Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A Bonus Day and the Year in Review

 It took a 31 day month, but I made good on my goal to log more miles than I did last month.  I set out today just before noon in sub freezing temperatures in search of 31 miles. That would be enough to better last month's totals.

I rolled down 3rd Ave N to the Ship Canal Trail and turned toward the Fremont Bridge.  My plan was to get my miles on an out and back on the Burke-Gilman Trail.  The sun was out, sky was blue, wind was light to moderate, and there was ice anywhere that water had been present.  

I was a little cold on yesterday's ride so today I bundled up a bit more.  I put on my rain booties to provide wind protection for my feet, and a double pair of gloves to keep fingers warmer.

It was a beautiful, if cold, day.  It was just too time consuming to take off two pairs of gloves, take the phone out of the pack, take a photo, and reverse the process to take yet more photos of Lake Washington.  Like many of you, there are plans made to observe the New Year tonight, so I pedaled with purpose.

I turned around at the McDonalds in Kenmore.  Since I was there anyway I ran in and had a small order of fries.

I retraced my route to Fremont and started up the Kralik Way, only to look at Bertona St and accept the 23% challenge.  As I worked my way up the 15% lead in, the last block looked like a wall.  I shifted into my low 30-28 gear and winched my way up.

Having biked incredibly steep 32% Brynwood St in SW Portland many times as well as some 30-40 mile long climbs,  I didn't find this short little climb all that bad.  Once at the top of Bertona I took the turn to get back on the Kralik Way.

As I came within a block of the end I stopped and went to the effort to take a few photos from Queen Anne.

Usually obscured by clouds, Mt Baker makes a showing today
Lake Union in the foreground, Lake Washington farther back



The large green area jutting into the water is Gasworks Park

And so, with the benefit of a 31 day month I was able to better last months miles by 4 miles.


Looking at the numbers, I biked 6830 miles, my lowest mileage in 6 years.  I was able to get several bike related firsts.  I organized and participated in the #ridingeverydayinNovember challenge. While others biked in snow, cold, and rain, I lucked out and had mostly nice days (for November!) and felt guilty that I biked so few miles.  I challenged myself to continue the 30 days of November by riding every day in December as well, and get more miles than I did in November by doing so.

I succeeded in that. That gave me 61 consecutive days on the bike, a first for me, by far.  Normally 3 days in a row is a big deal for me.

Part of the reason my annual mileage was low was that I spent a lot of time watching others ride bike.
I was crew chief for Steven Burns when he competed at Hoodoo 500 and Silver State 508.  You can read my blog posts about Hoodoo  HERE  HERE and  HERE and SS 508  HERE.

I was also honored to crew for Mick Walsh and George Thomas as they competed as the two man team "Pactimo/FourDot" in search of a course record on the 879 mile  Race Across the West.  Mick and George did well, and did indeed finish first, setting a new course record in the process. You can listen to audio files posted "live" during the race HERE and then click "newer post" to listen through subsequent posts in chronological order.

I spent a few hours in Durango, CO, then according to plans, I jumped in with PJ Lingley to assist with his Race Across America effort. The audio updates to my blog begin HERE and again just click on "newer post" to follow along the miles.

I rode my 10th consecutive Seattle to Portland Bicycle Classic.  I had biked the previous 9 204 mile STPs in one day.  My goal was to celebrate the 10th by riding it on my fixed gear bike.  I was also helping out the masses by being a Ride Referee. The snafus with organizational support of Ride Ref efforts, and the numbers of assists needed cost me my 1 day finish.  The event starts at 4:45 AM in Seattle and officially ends at 9PM in Portland. I was still 12 miles out when 9PM rolled around.  Sure, plenty of folks rode on, many without lights, in search of that "One Day Finisher" medallion.  I wouldn't feel right getting the swag if I didn't finish within the allotted time.

I again led a weekend camping/biking trip to Crater Lake. Only 4 of us made the trip this year, but it was a good group.  You can read about that trip HERE.

I again led a two day 300+ mile ride of the Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway. Only 2 of us this time around. Read about that trip HERE and HERE

I organized a 2 dat DIY Ride Around Puget Sound when the organizers of the official event bailed out.  7 of us planned to go, but only 5 of us managed to make the trip. We had a great time.  Read about that trip HERE and HERE.

I participated in Cascade Bicycle Club's "Ride from Seattle to Vancouver and Party" (RSVP) for the first time. An audio report is HERE and HERE

I rode around Mt Hood again this year. The story is HERE.

And I again rode one of my favorite rides, McKenzie Pass without cars. See the story HERE.
It was a fun year, even though the miles were less than recent years.

I wish all my faithful readers, and even the rest of you ;-) a very happy New Year and a great year on the bike!

