Biking in Downtown Seattle with Kids

Monday morning the kids and I escorted Russ and Laura of The Path Less Pedaled to their BoltBus and found ourselves downtown with three bikes, no school, and unexpected great weather. I don’t really like biking downtown with the kids so we don’t do it often. I prefer to bike “scary” places as one unit, either on the Big Dummy or tandem + trailer bike, but during non-peak hours it can be fun to be on three separate bikes…though we resort to quite a bit of slow sidewalk riding.

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…but first, here are my photos from the kid-free weekend with Russ and Laura. And allow me to confirm that the breakfast burritos at TNT Taqueria are excellent. And our evening burritos mentioned in VLOG 027 were from Rancho Bravo. Seattle: not just coffee.

“VLOG 026 – Cranksgiving Seattle – Day 2 Part A” is the best of the Path Less Pedaled videos because Pixie gets the most airtime:

but VLOG 025 – Bikey Seattle Day 1 and VLOG 027 – Bikes Bikes Bikes in Seattle! are also great.

Back to the family biking stuff…
Our first stop was 5.5 blocks to Back Alley Bike Repair. I thought we had done a combo of street and sidewalk, but my Strava recording makes it look like we stuck to the sidewalk the whole way. Jackson Street has streetcar rails and can be pretty busy. At the bike shop I looked into replacing lost gloves and stolen helmet, but didn’t make any purchases. The kids signed the shop copy of “our” book, URBAN CYCLING: How to Get to Work, Save Money, and Use Your Bike for City Living. Fun fact, even the page that looks like it’s signed by me isn’t–it’s been forged by (outsourced to?) Stevil Kinevil.

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Then we rode a whopping 1.5 blocks to the Klondike Gold Rush Museum and National Historical Park. I thought we had stuck to the sidewalk since it was so close and on our side of the street (and rails), but Strava says we took to the road so I guess that’s what we did. It’s all flat down here, by the way, which makes it easier riding in the road with kids, knowing we can move along at normal speed and not uphill crawl speed. It’s a great little FREE museum, by the way. We spent a lot of time this visit and learned much more than last time. The kids were game to sit through the 25-minute movie, something they usually don’t have the patience for.

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Then we went 16 in-street blocks (16!) and one park block through Occidental Square to get to Westlake Park for a snack and playground break. This took us along the 2nd Ave Cycletrack. I let my speedy seven-year old zoom ahead since he knows to wait at intersections. If there weren’t so many people in cars who either don’t notice or ignore the NO RIGHT ON RED arrows (we saw two such people today) I would have urged him to go through ahead of me. While stopped at a red light at 2nd and University I pointed out the silhouette for Sher Kung–one of 240 placed around Seattle on Sunday for World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims. We attended the memorial ride for Sher Kung two years ago, which was the reverse of this part of our route (Westlake Park to Occidental Park). The kids sat on the Big Dummy that day and we felt safe in the company of hundreds of other bikes, but I wouldn’t have let them bike downtown on their own back then.

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From the end of the 2nd Avenue Cycletrack we biked two blocks of Pike in the street. As you can see, I took the Big Dummy just in case either (or both) kid wanted a lift, but I got lucky and didn’t have to tote anyone.

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Fun times at Westlake Park and the Holiday Carousel looks ready to go in a few days. The kids aren’t currently carousel fans so we won’t come back down for it.

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From Westlake Park we rode the sidewalk for 10 blocks: a block of 5th alongside Westlake Center to cut across McGraw Square and stick to the sidewalk of Westlake until the street car rails peeled off. FYI, BUS ONLY is for bikes, too. Then we got back on the sidewalk for the last block of Westlake between Mercer and Valley because it’s a mess.

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And then that long glorious stretch of the Westlake Bikeway. I learned that the yellow strip I thought was a divider between bikeway and sidewalk is actually a bike bridge between hot lava and piranha-filled river! It also looks like an effective way to avoid the carpet tacks.

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There’s also a new trick called “The Limbo”…but also sometimes called “The Limo”. Pedal fast to build up speed and then coast past your mom like this:

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We stopped for sushi in Fremont, then biked home at 4:30 in the dark (ugh, yes, dark at 4:30 p.m. way up here). We ride three sidewalk blocks up from the Burke-Gilman Trail before we can ride a couple street blocks. Yahoo for those sidewalk blocks this time because they brought us face to face with a new cat! He’s super friendly and the kids have named him Fluffy Star Nightmare.

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One thought on “Biking in Downtown Seattle with Kids

  1. Pingback: Bike News Roundup: Seattle’s multimodal neighbor | Seattle Bike Blog

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