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Kidical Mass April Fools’ Day Ride

Saturday, April 1, 2017
Noon
Fremont Dinosaur Topiary
(N Northlake Way & Burke-Gilman Trail & N Canal St, Seattle, WA 98103)
Facebook event
3.8-mile route
(route on Ride with GPS)

Remember the Google self-driving bike last year? That was cool!

Unfortunately, it wasn’t real (yet), but what I’m going to tell you next totally is:

We’ve partnered with Mighty-o donuts to sow their next crop of doughnuts. This season they’ll be planting along the ship canal where conditions are perfect for spring-time doughnut farming.

We’ll meet at the Fremont Dinosaur Topiary for seed sowing and hanging out for a bit before we head to the Ballard Mighty-o donuts for ripe doughnuts (from last season’s crop that grew in Discovery Park). One mini doughnut provided for each participant courtesy of the SKMAA (Seattle Kidical Mass Agritourism Association), but feel free to buy your own full-sized goodies…and if you have a Bicycle Benefits sticker on your helmet (available at Mighty-o if you don’t have one yet and want one) it’s buy one doughnut get one free!

Don’t be disappointed that nothing silly will have happened yet considering it’s April Fools’ Day–Mighty-o Ballard recently launched the Friends of Mighty-O Parklet boat. What’s sillier than a boat parked on the street? We’ll all crowd into the little boat for a group photo before feasting on doughnuts. Time to brush up on your pirate jokes (here’s our recent fave: “What has four eyes, four hands, and four legs?” “Four pirates.”)

After Mighty-o we’ll head over to spacious and kid-friendly Populuxe Brewing. The food truck is Peasant Food Manifesto and starts at 3pm. That’s a little too exciting for my own kids, so I might pop down a few blocks to Giddy Up Burgers & Greens.

30 Days of Biking
No joke here, 30 Days of Biking kicks off April 1st and it’s a wonderful event!

30 Days of Biking is a pledge to ride your bike every day in April and share your adventures online: #30daysofbiking.

There’s no minimum distance–down the block and around your basement count just like a 20-mile commute or a 350-mile charity ride. If you miss a day, no worries–just keep riding and don’t give up! It’s all for giggles, or as serious as you want it to be. What matters is that we’re all in this together.

Pledge to ride here and kick off the month in style!

About Kidical Mass
Seattle Kidical Mass rides are presented by Familybike Seattle. Familybike Seattle is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit that decreases barriers to bicycling for families of all income levels. We believe that biking as a family increases our individual, family, and societal quality of life, while at the same time moving toward sustainable lifestyles and communities.

Kidical Mass is a fun, safe, easy-going, and law-abiding family bike ride for kids of all ages. It started circa 2008 in Eugene, Oregon, and has since spread to other bikey burgs, like Seattle! Our group rides include a nice mix of experienced cyclists, and folks just getting started. We hope to educate bike-curious parents about ways to bicycle with children, help kids learn to ride safely in the city, and increase the visibility of family biking on Seattle streets. Kids are traffic too! All manner of bikes and high-occupancy velos are welcome.

Kidical Mass video shoot 2.0 to G&O Family Cyclery 2.0

Update: Date is now TBD, but it’ll be soon and it’ll be on a Sunday. More soon!

Did you hear? G&O Family Cyclery’s new, permanent shop is open! It’s easy to find as it’s just two doors north of the temporary, post-Greenwood-explosion location (which was just across the street and a block north of the original location) and Kidical Mass is going to partake in a pedaling parade to party with our pals. We’ll start at the park in Green Lake and ride to the shop in Greenwood:

Date TBD
10:00 a.m.
Green Lake Community Center
(7201 E Green Lake Dr N, Seattle, WA 98115)
Facebook event page

Details:
10:00 a.m. Gather at the Green Lake Shade Plaza (arch east of the community center)
10:30 a.m. Off we go!
11:30 a.m./noon-ish Arrive to G&O Family Cyclery 8558 Greenwood Ave N, Seattle, WA 98103

Our 3.6-mile route will have a great mix of bikeways: over a mile of Green Lake Trail, a teensy bit of sidewalk to get uphill through the tunnel under Aurora, bike lanes, regular quiet streets, and neighborhood greenway quiet street. All bikes welcome! But the mile up Fremont Avenue is a slightly uphill slog so be warned and we’ll take rest breaks as needed.

