Today was our second visit to Bicycle Sunday to ride the three-mile stretch of Lake Washington Blvd while it’s closed to cars. Our last visit was three summers ago, five weeks before our second kid was born. That day we drove down and brought our bikes on the back of Mr. Family Ride’s big car which we’ve since gotten rid of (yay!). My Bianchi Milano city bike sported just the Bobike mini front baby seat at the time.
Today we left the car and Mr. Family Ride at home and biked down. The seven hilly miles to the start of the event were hard, even though this was the more-downhill-than-uphill direction, but I’m glad to have done it and skipped my original plan of letting the light rail train do most of the work. I haven’t taken the Big Dummy on the light rail yet and I don’t think it will fit in the elevators I’ve used with my old bike so I was planning to ride an hour south to the SODO station and ride just a few stops.
I didn’t study the route too closely ahead of time, but it was OK since there are signs started from the Burke-Gilman Trail, pointing bicyclists to and along the Lake Washington Loop. I also caught up to a couple roadies at a red light and they took me through the Arboretum. I think the Arboretum may be slightly more hilly than the signed Lake Washington Loop, but when we stopped at the crossroads I noted the other route started uphill and agreed we should do their original plan and take the downhill choice. It was nice to have other riders to follow, but we parted ways after a couple hills. He was training for STP and doing the entire loop and she was just out for a ride, only (only!) riding support for STP this year.
A bit more than an hour from when we left home, we made it to the start line! I like that the sign was changed from BICYCLE SUNDAY to BICYCLE DAY. It has such a nice ring to it.
This was my first time using my Xtracycle WideLoader. I could fit both balance bikes on one side…but that meant I had to amass close to 20 pounds of stuff for the other side to keep things balanced. The kids didn’t ride the whole closed course–the first mile included several stops to pick dandelions and then they got confused by a couple intersections than let cars through the closed course. I was a bit confused by it, too, to tell the truth. And then they just tired out and let me carry them to the Seward Park playground where we set up a picnic and I lazed in the shade while they dug in the sand pit. I think our next visit might not be until they’re both pedaling and can better appreciate what’s going on down here.
We also checked out the Seward Park beach and utilized the FreeLoader bag full of sand toys I’d packed. I had a great view of the boulevard from my shady spot under a tree and I noted a lot of tandems whizzing by. I’m particularly interested by tandems since I figure that will be one of our future setups. I even saw one triple. It was piloted by three adults, as were all the tandems. While I did see quite a few kids out, I wondered if the majority of the riders we saw were just taking their regular weekend spin around the lake, no matter if it’s Bicycle Sunday or not.
Since my brother and father both live in LA, I’ve been reading about CicLAvia with great interest and had hoped for a similar feeling today. I didn’t get it. Interestingly, I just missed seeing CicLAvia co-founder Adonia Lugo at the beach. She and Tom of Seattle Bike Blog had just departed the Yoga for Bikers post-ride beach break. OK, maybe Bicycle Sunday is a bit like CicLAvia if I can run into (well, almost run into) such non-tandem-riding-type people :)
The Main Tank and family met us at the beach for an afternoon of swimming, sand play, and pizza. Mr. The Main Tank suggested we head home by going up into the Central District for one big hill intead of several up and downs were we to head back along the Lake Washington Loop. My mild morning headache had gradually reached the pounding headache point so I (fortunately?) don’t remember most of the gory details, but we spent a lot of time on Rainier which the still-coherent part of my brain found interesting since I’ve recently read Davey Oil’s three-part series Why I’m Riding on Rainier Avenue. We stuck to the sidewalk which was good because we moved so slowly (with me the slowest by far), but was also bad because I was a bit too wide with the WideLoader. I’d decided the balance bikes looked better (yes, purely for looks) with their handlebars next to one another so I was even wider than this morning when the balance bikes were nose to heel. In the future I am going to have to stick to routes that don’t involve any sidewalk when I’m rolling so wide. I only banged into one newspaper machine and took out one orange cone, but there was a lot of careful maneuvering required.
I’m not sure I could have made it back up the Lake Washington Loop, but I feel like I should probably try. After a long recuperation.
Today’s miles: 21.3
July cumulative: 97.8 miles