Errandonnee 2017

It’s that time of year again! Time for #errandonnee! If you’re not familiar with the social media phenomenon, it’s a friendly way to encourage people to ride around town & get stuff done. It’s hosted by Mary over at Chasing Mailboxes.

I’ve participated for the past 3 years but I’ve never actually completed a score card (much like #coffeeneuring). Mostly because I’m lazy and also because I’m not a fan of patches (GASP). I like stickers more. Less work. More sticky. But I love running errands on my bike so here’s my informal participation:


#1: Personal Care – lil nug wanted McDonald’s so lil nug got some McDonald’s. Unfortunately there’s no bike rack but I locked up to the fencing around the drive through. At only 1 block off the BGT I will totally be back as more cravings arise.

#2: Store – next I headed over to University Village to pick up some stuff for around the house. I found a sale on storage bins to help organize our cloffice (office/closet). I also found a cute air plant at Ravenna Gardens to put in a sculpture that I made. Next it was time to go to the Amazon bookstore (because they have the nicest bathrooms) to look around. I popped over to PaperSource to get some cards & envelopes and then got a GIANT ice cream cone at Molly Moons. It had been spitting out so I found some covered bike parking at QFC while I picked up some more strawberries. I also stopped by GAP & found a good deal on these super cute baby leggings (I have a problem, I know).

#3: Store – back to University Village! I only bought flat cards – not flat cards & envelopes at PaperSource & the sale was ending that day so I quickly headed back out on my bike to make the switch.


#4: Personal Business – I took Bikey over to G & O to talk about changing up the handlebar situation. We’re going to add a stem riser to make the bike even more upright and give a bit more clearance for the baby carrier.

Grass is just a toupee for mud puddles

#5: Personal Care – on the way home from G & O I had a nap attack. The kind where you feel like you MUST LAY DOWN & SLEEP or you will die. It was hard to make it home. Lil nug kicked me anytime we stopped for a red light or when he determined that I was pedaling too slowly. All I wanted was to sleep. But then we passed Xi’an Noodles & I had a sudden craving for their cumin beef “burger” & I knew that I had to stop & grab one to go. So I locked up to the patio rack of the place next door & managed to snooze a bit while waiting in line. Win!

I thought about riding to my midwife’s appointment later in the afternoon but decided that I was far too tired & we took the bus instead.

Frozen Fingers

Monday was a good day. I woke up craving black coffee, which is a BIG DEAL. I haven’t wanted black coffee in MONTHS. It started giving me such bad heartburn around 8 weeks & I’ve been avoiding it ever since.

It was cold and sleeting out but I had a sudden urge to sew curtains for the nursery. So obviously I had to follow it! I had a few hours in between meetings so I decided to ride over to the Jo-Ann’s Fabric in Ballard to scope out my options.

Does anyone else ever have an overwhelming urge to tackle projects that are way outside your scope & then get in way over your head?

I was totally underdressed in the leg region. My maternity leggings are relatively thin & opaque. With the misty sleet I was worried about getting too cold by the time I reached Ballard. I tried tying an ikea bag around my waist but it kept moving around so I ditched that idea after only a few minutes.

Shortly after consigning myself to getting wet it stopped raining. Yay!

I rode by a bunch of kids playing along the trail & resolved to research if there is a daycare nearby. There is! And they take infants! And they have spots in September! Granted, they are the most expensive option on our radar, but I’m going to take a tour & we’ll see how it goes.

Riding slowly along in the cool air while sipping my coffee was amazing. It used to be my favorite part of the day – my commute to work – but now my ride is so short and coffee free. I’m pretty sure my smile was contagious – if only there were people outside to see it.

I realized that there’s a 1/2 block of sidewalk along Shilshole where the trail extension ends that runs you to 17th. This worked quite well, but I would be very careful here when you make the turn since people drive so fast and often don’t check that crossing before they turn.