Also, this is take two of the G&O commercial video shoot so there will be a video release form to sign in addition to the regular ride waiver.

Once at G&O Family Cyclery, we’ll take some time to congratulate our friends and check out the shop, and then head a few doors down to kid-friendly Flying Bike Cooperative Brewery/Munch Cafe for those who want lunch.

For those who want to ride back with the group, we’ll coordinate timing on that and roughly follow the same route back (but note, Green Lake Trail is counterclockwise only).

G&O Family Cyclery Greenwood Blast Anniversary Party
Hey! Big fun event at G&O nine days before our ride:

March 9, 7pm until around 10pm.
Reduced Price Vegan Hot Dogs from Cycle Dogs!
Other Snacks!
Music!
Celebration!

About Kidical Mass
Seattle Kidical Mass rides are presented by Familybike Seattle. Familybike Seattle is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit that decreases barriers to bicycling for families of all income levels. We believe that biking as a family increases our individual, family, and societal quality of life, while at the same time moving toward sustainable lifestyles and communities.

Kidical Mass is a fun, safe, easy-going, and law-abiding family bike ride for kids of all ages. It started circa 2008 in Eugene, Oregon, and has since spread to other bikey burgs, like Seattle! Our group rides include a nice mix of experienced cyclists, and folks just getting started. We hope to educate bike-curious parents about ways to bicycle with children, help kids learn to ride safely in the city, and increase the visibility of family biking on Seattle streets. Kids are traffic too! All manner of bikes and high-occupancy velos are welcome.

Biking to Walk the Battery

We had several little tastes of sort-of open street events today and it was great! Per the Open Streets Project: “Open streets initiatives temporarily close streets to automobile traffic, so that people may use them for walking, bicycling, dancing, playing, and socializing.” Here in Seattle we have Summer Parkways and if you can, get to Portland for one of their amazing Sunday Parkways. Or, of course, hit the original and bestest open street: Ciclovía in Bogotá. Anyhow, today was nothing like any of those, but getting a little dose of closed-to-cars streets is always a treat.

We had a nice 5.5-mile ride to the south end of the Battery Street Tunnel, but you’ll notice a jog as we encountered the Fremont Sunday Market (I always forget about avoiding that block on Sundays!) for our first open-but-not-open-to-pedaled-bikes street event. I really like the new flexipost-protected bike lanes between the Burke-Gilman Trail and Fremont Bridge, but they’re closed for the market on Sundays.

But before that we had a nice bit of Burke-Gilman Trail, and after that Ship Canal Trail and Westlake Bikeway–all wonderful spots for kids riding their own bikes. My two kids were on their own bikes and my friend Amy was on her Xtracycle EdgeRunner, carrying her kid and towing his single-speed bike, hoping to let him ride a bit on the way back.

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We took Dexter between the end of the Westlake Bikway and Bell Street Park (or as I like to call it, Bell Street Park for Cars, because no one heeds the arrow signs and turns off after a block). I don’t like taking Dexter Avenue on weekdays because the the paint-buffered bike lanes make them the perfect width for idling Uber private taxis. Weekends are better, though there are still several construction spots where the bike lane disappears. HOWEVER, today was the Hot Chocolate 15k/5k (“Not a Race, It’s an Experience‎”) so most of the blocks of Dexter we biked were closed to cars! It was glorious. Plus we were going against jogger traffic so we could smile at the racers.

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We weren’t allowed to bring our bikes to the event we were attending, but walking Walk the Battery was still awesome! It was put on by Aaron Asis & Project Belltown, details here:

Walk the Battery is part of the b’End Tunnel public art initiative intended to celebrate the Battery Street Tunnel, in its final years of service. This event, entitled Walk the Battery, will temporarily allow the general public to share a one-of-a-kind walking experience through this ‘auto-only’ public passage–at the threshold of a new downtown waterfront.

“Walk the Battery is opportunity for the public to physically access a unique piece of Seattle’s infrastructural history – past, present and future. We hope this walking event inspires new conversation about the history, legacy and fate of the Battery Street Tunnel”

I couldn’t tell from emailed communications how the walk would work–I was worried we’d walk through the tunnel one way and then have to circle back on sidewalks of busy streets, not ending up near where we parked the bikes. But I was wrong and we just walked back and forth through the tunnel and it was short enough and exciting enough that the kids didn’t complain of tired legs once. (We don’t do a lot of walking and my seven-year old barely made it the first mile when we did part of the Womxn’s March on Seattle.)