...........road bike..........rollers.........mtb..........lifecycle.......total Today...........34...............0..............0...............0...............34 Jan.............710...............0...............0...............0............710
Feb............ 578...............0..............0...............0............578
March ..........701...............0..............0...............0............701
April...........749...............0..............0...............0............749
May.............613...............0..............0...............0............613
June............309...............0..............0...............0............309
July............615...............0..............0...............0............615
August..........359...............0..............0...............0............359
Sept............292...............0..............0...............0............292
Oct.............708...............0..............0...............0............708
Nov.............650...............0..............0...............0............650
Dec..............654.................0..............0...............0...........654 Total..........6830...............0..............0...............0...........6830

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

60 Consecutive Days on the Bike-- Being a Tourist


Today was my 60th consecutive day on the bike.  Since that number corresponds with a milestone birthday that I'll be afflicted with this coming year, it's probably as good a place to stop as any, except that I really wanted to get more miles this month than last.

I had chores today that kept me busy until 2PM, only 2.5 hours until dark.  The weather was clear and cold, I had really hoped to ride 50 miles, but time was not on my side.

I put my front light in my pack, just in case, and pedaled out.

I had no planned route. Turns were made on last minute urges. I ended up riding toward Discovery Park.  Discovery Park is locally famous for being the birth place of Leo, an (in)famous cyclist known to many STPers. On the way up I stopped to read the informational sign at Kiwanis Ravine. I chuckled that when the Kiwanis donated the ravine property to the City to be used as a park, one of the agreements was that the area would remain in its natural state.  From this vantage point apartment buildings were built out from both sides over the ravine on stilts, covering all but the small creek at the bottom. There was also a project going on to stabilize the steep slopes.  All hardly natural.


I explored along the edges of Discovery Park.  I saw buildings that looked like they might have been an abandoned school, across the street was an institutional looking "office type building".  Even though there were no signs or markings, there were some clues as to what might be going on there.  Most of the vehicles in the parking lot had US Government license plates. I was riding down a road that had a dead end sign.  I continued down it until it dropped sharply and I could see the end a few hundred feet away.  I'm not that stupid.  I turned around and went into the park.

I have never been to the Daybreak Star Indian Cultural Center and took the opportunity today to stop in and look around.  Before entering I took in the great view from the front yard.



I turned and biked toward the building.







I took off my bike shoes so as to not damage the wood floors and walked in.
I was expecting a lot of public displays and informational kiosks.   There was some Native American art on the walls, but all of the first floor was open space (available for rent).  It seemed that most of the upstairs was office space.







After wandering around a bit I returned to the bike and pedaled up some of the car free roads/paths. I came to the rows of yellow housing that remains from the days when this area was Fort Lawton.  As I mentioned in the beginning of this post, I didn't have a planned route.  I had the Garmin recording my ride, but had no route on it.  I wasn't sure exactly where I was (though I generally knew where I was)
The sign posts gave me some indication that I was at least still on the West Coast. ;-)


It was a couple of degrees above freezing, but with the shaded roads, there was still a lot of ice around.  Several times I got off the bike and walked over sheets of ice. A few other times while climbing the rear wheel would spin.  It was enough thrill to keep me on my toes most of the ride.

I exited the park and took turns to go back through Magnolia Center.  It was a nice day along the bluff.


I was taking conscious choices to end the ride.  The sun was going to be down soon, and temperatures would be going down.

When I got back to Dravus St, I crossed the bridge and went straight up the hill.  I had gone up the hill yesterday and found the 11% grades not all that bad.

I ended up with a paltry 15 miles, but in that distance a respectable 1300 ft of climbing.



It was a short, but good day on the bike.  I've got one more day this month to get 31 miles, which will fulfill my goal of getting more mile in December than I got in November.  (it is the little things!)

...........road bike..........rollers.........mtb..........lifecycle.......total Today...........15...............0..............0...............0...............15 Jan.............710...............0...............0...............0............710
Feb............ 578...............0..............0...............0............578
March ..........701...............0..............0...............0............701
April...........749...............0..............0...............0............749
May.............613...............0..............0...............0............613
June............309...............0..............0...............0............309
July............615...............0..............0...............0............615
August..........359...............0..............0...............0............359
Sept............292...............0..............0...............0............292
Oct.............708...............0..............0...............0............708
Nov.............650...............0..............0...............0............650
Dec..............620.................0..............0...............0...........620 Total..........6796...............0..............0...............0...........6796

Monday, December 29, 2014

Day 59

It was a beautiful, if breezy and cold, day.  At noon I hopped on the bike and pedaled out in search of 40 miles. That would put me over 600 miles for the month, a worthy goal, and within 50 miles of getting more miles than I did last month.

