Alki two ways

Sunday was so sunny! Tulips and daffodils are emerging, birds are chirping more, and the sky was bluer than it’s ever been. Maybe it wasn’t warm enough for a true beach day, but it was over fifty and the boys screamed “Alki, Alki, Alki!”

Beach-bound

But first: Saturday. My original plan was to have Mr. Family Ride drive the boys to an afternoon birthday party at Alki Beach so I could co-lead the Spokespeople ride (my first co-lead as I strive to become a Cascade Bicycle Club Ride Leader) and then race over à la road bike to meet them at the end and either catch a ride in the car or [preferably] ride home while he took care of dinner and bedtime for overtired kidlets. But he had to go out of town so we resorted to the car to catch part of the party after Spokespeople.

That’s when I realized I don’t know how to get to Alki by car. My car has a built-in GPS system because I’m quite skilled at getting lost…but it’s on the fritz. The thought of having to drive the car more than once a month, just for the sake of taking it to the shop to get fixed has kept me from dealing with it. This must be how people who use bicycles for purely recreational purposes feel about having to go in for bike tune-ups. But we eventually found our way there–after getting lost twice. Not fun.

But Sunday! Sunday was fun. 17 miles of fun on the way there. I even enjoyed East Marginal Way South, though I know on weekdays it’s teeming with huge trucks. Today I only saw a couple of cars on the half mile stretch and could easily skirt the many massive puddles.

East Marginal Way South

I let my little pedaler loose when we reached the Alki Trail. It felt just like our ride over with Andy a year and a half ago when his daughter did the same. I didn’t have the Big Dummy yet (or a pedaling kid!) so it was truly a glimpse of the future. Speaking of Andy, he just wrote an awesome guestpost: Becoming a Biking Family on the Paranoid Stay at Home Mom blog. It’s so great! Read it!

On the Alki Trail

Much of the Alki Trail was wide open, but some was a bit congested. Of course, the kid’s only mishap was when he looked to the side too long, squealing “Train, train, train!” and cruised right into a curb. Fortunately, he’s very practiced at intentionally banging into things so he [just barely] kept the rubber side down. And this became a wonderful teaching moment I used to routinely remind him to watch where he was going.

On the Alki Trail

Gratuitous bikes and view shot from Don Armeni Park:

View of Downtown Seattle from West Seattle

My three-year old did a teeny bit of riding on the trail, but his 10-inch balance bike tires make it hard to keep up with his brother’s 16-inch wheels, so he didn’t last long. But I made a cool discovery when I quickly bundled toddler and balance bike back onto the Big Dummy: it rides fine with one little wheel hanging out. I’ve only carried it completely in the FreeLoader bags before so this is good to know if I’d rather deal with drag than sacrifice cargo capacity.

Tiny bike in the FreeLoader

The beach was great! The kids went barefoot and got wet and sandy, but I huddled under a towel to stay warm. Fifty degrees isn’t really my idea of beach weather.

Beach!

I saw a big grey cloud on the horizon so I consulted Dark Sky iPhone app and saw we had 25 minutes until a short light rain hit. So we packed up and headed to lunch…but as much as I hate getting rained on, I had to stop when I saw this Xtracycle. Look at those cool homegrown deck seats! And Xtracycle RunningBoards. And Rolling Jackass center stand.

Xtracycle at Alki

Heading back towards the beach after lunch, we were on the street-side of the bike path for a few blocks. I guess this would be referred to as a “two-way parking protected bike lane”, and it’s the first time I’ve had to worry about my babe getting doored. Kind of freaky!

Kindergartener in the door zone

Now, it was pretty exciting when we saw a train from the lower West Seattle Bridge a week prior, but this trip we saw the draw bridge in action as a tug boat pushed a barge through. It pivots! I had no idea. I may have been more excited than the children.

Pivoting Lower West Seattle Bridge

Pivoting Lower West Seattle Bridge

I was tempted to take the long, flat route home along the Elliott Bay Trail/Ship Canal Trail, but I wasn’t sure the Magnolia train yard would be open as it was nearing 7pm. I’ve never hit a closed gate yet, but I didn’t want to risk it. So our ride home was only 13.5 miles. And it afforded us a chance to check out the new Westlake Park Play Area. It’s quite small, but we’ll be back during the day to climb and jump.

Westlake Park Play Area

And finally, we got to see the new digs of Velo Bike Shop at the super-bikey Via6 apartments.

New Velo Bike Shop

Yes, we got home much later than we would have with the car, but the trip was all pleasant and full of wonderful experiences. Traveling by bike certainly isn’t as quick, but I just love that every trip is an action-packed adventure.

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6 thoughts on “Alki two ways

  1. “The thought of having to drive the car more than once a month, just for the sake of taking it to the shop to get fixed has kept me from dealing with it. This must be how people who use bicycles for purely recreational purposes feel about having to go in for bike tune-ups.”
    I totally agree! To me, maintaining a car is a hassle, and one more thing to be responsible for. Maintaining a bike is a much smaller responsibility.
    I loved your post…we’re in Eugene and felt the energy of the sunny weekend down here too.

    • Thanks! 10 seconds ago I felt like summer was just around the corner…but I just looked out the window and it’s started raining. Wah. Sunny days can be so magical.

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