The out-and-back meant we ran into all our friends and the kids had double the chances to find treasures. The best score was a Thai coin dug out of some hard-packed junk at the north end of the tunnel. There are also several sharp metal bits and pieces lovingly stowed in my bike’s cargo bags, but I was allowed to throw away the squished and very dirty lipstick tube that was presented to me as my special treasure.

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I hope other kids (and adults) had as much fun, yet also managed to stay cleaner. My guys rubbed against the sides of the tunnel and given that it’s normally home to car traffic, it’s dirty.

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Heading home we had a couple car-free blocks of Bell Street. This was particularly great because Bell Street is one way and there isn’t a comparable street in our towards-home direction. I have high hopes the One City Center plan will fix that someday, but today we took the Bell Street sidewalks to Dexter.

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The Hot Chocolate 15k/5k street closure was over and the north-bound Dexter bike lane is riddled with big road seams and a long closure so we did a bit of side street zig zagging (route home here). We found some cool streets this way, but they were pretty potholey and my seven-year old wiped out in one of them. Thank goodness for cargo bikes! I collected him and his bike onto my Surly Big Dummy and carried him until he felt up to riding again–close to home before the big hill, phew.

p.s. it was very cold today and I can’t wait for winter to be over! The kids were all troupers, but we all experienced frozen extremities. Thankfully there was barely any drizzle and the wind (one of the Bell Street street-closure barriers blew into an SUV in the middle of an intersection!) didn’t last long–or at least was only down in Belltown.

Seattle Kidical MASSIVE 2017

Save the date for global cuteness: Kidical MASSIVE is Saturday, September 16, 2017

kidical-massive-2017

It’s the third annual Kidical Massive ride!! Join us as THOUSANDS of families around the country go for a bike ride together. We’ll be showing that “Kids are Traffic Too” and that cities that plan for family biking are more livable, sustainable, profitable, and FUN!

Details (and theme!) are TBD, but we’ve already got a Facebook event set up if you want to RSVP.

Two years ago we had over 200 participants on our ride as we kicked off Ballard Summer Parkways. Read the recap here.

Last year we attended the Unveiling Party at Cascade Bicycle Club and enjoyed FREE CAKE AND ICE CREAM. Read the recap here.

About Kidical Mass
Seattle Kidical Mass rides are presented by Familybike Seattle. Familybike Seattle is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit that decreases barriers to bicycling for families of all income levels. We believe that biking as a family increases our individual, family, and societal quality of life, while at the same time moving toward sustainable lifestyles and communities.

Kidical Mass is a fun, safe, easy-going, and law-abiding family bike ride for kids of all ages. It started circa 2008 in Eugene, Oregon, and has since spread to other bikey burgs, like Seattle! Our monthly group rides include a nice mix of experienced cyclists, and folks just getting started. We hope to educate bike-curious parents about ways to bicycle with children, help kids learn to ride safely in the city, and increase the visibility of family biking on Seattle streets. Kids are traffic too! All manner of bikes and high-occupancy velos are welcome.

Counterclockwise Around Lake Union

We’ve biked around Lake Union several times on Thanksgiving (here’s how our 2016 ride went), but we always go in the clockwise direction. Today was errand-based (kid 1 wanted to see a boat and kid 2 needed a new bike helmet) so we didn’t follow the Cheshiahud Loop as closely as we do on Thanksgiving, but it was useful to see it in the opposite direction…and makes me like the clockwise loop all the more.

My nine-year old rode his own bike and the seven-year old rode the tandem with me. He just got over a cold and didn’t want to ride his own bike. Which was fine by me because it’s certainly a lot easier to have one loose kid than two!

Circle mirror selfie of tandem and 24-inch bike

It’s been almost four years since we got his last helmet at Velo Bike Shop so he wanted to go there again. Awww, toddler!

