30 Days of Biking 2014 – Day 12

Today we headed five miles east on the Burke-Gilman Trail to Magnuson Park for the Celebrate Urban Nature Festival. On the way we discovered the new connector to Children’s Hospital is open! We’ll have to schedule another doughnut delivery soon and use it.

The kids get so excited when we enter the two-way cycle track connecting the Burke-Gilman Trail to Magnuson Park, but not all adults like it. Note the guy riding uphill in the street rather than use the cycle track. I often see downhill bicyclists skip the cycle track, or at least exit it at the bottom-most green patch to avoid the confusing exit. I’d love if it had a separate bicycle light and both straight and diagonal intersection crossing markings or at least something. As it was, I crossed straight and loitered at the corner, in the way of right-on-red turning cars, debating if I should just cross through the red light to get out of the way, completing my left turn.

We stopped at University Village shopping center for lunch. It’s always fun to have the cargo bike there–moms with kids, shopping, and minivans can really appreciate a big bike.

Then onto Solsticio to meet up with visiting friends.

I met Joyanna at Portland DRT where she helped save the day with her regular bike and trailer. Today she and Joseph test rode my bike…I wonder if they’ll catch the cargo bike bug. It’s funny because normally Seattleites go down to Portland and experiment with cargo biking, not the other away around!

The four-year old and I took a little ride in the evening. I send him uphill on the sidewalk, but downhill in the street behind me. He can make it up OK without stopping, but the 16-inch single speed seems a little slow for uphill in the street.

Today’s miles: 13.8 miles
April cumulative: 164.6 miles

Bikes ridden: 1
April cumulative: 7

Dogs: 4
April cumulative: 12

30 Days of Biking 2014 – Day 11

New kickstand day! The four-year old and I biked down to Georgetown to see Haulin’ Colin of Cyclefab and pick up my repaired Rolling Jackass center stand. It’s ten miles away so there was SO MUCH to see (and document).

A construction wiggle had the happy result of us cruising by the Puget Sound Bike Share (coming late summer!) on the way to the Bell Street Park for Cars. Here my son is keeping an eye on the pack of bicycle cops a couple blocks behind us. We lost ‘em.

We took 1st from there and went by Hammering Man:

Two breakfasts wasn’t enough so we stopped for a snack in Pioneer Square. Second-to-last look at the loaner RJ thanks to G&O Family Cyclery.

The snack was just enough to stave off a tantrum because “I WANT A BAGEL!” and lo and behold, we happened upon a bagel place farther down 1st. No bike rack, but the motorcycle parked in the center of a spot so I figured I would, too. The kid wanted to stay out on the bike so I left him and ran in for a plain bagel (and cookies for Colin and Garth). A women in line behind me said I was “the coolest mom” and I’m pretty sure she meant she liked the bike and not that I’d left my kid unattended upon it.

And here we are! Last look at the black loaner center stand.

My original Rolling Jackass is super duper reinforced now:

And we got a sneak peek at the frame of this mobile repair trike they’re building for Bike Works. It’s enormous! And will have an electric-assist.

I didn’t particularly enjoy riding all the way down 1st, but Colin convinced me it was better than 4th, which only has a narrow sidewalk on one side for the bridge over the railyard. So we retraced our steps and thankfully there was much less broken glass going north. We had a lovely view of Mount Rainier on the way down, but the clouds shifted and obscured her on the way back up. But the railyard was view enough–big driving crane lifting containers onto flatcars!

Mesmerizing.

And northbound 1st meant we could stop by the baseball stadium and climb on The Mitt.

And`we paid a visit to Back Alley Bike Repair.

Bad angle above. Here’s a better one. If you haven’t been down in a while, it no longer smells like pee! Before it was only cleaned monthly for First Thursday, but it must be on a more aggressive spraying-down schedule now. Yay.

Heading home we cut up to 4th to check out The Blue Trees at Westlake Park, but THE BLUE TREES AREN’T BLUE ANYMORE!

Thank goodness the Belltown Popsicle is the same as it ever was.

As is the Space Needle:

While huffing up Dexter I watched this guy get off a bus across the street with a heavy bag and a bike. He had a bit of trouble getting started and my wish came true when he crossed to our side of the road. I caught up to him and asked if I could carry his bag, but he declined (politely) and said he was almost home. He turned down that super steep hill–eek.

While waiting for the Fremont Bridge to let two sailboats through we noticed an enormous ship in Lake Union (above the Cervelo). We do a lot of boat watching and had never seen this one before.