My ride up Market was slow but pleasant as there was no traffic to speak of. I had to lock up to some railings but at least it was covered! It seems strange that there’s no bike parking here when there’s so much around the corner & across the street.

I found fabric I liked for the curtains and more cute fabric for burp cloths & bibs for lil nug so it was a success!

My ride home was a bit colder, despite no rain. My mittens were damp and my fingers froze for the first 3 miles or so. By the last mile they had warmed up, but it was definitely cold there for a while. I also accidentally splashed in a puddle and had one wet and muddy shin which was kind of a bummer. Oh well. Here’s to hoping it warms up soon.

Slow, slower, slowest

I went for a brunch jaunt up to Ballard with Madi yesterday for biscuits. We ate at Morsel & I thought they were totally worth the hype! Not necessarily worth the line that’s always outside of their U District location, but a weekday visit was well timed.

We met up at the Wall of Death on a beautiful sunny, albeit slightly chilly morning. We rode the BGT until the end & then took Shilshole for half a block to turn up 17th. They should really extend the trail the extra 200 yards to connect to 17th while we wait for them to finish planning the trail extension.

We found a boat outside Mighty’O! A brand new parklet with seating & plants that’s so new it hasn’t even been debuted yet! Obviously the perfect photo op.

My current pace is ~9 mph on flats. Anything much more than 10 I start to get heartburn. I ended up using the first level of my assist to keep up. It seems early to feel so slow, but I’m trying to listen to my body & do what it wants.

When we got to Morsel I thought I forgot my keys (except I really didn’t, thanks pregnancy brain!) so we ended up locking together. Thank goodness for Madi’s Abus folding bike lock because Bikey can be a pain to lock to since she’s so large & has the GIANT front basket. The outdoor seating was lovely, especially since it’s a pretty small place with only a few small tables.

Madi had a hair appointment so I headed back to campus for a meeting of my own. I had 30 minutes so took my sweet time. It wasn’t until I got to Stone Way & checked my phone that I realized I only had 5 minutes before my meeting! At that point I used the assist to help me speed things up & ended up being only 5 minutes late.

Later in the day I rode Creme to campus to meet up with Lynn & then headed to the dentist for some tooth pain. My ride home was slowwww and I walked half a block uphill but overall I’m happy that my body is still moving forward at a relatively steady pace.


Biking to REI

I had to made a swap at REI. My dad bought me a new jacket for my birthday but it didn’t quite fit so I ordered a larger size to the store. I decided to wear the jacket over & return it so I wouldn’t have to lug an extra coat around.

REI is only about 4 miles from me by the most direct route but Eastlake is a total bummer so I decided on a very calm yet very circuitous route. My route was very flat – the only hills being on Harrison & the climb up the 4 blocks at the end back to home.Screen Shot 2016-12-17 at 5.25.38 PM.png

I rode the Burke Gilman Trail to the Fremont Bridge & then hopped on the Westlake cycle track until I got to 9th. I took 9th to Harrison then over to Yale and down to John because the bike parking is located on the Eastlake Side of the building.

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The ride was pretty calm & there weren’t too many people out until I got over to Yale which houses the parking garage for REI. This is a mess. People are angry.

Despite wayfinding signs getting to the bike parking is tricky. The signs all seem to point in contradictory directions & they use the term “bikes” to mean “mountain bike test trail” NOT to be confused with “bike parking”.

The parking is covered & close to the exit – although weirdly far from the entrance – of the store. I was disappointed in the installation of the racks. They’re bolted together to a stringer that connects 8 or so racks but this puts them too close together & the stringer made it hard for me to set my kickstand. My bike JUST fit in the rack but it meant I was taking up 2 spaces instead of 1. There was also a limited number of racks for the MASSIVE number of car spaces in the parking garage. It was token bike parking & that’s a bummer.

The store is huge. I thought I was in an IKEA. There’s a play area for kids & a restaurant & 8 million lines for returns & online orders. It was packed the weekend before the holidays & wait times at the checkout were 30 – 40 minutes.