New Helmet Day, 2013

Today was super rainy and Velo proved a great stopping spot. We found a new helmet, admired the old bikes hanging from the ceiling and walls (triple tandem! penny farthing!), and had a long snack at the cafe tables in the adjoining hallway of the Via6 building. We didn’t go into the Home Remedy grocery store/deli in the building, but had we not had snacks along with us, it probably would have been a good resource. Drinking fountain and potties are also located in the hallway–everything one could possibly want!

From there we went to the flagship REI. We didn’t need anything there having already found the helmet, but you can’t mention flagship REI to kids in the morning and then not go. We usually hit REI from the other side and I never seem to find the same route twice if I approach from South Lake Union rather than Eastlake. With the one kid on his own bike, we stuck to the sidewalk for part of the way–primarily Westlake and Thomas for the portions with street car tracks. Thomas had one steep hill and the road was very patched and pitted due to construction, but it was a good street and I’d use it again.

Here’s the Strava recording of our 10-mile loop.

REI was awesome. There’s a play area upstairs and a World Wrapps right next to it–inside the store! So we let our gear dry out (somewhat) while playing and lunching.

We left via Thomas again, but rather than turn down Fairview as I had planned, I saw an enticing alley just before it. Fairview is very busy and I had planned for us to ride the sidewalk, but even though it’s legal (and necessary) in Seattle, I prefer to avoid it if I can. The three blocks of alley were great! Safe enough for my cautious nine-year old to want to ride ahead of me, even! That doesn’t often happen.

Alley to avoid Fairview

The alley ended at Mercer so we were on the sidewalk for a bit, including the Fairview Avenue part of the Cheshiahud Loop, for which we ride in the street when going the other direction. It sort of feels like salmoning (heading against traffic in the street) for the last block before seaplanes, but the dividers make it more of a trail than a street, I guess. It’s only awkward at the very end where it’s only wide enough for a single bike and not a full lane. I think we could have snuck off into the adjacent parking lot just before it got narrow, but I just plowed on ahead this time.

And soon enough we found the boat! The USS Turner Joy is currently visiting Lake Union Drydock Company for repairs. We usually see it in Bremerton on the way to bike camping at Illahee or Manchester. Yesterday we watched video of it coming through the locks on Thursday. We got a couple glimpses of it from the west side of the lake, but right by the dry dock is the place to really check it out.

USS Turner Joy at Lake Union Drydock Company

I decided the super steep parts of the two-o’clock section of the Lake Union loop are worse in the counterclockwise direction, but I’ll admit I’ve always been more comfortable with the hill I know over a new hill. My nine-year old rides the hills on Thanksgiving and opted to walk both up and downhill today, but it’s gotta feel a bit different when you’re charging ahead of the adults with a pack of friends versus all on your own.

One last little note on the day: since we weren’t able to find a “black helmet with red flames like two friends at school have,” my seven-year old selected some stickers at Fun Reflector to make it work. Stickers can’t fix everything, but they can fix a lot of things! When the little kid was ready to move from his 16″ bike to his brother’s 20″ bike before his brother thought he was ready to move up to the new 24″ bike, I got them custom decals at Do It Yourself Lettering and once they saw their steeds labeled “Officer Brandt” and “Darth Rijder” it was all good!

Public art stop at the Allen Institute for Brain Science

Bike/Bus to Kirkland feat. the Cross Kirkland Corridor

I knew this day would come: an invite to a birthday party on the eastside. I used to dread this day, but having used Zipcar once last winter I realize we’ve got an option for the rare trips to places too hard to reach by bike and/or transit.

Before reserving a car I thought I’d have a laugh and see just how impossible it’d be to take buses to SkyMania indoor trampoline park. I always use Google maps transit directions for bus suggestions, but if you like something better, please let me know in the comments section at the bottom of this post. Three buses over an hour and a half with nearly a mile-long walk at the end sounded horrible (especially the walking in a non-walker-friendly city), but I couldn’t help but notice how close SkyMania sat to the Cross Kirkland Corridor. I remembered reading about the trail on Seattle Bike Blog: Kirkland’s new trail changes everything. The third of the three buses, King County Metro Route 255 had a stop less than two miles from our house and many stops near the Cross Kirkland Corridor so bike-bus-bike could work after all!

