For many of us (thousands of us!) April means 30 Days of Biking:
30 Days of Biking is a pledge to ride your bike every day in April, any distance, any destination, and share your adventures online. Hashtag #30daysofbiking. For every 2 pledges, we’re donating $1 to World Bicycle Relief. Help us reach 10,000 pledges in 2016!
I love 30 Days of Biking and have joined the fun since September 2010. Last year some friends posted what I took as a negative blog post about 30 Days of Biking and it quite upset me. I’ll admit I’m overly sensitive so hopefully most people weren’t so affected. I try to be careful not to say thing that would influence anyone to bike less based on my own biases. Of course not everyone will want to participate in 30 Days of Biking, but for me personally, it was a big part of becoming an everyday biker and I will never stop appreciating it for that. And of course not everyone needs to participate in 30 Days of Biking. For some people this is because biking each day of the month isn’t challenging for them. But I remember when it was for me. I worry about forgetting how different and sometimes difficult things were while getting started. I often think about the first time I rode up Stone Way without stopping…and the first time I rode up it twice in one day. Nowadays it’s no big deal, but I don’t want to lose the memory of when it often defeated me. And I don’t ever want to forget to the extent that I sound smug.
Anyhow, 30 Days of Biking posted this to the 30 Days of Biking Facebook page and it made everything better:
Since this is Day 1, there’s something we need to talk about right away. Let’s have a little heart-to-heart. So here it is: If you miss a day, it’s OK. We obviously can’t control what doing 30 Days of Biking feels like for you, but we don’t want you to feel shame or guilt about having missed a day. This isn’t about shame. It’s about encouragement and celebrating the bike life.
Think of #30daysofbiking as a river. You can step out onto the riverbank for a moment, but that doesn’t stop the river from flowing onward. You can jump right back in, and (we’re mixing our metaphors here but bear with us) pedal harder, or just do two rides in one day, or do a bonus ride in May. It’s all good. Just don’t quit! Keep riding with us.
So yes, it might be annoying to see thousands of us posting to social media with the #30daysofbiking hashtag for a month, and I blog much more often than normal to keep track of my days and miles (and once again hopefully a theme will emerge, but I dunno). I like to think of it as a view into the daily biking life of a regular family biker/urban cyclist…though perhaps for a more-exciting month than usual since it’s fun to “go big” for 30DoB.
With all that said, here’s my Day One:
My day wasn’t quite as epic as I had planned. My original-original plan was to bike down to Tacoma for the grand opening of the expanded Defiance Bicycles. Although Seattle has many cool bike shops, it’s fun to visit cool shops in neighboring cities, too. But when I was in Tacoma for the Washington Bike Summit a week and a half ago, I found out they weren’t quite ready to open and celebrate. Plan B emerged at the summit when I was talking to Kyla of Green River Cyclery and I decided I should ride to Auburn instead. It’d be a perfect chance to take a better route than last time. But then I ended up sending a borderline sick kid to school and didn’t want to stray so far from home in case I had to fetch him (I didn’t). The weather was GORGEOUS so plan C was to take Pixie to our favorite beach, Golden Gardens. Perfect beach day!
Part of plan B was to check out the new space of local bike bag makers Swift Industries, open their first day after moving from Ballard to Pioneer Square. I opted to leave Pixie and my Surly Straggler at home and go with my newest bike, an All-City Macho Man Disc. It’s a single-speed cyclocross bike and I got it for racing (and hopefully will race more than just once this year for a change!), but I’ve been riding it around for non cyclocross because it’s really fun…as long as I stick to flat terrain, that is.
I was a bit early getting to Pioneer Square (fast bike!) so I stopped in at Back Alley Bike Repair and invited Jake the Snake along. He got a Sitka Hip Pack he had been eying online not 30 minutes before I arrived. Kismet!
Downtown, the Second Avenue protected bike lane is a MESS right now. Lots of it is because they’re adding protective planters to the not-very-protective flexiposts (yay!) and part of it is construction. There are spots where the lane suddenly disappears and a one-block detour up a steep hill to Third (at that moment I wasn’t too happy about being on my single-speed bike). Someday, I think Seattle will add detours for bikes that are just as safe as the detoured facility. I’ve seen this in Portland (and photos in other cities) so I know it’s possible.
I zoomed home to grab Pixie and wished there was one more hour in the day so I could load my Surly Big Dummy with a load for the thrift store because then I’d have been on three different bikes for day one! But instead, I got the Straggler back out for hanging with my friend Alyssa in the evening. Yeah, I could have taken the Big Dummy even without carrying a big load of stuff, but a 35-pound bike is faster than a 75-pound bike and I was running just on time.
Side note: Alyssa and I met through our kids making friends at a cyclocross race four years ago (“You’re five? I’m five!” / “You like sharks? I like sharks!” / “That’s your mom’s cargo bike? Well, that’s my mom’s cargo bike right next to it!”)
I tucked two empty growlers in my Swift Industries pannier after discovering my Pronto Cycle Share knit cap is perfect for keeping them from clinking against one another.
Chuck’s Hop Shop is kid- and dog-friendly and Pixie saw five other dogs there while we filled the growlers and grabbed a couple pints of ice cream (Full Tilt whiskey praline and vegan mayan chocolate).
Already at Alyssa’s I remembered April 1st is the day of annual bike jousting at Sully’s Snow Goose Saloon. We both lamented we should have gone. I’m pretty sure Pixie wouldn’t have liked it. I see April 1st is on a Saturday next year so I’ll keep it on my radar. We rode past the aftermath at 11:30. It smelled like curdled milk.
Upon arriving home I realized that while I didn’t ride three different bikes, I did bike in three different pairs of shoes: flip flops to the beach, clipless on the cross bike, and ballet flats to keep my toes warm in the evening. That made me think of the recent Bikeyface: New Shoes. But I doubt shoes will be my theme of the month…if there is one.
A couple other fun things: I had a great conversation about handlebar tape at the raised drawbridge. And taught him the term shoaling when he apologized for cutting in front of me. I also saw ten friends in passing on the Burke-Gilman Trail, stopping to talk to one for ten minutes. Had a nice chat with a family biker at the Golden Gardens bike rack, and Pixie got lots of waves. And this isn’t a good thing, but two Priuses ignored the “straight only for buses and bikes” signs the entire length of Bell Street today. I lost a five-dollar bet to my friend Brad last Tuesday when I said a Prius would surely drive the street with us. It was the first time it’s never happened, and I’ve had it happen five times since then now. Other cars ignore the signs, too, but Prius drivers seem to feel particularly entitled. I hear many of them are Uber drivers–is that true? Would that make them more likely to ignore signage?
April 1 miles: 35.8
April cumulative miles: 35.8