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.

Riding Stuffed

You know that feeling you get after Thanksgiving when you’ve eaten everything in sight & the beer in your tummy is fizzy? When you’re so full that you feel it in your stomach and your back?

This is how I feel all the time now. 

The difference in my bump from Saturday to Tuesday was INCREDIBLE. Saturday on the left:


Today I took Creme to campus. I haven’t been doing much riding recently because I’ve been spending so much time in studio & the GIS lab. When I do ride it’s usually Boda since I often want the carrying capacity of the giant basket. 


It was sprinkling so I opted for my coat instead of my cape since I wasn’t going far. The pockets of my winter coat are front hip pockets & even just having my keys in there makes me feel too full! Hopefully it warms up enough to switch back to my other jacket with a back hip pocket. 

The ride home was slow. Like turtle slow. Like my bike may have defied gravity slow. I took the Ave until the end of the bike lane & then took Brooklyn the last 2 blocks since there’s less traffic & I can go as slowly as I want without anyone revving their engines at me. 

But I made it up! I had my doubts. I was feeling so stuffed. Like all my organs were pushing against my skin & I was going to burst through! But I made it up. 

So here’s to making it up & growing tiny humans & being awesome. 


Today vs. last week:


Lopsided Loads

Friday we planned to take the dogs over to Magnuson Park & stop off at Mud Bay in University Village on the way back.

We decided against the dog park with all of the rain since we had just cleaned the house. I’d like to check it out though, so we’ll have to look for a sunnier day.

In the end Mike & I ended up riding over to University Village without the pups. The ride there is mostly downhill & I love that E Stevens Way is a no-passing zone through campus. I love when we can ride next to each other but people can get really nasty about riding two-abreast on the incorrect assumption that it’s easier/faster to pass multiple single-file riders. We bombed down Pend Orielle which was awesome. I love fast downhills. Also racing Mike because I almost always win!


We got to the bike racks in front of the Tiffanys just in time! It started pouring as we were locking up so we took refuge under an awning. We walked around a bit before unlocking & riding over to Mud Bay. It’s not located in the U Village plaza so we rode on the sidewalk of 25th to get there. Of course someone driving an SUV almost plowed into us as we turned up the driveway to the store. It’s a really steep entrance & we both lost momentum & had to hop off & walk up the hill.


As we loaded the 45lb bag of dog food onto my bike it started pouring so we waited for a break in the rain before leaving. I was standing on the right side of Yuba when I put the kickstand down but I should’ve been on the left, where the weight was so I could rest it on my hip. I dropped the bike onto my leg & now I have a lovely welt on my shin.


Mike popped the chain back on & we rode back down the sidewalk to cross 25th at Pend Orielle. We hopped on the trail here & then cut through campus to get back home. Uphill was not as fun. Who would’ve guessed?

It would’ve been much easier to ride with the load if it had been centered or equally weighted. Unfortunately we don’t have any bungee cords right now, otherwise I would’ve strapped it across the rear rack. I could’ve put it in the basket (50lb weigh limit) but steering gets wonky above 35lbs. Oh well, we made it home with only 1 bruise so alls well that ends well!

Who put that mountain there?

Is what I say to myself all the time.

ARE YOU KIDDING ME SEATTLE? These are not hills. They are MOUNTAINS.

Yesterday I rode to Capitol Hill. I did not want to do this, but alas, my local art store didn’t have the size of glass I needed & I knew Blick would, so off I went. Sidenote: much better location for my wallet than in DC because now I can’t get there without fear of death by heart attack!

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I took Yuba because HILLZ. I headed south over University Bridge where I graciously surrendered my right-of-way to a large truck hauling a boat (JK no, they just ran the stop sign) & pulled a box turn at the light to head east on Furhman. Last time I biked to Capitol Hill I took Harvard & it sucked. Furhman was relatively quiet & FLAT but more than one person revved their engine behind me. Why? FOR FUN PROBABLY.

Googlemaps is crazy & directed me to turn up Shelby which I don’t even think is possible to bike up. I think you would just tip backwards & fall to the center of the earths core if you tried it. Seriously. My neck hurt just looking at it. I decided to press on & try to find a hill with less grade. I turned right onto Hamlin to head up the hill & had to use full assist while pedaling as hard as possible. WHO PUT THIS MOUNTAIN HERE?!

After a relatively long break at the top with copious water consumption & much panting (to the consternation of the man setting out his trash can) I turned left on 10th & pressed onward & ever upward. I hopped onto the sidewalk at E Roanoke to push the button & continue on my way up 10th. This is a stupid intersection.

I plodded along using copious amounts of battery power while gasping for air & cursing the tectonic plates that lie underneath this horrible city. I stopped at the top of the hill to catch my breath & suck down ever more water while sweaty profusely & mumbling profanities (but only because I was too out of breath to yell them).

The bike lane ends here but the lane is 12 feet wide so yay for being squeezed in between moving & parked cars! I never feel like I can hold a 12 foot lane. They’re just too wide. No particularly close passes though, most drivers moved partially into the center passing lane to pass.

When 10th turns into Broadway it becomes a bit more narrow so I rode in the lane here until the protected lane starts at E John Street. The lane is nice & wide with plenty of passing space & bike specific traffic signals. Alas, my journey was almost over so I didn’t get to ride in it for too long.


