The day before Chilly Hilly

I rode Chilly Hilly Sunday, but I took my road bike and no kids so it’s not worth blogging about. However, I will point out it was quite different from Bike Camping and Bike for Pie weekend in that we got to Fay Bainbridge in about two minutes whereas it took ten hours with kids and camping gear (both figures are slightly exaggerated). Oh, and it was a hoot to see a long line for the mens restroom aboard the ferry and no line for the ladies. Now, the day before Chilly Hilly, we went on an old mamabike excursion that had its fair share of chills and hills…

Back on the little bike

This trip was made possible by putting a new, longer stem on the Bianchi Milano, giving the front kid ample knee room. It’s a shame that it’s matte black rather than shiny and has a big Specialized “S” on it, but I shouldn’t complain for $5. Thanks Recycled Cycles! They’ve got a bunch of used stems in the bin if you’re due for a change. This is actually my second expansion–did the same thing for kid #1 a couple of years ago–but with an inch of new room, we’re set until we outgrow this setup completely.

New longer stem

The first leg of our journey took us to Bike Works in Columbia City for the southside Kidical Mass ride. I never realized before today just how easy it is to get to Bike Works. Not easy in the non-strenuous or speedy way, but the route is very straightforward. From North Seattle, one just follows the well-marked Lake Washington Loop–I’m a sucker for a route with lots of signage, plus the twisty-turning parts through Montlake remind me of navigating Baja La Jolla in San Diego–and then rides up through Genessee Park, bikes one block along Alaska, crosses Rainier at the light, and then cuts through Columbia Park.

Kidical Mass rode to the Columbia City Little Free Library (South Lucile Street at 46th Ave South) where we checked out a few books so we’ll get to enjoy the ride down here again soon when we return them.

Columbia City Little Free Library

Columbia City Little Free Library

Then we explored future Rainier Valley Greenways which were all wonderfully quiet and marked with old bike dots on our way to King Donut-Teriyaki-Laundromat.

Quiet streets near Rainier Ave

Then went multi-modal (which you may have guessed from the fact that we’re on the small bike) and took the light rail and a bus to a birthday party at the Highland Park Improvement Club–a great space with a fun dance party facilitated by Gildenfire Dance.

Admiring buses from the train

This was our first time stopping at the Tukwila International Boulevard Station where we were wowed by the public art.

Tukwila station

Here’s our adventurous route home that was all new stuff at the beginning:

It started with a steep downhill ride along Highland Park Way SW. I didn’t feel comfortable on the sharrowed four-lane road so I stuck to the asphalt sidewalk.

Highland Park Way SW

But then we got on the Duwamish Trail which was really nice. Much of it was my kind of scenic–away from the road with a view of the water–and the rest was the boys’ cup of tea–train tracks, containers, and forklifts.

Portside Coffee Co on the Duwamish Trail

Nearing the West Seattle Bridge, the trail crossed the street and became Duwamish Route and picked up a bike speed limit. Certainly not as great as a bike-specific trail, but a nice compromise–and well-marked!

Entering the Duwamish Route from the Duwamish Trail

The best part of the whole day was when we saw a freight train from the West Seattle Bridge.


I somehow missed the turn onto East Marginal Way, but that meant we got to discover the Spokane Street Viaduct artwork. Better appreciated at walking speed so we didn’t read all the cement posts, but here’s a nice one (some of the historical tidbits were a bit gruesome):

Spokane St Viaduct artwork

Passing through South Lake Union, we saw the new bike racks in front of soon-to-be Via6, the new bike-centric apartment building where Velo Bike Shop will relocate. It’d be nice if those orange cones marked off future cycletrack or on-street bike corals, but I think they’re just protecting the construction zone. This city isn’t ready to be that bike-centric just yet, unfortunately.

Via6 bike racks

The kids were cold and exhausted by the time we got home from our nine-hour day, but what a Chilly Hilly eve of a day it was!

Happy campers

12 thoughts on “The day before Chilly Hilly

    • True. I think when I trigger one of those car YOUR SPEED IS: signs I’m usually 9 mph. I hope they don’t enforce the limit because I’d imagine a ton of bike commuters get to the West Seattle Bridge that way.

  1. 146 years! I had no idea. I love the pictures on your blog, it reminds me what it’s like to bicycle in a larger community. I also love the bicycle balloons , what a fun way to be visible on the road. :)

    • I used to refuse bringing balloons home (sometimes with a haughty, “Oh, sorry, we came by bike–no way to transport ’em!”) but they are quite fun as well as good for visibility! …except on the longtail when the little guy can reach the big guy’s balloon and things get BAD.

    • Oops, I never responded about the front child seats. I LOVE front seats for babies and smaller toddlers. I have to say that now I enjoy having the front of the bike back to myself on my longtail bike–it is nice to be able to stand out of the saddle to get up big hills which I can’t do with the front seat. But they really are terrific for small, light passengers. Oh, and it’s nice in the sense of being able to keep the two siblings separated by my body–there is a bit of fighting on the new bike because they can reach one another.

  2. King Donut-Teriyaki-Laundromat? If it should happen that we move to Seattle, I want to be within walking distance of something that cool. Hope it’s not in a sketchy neighborhood, now that I’ve put that idea out into the universe.

    • Well, it’s not anywhere near me and by very busy and scary Rainier Avenue. But move here anyway (to North Seattle) and we’ll make regular forays down there.

  3. hi Madi, I have another question for you. those baskets on the back of your blue bike are just what I’ve been looking for. I need something that fits below the yepp child seat. could you tell me what kind they are? thanks so much again for your family biking inspiration!

      • great info, thankyou! no, i don’t have the adapter, but may invest. thanks so much for the quick response and for the link! I’m certainly going to check this out.

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