#30daysofbiking: Wrap-up and Tulips!

My final ride for the 30 Days of Biking challenge turned out to be a lovely group ride through the Skagit Valley. We decided to (mostly) follow the Skagit Flats and Tulip Fields route. This was the longest ride I’ve been on to date (35 miles).

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Some things we learned:

Do this route backwards so that you can see the tulips first.

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This route is super lovely and flat. We had somewhat of a late start (12:30) and because of dogs-riding-in-trailer issues we were SLOW at first. This meant that we didn’t get into La Conner –24 miles in — until almost 5pm. We barely made it to Roozengaarde before they closed at 7pm and did not get to see Tulip Town at all.

Bikes + brews are always a good combo!

We started the ride with lunch at Skagit River Brewery, and apparentley I knew how hungry I was going to get becuase I devoured an entire chicken sandwish and a plate of fries in about 10 minutues. 24 miles in we stopped at La Conner Brewing Company and enjoyed some brews and food on their patio (dogs included!). I suppose you don’t always have to stop at brewerys, but there’s something about biking make miles that makes me crave a good, cold beer.

In general, stopping and exploring your surroundings is what makes cycling so fun for me. Try not to get too wrapped up in time and speed. Enjoy the world around you in a way that is just impossible from a vechicle.

Sometimes when you think your dog should like something, he just won’t.  

The first picture is about 17 miles in, when we finally figured out how to keep them from jumping out. It’s called a VERY SHORT leash. They look happy now, but Collins (in black) never stopped barking while in motion. We test rode them around Seattle, about 4 miles total with lots of breaks, and they seemed to be fine. However, they were not ready to go 35 miles. I’m glad they look happy in the above photos though.

Tulips are pretty 🙂 

 …And helmets are cool.

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Total Miles for April: 200.5!

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Beacon Hill Bikers are the Best! #30daysofbiking

So apparently it’s hard for me to remember to post daily. Oh well. It’s a nice goal, but not really my priority. I’d rather be out enjoying the great weather we’ve been having! Sort of. It was raining this morning, so I didn’t ride in but I did find the time to do a quick .5 mile errand on the Triumph during lunch.

Yesterday I went on one of my first “recreational” rides in a long time. Most of the time, my rides are purely utilitarian. I need to get somewhere, so I go. I’m not very good at riding just for the sake of riding. That’s why it may seem strange that while I’ve been riding Seattle for just about a year now, yesterday was the first time I’ve used the I-90 Train / Mountains-to-Sound Greenway.

It had been a sunny day, so there were tons of families out and having a good time. I had no idea that I was going to get to ride through a tunnel:

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And here’s Mercer Island, with some lovely mountains in the background.

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From the I-90 Trail, I jumped onto Lake Washington Blvd and rode through Mount Baker. What a nice little neighborhood. There were kids and cats playing in the street, and lots of nice people to say “hello” to. I then cheated and rode the light rail from the Mount Baker Station to Beacon Hill. They had some rules posted for bicycles, so I was sure to check those out since I hadn’t been on the Link with my bike before.

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I had a brief moment of obsessive rule follower panic when I got on and found that all of the bike storage areas on that car were occupied by luggage. But I was only going one stop, so I figured I couldn’t get in too much trouble, and decided to just sit and hold onto my bike.

Once at Beacon Hill, I followed the “bike route” signs back to the I-90 trail and up towards the PacMed building (formerly Amazon.com headquarters). And along the way I discovered something amazing (and the source of today’s post title): Beacon Hill bikers are the best! They all smiled and waived as we rode past each other. How lovely.

Here I am at the top of the Dr. Jose Rizal Bridge, about to finish up the last mile before home.

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Miles (yesterday + today): 8.5
April Cumulative: 76.5

 

 

 

Jingle Bell 5K

On Sunday we ran in the Jingle Bell 5K, benefiting the Arthritis Foundation. The course started and ended in downtown Seattle at Westlake Center, with the majority of it on the I-5 express lanes.

The best part is when you go through the tunnel to get onto the express lanes. Most people are wearing bells, so you can hear the echo of thousands of bells thoroughout the tunnel. Then everyone starts singing “Jingle Bells”. Pretty fun.

We set a slow pace, as we were running with some co-workers of mine and the priority was more about being social than anything.

I wore some sad broken reindeer antlers that kept falling down and ultimately didn’t make it through the entire race. Perhaps I’ll strap them to bike somehow to add to my holiday bow 🙂

J and I left the house literally 15 minutues before the start of the race (oops). So we ended up in a race of our own – biking down to park at the convention place station bike racks before meeting up with everyone else (only seconds to spare before the start!).

A Week in Winter Commuting + Some Holiday Fun

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The scene of the crime: last night I lost an entire bottle of wine to the street in front of City Market. Watch for potholes and secure your goods! 

It hasn’t been wet, but it’s definitely been cold. And dark. This week I busted out my Icelandic “tourist” coat, previously seen on our honeymoon over a year ago. Normally that jacket is way too warm for Seattle, I’ll sweat in it if the temps are anything above freezing.