I was eager to get home and have an hour to relax before school got out, but we had to detour through Gas Works Park and ride up kite hill to get a better look at the big ship. It was very weird–it motored itself in a couple circles before taking off towards, and through, the Fremont Bridge. I guessed it was lost and noticed the police boat dock and tried to get their attention to ask directions. Poor big boat. No one ever came out to help.

And then the funniest thing happened on our way out of the park. I joke about hop-ons and today had a few people pretend to want rides (and I’ve offered pretend rides before–real rides are reserved for people I know), but this guy with the trailer got a real hop-on! A random toddler grabbed onto the trailer’s push bar and hitched a quick ride before his mother wrestled him off. It was awesome!

With a stop at Katsu Burger for lunch to break up the pedaling, we were out of the house from 9:45 to 3. Quite a big day…especially when it’s just the one kid and we don’t need to be out all day because there’s no siblings-fighting-at-home to avoid. Oops, my secret is out: we probably wouldn’t bike around so much if the kids played more peaceably at home.

Today’s miles: 20 miles
April cumulative: 150.8 miles

Bikes ridden: 1
April cumulative: 7

Dogs: 4
April cumulative: 12

30 Days of Biking 2014 – Day 10

While the six-year old was in school all day, the four-year old and I headed to the tippy top of Queen Anne for a playdate.

Next time we’ll try the “flat” route up (third picture down), but today we took the easy way up:

I still haven’t figured out a way to carry both kids multi-modally since we outgrew the last incarnation of the old mamabike, but it’s great for one-kid days.

Nothing incredibly spectacular today, but we stopped to chat with and pet four dogs while biking by. This snuggly little puppy at Solsticio doesn’t count since we weren’t on the bike, but I did get to hold him for 10 minutes.

Today’s miles: 7.8 miles
April cumulative: 130.8 miles

Bikes ridden: 1
April cumulative: 7

Dogs: 4
April cumulative: 12

30 Days of Biking 2014 – Day 9

After dropping the kids at school I switched to bigger and quieter cargo, my friend Alyssa’s new EdgeRunner. She was busy using her Xtracycled Breezer to carry her cross bike and Burley Piccolo. Not that she couldn’t have carried all three bikes, but she knows I like to haul cargo bikes.

Alyssa was dropping bikes off to be worked on, but the real reason we were at JRA was to check out a tandem bike. We’ve been daydreaming about a tandem bike lately, but we need to figure out a way to hide it from our spouses.

Tandem time!

The tandem was super fun and we each took a turn being the captain. We didn’t end up taking the tandem so it’s still available at JRA and can be yours for a suggested $50 donation to a bicycle-oriented non profit, such as Washington Bikes, Bike Works or Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance.

The only other excitement of the day was when one of the straps holding my Xtracycle FreeLoader buckle to the v-rack broke off. The original velcro had already broken a while ago and I’d reattached it with two zip ties. Of course my bag of groceries didn’t fall out here on the sidewalk, but rather in an intersection…but very close to the corner so it didn’t get run over.

Now to find my stash of zip ties. And dream of tandem bikes.

Today’s miles: 21.1 miles
April cumulative: 123 miles

Bikes ridden: 2
April cumulative: 6

Dogs: 0
April cumulative: 8

30 Days of Biking 2014 – Day 8

Today was not gorgeous out like yesterday, but it didn’t rain until 3pm so that was something to celebrate…with some morning clowning around on the bike:

On the way to PCC after preschool pickup we saw a car use the contra-flow bike lane rather than honor the one-way road and go around the block. I’ve seen this happen just a handful of times, but I bet it’s a common occurrence. It’s a great bike lane in theory, but there’s usually an armored truck parked in it when we visit the grocery store. Upon leaving the grocery store we saw two guys walking their bikes in the bike lane. It certainly does serve a lot of different purposes.

In the evening I ditched the kids to be a panelist at Cascade Bicycle Club’s Cycling Wisdom by Women, for Women. I met a couple friends at Fremont Brewing Company to lead a group ride over. I think if it hadn’t been raining a few more women would have made it out.

Great turn out at the event, 40-50 women on a late (if, like me, you consider 7-9pm late) and rainy night.

Photo courtesy Martha Walsh

Photo courtesy Martha Walsh

Cascade Bicycle Club is going to start more women’s programming. Here’s the brand new Resources for women cyclists web page, revealed on the big screen at the panel. Ooh, I’m “bicycling supermom”!!

Today’s miles: 19.2 miles
April cumulative: 101.9 miles

Bikes ridden: 1
April cumulative: 5

Dogs: 0
April cumulative: 8

30 Days of Biking 2014 – Day 7

Seattle was gorgeous today! Hottest day since last October, high of 71F and 52–and clear!–already at 8:40 a.m. [I still can't believe I think 52 is warm. This weather-wimpy Southern Californian has totally adapted!] Blue-sky view from the Burke-Gilman Trail on the way to preschool:

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This guy was soaking in the sun while smoking a cigarette in front of one of our favorite Henry murals. He had a computer bag nearby so I think he was also waiting for the bus.

