think does a nice job of depicting my husband and his passion for a car-free world. Thank you for taking the time to watch it! [It’s a good summary of my husband, his work and his passion!]