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!

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.

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

A Secret Affair

Yesterday was a BEAUTIFUL DAY. Absolutely beautiful.

And I had a secret errand to run. Actually, let’s rewind. Don’t worry. Mike doesn’t read my blog because his work classifies it as pornography (thanks US government).

Last Wednesday I took an art class. Except it wasn’t the nude drawing class I told Mike it was. It was a different kind of art class. The stripping kind. It was a burlesque class! And it was SO MUCH FUN. I was worried that I would be intimidated but NO! I’d recommend it to anyone (man or woman) who is looking to gain body confidence. There’s nothing better than stripping out of an ugly vintage nighty to make you feel AWESOME. This is not a joke.

So now back to my errand! I rode to Fremont to pick up some red fabric. In the How to Strip for your Lover class we learned that red fabric draped over lamps makes for nice mood lighting. So I was on the hunt. Actually I wasn’t really hunting, as I’ve previously ridden by District Fabric & was pretty positive they would have what I needed. But it sounds good so I’ll just leave it there for you.

Since it was Sunday I locked up at the market to take a look around. I noticed signs that said it was a protected bike lane there on 35th but I didn’t see any protection. There was a painted buffer but that’s it. Does anyone know? Do they take it out for the market?

While I was at the market I saw a booth with these super awesome hats for babies that look like nipples & are amazing. Pregnant friends, you know what you’re getting for your baby showers, wish lists be damned.

I walked the 2 blocks to the fabric store because I don’t see the point in riding UP HILL for such a short distance & going through the hassle of locking up only to ride right back down again. Actually riding down sounds fun. Next time.

On my way home I made it up an extra block for the first time ever! Which means I only had to walk one block! Granted, I did get a break at Campus Parkway with the long red light so I could catch my breath. Then I almost got hit by a woman making an illegal u-turn. But another driver honked at her & pointed to me so at least SOMEONE was paying attention. I saw her doing something weird so I had already slowed down (JK no I was riding up hill & that’s just my pace). Win some, lose some I guess.

MY SHOES ARE THE CUTEST & I’M OBSESSED.

 Today I head to Vancouver for Pro-Bike/Pro-Walk/Pro-Place. Let me know if you’re going! I’ll have the cute polka-dot shoes! 

Also, shop local. This store is super cute.

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 Loopย & 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

Review: Yuba eBoda Boda

I purchased my eBoda Boda from The Daily Rider back in January. I had tested out a regular Boda but I’d never ridden an e-bike. At the time I had been bike commuting for about a year and I was frustrated with my current bike. I felt like I was fighting it everyday. I was making excuses for why I couldn’t ride (it’s cold, I’m tired, there’s a hill, I have too much to carry) so it really wasn’t serving me well.

When I saw a twitter post about interest in the eBoda by The Daily Rider I was interested. I read all of the reviews and specs. I tested out the regular Boda. And I sold my car, cashed the check, and headed over to the store to put down my deposit. I wanted a car replacement system, and that is exactly what I got.

When I ordered the bike I only added the bag, basket, and liner. I figured everything else I could add later if I wanted it. Mistake. While you can add them later, it can be costly to order parts & pay for install separately. Even if you plan to install at home the shipping is usually $20/order. I’ve since added: fenders, deflopilator, running boards, a ring, and a soft spot. I plan to add the center kickstand this weekend.

Pros:

  • This bike can carry amazing amounts of stuff and handle extremely well
  • Battery life is good for my needs (short, urban commutes)
  • All-weather & all surface handling
  • Disc brakes provide serious stopping power**
  • Basket liner has a great pocket for my cargo net and plastic rain bags
  • Human carrying power for carrying real, adult (and tiny) humans around – 220lbs on the rear rack (in addition to rider)
  • Tons of points to lash cargo straps onto, perfect for carrying weirdly shaped items
  • Durable frame – I crashed hard sideways and no dents on the frame – basket still fully functional – virtually no damage to the bike
  • Tires are extremely durable – only 1 flat with 1700 miles and it was a tube issue**
  • Beautiful to look at – always gets plenty of compliments
  • Rides fast, like mind blowingly fast down-hill and on flat straight-aways
  • Surprisingly easy to maneuver despite wide running boards
  • Ergonomic handlebars leave plenty of space for important items like pretty bells and cup holders
  • Very comfortable seat that reduces inner thigh chafe
  • Rack is great for any clip-on bag – I’m currently using a Linus bag
  • Yuba’s bag is large and can carry an impressive amount of stuff – I loaded in 2ย framed 16×20 paintings and another 8×10 with room to spare
  • Basket can carry up to 50lbs and since it’s frame mounted, the steering is largely unaffected
  • I like the new center kickstand although it was strange at first, I think I’ve got the hang of it now!
  • Shifts really easily & I don’t miss the extra gears
  • Fits on a bus in the front rack!

Cons:

  • Front clearance is too short leading me to kick the fender when I make turns
  • Side kickstand is too low causing the bike to have an extreme tilt – not useful if there’s more than 10 lbs of cargo on board (I like to load the left side, which is also the kickstand side)
  • Shipping costs for parts are high, and they take quite a while to reach the east coast
  • Basket liner is a drab color and if fills with water in the rain
  • Back tire needs special tools to be removed, requiring shop visits forย tube replacements (since it’s under the rack)
  • Front basket limits light placement since the liner is solid and the basket extends out quite far
  • Heavy – weighing in at 65 lbs it’s not a bike I can carry up/down our (very narrow) stairs
  • Not a full chain guard – leaving plenty of grease stains while being carried up/down said stairs
  • Prone to tipping without the “deflopilator” if you have weight in the basket – I load up my basket with groceries (40-50lbs) so this can be an issue
  • Difficult to start from a stop, especially on a hill due to excessive rear weight (when not using the electric)
  • Cork grips are really slimy in the rain
  • Yuba’s bag is too big for my every day, it also doesn’t have enough small pockets for phone/wallet

I love my Yuba. No, she’s not my bike for every ride, but she always gets me where I need to go. She provides that extra umph when I’m feeling tired or hot. She eases my back pain. She’s allowed me to give up my car and still feel like I can get around without relying on others.

**EDIT: Today I took her over to TDR to have them change out the kickstand because our wrench wasn’t the right size. While we were there I asked about the “sticky” brake issue where the rear brake would fail to release without being manually pushed back into place. His first question: “do you keep her outside, there’s A LOT of corrosion. This should be replaced”. Needless to say I’m disappointed, especially since she lives inside at work and home. We put in an order for a new brake cable (it’s a tandem) and I’ll plan on bringing her back in next weekend.

On our way home (in the cold, WINDY rain) I hear a wooshing sound as we approach a red light. Sure enough it’s a flat rear tire. Of course. We didn’t have a patch kit or pump with us so we had to take her into the shop. Luckily Mike was there so he carried her to BicycleSpaceย while trying not to rip the tire. When we arrived we learned the bad news: the rear tire was really worn and needed to be replaced. That obviously wasn’t going to happen 30 minutes before the shop closed, so he recommended that we order specialty (although non-white) tires for e-bikes meant to be puncture resistant and stand up to the extra battery weight. We opted to stick with the current tires but switch the front and back since the front had plenty of tread left. My plan is to put new tires on her by the first real snow (hopefully January).

While at BicycleSpace we talked to the mechanic about average lifespan on brakes and tires. His recommendation was 1,500-2,000 miles for race bike tires but after 2-3 flats for commuters. She’s at that mileage and has taken 10 months of daily urban abuse, so I can’t say I’m terribly surprised. He also said that it’s probably on track for brake cable replacement too with the extra weight of the cargo bike and the extra stop and go of urban commuting.

I’ve been riding Yube’s hard for 10 months and it’s really starting to show. But as they say: when it rains, it pours. I’ll be making the necessary repairs/upgrades over the next few weeks and months and we’ll get her back to her prime.