Now just routing us there isn’t planning enough, big trips like this must include eating stops and it’s not exactly picnic weather. I poked around the map to see if there was food to be found along the Cross Kirkland Corridor, but I didn’t see anything perfect so I took to Twitter to ask @CrosswalkView, a family of six with a blog about family biking and walking in Kirkland at The View from the Crosswalk and @GlenBikes who lived in Kirkland before he moved to my neck of the woods and still knows everything about bicycling there. My suspicions were confirmed that there’s not much around the CKC, but I got some good advice if we wanted to leave the trail for Houghton Plaza: The View from the Crosswalk: Connecting the Eastside Rail Corridor part 3: Houghton.

So I ended up sticking with my original idea:

  1. Bike 1.7 miles to the bus stop
  2. Ride the 255 for 11 minutes to South Kirkland Park and Ride
  3. Bike 0.4 miles to Burgermaster for elevensies
  4. Bike 5.5 miles, mostly along the CKC, to SkyMania
  5. Two hours of bouncing and laser tag
  6. Bike 2.9 miles back along the CKC to Chainline Brewing for food truck
  7. Bike 0.2 miles (just around the corner) from the CKC behind Chainline to the bus stop in front of Chainline
  8. Bike 1.8 miles home from the bus stop

I rode the old mamabike with my seven-year old in the Bobike Junior rear seat and my nine-year old rode his own bike. It was tempting to take three separate bikes because Metro buses all have three bike slots (whereas some Sound Transit buses only have two), but I figured it’d be best to keep it simple.

LOL-brother-blocking photo filter

LOL-brother-blocking photo filter

It worked great! The 1.7 miles to the bus stop was flat except for the two downhill blocks to get from home to the Burke-Gilman Trail and the ramp by the UW light rail station to get down to the Lake Washington Loop from the Burke-Gilman Trail. And 35 stairs to the bus stop (I carried the bikes one by one).

Stairs down to 520

The other side (that we’d use on the way home) was recently redone to include a ramp:

Ramp up from 520

I was dismayed to discover the South Kirkland Park and Ride is on the side of a hill, but it was OK this one time and we can use a different bus stop in the future. The short ride to Burgermaster wasn’t bad–we cut through the parking lot of a La Quinta Inns & Suites and approached via the sidewalk…and immediately realized Burgermaster (like most of the eastside?) is designed for people in cars.

Burgermaster--drive in!

One drives up, chooses a parking spot in front of a menu, and orders through rolled-down window to a server who has walked over from the seating-free building.

Cars at Burgermaster

Had it not been cold and rainy, we could have eaten on the back patio. There’s even a bike rack back there!

Burgermaster patio

But given the weather, we were grateful to sit on the bench inside.

Burgermaster indoor area

Eating inside was pretty fun–my little guy was particularly enthralled by the order wheel: “I’ve only seen one of those on SpongeBob SquarePants before now!” And my big guy found the portable car jump starter by our bench quite fascinating.

Like the Crabby Patty!

Then we biked back uphill through the hotel parking lot and up quite a lot more hill for two blocks to the start of the trail (on the sidewalk). My nine-year old made up a little chant about how much he disliked the hill, but he was able to pedal up it without stopping. And then we were at the very beginning of the CKC. I read the Seattle Bike Blog article about it almost two years ago and had forgotten that it’s gravel! Fun!

Cross Kirkland Corridor

We rode 4.9 of the 5.5 miles of Cross Kirkland Corridor and it was awesome! My nine-year old had the most fun of all, skidding–intentionally and alarmingly–every 50 feet the entire way. I was relieved I had just one kid skidding all over the place on his own bike this time, but we talked about coming back on three bikes–my preference is for a nice day in the summer, the kids’ is for an even rainier day because they’re really into wetlands habitats. I forsee summer visits with trailside blackberry-picking stops, the kids plan to search for the “very large duck and badger” depicted in the Environmentally Sensitive Area signs.

Environmentally Sensitive Area

There’s a marvelous view of Lake Washington and the most of the stairways off the trail have runnels for easy wheeling of bikes. One stairway leads down to small Terrace Park (no potties), but even bigger and better and right at trail level is Google Park with zipline (though also no potties).

