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:

Tuesday

#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.


Wednesday

#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.

 

2016: A Year in Review

2016 was a big year for us. We traveled quite a bit & then we sold everything we owned & moved across the country!

January

Puerto Rico! We took a delayed honeymoon to Puerto Rico & spent our days lounging by the pool & hiking in the rain forest! We hiked up a closed highway for an amazing view & then swam in a crowded and cold waterfall in the only tropical rain forest in the US. I brought back a mild case of Zika but the fried plantains were totally worth it.

February

Amsterdam! We took a whirlwind trip to Amsterdam after finding an amazing deal on flights. Mike forfeited his license at a bike rental shop so we could make our flight on time. We loved riding around & exploring the city & dreaming about raising our future babies in such a family friendly city. I sold my first painting!

March

Paperwork! After returning from Europe we finally worked on our name change documents. It’s complicated to change your name & it’s even more complicated when it’s a full name change (not a maiden name). I had been suffering in pain for a long time & finally found a diagnosis. I received my acceptance to the University of Washington. I was accepted into my first juried show!

April

I started treatment for my pain & was finally able to see some minimal relief. I was anxiously awaiting word on my application to Portland State University. Eventually I heard that I was not accepted to the program & was reconsidering our move to the West Coast. I sold a number of paintings in a prominent local show.

May

I spent some time in New Hampshire for my sister’s graduation. I accepted my position at UW. A quick turnaround lead me to Seattle for a few days in search of an apartment for us. I met some amazing & friendly humans who helped me get a better sense of the city & which neighborhood to live in. I sold 8 paintings & had my first solo show!

June

June was a blur! My doctor recommended surgery to cure my pain & we were able to schedule it for just 2 weeks later. I spent 2 weeks on bedrest post-op & the rest of my time was packing, packing, packing.

July

I left my job on a Friday & we left for Seattle the very next morning! We spent 2 weeks driving across the country, camping in national forests & failing to shower or brush my hair for many days on end. There were a lot of pit toilets. We cooked our meals over open fires & enjoyed a lot of canned beans. We arrived in Seattle with the dogs (still married) & picked up our few possessions from the train station. Our bikes arrived in the mail & we furnished our apartment with a combination of Goodwill & IKEA furniture. We sold the Prius & became a car-free family!

August

I did a lot of healing in August. My body was still exhausted from the surgery & our trip so I spent a lot of time reading on the couch. I also started learning to play the ukulele. I got back on my bike! It was slow at first but I was able to ride comfortably quite quickly after hopping back on.

September

My dad came for a visit & we did all of the touristy Seattle things. I headed up to Vancouver with my bike via the train for Pro Walk / Pro Bike / Pro Place. I met some fabulous new friends & made great connections with people working in urban planning! We took the dogs on our first true Seattle adventure: camping at Fay Bainbridge (& pt.2)

October

My program was in full swing! Lots of new people to meet & remembering how to be a student again. I went on my first Critical Lass with some amazing ladies & a ton of positive feminine energy. I thought about adding another 2 years & an extra degree onto my program. I found out I was pregnant! And we didn’t really know what to think because we were so sure it wouldn’t happen after years of me being told it would be difficult & I would need fertility treatment. Turns out doctors are wrong & it can happen the first time!

November

Being pregnant got more real & I felt nauseous tired much of the time. By the time Thanksgiving rolled around I was over this quarter & just wanted to be done with classes! I decided to switch my focus to Transportation Planning & take electives in Urban Design. I won’t be staying on for the additional degree. We took our bikes on the train to Portland for the weekend & enjoyed exploring a new city.

December

Finals seemed to stretch on forever & I think I spent 2 weeks not sleeping at all. I slept for 18 hours straight after submitting my last paper & then all of the pregnancy sickness caught up with me. Much of the last 2 weeks has been spent in bed eating saltines & drinking gatorade which has been less than ideal. I’m hoping to finish out the year on a positive note & eat a real meal (& keep it down) for dinner!

Here’s to finding out what 2017 has to offer!

 

 

 

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.

Pregnant Biking: First Trimester Adventures

Biking in the first trimester has been hit or miss. My body isn’t a fan of exertion right now so it can be difficult to ride up hills or for long distances without a break. I’ve been taking Bikey more & more often in order to use the assist.

I’ve found that sucking on these Preggie Pop candies help to quell my nausea while I ride. They have B6 in them, which my midwife recommends, but they’re 25 calories each (of JUST sugar) so I try not to eat too many. In the end though – not puking is important to me so I’m going to keep eating them without remorse.

I’ve also found myself REALLY thirsty so I’m constantly filling up my water bottle. I use a cupholder mounted on my handlebars to hold my cup for convenient rehydration. I wish more places had water bottle filler stations to make it easier to fill it back up.

Bumpy pavement bothers me more than before because it hurts my boobs! It’s hard to find bras in my size so I’m holding off on buying new ones. As such -my current ones aren’t always as supportive as I need. I’ve taken to avoiding certain stretches of the Burke Gilman Trail (looking at you Google steps) to prevent major jostling.

