Tour de [three] North Seattle Bike Corrals

I love bike corrals–though there aren’t many to get excited about here in Seattle. Strikingly different from Portland two weeks ago, where I saw several areas of town with corrals every block and the city cannot put them in fast enough.

Despite living adjacent to the U-District, I don’t spend a lot of time there, so I had no idea there was a bike corral just a mile and a half from home. I saw it Sunday on my way to a Seattle Neighborhood Greenways meeting…and then again on my way home while dodging jaywalking drunken college students because that’s part of the adventure of biking on The Ave.

Because I needed to do some grocery shopping, wanted to check out R+E Cycles inside, and see the bike corral in daylight outside, Forrest and I conducted a tiny Tour de North Seattle Bike Corrals.

We met at PCC where I got my shopping done while utilizing the plain, but very useful bike corral. My front rack is too wide to fit in a slot, but there’s a lot of blocked off space on the side so I generally take an end spot.

We biked to The Essential Baking Company to park at the fish bike corral. I’ve parked here momentarily to take pictures before, but this was my first time inside. Yum! Though I realized my longtail is a bit long for the corral and the way the road slants down by the curb rendered my centerstand useless so I leaned it on a fish rib and hoped for the best. I was sure I’d find it on its side after our snack break, but it was still standing half an hour later.

We headed up The Ave and spied a banner for the Up Your Ave Ave-venture this Friday, in which 40,000 UW students will explore their community. Probably not a good day to bike the length of The Ave like we did today.

We got sidetracked on our way to the bike corral at Bob’s Bike & Board–Forrest by the tandem and electric bikes out front, me by the adorable little dog named Ollie. Forrest currently uses a trail-a-bike with his son and I’m not sure he’s into tandems for himself or to pass info along to the Seattle Family Biking Facebook group because there are a lot of families interested in obtaining affordable ones (including me! But in a few years). The shop recently moved here from Laurelhurst and in this smaller spot isn’t carrying a lot of bikes, but does a lot of repair work. And, of course, cute dogs.

And finally: the car-shaped bike corral in front of R+E:

Interesting assortment of bikes in the corral–polo bike with two mallets, scary bike with red skull on the headset, zebra handlebar tape. Again, I fronted in and had trouble parking. Now I notice all the other bikes were backed in so I’ll do that next time and probably not grumble and not have to lift my heavy bike to maneuver it out.

There are many gorgeous bikes in R+E, lots of them tandems. I like the idea of a tandem plus trailer bike so I can carry both kids when they’re bigger and get some pedaling help. R+E does a lot with S&S couplings, primarily for travel, but this page has a photo of a triple-to-double bicycle they made utilizing S&S couplings. Brilliant!

The Pedal-a-Latte cafe within the bike shop wasn’t open. The guy up front said a barista would show up later, but that it was mainly for the employees to make themselves coffee drinks. So that’s a bit of a bummer. But it’s got a sweet sign:

And the coolest swinging bar door ever:

Accessory-wise, they’ve got the usual stuff as well as an Abus wheel lock and a bike-rack-sized cargo net. I love wheel locks. They’re so convenient on Dutch bikes, but I like them even more since I heard someone call one a “cafe lock.” I wouldn’t use it in place of my U-lock, but there are times the bike is unlocked right next to us at a playground and I have to rush a kid to the potty, leaving my unlocked bike out of sight for a short time.

While we were browsing, Tarik of T’s Leatherworkz came in to check on a bike he’s getting worked on. He also popped into Bob’s Bike & Board while we were there–it pays to have a showy bike, friends notice is on their way by and stop to find you. His bike is plenty showy, too. I tried to get him to move it out to the bike corral so it could be part of my picture, but apparently this snazzy number doesn’t do bike corrals. Whatever.

I had to head back down for preschool pickup, but Forrest continued along to Kaffeeklatsch. Last time I was there the bike rack was still on the sidewalk, but it’s since been moved to an on-street spot.

I’m not sure if there’s any money for bike corrals, but from the SDOT Bike Parking page: “SDOT will consider installing on-street bike parking upon the request of the adjacent business owner.” Even in Portland, the businesses initially balked at giving up a car parking spot, so maybe we’ll see bike corrals everywhere soon someday, too.

2 thoughts on “Tour de [three] North Seattle Bike Corrals

    • Yes! I have yet to bike to Northgate Mall, but I know people who have and somewhere deep in my inbox is buried a nice route to get there. I should give it a shot this month…

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