The best laid plans

Never work out.

With weather yesterday in the 70s and sunny I was dreaming of the beach! I was hoping to go to Olympic Sculpture Park and was able to rope in a friend to join!

Except that the baby didn’t want to go for a bike ride. He started out grumpy and his mood didn’t improve. I think it was a combination of sun, an overly floppy hastily attached sunshade, wind from not having the cover on, and DST waking us up later so we had less morning play to get our wiggles out.

Even though it was only in the 50s when we left home I didn’t want to bake the baby as the day heated up so we took off the cover for the bakfiets. I’d never ridden without the cover and it was so nice! It somehow felt easier to get places, although maybe it was just the nice weather.

A few months ago I ripped the sun shade from our stroller and it was under warranty so they sent us a new one. It has Velcro on the sides where it wraps around the stroller frame so we stuck the Velcro to the car seat. Then we tucked the back part of the sun shade down against the box to keep it from blowing away. I added a thin muslin blanket to provide additional coverage. But it was too loose! The shade ended up being too floppy and baby H was not a fan. But also he didn’t like the sun in his face. No winning kiddo.

So after many silly songs and no signs of cheering up we stopped for a quick on board nursing session. So much easier without the cover attached! While he nursed I watched some sparrows flit around in the trees and practiced my squats. I’m 100% people thought I was doing some sort of crazy dance but the baby was happy.

After about 10 minutes we were off again! But still unhappy. We made it about 5 more minutes of riding before a total meltdown. So out of the bike and onto the grass! At a very non scenic spot. But H was happy to throw his ball and wave his arms. Plus he discovered a new sound of the day: BEEP BEEP! Everyday he likes one new weird sound. But the next day that same sound is boring to him. Babies.

At this point I didn’t think we could make it to the park so texted my friend to see if they were down to meet up at the locks. They were! We hung out for about 20 minutes before starting out again. This time we were relatively happy (with a few roadside dandelion stops of course).

And I made it up Emerson! I had to walk up in the pouring rain 6 weeks ago so I was extremely proud! Go me! I decided to try out a new route to the locks. I rode up Gilman in the new protected lanes until the end then followed the signs for the locks. It took us down a relatively steep trail, across a narrow wooden bridge, and then down another steep but short street. And boom! Arrived! It was much nicer than riding on Market or even on 21st.

At the locks we picnicked for a bit and then Jen tested out my bakfiets with her nanny baby! He loved it! Or maybe just the new toys in the car seat. But then I remembered it’s a crazy expensive fine for riding in the locks so we put an end to that.

I’ve been biking around with a folding chair for 3 months and finally got to test it out while nursing! It worked great! Totally worth the extra 3 pounds or so.

I reversed our route for the way home, walking up the steep street. Of course as soon as we got to the bridge we had a massive diaper blow out! So out of the bike, onto the ground, changed him in a pile of pine needles. And then back on, and up the hill to Gilman.

He ended up sleeping the whole way home! It was fabulous! I stopped a few times to adjust the little blanket but he stayed asleep until I unlocked the door.

Overall a fun day!

Oh! Join me for full moon rides! Next one is 3/31. Ride from the Wall of Death at 9!

A Day at Discovery Park

Not too long ago I didn’t think it was possible to ride to Discovery Park. When I was 37 weeks pregnant I accepted the (self-imposed) challenge & rode over. And then down to the beach. And on the way back up (mostly walking) I thought to myself: if I can make it up this hill, I can totally give birth. I was pretty sure I’d give birth on that hill, I was having so many contractions!

On the way home I noticed new markings indicating a change in the bike lane. And while recovering from birthing H they did it! They made a protected bike lane from the end of the Ship Canal Trail to Magnolia Town Center (about 4 blocks away).

We had ridden over last month for a family picnic and hike and it was glorious (minus those last 4 blocks – WHY YOU DO THIS TO ME SEATTLE?!)!

So we were back! And I was determined to find a way up to the bluffs where there’s a big sandy patch perfect for exploring. We made it with only minimal breaking of the no riding on trails rules and I think I figured out how to go next time to avoid that issue. I’ll post the route once I confirm.

