January Kidical Mass recap and first look at the new Missing Link bikeway

Sunday’s Kidical Mass ride took us to Ballard for our first look at the new two-way bikeway for part of the Burke-Gilman Trail Missing Link. The paint isn’t down yet and I hope they’ll put more dividers in to make things clearer, but most of the signs are up. We only took it in the westerly direction, but I don’t think it’s marked yet from the other direction because we only saw bikes coming towards us on the car half (which is fine and in fact it’s still marked with sharrows…though those will probably be sandblasted off at some point).

Click my photo below for a larger version. Bikes approach from the Burke-Gilman Trail, next to a sidewalk, off frame to the left. I hope diagonal paint will make it easy to access the bikeway entrance.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Here’s the new all-way stop as The Missing Link crosses 14th. I don’t come through here at commute time so I’ve never seen it busy.

New stop sign on the Missing Link bikeway

More cones. I don’t know if there are plans to paint the whole bike half green, but I hope so.

New Missing Link bikeway

The end of the bikeway is where I’d prefer to see stop signs. Shilshole is not easy to turn left onto. As for entering the bikeway from the other direction, slowing down to make the right turn in front of fast-moving cars probably won’t be very pleasant, either. I’m curious to see the finished product, but I don’t think any traffic calming is planned for this intersection.

End of the Missing Link bikeway

But onto better things: Kidical Mass! We met up at Ballard Library and biked a block to the NW 58th Street Greenway and got a look at the new bike counter. This one doesn’t display a number like the Fremont Bridge bike counter, but numbers should be available online from SDOT next month. The two black tubes running across the street record bikes passing by.

Ballard Greenway bike counter

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

We rode six blocks along the Greenway. It’s mostly flat, but the couple mild hills were a bit much for my four-year old on his 16-inch bike. The other four kid riders were on 20-inch bikes and did OK.

Riding along the Ballard Greenway

We took the bike lane of busy 8th Avenue NW to cross Market with a light, but soon we were back to quiet streets and arrived at Gilman Playground.

Pit stop at Gilman Playground

We left most of the crowd at the playground (as well as our two kid bikes) and four of us popped down to Top Pot Doughnuts for sugary snacks.

Side trip to Top Pot

Two families caught up to the ride at the playground, bringing our grand total to 24! Then it was just one block through the park and one very torn up block (due to heavy weekday truck traffic, but the kids found dodging the ruts and potholes very exciting and everyone stayed upright) to our final destination.

Riding from the playground to brewery

Reuben’s Brews! Which needs more than just the one staple bike rack.

Kidical Mass arrives to Reuben's Brews

I chose Reuben’s Brews after seeing it on the ParentMap Kid- and Bike-Friendly Breweries in Greater Seattle list. It worked great! I was a little worried when I read “cozy tasting room” on their website, but it seemed plenty spacious for us. And there were several tables on the upper loft. All the local breweries that don’t have kitchens seem to welcome outside food so the donuts kept the kids content. As did the complimentary bar pretzels.

Inside Reuben's Brews

Reuben's Brews menu

Here’s our full route:

After the party broke up, we followed Julian of Totcycle to Adams Elementary school for the kids to practice biking.

Heading west on the Ballard Greenway after the ride

Sadly, my kids didn’t last too long. Their feet and fingers were getting cold and having just been cooped up at home for two weeks with the flu, they’d had their fill of excitement. But I was happy to have made our way north a bit so I could get the hill done at the beginning of our trek home, rather than the end.

I’m happy we chose to take the Greenway towards Adams and then 75th up to Phinney Ridge because we bumped into two bonus family biking friends on our way. They don’t call Ballard “The Portland of Seattle” for nothing!

And final fun item: check out this cool spill-proof carabiner mug from Fuel Coffee.

Carabiner travel mug

We’ve gone through a couple bike travel mugs so I’m always on the lookout for good options. This one has a lid that unscrews so it’s not for sipping while biking, but that ensures its leakproof-ness. Our previous mugs have been:
Biologic Vacuum Flask which I liked fine, but the threads of the lid failed fairly quickly and it leaked all over the place. I think we just got a lemon, but we never replaced it.
Stanley’s Vacuum Insulated Travel Tumbler was our next try which I also liked, but Mr. Family Ride didn’t like the spout.
Stanley’s Mountain One Hand Vacuum Mug is what we’re currently on and we both like it. But I still want a carabiner mug, too.

3 thoughts on “January Kidical Mass recap and first look at the new Missing Link bikeway

  1. All of our KM routes in Tacoma were out-and-back loops, but I’m warming up to an AtoB ride. Especially if the B is for Brewery! What a great turnout for a winter ride.

    • Loops are certainly good–especially for riders who drive over from far away. Tiny A-to-B rides work well, but when we do a big A-to-B ride, we try to return in a group anyway because I’d hate to leave someone stranded!

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