I have ligament laxity, meaning my ligaments are overly loose. This causes me to translocate (not quite dislocate) my joints frequently. It usually doesn’t hurt & is easy to pop back in, but it does mean that I keep my seat lower than “optimal” in order to prevent hip translocation. I’ve been experiencing some lower back/hip pain while walking so I’m hoping that biking continues to be pain free.

I’m hoping to bike for as long as I’m able because it’s an easy & convenient way to get around. Biking is freedom.

Quite Possibly the Worst Bike Tour of Seattle (EVER)

On Saturday I went on a bike tour led by members of the Professionals Council for my Urban Planning program. This was supposed to be a tour of the city where we could get to know other people in the program and our professional mentor counterparts. We’ll be ranking potential mentors next week for a match based on shared interests.

The tour was set to meet in Volunteer Park. Almost instantly things went wrong. Students arrived expecting to rent Pronto bikes, as advertised on the sign up sheet. I took Creme (via the bus) but I assumed that we would meet near a Pronto station based on the flyer. No. In fact, the person leading the tour (John) didn’t know where the closest station was. He also didn’t understand the pricing structure, and failed to inform people about usage fees. He was under the impression that the bikes were per day. No one on the tour ever docked their bikes over the course of the next 4 hours. I imagine it was quite expensive. I explained it to several people.

It’s also worth noting that all of the members of the Professionals Council who attended were men. For a program that’s 50% women, this is a problem.

But back to the meeting location of Volunteer Park: sure, it’s a lovely example of an Olmsted park, but it’s also at the TOP OF A GIANT HILL. Which we promptly rode down. So why work so hard to point at one thing & have us head back down? Cruelty.

So we headed down from the park to Broadway where we rode in the uncomfortable sharrow zone for a few blocks until the protected bike lane starts. I noticed that most people were riding dangerously close to parked cars & kept swerving in & out of empty parking spaces. It made me uncomfortable that the ride leader didn’t have any sense of different skill or comfort levels.

So we’re riding along & stopping & more riding & stopping & at one of the stops the leader, John, decides to go on an anti-protected bike lane screed. He rants about how protected bike lanes cause people to be hit at driveways. He fails to explain how non-protected bike lanes solve this problem. Pro tip: they don’t. He asserts that there simply isn’t enough information about them. They haven’t been studied, he says. They’re a fad, he says. John apparently doesn’t know Europe & South America have been doing this for a while. And writing about their great successes. He should read more.

So then we do some more riding & stopping & John launches into another screed, this time it’s anti-streetcar. It’s an outdated technology, he says. It’s 18th century, he says. Apparently he doesn’t know when bicycles were invented. Or the all mighty combustion engine he thinks moves people better than the streetcar. It’s redundant, he says. We have Link now, he says. Well if redundancy is the mark of failure, we should start ripping up roads for cars RIGHT NOW, I think.

So we’re riding & riding & then we’re on YESSLER & isn’t that fun? It’s where numerous people riding bikes have been hurt or killed but yeah don’t give anyone any riding tips about streetcar tracks. LOLZ.

Then the PC members rant about density = bad. Growth bubble. BLAH BLAH BLAH. We should look at living in suburbs. Isn’t Bremerton nice? How about Everett? Just a short drive away. CAN’T HIDE CONTEMPTUOUS LOOK ON MY FACE ANY LONGER. AUDIBLY SNORT.

John wants us to bike up 4th until another PC member actually BEGS him to take us up the 2nd Ave lanes. He’s crotchety about this.

We meet at Pike Place Market & proceed to ride through it. On a Saturday. A FUCKING SATURDAY. PC members remark about the LOVELY example of a woonerf that is Pike Place. Don’t people driving massive SUVs on this street make it so INTERESTING? INSERT CONTEMPTUOUS FACE HERE. Pro tip: a woonerf only works on low traffic streets (for all modes) not a heavily touristed zone that sees massive hordes of dazed wanderers.

We then ride on a stroad with a sharrows & fast moving traffic. An exchange student in the program is almost right-hooked. I’m the only person who checks in to see if she’s okay.

We walk up a GIANT FUCKING HILL.

We’re now on a true woonerf with John decrying bike advocates who want to add a contraflow lane. He’s basically comparing them to pro-segregationists. At one point he actually yells the word SEGREGATION. We ride on the sidewalk for 5 blocks because it’s a one-way street with no contraflow lanes.

Lake Union. More bitching about streetcars. NO ONE CAN GET HERE FROM I-5 so it’s a failed venue. FAILED GODDAMNIT. That’s why Amazon is here. Because it’s failed, John says. LOLZ.

We ride into South Lake Union Park to MOHAI. People ding bells at pedestrians. It’s a DEAF EVENT. About inclusivity. There are signs. I point this out. No one else says anything.

People search for a Pronto station to dock at. Bitching about the Westlake protected bike lanes removing parking from John.

I leave. Quickly, and with gusto. I know who won’t be making it onto my mentor ranking card.