(Not So) Bikeless in Seattle

No way I could take an 8 day work trip to Seattle and not ride, right?  I mean, middle of training, beginning of race season, eating out for every meal, and my mental health… all depends on riding a darn bike!

Pretty crazy storm greeted me in Seattle.  One of those descent on a plane that everyone applauds at the end and thanks the pilot for not crashing us out of the sky.

Pretty crazy storm greeted me in Seattle. One of those descent on a plane that everyone applauds at the end and thanks the pilot for not crashing us out of the sky.

So I rounded up a rental road bike from the Bicycle Repair Shop in downtown, and made some rough route plans using Strava and Google.  I kinda freaked out once I arrived in Seattle and was walking down to the shop and realized downtown Seattle was a lot like… any major city downtown.  Crazy traffic with murderous drivers.  Eek.

I picked up “my” 2015 Giant Defy 1, added my pedals and Garmin mount and nervously headed out into the scary streets of Seattle.  The shop is located on Alaskan Way, so I made my way north and ended up on the bike path.  Whew.  Still alive.  The weather was sunny and I saw a nice view of Mt. Rainier.  I rode up a bit and then turned around and then nervously entered downtown traffic.  I struggled because I had a bag with my street clothes and shoes in it (from my walk to the bike shop) and it kept swinging around in front of me.  But wouldn’t you know, I survived and made it back to my hotel in one piece!

Volcano and a road bike :)

Volcano and a road bike 🙂

Mt. Rainier... the only day it was really clear enough to see it well!

Mt. Rainier… the only day it was really clear enough to see it well!

Selfie with a volcano.  My life is complete!

Selfie with a volcano. My life is complete!

Spring is definitely happening in Seattle!  Got a few months more to wait in Wyoming for blooming stuff...

Spring is definitely happening in Seattle! Got a few months more to wait in Wyoming for blooming stuff…

Elliot Bay from the Elliot Bay Bike Trail

Elliot Bay from the Elliot Bay Bike Trail

Riding back to my hotel in downtown.

Riding back to my hotel in downtown.

Tuesday was rainy so I donned my new Showers Pass rain jacket and threw on my Columbia capris which are water repellent over my bibs and headed north on the bike path to Magnolia and Discovery Park.  Took a wrong turn at a marina and realized that all I really needed to do was follow the signage that they have set up bikes.  I eventually made my way to Discovery Park, which I found kinda creepy as it’s quiet and abandoned looking, and I’m sure I did one of the fastest uphill sprints ever to get out of the creepy trees I found my way into.  Rode my way back down Magnolia and back via the bike path.

Discovery Park... pretty, but eery.  And by eery I mean creepy

Discovery Park… pretty, but eery. And by eery I mean creepy

My random trees I found... and this turned into dirt single track, which yes, I rode on the road bike!

My random trees I found… and this turned into dirt single track, which yes, I rode on the road bike!

Wednesday was my big day to conquer my fear of bridges over water and ride the I-90 floating bridge over to Mercer Island.  After conquering Chinatown at the start of rush hour (an experience in its own right), I found my way to the bike path that heads to the bridge.  I made it across the bridge with some fierce concentration on the road in front of my tire to avoid the water of Lake Washington to my left and found myself safely on Mercer Island.  Mercer Way is a pretty enjoyable ride, about 10.5 miles of curves and punchy climbs without any stop signs or stop lights.  It winds it’s way through the temperate rainforest and big lakefront homes.  Once I looped around once I turned around and went back the way I came, to make it about a 33 mile ride once I got back to my hotel.  It was a gorgeous day which made it that much better!

I-90 floating bridge across Lake Washington

I-90 floating bridge across Lake Washington

Tree lined Mercer Way on, you guessed it, Mercer Island

Tree lined Mercer Way on, you guessed it, Mercer Island

Just pedalin' along in the sunshine!

Just pedalin’ along in the sunshine!

Made it across twice!  Oh, and I named this bike Bert.

Made it across twice! Oh, and I named this bike Bert.

I-90 Bike Tunnel

I-90 Bike Tunnel

I took Thursday off from the bike to explore downtown a bit with some newfound friends.  After walking through Pike Place Market, I made my way to the Gum Wall in Post Alley, which was my top thing to do in Seattle aside from riding across the I-90 floating bridge.  Nothing like an alley filled with chewed gum, right?

This fish was quite the character!!

This fish was quite the character!!

OK, lobsters look like big crusty worms to me.  Yuck.

OK, lobsters look like big crusty worms to me. Yuck.

I swear there's a flying fish in this photo!

I swear there’s a flying fish in this photo!

Gum Wall in Post Alley

Gum Wall in Post Alley

Adding my piece in the grossest way an infection preventionist can scheme up

Adding my piece in the grossest way an infection preventionist can scheme up

My puke green contribution

My puke green contribution

DSCN0141

DSCN0139

DSCN0144

An example of the bike signage found in the Seattle area... very easy to navigate around!

An example of the bike signage found in the Seattle area… very easy to navigate around!

Friday was rainy and dreary.  Not a good day on the bike… I was forced off the street by a car and chose to hit the pavement on the curb side (alternative was a car… I’ll take the curb!).  The wreck shook me up, and after several days of dealing with the horrid drivers of Seattle, I was broke.  Done and done.  After checking out my wounds – skinned knee and ankle, cut palms (stupidly didn’t have gloves on), torn rain pants, and a hole in my favorite “Fat Fish Racing” socks – I climbed on the bike and still continued on to Alki Beach, which was my final choice of a bike destination.  Yes, I still rode another hour, ha!  After getting some photos of the Seattle skyline, I turned around and decided to return the bike a day early.  I was just done with the whole cycling in Seattle thing.  Dripped blood on the bike shop floor, swapped stories, and bought some cleat covers for my carbon soled S-Works shoes I’d be walking a mile back to the hotel in, and I officially said goodbye to riding a bike in Seattle.  For forever.

Alki Beach in the rain

Alki Beach in the rain

Seattle skyline

Seattle skyline

Alki Beach

Alki Beach

DSCN0161

Overall, glad I got to get in some miles in Washington, which means another state checked off the list!  I vow to never ride a bicycle in Seattle ever again, though.  Painting some lines on a road and making bike paths does not make a place cyclist friendly in the definition I think of when I hear “cyclist friendly.”  Plus I miss cyclists who at least nod, smile, or goodness, even wave when you pass them!  I got stoney glares the entire time.  Eek.  Nope.  I ride a bike with a smile on my face, and with cars at least a good 3 feet away from me, thanks!

Advertisements

1 Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s