Stairs with runnel to the Cross Kirkland Corridor

Google maps had me exiting the CKC at NE 112th Street, one block before our destination, but rather than ride that one long block (on the sidewalk, of course, in this area) I decided to stick to the trail because even if it tunneled under our street, we’d have a shorter amount of sidewalk to ride back from the following intersection. Turns out the trail did indeed cross under NE 116th Street, but that meant we got to ride a tiny bit more of the CKC. Unfortunately that also meant we had to cross a big street and the people turning right from 120th Avenue NE onto NE 116th Street were not keen on allowing us to cross in the crosswalk.

Skymania is in a big nondescript building with huge parking lot and no bike rack. But there was lots of space under the overhang by the front door so we locked up to a pipe under that.

Skymania parking lot

Skymania entrance

The kids LOVED the venue. Two big trampoline areas, arcade games, and laser tag. The Waiting Lounge has chairs and tables, couches, and free wi-fi. But no outside food or drink allowed.

Heading back we started along the sidewalk of 116th, prepared to check out the long block of 120th’s sidewalk we avoided on the way up. By the way, there’s a bike lane on 116th, but it has lots of cars crossing through it to get to the freeway entrances.

Bike lane on Skymania's street

I stopped above the trail to see if there was any better option and it looked like it wouldn’t be too big a deal to ride down the driveway east of the car dealership and walk/carry our bikes a short way to the trail.

View of the CKC from above

Other than one pesky blackberry vine at the end, it was just fine.

Shortcut!

We saw an even better entry point once we were down on the trail:

Future shortcut

The dirt road alongside the long building to the west of the trail continues for the entire block so that would work even better for a trailer or other bike that couldn’t make the short rocky traverse.

Convenient dirt road to the right of the CKC

Chainline Brewing Company was great! The food truck was a no-show, but we went in anyway to buy a bag of chips and use the potty. The bike racks are up quite a slope, but plenty of people had wheeled their bikes up to them.

Chainline Brewing bike rack

There’s tons of bike decor inside–as well as some very cool light fixtures. We’ll be back for sure–and we can bring Pixie because it’s kid- and dog-friendly! There were a ton of babies there, by the way.

Inside Chainline Brewing

The bus ride and bike ride home went well. I’m so glad I had my seven-year old on my bike because mere moments after he asked if he could disembark to run the last few blocks home he fell asleep back there. He tends to run at 100% capacity at all times–and sometimes burn out before the day is done–whereas my nine-year old and I pace ourselves. Obviously, we’re not nearly as fun. But we stay awake while plodding on home. I think a summer visit without two hours of jumping and laser tagging will leave us all with energy enough to ride the whole trail and visit all the playgrounds, though. Here’s my Strava recording of the Kirkland portion of our day. Can’t wait to come back!

Biking (part way) to the Womxn’s March on Seattle

Today’s Womxn’s March on Seattle was just one of many satellite events for the Women’s March on Washington. Please read the full Mission & Vision and Unity Principles, but here’s a peek:

The rhetoric of the past election cycle has insulted, demonized, and threatened many of us – immigrants of all statuses, Muslims and those of diverse religious faiths, people who identify as LGBTQIA, Native people, Black and Brown people, people with disabilities, survivors of sexual assault – and our communities are hurting and scared. We are confronted with the question of how to move forward in the face of national and international concern and fear.

In the spirit of democracy and honoring the champions of human rights, dignity, and justice who have come before us, we join in diversity to show our presence in numbers too great to ignore. The Women’s March on Washington will send a bold message to our new government on their first day in office, and to the world that women’s rights are human rights. We stand together, recognizing that defending the most marginalized among us is defending all of us.

The first I read about Seattle’s march was “Get a babysitter and come march with us!” so I figured I’d just follow along virtually, but a few days ago I realized it’d become incredibly more inclusive and open to all. Hooray!

Even given the short time to prepare, I did a lot of hemming and hawing over how to get us to the start. I LOVE that the march started in the central district, but the sheer distance from our home means we don’t get down there often, and the one-way march made things tricky as well. It was nice to see the location addressed in the FAQ, though having a ton of friends who live in that area I think calling Judkins park “out of the way” is unfair.

Q: Why is the march starting at Judkins Park? It’s a bit out of the way.
A: The location of Judkins Park was the result of several factors: 1) budget, 2) the need for a space that can accommodate 50,000-75,000 people, 3) availability on the day of, 4) approval of the city of Seattle. While there are several locations that meet one or two of these criteria, Judkins Park is the only location that was approved by the city for the march.