I purchased a few pieces of pre-cut glass as well as an 18 x 24 inch pad of newsprint The smaller glass fit in my basket but I rested the newsprint & the large piece of glass on top & secured it with a bungee. Most people would assume that you can’t bike with large sheets of glass but I do it all the time & I’ve yet (knock on wood) to break any.

Despite feeling nauseous & dizzy and having a SPLITTING headache (riding up mountains will do that to a person) I decided to try to ride through Interlaken Park on my way back because after doing all the work to get up the hill I figured I should get to enjoy it!

Lovely filtering at Volunteer Park

I headed back down Broadway & turned off in order to ride on Federal Way which was quiet but also hasn’t been paved in 1,000 years. After bumping along for several long blocks I turned onto E Prospect to head through Volunteer Park. It had started misting by now so I took shelter under a large tree & tried to protect my pad of newsprint from rain so it wouldn’t bubble up. I ripped up the two plastic bags I use for seat covers in an attempt to cover the pad. It worked relatively well but required some re-tucking in throughout the rest of the journey.


Cargo secure, I continued on my way. But being severely directionally challenged I got lost. Googlemaps wanted me to turn onto 19th to get to Interlaken Drive E (which I should have done?) but I was confused about which section was open to cars. I wanted to ride through the whole park & I saw that E Interlaken Boulevard was marked in dark green for protected lane/trail so I was trying to get there.

In the end I walked my bike down the very steep sidewalk to 23rd while squeezing my brakes as hard as possible & gave up, tired of going several steep blocks uphill only to go right back down & up & down & up-up-up. 


I got back on my bike & headed down 24th, taking the sidewalk over the Montlake Freeway & the bridge.
I headed up the ramp at the Link station & rode back through campus along Stevens Way. Home at last, we walked over to Udon where I ate the best noodles ever & then took a nap to recover.

Soon to come: a petition to level the city to make it humane & civil.

Seattle here we COME!

That’s right folks, we’re heading to Seattle! And not just for a visit – but a permanent move!

I was accepted to the University of Washington’s MS in Urban Planning program with a focus on Transportation Networks! I’ve been working toward this for a long time so I’m very excited that it’s finally becoming a reality!

While I’m sad to leave DC because the community here is doing fabulous things (albeit slower than I would like), I’m very excited to have the opportunity to explore the left coast!

You might notice that posts come less frequently over the course of the next few months as we pack up all of our worldly belongings (and pups) & head out on our next epic road-trip adventure!

So if you’ve got friends in Seattle, especially bikey ones, please let me know! I would love to connect!

Cycling-In-Seattle
Credit: Seattle Mortgage Planners

 

Review: Ibex Juliet Mitten

Fall is upon us!

As we move into this chilly and windy season I decided to add some fall pieces to my collection. I have quite a bit of winter gear but I always struggle in the spring and fall to find those mid-weight pieces.

When I ride my hands get REALLY cold. Even at 50-60 degrees I find that my fingers get numb, especially on those lovely downhills. I’ve tried wearing a pair of old running gloves but found them too thin. It’s almost as if they made my hands more cold than if I wore nothing at all. My winter mittens, nondescript black gloves, are far too warm, making my hands sweat above 35 degrees.

I decided to give Ibex mittens a try. I love all of my other Ibex pieces, so I figured it would be a pretty safe bet.

The Juliet Mittens are sized wool mittens with leather palms:

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Here’s how they performed:

  • Warm but not warm enough to make my hands sweat (55 degrees, cloudy, windy)
  • Water resistant – worn in light rain and mist with gusty winds, the outside was wet while the inside stayed dry
  • Leather palms provided good grip and kept the thumb and palms dry
  • Flexible and functional allowing my fingers to move inside
  • Easy on & off – no snagging on rings or knuckles
  • No odor when wet
  • Dried quickly while laid flat

The one thing I would change about these mittens: add a little hook to hold them together.

Price: $60.00

Value: time will tell, but these look well made an durable

Review: Cleverhood Rain Cape

What do you wear when it’s cold and wet?

It hasn’t rained in months here in DC. It’s been 90 and humid enough to feel like rain, but we’ve had very little rain this summer.

So imagine my surprise when it’s cold and raining this week. The temperature dropped by 30 degrees or so (from 80 to 50) and the rain came pelting down.

I’ve been wearing a rain cape from REI but it has a serious limitation: it’s too short! Ideally a rain cape is long enough to have a thumb loop, allowing you to drape the end of the cape over the handlebars, keeping the rain off of your lap. The REI cape, however, sits on my lap, mid thigh, meaning I can really only wear skirts and light tights without worrying about having soaking wet legs.

So when I found out that Cleverhood was having a Joaquin sale, I ordered two: one of Mike and one for me. They came just in time! We wore them all day in both rainy and windy conditions.

Here’s Mike testing out the reflective properties of the electric hounds tooth:

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So how did it perform?

  • Plenty long enough to drape over my handle bars
  • Arm holes are convenient and easy to use with their magnetic closures
  • Velcro tabs for slimming, but these aren’t so great for riding since they tend to come undone with movement
  • HYPER reflective – everyone will see you
  • Hood is adjustable, but it wasn’t quite working for me – I was wearing lipstick that I didn’t want to smudge so I didn’t zip it up fully, which I think was causing it to slip off my head
  • Thumb loops are well placed and help keep the front from blowing back at you

If I could change one thing: add hem weights around the bottom! This would keep the cape from acting too much like a sail in high winds.

These capes are quite pricey but the construction seems solid – an item to keep for a long time. I’d say these are worth the price and provide a good value if you live in rainy conditions.