The day was clear and the Olympics were out! We spent about 40 minutes shoveling sand into our mouth before I packed us up and headed for the playground.

The playground squirrels are bold! One climbed into the bike trailer while we were on the swings.

The protected lanes worked well except when we had to turn from Gilman onto Emerson. I signaled our turn too adamantly & ended up biking into the soft bollard in the middle of the lane, where my toe got caught underneath it! I thought I was going to have to take off my shoe! After several awkward minutes of jiggling my foot I was free! And we made our way home without further incident.

Yay for safe infrastructure!

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)!

Riding Around Stanley Park

Stanley Park. The gem of Vancouver. We saved the best for last & hopped on our bikes once the conference finished for a nice, slow roll around Stanley Park. I was carrying all of my stuff with me so I could head straight to the train station. I rode with two other women from the conference who were on Mobi bikes (I’m going to review these next week).

Here’s the route we took from the conference, down past the Olympic Cauldron, down to the seawall, and around the park.


We rode in the Hornby Street protected lanes to get down to the Cauldron but man it was a pain! It was so hard to make the light cycle as it only lasts 9 seconds & we kept having to stop for people to catch up, meaning missing yet another cycle. Plus the waits weren’t short so this was a definite source of frustration. It took us almost 15 minutes to go 6 blocks.

Getting to the seawall from the Orca & the Cauldron wasn’t intuitive & we had to ask for directions from a security guard who yelled at us about biking & made us get off & walk. We rode down a long, switchback-y ramp to get to the seawall & it was pretty crowded! Plenty of people out enjoying the day.

The path is very cut-up with a number of 90 degree angles, forcing awkward turns & it was hard to ride as a group here. But I did find one of the heart-shaped racks! Yay!

Once we got in the park the bicycle path is one-way & it’s raised with a sharp curb down to the pedestrian area. It’s only 8 feet at the widest point, and most of the trail was only 5 feet wide with a sharp cliff face on one side & steep curb on the other. I would not have designed the bicycle section to be raised, instead I would make the pedestrian area raised, much like they’ve done on the new section of the BGT through the UW campus. Passing was often uncomfortable & I was worried about falling off the path.

There were a large number of gates along the trail designed to force bike riders to get off & walk for very short distances, most only 30 meters. This was frustrating, especially since the park wasn’t crowded! It seemed like a way to punish people riding bikes. I fancy myself a rebel, but the other women I was with wanted to abide by the rules so I ended up pushing my heavily laden bike several times.

One of many splash parks
Kids dryers next to the splash park

We took a snack break on the beach & then almost got run over by a dump truck trying to back down the trail half on the bike lane, half on the sidewalk. Yay for unnecessarily large trash removal vehicles!

Super cute box spotted at the beach

I left my new friends around mile 8 & headed onto the street to check out the neighborhood diverters that had been installed to prevent people from driving down the street while still allowing bike access. I then hopped back on the seawall & sped along to catch my fast approaching train in order to snag a forward facing seat!

Street mural

Overall the bike infrastructure in the park was lacking. It was poorly designed for riding which was a bummer as I’d heard such fantastic things about it! If you visit, of course you have to go, the views are amazing, but be prepared to walk & don’t plan to carry a wide/extra long load.

Side note: if your rack falls off but you’re too lazy to stop at a shop for repairs (and NO ONE at the very bikey conference has the tools you need) just hold it in place with your u-lock!


Miles with Madi

I went on a ride with Madi yesterday!

We met up at the corner of the Ave & the BGT and headed west on the trail toward Lake Union. She showed me the new protected lane on 36th. When I rode to the market 2 weeks ago they hadn’t put the bollard up yet so it was cool to see this new connection!

I wonder what they do with the bollards during the market. I didn’t see them this past Sunday so maybe I wasn’t paying attention? Or maybe they’ve just shifted over since the street parking isn’t there during the market.

We headed over the Fremont Bridge & got to see the leftover pop-up bike lanes! The paint was still there from PARKing day on Friday. It would be nice to have them as a connection down to the Ship Canal Trail instead of the current 1/2 block of on-street parking. You wouldn’t think it would be so difficult to remove 3-4 spots (or maybe you would if you know anything about anything) in order to put a protected lane in here.