I was able to swap out one jacket for the next size & headed back out on my cold, snowflakey ride home.

Bike Workouts

I don’t bike for exercise. But it is a nice perk that my main mode of transportation is active (actually they’re all pretty active since we don’t drive).

I also don’t go to the gym. Because the gym is lame & I’d rather be doing pretty much anything other than standing an elliptical watching bad TV. Mike occasionally goes to the gym – but less to workout and more to give me some quiet time in the apartment to study.

But on Sunday we biked to the gym. Why you ask? We want a home/birth center birth & the number one reason women are transferred to the hospital: exhaustion. Labor is long & hard.

The other goal of going to the gym was to work on strengthening our (really mine – but Mike’s fun to look at while he works out) core. Pregnancy is hard on your core muscles – causing a split in your abdominal muscles as your belly grows. Strengthening these will hopefully make it easier to recover postpartum.

We biked to the far gym because the close one (only TWO BLOCKS AWAY) is just for residential students. I might be able to sneak in on the weekday but Mike has a special spouse pass that makes it obvious he’s not a student. The far gym is 1.5 miles away, all downhill on the way there & all uphill on the way back. Don’t do too many squats or you’ll never make it back alive.

There are plenty of covered bike racks but they’re the too-close-together staples UW loves, so I can only lock up on the outside edge of the rack. The front page of the IMA website is entirely dedicated to car parking & they even have an attendant directing traffic. So much for promoting a walkable & bikeable community. Also -riding up & down the LINK bridge is way easier because it’s ADA accessible unlike the bridge off the BGT closer to the IMA building. That bridge is partially closed for re-grading at the moment.

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It’s comfortable to take Steven’s Lane (accessed by the law library) on the way downhill – then over the bridge at LINK
We spent about an hour exercising & then checked out the pool for possible future swimming workouts. Towels & daily locks are free so that’s a nice perk that increases my chance of swimming here. I weighed myself in the locker room & found out that I’ve LOST 7 pounds! I’m positive it’s broken & think I’m closer to having GAINED 2-3 pounds recently.

Then we headed upstairs for the REAL reason I wanted to head to the gym today – the smoothie bar. Turns out it wasn’t that great. It’s a Freshens – a chain that uses sherbet instead of yogurt for a truly sugar packed beverage. They also as a “booster” of unknown origin that makes it grainy. Save your money & make something at home.

And then we rode uphill on our return so I could take a delightful nap.

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On the way back we ride through campus to avoid steep grades but it’s longer & more circuitous – plus it’s hard to do if it’s busy so avoid during class changes

Riding the Missing Link to the Lost Cities

When did people who like to play board games become nerds?

Personally I’d rather play board games with my partner than watch any of the 8 channels we have on TV. It’s way more interesting. Plus, as a competitive person I’m always itching to WIN.

Also, on our new grad-student/1 income budget we’re always looking for cheap entertainment. Modern board games offer up a good value for a limited investment. As such we’ve decided to spend our anniversary budget on a few new games & a night at home with delicious take out & cheap champagne.

A few weeks ago @nospandexrequired suggested I check out Card Kingdom over in Ballard. So on Saturday we decided to ride over & check it out.

But first we headed to Whole Foods to grab some more toothpaste & then onto Trader Joe’s for coffee. I love the new lanes on Roosevelt! Alas, they haven’t finished paving south of 45th, so we popped over to 12th to avoid all of the bumpiness & dust. From there we rode down the hill to the BGT and then headed west. The line at Fremont Brewery was around the block at 11:15! They must’ve been having some kind of event.

I was riding pretty fast until we passed the Google Steps. I’ve been a little sore lately & the pavement around Google is pretty bumpy. Each bump was painful but luckily the pavement smoothed out for a bit further down the trail.

This was Mike’s first trip west of Gas Works so I was OH SO EXCITED to show off the missing link! WOO! But we only rode on it for a block before turning onto Ballard & then up one block to the shop.

