On the up and up (Capitol Hill and Queen Anne hill)

This was supposed to be my “I found great routes up two big Seattle hills!” post, but I’ll save that for a future post (because I chickened out on the first hill and got lost on the second hill). So instead it’s just another “blah blah blah hill hill hill” post.

Our first hilltop stop was 20/20 Cycle for the Posse’s on Broadway Cargo Bike Picnic Ride and next year I’ll go through Interlaken and arrive from the north, but this year I stuck to my old, familiar route:

…plus I didn’t see a great waypoint for the kids to stretch their legs and me to drink more coffee using the new route (though this is Seattle so I’m sure there’s coffee and greenspace to be found if I look again) and I wanted to stop by The Calf & Kid to pick up Briar Rose Creamery truffles for the potluck.

Here we are at Melrose Market, home of The Calf & Kid. Even though my long bike doesn’t fit in our fancy bike corrals, I got it wedged in backwards. Interesting that everyone else parked nose in, whereas at R+E in the U-District, people back their bikes in.

Melrose Market bike corral

Point “C” on the above map is a stop at Tougo Coffee was for me to rest at the top of the hill while the kids played in the play area. Nothing beats a cafe with a kid area! But soon enough we made it to 20/20 Cycle, which conveniently also has a little play area.

20/20 Cycle

The ride consisted of 20 adults and 8 kids–or so that’s what I count in front of Black Sun Doughnut:

2013 Labor Day Cargo Bike Ride

Prior to that stop in Volunteer Park was the obligatory swarming of Dick’s on Broadway:

Dick's on Broadway

and winding up this lovely path by a Henry mural:

Winding up to Volunteer Park

We had a fun off-road section leaving Volunteer Park:

Gravel in Volunteer Park

There was also an off-road section into our stop at Ravenna Park, but I was working too hard not to tip over so there are no smiley pictures of that. It helped to climb that last hill next to Davey Oil as he offered some encouraging words (which I think may have been “How are you not tipping over?”) I have a lot of practice riding extremely slow in gravel, though it’s usually on flat gravel while following zig-zagging kids and not up a painfully steep hill. But we made it! After which I had to lay down in the grass for a bit.

Now, I feel like I shouldn’t pick favorites, but look at this awesome family! Traditional Santana tandem on the right and Hase Pino Allaround on the left. I thought it was just another Bilenky Viewpoint “unique tandem” at first (there are quite a few of those around Seattle!).

Two-tandem family

The bikes were cool and the whole family was nice, but I was mainly taken by the Santana stoker. He had so many creative seating positions! One of them even involved pedaling…though with just one foot. So cute. But at the same time, I really hope I get some pedaling help by the time we move up to a tandem.

Best kid!

Now along to hill two!

Our preschool often has gatherings at the playground six blocks away. Six blocks up Seattle’s best hill, that is. I’ve tried the direct route before and it was awful. I don’t think I even made it up one of the four uphill blocks. I’ve been meaning to try a supposed gradual route up–from a friend who rides a regular bike with no extra stuff (such as 100 pounds of kids) on it. It’s a little convoluted so I meant to try it alone (and on my light road bike) first, but naturally, I never got around to that. Also naturally, I fell off the route without realizing it–it’s awfully twisty and turny! But look at this lovely view from West Armour Street and 5th Avenue West (which is way higher than I should have gotten at any point):

The view from Queen Anne

The playground is just two blocks down that hill and a little to the right, but I continued two more blocks uphill to West Raye Street, same street as the park. I should have continued up even more, but instead I took the steep downhill, stopped to cross busy 3rd Avenue West, and then got stuck at the base of the park. The kids kindly got off to walk through the park and I could ride the rest of the way in.

A couple people cheered us on near the highest point and I really wanted to snarl, “Obviously we’re lost!” but I managed a smile. Soon (though not too soon, I need to recover a bit) I’ll give it a try and see if it’s all it’s cracked up to be.

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