Issaquah by bus and bike

Today was windy (so windy, I think I would have been blown off the trail had I been riding a bike of average weight!), but sunny and warmish so it seemed like a good day to experiment with taking the bike and bus 20 miles to Issaquah. I was also feeling a little anti-car after all the driving yesterday and I’m taking part in my Twitter friend, Zak Schwank’s Bike Temecula Challenge, which is open to riders not fortunate enough to reside in sunny Southern California any more :) Also, I let the boys decide if they wanted to take the car or the old mamabike and bus so they’re to blame. I’d like to build a little widget to track mileage in the right column, but for now, I’m logging my miles on a separate page.

The timing worked out perfectly for heading out of town: we arrived at the 4th and Seneca bus stop with five minutes to spare. And just in time to watch the most beautiful gold bike zoom by. The sun glinted off its gold rims and blinded me for a moment before it disappeared from view. So pretty! The bus driver was worried about my windscreen blowing off, but I assured him “It hasn’t blown off yet!” which in retrospect I realize wasn’t the best way to put it. It’s disconcerting to watch it flap around so maybe I’ll start adding one more step to my bus pre-boarding process and remove it. But in the meantime, the kids have solved the matter by choosing the front left seats on the bus so my bike is blocked from view. It’s amazing how much more relaxing a bus ride is when I can’t see my bike bouncing around.

It was too cold to walk around the trains at the Issaquah Depot Museum or climb on the train-themed play structures in adjacent Veterans’ Memorial Field, but we saw this great train mural on the two-block ride from the bus stop to Issaquah Brewhouse. It’s not the greatest food, but there’s a Lego table.

After second lunch, we took a spin through the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery. The boys’ love for salmon is fairly new so this was our first time checking it out. A quick ride around didn’t do the place justice so we’ll be back. And we’ll be sure to bring the plush salmon toys with us.

We didn’t have time to stop in at the Cut Loose Caboose barber shop which resides next to our dentist (our reason for the trip here, by the way), but we’ve pestered Maurice many times in the past. And the boys both barked in hopes that little Daisy could hear them from inside.

The way home wasn’t quite as easy. I decided to change the plan and catch the bus from the Transit Center instead of downtown so we’d have a better waiting spot. We missed the 554 by a few seconds–it was leaving the curb as we arrived. I guess I could have blocked its path and finagled my way on board, but I just muttered and let it go. Waiting 30 minutes for a bus isn’t so bad, but the kids were a little cold and a little tired (and I was getting tired and crabby). I hadn’t checked out the Transit Center buses ahead of time and it didn’t occur to me another feasible bus might come by. Too late to make a difference, I noticed a bus bound for Northgate pull away from a different bay (that may have worked!) and then a bus bound for University District (that would have been even better than the 554!). I’m too worn out from the whole ordeal to check out the other buses now, but I’ll have things better figured out for next time. And the extra waiting time allowed me the time to decide I didn’t want to ride home from downtown so we waited 10 minutes and transferred from the 554 to the 510. My main reason for the extra bus was because I knew the kids would get very cold during that last 45 minutes of riding, but the half hour of time saved and no big hill sounded mighty nice, too.

10 thoughts on “Issaquah by bus and bike

  1. When I first started tracking mileage I looked all over for a sidebar widget. If you find one, I would love to use it! The calendar looks good in the mean time :)

    You do all these amazing nearly 20mile days all the time and it occurs to me (just now), we have a town that is only about 3 miles wide, at it’s greatest and six miles if you include the neighboring town/areas. It’s only about a mile and half deep between the hills and river. Perhaps a small town isn’t too terrible :) But if I ever come out west, it’s going to kick my fanny and my calves, and my quads…

    Still envious of your bike/bus abilities! Keep up the great work.

    • Interesting. I’ve pictured your town as so big, the way you describe it. Granted, I’m not a very good map reader :) Things are going to change so much as these guys get less portable. I feel like I need to do all my busing and long trips now while I can!

      • We are 40K proper, 5k on the other side of the tracks “in town.” I hear rumors of 100k if you include 40miles in all directions, roping in OH and KY. Small city, big town? Come on out! :)

  2. I can’t remember if I’ve ever commented here before, so I’ll just say that I really enjoy your blog!

    I used to ride with a Bobike Mini and windscreen up front, and sometimes bus drivers were worried that it might blow off or something. My old setup frequently took the bus along the freeway 30 miles or so, and we never had a problem with the windscreen. I did start folding the windscreen down at some point, but I have no idea if that helped.

    Thanks for the fun post! Reading your blog makes me want to visit Seattle. It seems like there are so many interesting things to do there with kids.

    • Hi Emily, nice to “meet” you! I LOVE your bike and looking at pictures of it again just now is making me want to squeeze us all onto my old bike more often. Seattle’s the first big city I’ve lived in and there is a ton of stuff to do–often too much.

    • Apparently the Big Dummy would fit on the bus rack, but it’s not allowed. Rules in Portland may be different, I heard this is based on a couple bikes having fallen off the rack (not longtails) so to keep things simple, all non-normal bikes were banned.

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