Tonight’s Critical Mass ride saw about 75 riders, over twice as many as last time we came. I think this was partially due to the 20th anniversary of the ride and partially due to the Bike Swarm that joined up with the ride (more details about both on Seattle Bike Blog).
We took one block of one-way 8th Avenue the wrong direction, but for the most part we worked very well with traffic. There was corking at turns and through lights that turned red while the mass moved through, and most motorists and pedestrians seemed fine to let us pass.
Davey Oil was there with the whole family (which is why we went–family biking is contagious), but that was it for other kids. Davey was on his Xtracycle and other bikes of note were two tandems, a tall bike, and a couple cycle trucks…and all the other bikes, too–they’re all awesome and of note!
Much to my dismay, the ride charged up Capitol Hill, quickly, and several of us got left in the dust. The tall bike, the guy doing wheelies, and the cycle trucks packed heavy with beer all raced on ahead. But after some yelling and bell ringing we massed back up at a gas station, of all places.
We cut through Seattle University (all flat, thank goodness!), back downtown, and into the Seattle Center where we very politely wove through tourists and just as I’d hoped we would, we hit the International Fountain…though ever since Bike Snob visited a couple Bike Expos ago, I think of it as our velodrome:
— VeloBusDriver (@VeloBusDriver) March 16, 2011
There was a lot of fountain circling (doh, I wish I’d thought to record the ride on Strava!) and then a lot of loitering during which several people started shouting “Gas Works!” which sounded wonderful to me as I love any ride that ends near home. I probably would have left the mass if we headed in the opposite direction and that seems to be what several riders did, but eventually everyone got back on their bikes and headed out.
We rode along the Kreilsheimer Promenade next to McCaw Hall and I thought, “This is so beautiful, why have I never been here?” and then we encountered a flight of stairs to Mercer Street and I realized why I’d never been there. The people will little bikes carried or rode down the stairs, but I joined the wimpy and wise narrow ramp takers.
I was particularly excited that we were on Mercer Street because I’ve never taken the Mercer Street underpass–Broad Street is bad enough, I figure, why subject myself to Mercer, too? But I think there will soon be a cycle track there (here’s the Mercer Corridor Project page, specifically the bottom picture). I say “think” because I’m not sure this project page means it’s a done deal or if this is just the ideal outcome and things will still change for the worse. Broad Street is miserable on the sidewalk, but taking a lane on Mercer was awesome–fast down and fast up. I thought we might take an extra exciting route to Gas Works, like over the Aurora Bridge or at least taking a lane of Westlake, but we sedately cruised through the Westlake parking lots–my usual route. Oh well. Then everyone got held up taking pictures of the full moon from the Fremont Bridge so the kids and I said our goodbyes and continued on home. I hope they’re still whooping it up at Gas Works.