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One kid down, one to go. Here we are waiting for the light to turn left off Nickerson. Five lanes at this spot, four lanes in most, all pretty unfriendly. Full disclosure: I normally take the sidewalk for Nickerson because I can’t keep up with the fast-moving traffic–there’s a sharrow in the right lane, alongside parked cars. But if there’s a big opening in traffic I’ll take to the road because crossing the long way around in the crosswalks adds over five minutes to our rushed commute.

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After preschool we hit the library, but just a quick visit so as not to waste the sunshine.

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Since we were just a couple blocks from the Fremont Troll, it seemed like a good day to get dusty. It’s sooooo dusty at the Troll.

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Heading past Gas Works Park I yelled at a woman who ran the stop sign from Meridian. There’s something I neglected to mention about yesterday’s Kidical Mass: as we headed out of Gas Works Park along the gravel path to the west of the parking lot, we came across a crash scene. It looked like a car had struck a pedestrian or bicyclist and I quickly turned the group around, I think before any kids realized what had happened. We were able to cut through the parking lot and continue onto the trail. So I lost my cool watching this woman ignore the stop sign at this same intersection one day later. The passenger had his window down so they must have heard me shout, “Nice stop!” a couple feet from their car. Incidents like this always leave me with a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach–mad yelling never feels right afterwards. Maybe I should have said something loud enough, but not angry. I dunno.

To raise my spirits we continued along to UW to check out the new two-way protected bike lanes/cycle track on 40th…but The Ellen Show was on campus and I couldn’t get through with my usual route. Hard to see in my small picture, but it’s solid people beyond the fountain.

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Lovely view of Mount Rainier in the other direction…also impossible to see in my small picture.

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A nice volunteer directed me around the mayhem and we came across one of the UW self-service bicycle repair stations, situated next to a covered bike corral. While admiring it I heard my name–it was Henry of Liontail Cycles! He was en route to his parked Xtracycle to carry his visiting brother to a sail boat. Just a two-hour tour so he should be back for his new job at G&O Family Cyclery this and every Saturday–what an exciting pairing!

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The cycle track looks nice. It’s two blocks long, running along NE 40th Street from the edge of UW at 15th Ave NE to Brooklyn Ave NE. There are currently four-way stops at The Ave and Brooklyn, but it looks like stop lights will be added. I’m curious to see if there will be a push-to-cross button accessible by bike, but that doesn’t seem feasible with a two-way cycle track (well, not for both directions, anyway).

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And one last lovely view of Mount Rainier on the way home. It’s right above the. The SUV in front of the red truck, that is. Talk about a lot of big cars. The stop sign runner was in a station wagon, by the way. Carrrrrrrrs!

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Today’s miles: 13.3 miles
April cumulative: 82.7 miles

Bikes ridden: 1
April cumulative: 5

Dogs: 1
April cumulative: 8

30 Days of Biking 2014 – Day 6

Our morning started with a soccer game–Mr. Family Ride could come today so there were five bikes for our team…and with one kid out sick and the Wheelha.us family toting an extra player, that meant only one kid didn’t show up by bike.

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And then more fun with Kidical Mass! I liked this month’s format: we hung out at Gas Works Park for an hour and a half for chatting, kiddie games, and test riding before heading out on our ride. (All my pix here)

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Here’s a “OK, who wants a rice cake?” pause en route while waiting for a small tantrum to finish up a ways back. I had my own misstep shortly after this when my two free-riding children collided and a hurt arm required the remainder of the four-year old’s ride take place on the FlightDeck.

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Our ride ended at the Moisture Festival and we intended to stay and watch, but the sound was too loud for the kid without sensitive ears so we headed back towards home.

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We made it to the Google Steps where we stopped for a snack. I had a little laugh when our bikes stopped traffic. I eventually walked down to ask if he had any questions about the bike, but it turns out he was just admiring the layering of the three bikes. It also turns out we had met two years ago at Totem House and talked bikes then, too!

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Here’s a picturesque water sip (and horseplay) stop as we headed back to Gas Works Park.

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And here’s a not-as-picturesque water sip stop a bit up the road. There are A LOT of water sip stops when riding with kids. They’re gradually getting fewer and farther between…though it might be the pedaling and bigger wheels making them just seem so.

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Today’s miles: 6.9 miles
April cumulative: 69.4 miles

Bikes ridden: 1
April cumulative: 5

Dogs: 0
April cumulative: 7