Hooray for the Internet. Two months ago, A Simple Six e-introduced me to Hum of the City so we could coordinate meeting in person today in Seattle. Having just spent a few rain-free days in Portland where she discovered the awesome BionX electric assist, it was only fitting for me to stick her on my plain ol’ Surly Big Dummy, lead her over some hills, and summon the rain to help cement the dream of upgrading to e-assist in her mind.
Actually, I kept things flat for the most part. I even thought about trying to meet down at Gas Works Park rather than at my Wallingford house so we could avoid hills all together. But hey, she rides in San Francisco! And the weather was much too crappy for an outdoor rendezvous. So instead, I planned a series of stops at which to dry out. We started with second breakfast at Solsticio, right on the Burke-Gilman Trail and then some chocolate sampling at the Theo Chocolate factory. I took us off the trail to take the bike lane up 34th into Fremont to show off one of Seattle’s two green bike boxes, but she’d just seen a bunch of them in Portland. This was probably the only time I’ve ever caught a green light at Fremont and 34th so I couldn’t point out our sole bike traffic light for the southwest corner (it wasn’t worth stopping in the rain), but the old school man-in-the-house sharrows by PCC made the detour worth it.
And soon we were eating chocolate. The kids were quite taken with the display for Theo World Bicycle Relief 70% Sea Salt Dark Chocolate Bar. And I learned
Theo’s is a Bicycle Benefits member, a wonderful organization I’ve been meaning to join. At half off a classic chocolate bar, it won’t take too many visits for the $5 reflective sticker to pay for itself…not to mention the sixty other participating Seattle businesses (and oodles of non-Seattle businesses).
We walked across the street to pop into Free Range Cycles, but our real bike shop destination was Dutch Bike Co. I’d forgotten about the Burke-Gilman Trail bollard removal so we detoured along the sidewalk of Leary for several blocks. I feel fortunate it’s legal to ride on the sidewalk in Seattle. I don’t utilize the sidewalk every day, but it’s useful for certain car-congested areas around town and since I already travel about the same speed as a pedestrian, it works great. It’s not legal to bike on the sidewalk in San Francisco so this was a new experience for the Hum of the City crew.
Then we headed towards home and the hills. I took us by Essential Baking Company to show off our fish-shaped bike corral, but an empty, rainy Seattle bike corral is not as cool as the bike-laden Portland ones. Sigh. We took Densmore uphill so we could pass the bike tree. I usually take Meridian uphill, but then we would have missed the bike corral and bike tree. It feels less steep than Densmore to me, but checking on veloroutes, Meridian comes up at 5.3% grade and Densmore 4.9%. And Stone is 4.1%, but that requires three extra blocks uphill so it’s less direct. The hills didn’t phase Hum of the City. The last photo was taken at Densmore and 40th, where they were all smiles, but I was hoping for a short rest and ended up cursing the motorists that insisted on stopping at the intersection so we could cross.