Coffeeneuring 2017 Has Begun!

Every year I say I will successfully complete the #coffeeneuring challenge put on by Mary at Chasing Mailboxes, but I don’t know that I’ve ever done it.

So here’s to another year of starting off strong and probably not living up to expectations!

Babe and I rode to the Top Pot in Ballard for coffee and donuts before our grocery shopping adventure. In the spirit of taking things much too far I’ve made a giant spreadsheet to track how much we spend on specific items in order to reduce our food costs. Fun fun fun!

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But back to the coffeeneuring:

  1. Where: Top Pot Donuts – Ballard
  2. When: 10/13/17
  3. What you drank: cafe au lait
  4. Observation: my rear fender kicks up a lot of debris into the trailer (which babe loudly protested) so I really need to get a mud flap put on!
  5. Theme: skeptical baby
  6. Total mileage: 8.6 miles

The ride there was uneventful if chilly. People walked in front of me when I had a green light because they were texting. I was annoyed. I moved my safety cone back into position. Some dude passed us super close and fast on the trail at Stone Way. I’m still super paranoid about turning across the railroad tracks to get from the “trail” to TJ’s.

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SAFETY CONE MAKES EVERYONE SAFER

I’m 90% sure someone dumped a cup of water (I HOPE) on the trailer because it was the only thing wet & the sidewalk elsewhere was dry. Good thing I thought about rain & closed the plastic rain cover. WHO DOES THIS?!

I bought a lot of beer and the bag was super heavy so I stuck it in the trailer behind the child seat. I made it up our hill faster than usual, although I still took my requisite break by my favorite fire hydrant half-way up.

Some dude in a giant truck waited and waited and waited in a driveway until I was *right* in front of him before pulling out. THANX.

As usual babe woke up on the way up the hill so he could scream us home (I wish I could harness this energy to propel us). He continued to cry in the elevator so an ever helpful neighbor asked super helpful questions like: why is he crying; do you think he’s hungry; is he wet? This culminated in my favorite thing, which was patting babe on the arm and saying “baby don’t cry” over and over. Note to self: don’t get in the elevator with this guy again. Walk up the 9 flights of stairs.

Overall an outing much like many of our outings: we bought stuff, we cried, we forgot essential items, we smiled a bunch, and we got a little nap in.

Coffeeneuring suggestions welcome!

 

Gaining Confidence 

On Friday I was planning to bike to the Fremont PCC with babe in the soft structured carrier. There’s a closer PCC but the Fremont location is along a protected bike lane, making for only 3 on-street blocks, all down a local only, virtually traffic free (thanks contsruction!) street. 

But wait! A friend asked if I wanted to have a playground meet up with her 2 littles! She met us at our place & we rode to Green Lake instead. I was nervous about riding in the road, but having a friend there gave me so much more confidence!

We made it about 3/4 of a mile before babe decided he was wet & hungry & started screaming. He kept that up for about 5 blocks before falling back asleep. We could’ve stopped & regrouped, but he’s not the best with transitioning & he nurses for long stretches so I figured it would be best to see if we could make it all the way there. 


After some time watching the big kids play we headed over to PCC to return something & grab food for dinner. I don’t know that I would’ve found it if I had been by myself; it’s tucked back into a courtyard. Bike parking is tepid at best. Some nice staples far from the entrance and then really awfully place hanger style racks right by the door. With baby in the carrier it’s hard to bend & lock so the fact that PCC had shelves of plants up against the only spot I could lock to was quite annoying. 

We parted ways at the library, where Mike met up with us to ride us home after finding some new books to read. Roosevelt is a great example of bikewashing, where infrastructure looks great but actually doesn’t do much to protect riders. The sections by the library & the Trader Joe’s are especially bad. 

It’s not a ride I would’ve done by myself, but now that I have more confidence riding with babe, I think I would do it again (probably not Roosevelt though) alone. 

Saturdays sans Bebe

I’m in therapy for birth trauma. It’s a thing here. I love Seattle. Anyways, my therapist said I should take 3 hours on Saturday morning to run errands or ride my bike alone.

Last week I went to Joann’s Fabric to buy way too much fabric that I don’t need. Unless, of course, I take up quilting. I should totally do that with all my free time (you know, outside of writing a thesis & caring for baby). It was my first bike ride alone since giving birth & it went surprisingly well! I even got all the way back up the hill to our place without walking! My thighs were sore afterwards, but no other issues.

