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Two Years in the Saddle

June 7, 2015 Leave a comment

It’s been about two years since I decided to try my hand at riding a bike.
These days the notion of my riding my bike to work seems almost mundane.
Especially during the summer. The excuse to not ride mainly comes from having to lug a computer back and forth, or meetings, or some similar activity but the fear of doing the trip has all but disappeared.

Yet I am still no spandex wearing bike riding.
I do not feel comfortable have that sort of exposure and why I see a few larger gents wearing biking stretchy bike clothing I just don’t feel I can. Hell I still feel not fearing a jacket even on hot days. It’s a small quirk but one of my own. But recently I have had the idea of getting some bike knickers.
Which turned out to be an interesting time in trying on clothing.
I could either get a fit in the waist or the thighs. Sure there was one pair that fit pretty well in both but when I gazed into my reflection I was rewarded with moose knuckle that I would need to be lead singer in a band to pull off.
And I am no singer.
Hell I’m not even the back up tambourine player, I’m just some guy.
So I broke out a sewing machine and altered a pair of pants that I had been meaning to hem for at least 3 years.

Short pants, tall socks, and heavy boots.

Short pants, tall socks, and heavy boots.

Yesterday it was a beautiful day in the 80s and set out for my longest ride as I decided a voyage from my home in Ballard to Woodinville for a beer, a look around, and perhaps milkshake on the way back would be a good idea.
Now when I say “Longest trip” this has all the fanfare of being something for me. Sure only a few weeks ago I had done 31 miles without many issues but this was nearly 50. How near? Well 2 miles under had I gone stopped at the Sloop on the way back it would have been that magic number but considering my ride back took almost 4 hours because I putzed around it’s fine.

Around 3pm I decided to set out.
It being a hot day I put on a white linen shirt, grey undershirt, my brown knickers, tall wool socks and heavy boots, stuffed a bandanna into my pocket and filled a water bottle. First thing to note I should probably use my second water bottle. Not that I became dehydrated but I could have used more water at each stop and my 24 oz bottle just wasn’t enough. So the ride out was great. I made it past 192 Brewing in what felt like no time. I made excellent progress along this route and had no need to stop. It was sometime later when winding through Bothell that I made a minor mistake.
I should have taken the Sammamish River Trail but I kept on the Burke Gilman. Not a huge issue but the Burke suddenly dumps onto a road in Bothell.
And by road I don’t mean a nice divide one with a bike lane, well it had a bike lane for a while, but a 2 lane country road with a small shoulder. Yet it was fun.
Eventually I passed an area I recognized from Summer Concerts at San Michelle Winery but the thing is all the times I went down that road in a car it felt like nothing. On a bike it actually had some distance which makes me wonder just how long that road is and how fast I must have driven down it?

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At Redhook there were a lot of bikes. I regret not taking a picture because many had cleared out by the time I left. Yet the one thing that was really different between me and them was the clothing. Bikes, accessories, hell attitudes I’m certain were very similar but I had not gone into typical bike wear. Still as much as I judged them for their choices on what to wear I wager each bike I passed or passed me made similar judgments about me.
Or maybe they didn’t, I don’t know.

What I know is my love of Redhook is mostly over. Sure it’s not a bad beer, by any stretch but, to be frank, it is not the glorious beer it once was to me. Perhaps I am more picky or it has grown too much but the distinct lovely flavor of the ESB that I enjoyed many years ago just doesn’t thrill me as much. That being said the Apple Ale was surprising and Long Hammer is still Long Hammer. Thought about getting the Blackhook but it was warm and a lighter beer sounded good.

Then back on my bike for the return trip.

Now why did it take me hours to return?
Well I went rather slowly. The trip up had been a good trip but I really enjoyed the way back. I stopped to chat on the phone twice at different times. Stopped into Third Place Books and noticed it had both changed and not changed, had a milkshake at Kidd Valley, and looked at the same expanse of Beach on NE 130th that is trying to be saved. The way back was really about enjoying the trip while the way up had been about getting there. About proving to myself I could do that trip.
Like when I biked to Chuck’s for the first time years ago this trip was about doing something I didn’t think I could do.

Now I have one small admission.
A number of years ago a coworker told me that he would drive out to Woodinville, do a load in, bike home, hang out, bike back, load out, and drive home.
At the time this seemed like an impossible journey and I was living much closer than I am now. Had I not been so taken with had tough that seemed and really thought about it I wonder what sort of Bicycle Adventures I could have had?
I wonder what sights I could have seen and where I could have gone?
Instead I am making up for lost time and capturing these trips when I can.
Still I look forward to all of the bike adventures I will have now that I realized distance is a thing.
And soon I will try my had at Dexter Hill.

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Long Ride

May 18, 2015 Leave a comment

Earlier this week I had wanted to go for a long ride.
Unfortunately life got in the way I couldn’t do it so when I suddenly there was only a matinee and evening free I decided to wave good bye to Seattle and see how far I could go by bike.

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Good Bye Seattle. Hello Lake Forest Park

When i moved to Seattle I lived in the Lake City Neighborhood.
This was a mixed blessing in a lot of ways. For the most part I got to live in a part of Seattle I may not want to live in a gain but I also got to understand that while this was a far away neighborhood that didn’t have a lot of problems it was still not a great place to live. But honestly those 6 months I spent in Lake City weren’t terrible.  Yes I was worried about finding work or using all my savings but it had moments of entertainment. I strolled the neighborhood a lot. Read a lot of odd books and learned many places that offered refills of coffee and didn’t mind if you stuck around all day.
One such place was called Third Place Commons in Lake Forest Park. The Honey Bear Bakery had free refills of drip and day old pastries there was an additional plus of a King County Library in the mall area so there were free books or books for buy from the book store. Also nearby was a park.
And the Burke Gilman trail.
At this point I would see bikes go by and wonder who would ride this far.
What manner of person would hop on a bike and go this far?
As I crossed that intersection and looked over I had my answer.
I would.
tt look me almost 8 years but I rode my bike from Capitol Hill, over the University Bridge, through UW, and then North until I got to Lake Forest Park. I had a goal of seeing how far I could go or to 192 Brewing whichever came first but as I passed Third Place Common I knew I could go the rest of the way for a drink and there wouldn’t be a problem.
Sure it I hadn’t gone 17 miles in a go but I beat my previous of 13 miles which I hardly count because it was so flat but so was the Burke Gilman and yet it was so good. Making that distance and not feeling like my body was failing me helped. It was so doable. I had no problems even if I felt out of place when I arrived at 192 and I was the only cyclist in normal clothes. This made me happy.
Sure some may have come way farther than I did or much faster or are training for  a major ride but it was still good to know I don’t require special clothing to bike. And that is the real plus.
Even after 30 miles I contend that my clothing was fine. Sure my legs ache a bit from the strain but it is in a good work out way not in a “I hurt myself through stupidity way” and that is what matters. Good old soreness instead of real pain.

Also my ass does not hurt which means even though I still find a hard leather seat odd I am so happy I’m not butt hurt.

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Good Bye Lake Forest Park. Hello Seattle.