I’ve walked with a bike in marches before and I don’t like doing so, so I wasn’t too put off when I read that bikes weren’t allowed (several people walked bikes anyway and did fine, but I still would have found it difficult). I figured our best bet was to bike to the end point of the parade, the Seattle Center (a.k.a. the Space Needle), leave our bikes there, and catch the bus to Judkins Park. I checked on the bus options to Judkins all the way from home and we would have had to transfer and not being a regular bus rider, I dislike dealing with transfers–one bus is plenty for me!

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I figured the buses would be packed and if it proved too difficult, we could always wait at the Seattle Center for the march to come to us, but I really wanted the kids to be part of the rally at the start. We left home at 8:15 a.m. and biked 5 miles to the Seattle Center to get in line for Metro bus 4 (“A new bus!” The kids were so excited for a new bus route).

The 9:10 bus was packed and didn’t even slow at our stop. Moments before the 9:40 arrived (late), one kid needed the potty now so we went inside the Armory building of the Seattle Center to take care of business and missed out on that bus. I was convinced the bus would have had room for us, but in retrospect it was probably full, too. The 10:10 (also late) was also too full to stop. We kept waiting because I knew 50,000 attendees were expected so even if we missed the 10:30 program and 11:00 beginning of the march, people would still be at the park waiting their turn to hit the route. Lots of people left the bus stop, some to run across the street and hop the bus in the other directly to loop around, some to catch $70 Ubers, and some for the monorail to Westlake Center (we saw an incredibly long monorail line when we headed back from the potty) so we were at the front of the line for the 10:40 (again, late). This bus stopped! But only to say she was full and that they’d be rerouting from now on so no more buses would show. No!!!! But fortunately I had my backup plan of just hanging at the Seattle Center, though I had figured that’d be more about having gotten out of the house late or an overwhelmed kid.

We heard many people in our long bus line mention they’d never taken the bus before. Of course, most of these people never made it on the bus; I hope they were able to bus home at the end of the day. Given the purpose of the day, no one I saw was angry about the lack of buses and seemed happy to get creative. Many new friends were made squeezing into shared taxis and Ubers. I’ve been on light rail when it’s packed with sports crowds and love hearing people talk about this awesome first trip and plan to use it more for other reasons. I wonder if the overcrowded buses were able to leave anyone with the that feeling today–I sure hope so because transit is the future (after bikes :)).

I remembered reading about three designated access points and looked them up on the spot and saw the closest to us was at Westlake Park. This must have been where the monorail riders were headed. I know the monorail runs a mile so I figured we could manage walking there considering I’d originally expected the kids to march 3.6 miles. Of course walking just the three of us isn’t quite the same as being swept along in an exciting crowd so we had to stop for a couple “MY LEG IS GOING TO FALL OFFFFFFF!!!!” rest breaks. But we never walk anywhere so it was pretty great! We saw that new street park at 5th and Vine I noticed from our last monorail ride. There’s a small parklet across the street the kids happily ran around in.

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And we found a great alley!

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We also stopped to read the plaque on the historic bell in front of fire station 2 and mess with the giant Popsicle™.

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There were a ton of people at Westlake Park. I would have liked to immerse ourselves in the crowd and read all the signs, but the playground called so we hung out there for an hour or so until the march arrived.

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We hopped in near the beginning of the march and it was amazing. Ours was a silent march, but waves of sound traveled from the back of the crowd to the front periodically.

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We peeled off as soon as we hit the Seattle Center to make for the food court, but I suspect the march went one block farther and ended at the International Fountain. I was sad to skip the grand finale and miss out on exposing the kids to one more element of the day, but I hope the small part of the march itself had a big impact on them. Feeding hungry, tired kids is important, too, as was visiting the playground for a bit before heading home.

In retrospect we could have hopped the 9am #4 bus in the opposite direction and looped around, but of course I didn’t think of that at the time. And there’s a good chance Judkins Park would have proved overwhelming for the kids and the whole 3.6-mile march would have been too long. So the lite version we ended up with was probably perfect. There will be more peaceful protests and as their legs get longer and their hearts even bigger, we’ll participate more fully.

For more from today, see timelapse video from KING 5 Seattle News and The New Yorks Times: Pictures From Women’s Marches Around the World. The last count I heard for Seattle was 175,000 participants!

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