Today I decided to check out Petite Boutique on 45th, in Magnolia. It looked to be right off the Burke Gilman & it was for the most part. I turned off the trail at Fiddler on the Tooth and rode along the service road to get to the shop. There’s no bike parking on this side of the block so I locked up to a NO PARKING sign. Fitting.

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Overall the boys selection was disappointing, similar to other “high end” kids consignment stores I’ve been to. I also popped into Felipa’s Consignment, but struck out there too.

I figured I’d stop by University Village for a while since I was already here. But I didn’t want to ride uphill to go downhill so I rode slowly along the sidewalk on 45th until I got to the QFC parking lot. This parking lot is a total shit show. Seriously. It’s terrifying that so many people wielding 2 ton vehicles are texting while also competing for a parking spot as children try to cross in the crosswalk.

I checked out the garden store first, then decided to lock up by Sephora. I bumped into Chris taking a coffee break! Yay for bike friends! I needed mascara but when I read the label (hello NYLON) I decided that I didn’t want to put plastic on my eyelashes and left without buying anything.

I decided to poke around at Hana Anderson where it was assumed that I was buying a gift for friend. It’s weird being out without baby. Are you still a mama if your baby isn’t with you? Maybe.

I found a steal on a faux nursing tank at GAP. A tank top (on sale!) that’s open crossed in the back – just flip it around so the opening is in the front & you’ve saved yourself $40!

By the time I headed out it was pretty hot. I decided to try to find a route through Blakely Village to avoid the big hill & it was a success! It’s slow and includes a pretty tight switchback but still doable! On my way home I had to stop & hold my chest to prevent a letdown. But the time wasn’t wasted because I spent it clutching my boobs with one arm and picking delicious blackberries with the other. Ah, that nursing life.

I took the meandering campus route back to avoid the steeper climb up from the trail. I meandered even more than normal in order to stick to the shady spots. Campus was deserted. It was quite nice.

Baby on a Bike

I rode up until 40 weeks of pregnancy – right up until the day before I went into labor. So obviously I love riding my bike. It gives me a sense of freedom and control to be able to go where I want, when I want. Walking is too slow. Taking the bus requires too much planning. I can just hop on my bike and go! Not to mention all of the things I can carry!

But it wasn’t as easy getting on the bike with baby as I thought it would be. I was nervous about riding too fast; nervous about him bouncing too much. But most importantly I was nervous about what other people would say. Am I a bad parent for riding with my baby? 

I thought I would have more confidence and less doubt about my choices. So for now we’ll stay close to home and probably focus on rides we can do with Papa Bear along for support. 

I dream of living in the Netherlands where one can ride without worry. Now that would be freedom. 

3-Speed in Seattle

I’m always amazed that people don’t realize you can ride a 3-speed in Seattle.

We pulled up to Red Mill Totem House after spending the day at the beach on Sunday. A couple sitting at a picnic table offered to move their bikes, but we were able to sneak ours into the rack without having to reshuffle. They have the hanger-style racks there which means that my bike can only go on the outside anyways (because of the front basket).

When I came back out after ordering the woman asked me if my bike was a single-speed. I get this question a lot because most people haven’t seen an IGH set up before. After telling her it was a 3-speed she asked me where I ride my bike. Um, here? Obviously. She said I must not go up a lot of hills (truth) or be very strong (semi-truth).

I always think it’s odd when people riding road bikes with drop bars fail to understand how anyone could ride around town running errands or carrying humans. Riding a bike with drop bars seems crazy to me!

Who Needs Padded Pants?!

It was day 3 of our first (& totally over zealous) bike camping adventure. We had worn our normal, cotton shorts (because who needs those special padded pants?) and were setting off on our longest day yet (each day was the longest day we had ever ridden before). It was a balmy 85 at 8 am and the humidity was already oppressive. The air was heavy and the sun was already high in the sky.

Our route took us along a relatively flat, paved trail but we didn’t anticipate the extreme lack of shade. Because it was a converted rail road line that was currently being used by a power company, there were virtually no trees along the trail. My shorts were soaked through in minutes. A bit after noon we stopped off at a bar for burgers and fries and I downed 2 beers to go with it. The air conditioning was like heaven.