(I call it a “tourist” coat, because even though I totally loved it at the time of purchase… I couldn’t help but feel like a total tourist wearing it on our trip. I’m over that now.)

Tips for keeping warm

  • If you are going to wear a thick coat, wear minimial layers underneath. Otherwise you’ll sweat once you get moving. My tourist coat is great in 30-degree weather only if I’m wearing not much more than a thin long sleeved shirt underneath.
  • Most people can get away with thinner jackets if they have some good quality baselayers and their jacket is waterproof + breathable. Wool is best, because it dries quickly and doesn’t retain odors. *I* still need to invest in some good wool baselayer shirts.
  • Smartwool tights and socks are the best. I need more. When it gets too close to laundry time I find myself layering up with regular socks and tights, which doesn’t work nearly as well. 
  • BOOTS! 
  • Warm hands and fingers are important. Not only can you feel a lot colder if your hands are cold, but it’s important to be able to break quickly! I have a pair of fingerless gloves with an optional mitten cover from Eddie Bauer. They are minimally water resistent and wind-blocking, plus I can slid the mitten part off if I need to take a photo or use my iPhone real quickly. 
  • Cover your ears. My helmet is too tight to wear a beanie underneath, but I do have a fleece headband which I actually prefer because then my ears stay warm but my head doesn’t get *too* hot. 
  • Scarf it up too! Scraves are great because not only do they look awesome, but they keep your neck warm. Plus they can be easily removed if you realize you are over-layered. 

This morning the fog was rolling in (or maybe it was burning off..). My commute begins up on First Hill, where I ride alongside and above I-5 through Cap Hill:

Sitting just above the fog, I could see the lovely blue sky and the city. Had to stop for a photo. 

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I also had to stop for the University Bridge earlier this week. But that’s not a big deal – I love the smell of the bakery there.

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I’ll close this post with some photos from my friend Derrick’s holiday party last night (the party, which, on the way to I lost the aforementioned bottle of wine). Thanks, Derrick, for hosting the first holiday party of the season! (For me, at least).

 

Group Ride: GasWorks to Ballard Locks

A few Sunday’s back J and I got together with my brother, his girlfriend, and a new friend who just moved to Seattle from Kentucky. It started out as a nice sunny fall day.

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My favorite part about meeting Dino was finding out that she also rides a Lotus! I’ve never seen another Lotus in person, so that was quite exciting. I think she said that she bought her’s on eBay and that it came from Portland. I also hardly see any road bikes in my baby 49cm size. Here’s a pic of my Stella and Dino’s Lotus locked up together: 

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We were hungry, so we took a short ride down the Burke-Gilman to Brouwer’s in Fremont. We enjoyed the beers and the lack-luster service on the patio for probably 2 hours. From there we rode to the Ballard Locks. For almost ten years now I’ve been wanting to see the salmon running through the locks, so I was hopeful that today was going to be my lucky day.

Unfortunately, we were caught in a downpour! By the time we got to the locks we were soaked. But, hey, this is Seattle. We took for shelter in the fish ladder viewing room and got to see four salmon! Not really the excitement I was hoping for, but still sweet. By this time, we realized that the rain wasn’t going to let up so we decided to make a mad dash to the closest bar.

On the way out we got to see two little harbor seals! It was raining too hard to think about my camera, so I don’t have any pics of the wildlife. I do, however, have a photo of our wet bikes locked up outside The Sloop Tavern

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There we enjoyed BIG glasses of Rainier, some fried food, and some laughs as we waited out the rain. (Those mugs look like pitchers, but they were individual glasses!)

Darkness began to fall, and with it the rain subsided. Our ride back to GasWorks was all along the Burke-Gilman and pretty deserted because of the downpour, so we decided to enjoy some of the Hale’s Ales Super Goose IPA that I had filled my growler with earlier. 

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Even with the rain, we all had a great time. Most of my riding is done alone, to and from work, so I was escatic to be part of this bike gang!

These are the days we dream about all year…

After a very slow start to the summer, Seattle has been having 80+ degree days for quite a while now. The expectation is that this weather is going to continue for another week. This past weekend was another amazing one. I took Friday off and also had Monday off for the Labor Day holiday — so the long long weekend felt pretty great. 

Friday night J and I biked to the bar, not really sure of what our plans were for the evening. We only knew that it was warm and our friend, Mel, was in town from Melbourne, Australia. 

Well, we clearly had too much fun. Not many pictures were taken, except this one final pic as I was guarding the bikes outside of Rancho Brava at 2am. 

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Saturday morning I got up early to bike the 7 miles to Ballard for some stand-up paddle board yoga. More about that experience in a separate post. 

Sunday was a lazy day on Lake Tapps, again no pics because it was way too nice out to be worrying about my camera. And, finally, Monday we biked around the neighborhood getting various errands done. We capped off the afternoon on the Cafe Presse patio for some wine and dessert. Here’s Stella chillin’ in the spacious bike rack on 12th. 

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