Bike parking was great! Wave racks, but partially covered by the overhang & right by the door. By the time we left around 1:30 the racks were full! I also liked that we could see the bikes from where we sat outside at the cafe.

The store was huge! It was also really light & airy, especially compared to other shops I’ve been in that are more focused on role-playing games. They have a massive selection & a ton of space to play a game & try it out before you buy. We opted to grab lunch in the cafe while playing Lost Cities.

On our way back home we stopped at Gas Works to check out the view from Kite Hill. Beautiful as always!

Also I found these super cute shoes at the thrift store on Friday & I just HAD to wear them.

Impromptu Adventure Sunday

On Sunday we took an impromptu adventure! We started out by heading over to Warby Parker in Fremont to see about replacing my lost sunglasses. I was happy that it was overcast at the start seeing as how I now lack retina protection.

I wore some capri leggings and a t-shirt with a light vest & my heeled Keens. I was definitely chilly on the way downhill to the trail & I was wishing I had my flannel instead of my vest.

We hoped off the BGT at Stone Way & rode along 34th for a few blocks to Fremont. The brewery was already packed at noon, the bike racks almost full! After Warby Parker we decided to walk over to the Fremont Sunday market & look around at all of the booths.

After the market we considered popping back onto the trail to keep going west but decided to head over the Fremont bridge & along Lake Union instead. At the end of the trail we saw a sign for the Ship Canal Trail & followed it until it ended in a poorly paved parking lot. We kept going here, hoping to run into the Cheshiahud Lake Union Loop & we did! It was newly paved & had a separate space for people walking. The spaces were nicely delineated with asphalt for bikes & concrete for people walking. A portion of the trail was still being repaved, routing us through a narrow parking lot. It would probably suck if they were actually working, as their were a lot of large construction vehicles taking up most of the detour.

Some of the paint here is so sparkly that I thought it was broken glass! But yay! It’s not!

By the time we got to Lake Union Park it had definitely warmed up & the sun had come out. I started to regret the capris. They don’t breathe at all & soak up all of the heat, trapping it close to my body. I also wished I had brought along some water & I was missing my sunglasses hard core. The park suffered from a severe lack of shade & I wasn’t a fan of all the gravel by the splash pad. Seemed like a poor choice of material.

The trail got confusing here & we thought we were just riding on the sidewalk until we saw another sign for it. Arrows would be helpful here; it would’ve prevented us from zig-zagging back and forth across the streetcar tracks.

Google Maps wanted us to ride along Fairview & turn left on Eastlake to head over University Bridge, but we stayed on the trail. We got lost again at Eastlake but luckily we saw some other people riding & followed them to find a sign for the bridge. The trail runs along a neighborhood street for several blocks here & it’s in desperate need of repaving.

We walked up the hill to Eastlake & then rode along here to the bridge. I think it’s a prime location for a protected lane in what is currently an extra-wide parking lane. This is especially important as a connection to the trail.

University bridge starts out great going north – it’s a fully protected bike lane & it’s newly repaved. I don’t like the concrete section with metal inlay. It seems like it would be very slippery & would freeze during winter. Is there any specific reason for the grates?

The other half of the bridge is not so great. While the pavement is nice & the lane is wide, traffic is moving quite fast & the lane merges with traffic where cars cross over the bike lane to turn right. There’s not currently any paint/arrows alerting drivers to the bike cross-traffic & I felt uncomfortable going straight here. I hope they add some green paint at least. In the future I think I’ll just get off the bridge here & then turn left onto Lincoln (instead of turning right onto NE Campus Parkway).

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via Google Maps (from pre-repaving)

I dismounted at Brooklyn & 41st in order to walk the remaining uphill blocks. I even managed to do the walking dismount I’ve been too afraid to try! Mike was like “HEY! YOU DID IT!” And I wasn’t even trying! I think it was because the curb was pedal height so I was able to just step through the frame & onto the curb. Yay!

Total miles: 8.5