We rode along the newly-finished West Lake protected lane. It was nice & smooth but the curb was low (good for bikes trying to get up, but BAD if a driver has gas/break confusion which is also shockingly (?) common) & without parking stops the parked cars hang over onto the trail. This would be an easy fix: install parking stops to prevent pulling up too close to the curb.

We stopped off at MOHAI for coffee at the cafe but alas, our early bird initiative was too over zealous & they weren’t open yet. So we headed over to City Center via the Mercer & 5th Street lanes, but not before posing with Mirall at the Allen Institute.

The Mercer lanes are so vibrantly green! Overkill but fun all the same. We popped over to the International Fountain & the Fountain of Creation before going to the food court. After coffee we rode Thomas to Harrison before heading over the railroad tracks to the Elliot Bay Trail. We had an amazing view! Plus the weather was gorgeous!

The trail was quiet but we did see some skateboarders with giant sticks rolling along. We got to see a large cruise ship & some airplane fuselages sitting on the train tracks (DO NOT HUMP).  After that I’m fuzzy but I think we rode through Ballmer Yard to Thorndyke/20th/Gilman (WHY DOES THIS ROAD HAVE SO MANY NAMES) until we turned back onto the Ship Canal Trail heading east. We backtracked over the Fremont Bridge to 36th then down to the BGT & back home!

Awesome! Thanks for riding with me Madi!

Action shot!

I made it up to 42nd again before walking which was positive. I’ve been feeling really nauseous for the past two weeks & a giant wave passed over me as I was coming up the hill so I called Mike to help me lock up my bike so I could head upstairs & lay down. I felt better after eating so I’m hoping it’s just a determined stomach bug.

Bikes & Boats

Woo! I’m at Pro-Walk/Pro-Bike/Pro-Place in Vancouver this week learning about place making & planning from people doing amazingly creative things in their communities!

Yesterday I put out some feelers on Twitter to see if anyone was interested in a bike ride after our sessions. Stephanie from DC & Chris from NJ took the bait! Little did they know I’m horrible at directions & perpetually lost. Fools!

We headed down Hornby with Stephanie on a Mobi, Chris on a rental bike, and I was on Creme. Our goal was Grandville market & they were closing in an hour. One woman gave us directions about taking a boat but when we asked someone else she said we would be able to bike there in only 20 minutes. But we should’ve known that her time estimate was unrealistic based on her outfit (full kit & road bike). After about 10 minutes of riding we saw a sign for the Aquaboat & I relinquished my guiding to Chris. 

We hurried down the dock & hopped on a ferry to Grandville Island. It was a pretty small boat but bikes are allowed & it was easy to bring them along. They’re a private company & don’t take transit passes. Cost: can$4.50. 

Once we arrived on the island we hurried to lock up & head into the market. Everyone was starting to pack up but we were able to walk around & to buy end of day donuts!  We grabbed dinner on the water along False Creek & I ordered the poutine! So Canadian. 

After dinner we bikes along the seawalk to Olympic Park where Dero, a bike parking solution company, was holding a social. 

At the social we chatted with more people from the conference about the difference between US & Canadian politics & attitudes. It’s always interesting seeing an international perspective on local & national issues. 

After the social we biked back along the northern side of the seawalk & got to see fireworks & colorful lights along many of the buildings. I’m horrible at night photography with my iPhone so I’ll let you google it. The path was relatively well light but I still used my big light. It’s a beautiful trail that is lined by parks & playgrounds. There are shops & restaurants & even at 10pm it still felt like a very active space. Both Seattle & DC can learn from this activation of waterfront space. 

We rode back up the Hornby lanes & I was so excited that I was able to ride uphill! And a large hill at that! There’s a Moby dock by the hotel so I left Stephanie & Chris there & headed down the block to my hostel. 

I’m going to write up something about the bike parking at the hostel once I’m no longer locking up there. I don’t like to write about my locking locations for fear that someone will read about it & then exploit the weaknesses I’m pointing out & steal my bike. Paranoid much?

Oh & I won a raffle! I got this cool shirt from Dero!

#walkbikeplaces #placemakingweek

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.