Archive | October 2011

Pumpkin season

We ran a couple Halloween-related errands by bike today: white pants for a costume (similar, but even better than last year’s sharrow) and mini pumpkins to decorate the porch.

After drawing faces on the pumpkins, the boys took them out for a spin in their balance bike baskets. Naturally, we headed for Halloweeny house around the corner to infuse the new pumpkins with spooky spirit.

Yesterday’s miles: 0 miles
Today’s miles: 10.6 miles
October cumulative: 127.5 miles
Days missed: 3

I-5 Colonnade

A troll tucked under the Aurora Bridge is nice, but a mountain bike park under the freeway is brilliant. We discovered it on our way to Capitol Hill. I don’t think I found the easiest route, but I was able to make it without walking. The first uphill block, on Roanoke alongside Rogers Playground was steep, but short, and there’s a nice one-block path behind the park.

The path under the freeway was nice and wide and the mountain bike trails were impressive. I didn’t try any of the trails, but I wouldn’t mind going back with the mountain bike to check out the easy Tqalu Trail.

Google maps suggested I take a left on Belmont, but it looked pretty steep and I could see the inviting Melrose Trail straight ahead so we went rogue. I arbitrarily chose Thomas Street as my left-turn hill and instantly regretted it. I think I normally wouldn’t have made it up the steep bricky block, but I was determined to make it to Capitol Hill all in the saddle. Next time I think I’ll stay on Melrose all the way to Pine and see how that works. But hopefully next time won’t be too soon.

Today’s miles: 10.0 miles
October cumulative: 116.9 miles
Days missed: 2

Bike fenders on the bus

Oxbow Park was so fun last week we had to go again. I wanted to bike the whole way down, not because I was in the mood for an hour-long ride, but because I wasn’t sure about putting the arm of the bus bike rack on my fender. Unfortunately the kids were really looking forward to the Westlake Transit Tunnel so the bus it was.

I’d been putting the bike rack arm directly on the tire, in front of the fender, but when someone tried to help me last week and wanted to put it on the fender I took to Twitter to ask VeloBusDriver because that seemed easier than checking the Metro site. Now I know that yes, one should put the arm on the fender and not worry about it getting squished, but this morning I hadn’t yet decided what to do and just let the friendly guy who ran up and wanted to help put the arm where he wanted to (on the fender). It weathered the ride just fine and on the way home I noticed the sticker right on the arm of the rack making it clear to squish the fender.

Once we were Hat n’ Booted out, we took the 124 bus to King Street Station again, but didn’t take the long route along the waterfront home this time. Last week we discovered the tree sweaters are gone from Pioneer Square, but today we found a new batch in City Hall Park.

We had to get creative with layers on the way home. I had the foresight to bring a towel along to remove overnight rain from the slides, but I didn’t account for the boys playing in the drinking fountain and getting all wet. Wrapping the big kid in my sweater did the trick for him, but the little kid wouldn’t trade his damp sweater for dry jacket and seemed to be OK with just the addition of mittens. Time to become a better Pacific Northwesterner and travel with more layers.

Today’s miles: 14.8 miles
October cumulative: 106.9 miles
Days missed: 2

Woodland Park

I made it up Fremont Avenue with just the front passenger! We stopped halfway up to watch a squirrel and take a picture of a cool mosaic, but I could have made it in one go. Looking at the picture of the bike, I’m feeling tempted to replace the black tire with a red wall to match. Poor sloppy Milano.

I thought we were meeting friends at the zoo for a leisurely stroll so I bungeed the stroller to the bike, but the plan changed to a ramble through Woodland Park. I hadn’t been to this part of the park since last year’s cyclocross race here. Last year we had one entrant in the kiddie category, but we’ll try to get them both on the course this year. I’m contemplating trying it myself, too–eek! I’ve heard beginners can borrow a bike. I’m not so jazzed about the fact that juniors race at the same time as beginners and ten-year olds will lap me as I struggle aroung the course.

This afternoon, we took advantage of the rare sunny day and headed to South Lake Union Park for Floating Farmers Market aboard our favorite boat, the Virginia V. This was our first visit since the fish taco (and other tasty items) vendor joined up. And my other favorite, Hart Coffee is still aboard.