We hurried out of the bar after checking the weather report & seeing that we could potentially beat the approaching storm. Not 30 minutes later I began to regret the beer. My ass was already sore from riding, but after using port-a-potty toilet paper for my beer induced diarrhea I couldn’t sit on my bike seat without crying in pain. Hemorrhoids are real my friends.

We made it home minutes before the storm began & vowed never to go bike camping again. Don’t worry though – we went again a few weeks later (but only for 1 night).

Why the flashback moment? Pregnancy hemorrhoids, obviously! 

I’ve taken to riding Creme because that seat is more comfortable. I can ride for upwards of 10 miles on Creme without any irritation, but I can barely make it 3 miles on Yuba without serious discomfort.

So how did I manage to ride 16 miles with minimal discomfort the other day? Witch hazel pads! I was nervous about the length of my ride so I decided to soak an overnight pad in witch hazel in an attempt to prevent irritation. It worked great! I’ll be sure to repeat this method for the remainder of my pregnancy, and to employ it for future camping trips.


If you’re still feeling soreness and irritation I’d recommend a sitz bath (you can find these at any drug store) with diluted apple cider vinegar for 20 minutes. Tuck’s also makes some nice witch hazel wipes if you don’t want to commit to wearing a pad while riding.

Happy hemorrhoid prevention!

Biking While Female: Pregnancy is Weird

Real talk: pregnancy is weird. I can’t bend over to tie my shoes but I managed to bike 15 miles today.


I had a meeting over coffee in Belltown this afternoon & the weather was beautiful so I decided to bike & I definitely do not regret my decision! I opted for the Westlake option to getting around Lake Union, although GoogleMaps tells me that Eastlake is shorter. I didn’t actually stop off at Gasworks on the way there, but it was the only way to capture my whole route.

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It took me the predicted 40 minutes, which was surprising since I tend to be a slow rider. Much of the way was ever so slightly downhill though, so I think that tipped the scales in my favor. I was nervous about getting tacked on Westlake because I keep reading about it happening to other people, but so far so good on that front.

I’ll often take the long way around to get from the Burke Gilman to the Fremont Bridge, but today I wasn’t feeling the bumpiness by Google & didn’t want to be late so I opted for the road. The bike lane is closed there due to construction but it was mid-morning with virtually no car traffic.

After Westlake I headed up a block to turn onto 9th (using the pedestrian signals) & rode along 9th to get to Bell St. It was a pretty quiet, although I did have to go around 1 FedEx driver who had parked in the bike lane. I walked the first 2 blocks of Bell because they’re pretty steep uphills & I didn’t want to tire myself out too much. Plenty of drivers disregarded the bike/bus only signs but short of in-person enforcement I don’t see how to fix that problem. Bell is really nice to ride on: vibrant, narrow, well landscaped, and human-sized! At the end of the hill I turned onto 1st where I rode on the sidewalk for 1.5 blocks to the coffee shop.

After our meeting I wanted to take my time riding back (because who really wants to spend a sunny afternoon writing a paper on the Alaskan Way Viaduct?!) so I opted for the long way home. With a cupcake to go, of course. It’s a steep downhill from Wall St to Elliot Ave but the combo coaster/hand brakes made it safely. I stopped for my cupcake after passing the face & would highly recommend the splurge purchase. $5.25 is a lot for a small pastry but DAMN! This had actual whole raspberries inside!


There were a ton of people out & about on such a beautiful day so the trail was pretty crowded. Luckily there’s a bathroom by the pier because baby has been enjoying sitting on my bladder! It was a nice slow ride from here to Balmer Yard in Interbay. From here I hoped on the bike lanes on 20th Ave W. Where it switches over to Gilman Ave W the bike lanes drop out but there was space to ride in the parking lane with relative comfort. I’d love to see this transformed into a protected lane here to allow for a better connection to the Ship Canal Trail. After turning onto W Emerson Pl & heading downhill I hoped onto the trail to head back to the Fremont Bridge.


I made a pit stop for snacks at West Ewing Park, across from Wallace Field before heading up & over the bridge. I rode along 34th to get back to the Burke Gilman & then made a quick stop over at Gas Works. I rode almost to the top of Kite Hill, but ultimately decided it was best to walk up. It wasn’t too crowded but there were plenty of people out enjoying the sunshine! Then I stopped off by the water before making my final turn towards home.

Overall a great day out in the sun & I’m glad I postponed paper writing (jk – ask me about that tomorrow)!