Lunch and frolickng aboard the ship wasn’t enough Virginia V for the boys so on our way home we stopped in the Armchair Sailor on Westlake to admire the $650 scale model of her. Unfortunately, someone bought her and it was the last one. But even the disappointed boys couldn’t fault the sweet story–a man who’d been married aboard the ship (I’m imagining 50 years ago, but it’s probably much more recent) was overjoyed to see the model and had to have it.

Yesterday’s miles: 0.2 miles
Today’s miles: 14.4 miles
October cumulative: 92.1 miles
Days missed: 2

Improper raingear

Today was Bike Expo day all over again. A jacket I thought was rainproof proved to be no match for the deluge that hit within minutes of leaving the house. It’s twelve years old and has never faced more than a drizzle. It made for a miserable ride, but at least the kids were dry. Tomorrow I think I’ll trade my ladies medium for Mr. Family Ride’s mens large Endura Luminite Jacket I got for him from Ride Bicycles. Notice the tags are still on it. I got it eons ago and it’s time it got to go on a ride.

Yesterday’s miles: 9.0 miles
Today’s miles: 9.1 miles
October cumulative: 77.5 miles
Days missed: 2

Neighborhood Greenways

I finally made it to my first neighborhood greenways ride–in neighboring University District with the University Greenways group. (This video, Portland’s Bike Boulevards Become Neighborhood Greenways, explains neighborhood greenways.) We biked up bumpy, but quiet side streets and I got a nice feel for the U-District. I’m embarrassed to admit that my first time riding up The Ave was after the Safe Street Social Ride. What a vibrant neighborhood! And hardly uphill from home.

The kids and I thought this rain cover on Bob’s bike was so cool:

A few days ago on the bus a guy said my bike reminded him of the ones he’d seen in Japan, except they had umbrellas on them. Via On Our Own Two Wheels I found this great commercial for them:

Umbrellas make me nervous on foot so I’m not about to try one of these out, but they’re pretty cool! Except for the rear kid who gets soaked while mom and front kid stay dry, that is.

We didn’t stay for the after-party at Cafe Allegro and swung by Trader Joe’s on our way home instead. We saw the cutest be-tigered cruiser there. Is there anywhere else in this city with bikes as cool as those at the U-District Trader Joe’s?

In the afternoon we drove to a party at David Rodgers Park. We biked last time and I thought it was halfway up Queen Anne, but arriving from the south after an airport drop-off I realized it’s on Queen Anne. I can’t believe I got there by bike last time! Of course there was a lot of walking involved, but still. My friend who lives next to the park told me Florentia to 3rd is the easiest route so maybe I’ll try by bike again next time.

Yesterday’s miles: 0 miles
Today’s miles: 4.8 miles
October cumulative: 77.5 miles
Days missed: 2

Hat n’ Boots

I’m a sucker for oversized landmarks so when I discovered Oxbow Park on Monday, I couldn’t wait to get down there to check out the 22-foot-high cowboy boots and 44-foot-wide cowboy hat. We took it easy and biked to the Downtown Transit Tunnel and caught a bus most of the way there. The monstrous Americana was everything I’d hoped and next time perhaps we’ll bike all the way down.

On the bus back towards downtown, the boys caught sight of the King Street Station and suggested we get off there to see some trains. That led to a spin through Occidental Park where we watched Downtown Throwdown being setup. We’ll try to get down to see a bit of it tomorrow. On our way there we discovered Waterfall Garden Park which the boys thought was too cool, but I thought was rather funny: there was lots of seating and several groups of people in park, but it was SO LOUD I don’t see how anyone could enjoy the place.

We took the long way home through the locks and saw an airplane-fuselage-carrying freight train–one of our favorites. We hit up Dutch Bike Co (from here on out to be called “Dutch Bike Co Beeeenana”) for bananas. But even better, Travis caught sight of me and came running with an allen key to tighten various stuff up on my bike. It seems I’ve successfully demonstrated to him how incompetent I am.

While waiting for the bus north, I saw a tweet by Totcyle about the Hilliard’s Brewery grand opening featuring Skillet Street Food so we crashed the party. The can-shaped glasses (third picture down) were adorable, but I don’t know if the drinkers got to keep them; my root beer came in a small plastic cup. A four pack of cans came home with us (in my bag, not in the kid’s lap).

Yesterday’s miles: 4.2 miles
Today’s miles: 25.4 miles
October cumulative: 72.7 miles
Days missed: 1