I rolled down off Queen Anne and crossed the Fremont Bridge.  I tossed a virtual coin and decided to turn left and ride down the Ship Canal Trail.  I turned up 8th Ave NW and rode to Echo Lake, it was uphill and into a 10-12 mph wind.  The temperature was in the high 30's. After I got to the lake I turned around and backtracked to the Ship Canal, enjoying the downhill and tailwind!

When I got to the Ship Canal I caught glimpses of snow covered peaks and decided to ride to Golden Gardens to take in the view of the Olympic Mountains.


When I got to Golden Gardens, the sandy beaches and people out enjoying the day reminded me of some tropical location, except for the snow covered peaks, and the cold wind blowing!


The wind brought out folks with wind powered toys.  Kites, sailboats, kitesurfers, all were dancing in the wind.


 

After watching the waves, wind, and people for awhile, I turned around and let the wind blow me back toward the Hiram Chittenden Locks. Just before reaching the locks I passed under a railroad bridge that with it's rusted iron and odd angles reminded me somewhat of that saying concerning train wrecks.

As I crossed over the locks I wondered again why this falling water isn't put to use.  With a tidal influence on the downstream side of the locks, there is a 6 to 26 ft fall.  I would think that would be enough to turn a generator, but then again I'm not a hydrologist.


After crossing the water I noted a sign that directed bicycles up a steeply inclined street marked "dead end" and saying "to Magnolia Center".  I've been around Magnolia several times, but never to Magnolia Center.  I figured it would be worth the low geared climb to see what I had been missing.  In a few short blocks I was directed to a narrow path that crossed a ravine on a narrow path then continued on up to residential streets.  I soon was on a gently descending route heading south.  I arrived in Magnolia Center and found it to be a shopping district in this otherwise residential and park covered hilly peninsula.

After passing through the commercial district I was soon on the familiar route that I normally take around Magnolia.  I followed that to the Dravus Street Bridge.  I would normally go straight to the Elliot Bay trail.  Sometimes I take the bridge and take an immediate left, getting on Emerson.  Since today was turning in to an exploratory adventure I decided to go straight up Dravus.  It was likely the steepest pitch of the day.  I got back up on the top of Queen Anne and noted that I was just a few miles short of my 40 mile goal.  No problem, some riding around the "Crown of Queen Anne" would bring me there.



...........road bike..........rollers.........mtb..........lifecycle.......total Today...........41...............0..............0...............0...............41 Jan.............710...............0...............0...............0............710
Feb............ 578...............0..............0...............0............578
March ..........701...............0..............0...............0............701
April...........749...............0..............0...............0............749
May.............613...............0..............0...............0............613
June............309...............0..............0...............0............309
July............615...............0..............0...............0............615
August..........359...............0..............0...............0............359
Sept............292...............0..............0...............0............292
Oct.............708...............0..............0...............0............708
Nov.............650...............0..............0...............0............650
Dec..............605.................0..............0...............0...........605 Total..........6781...............0..............0...............0...........6781

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Day 58

 I had so much fun exploring the Interurban Trail yesterday that I decided to ride out a bit farther today for my 58th consecutive day on the bike.

As I rode by the time/temperature/scrolling ad sign in Shoreline I noted that it was 4 degrees cooler today.

I continued on to Echo Lake, the lake that I did not make it to yesterday. As local lakes go, this one was a pretty small representative.


The next lake I arrived at was Lake Ballinger, at 103 acres it was a bit bigger, though in 1901 it was evidently only worth $20. ;-)


The Interurban Trail at times looks similar to The Springwater Corridor in Portland.......... minus the stunning views of Mt Hood seen as you head east.


Unlike The Springwater Corridor Trail, the Interurban Trail is highly segmented. Rarely could I go for more than a couple of miles without having to get on roads.   While on one of the road segments I spotted a donut shop.  I saw that as a sign.


With TWO maple bars now powering me, I pushed on to the extreme south fringes of Everett.  With dinner guests tonight, I decided this was far enough for today.  I turned around and retraced my route.

My first stop was at Lake Ballinger Station.


A jogger arrived as I was taking the photo and tried to get a drink of water...........from the drained for the winter water fountain.  I offered her some of my water.  We chatted a bit, and as it ended up, she too lives in Oregon (Brownsville).  She thanked me for the water and we each went our separate ways.

As I rode by the time/temp/ad sign I noted that the temperature had dropped a few degrees to 39, despite what should have been a warmer time of day. That didn't surprise me, it felt cooler as the day progressed.

RANT time again.  There is a segment of the Interurban Trail that has been "improved" by constructing a protected bike lane. Between the bidirectional bike lane there is a painted buffer zone, a curb, then a row of parked cars before the first traffic lane.  I didn't have any issues at all going north but in this "protected" section coming back south I had several issues within just a few blocks.
There is a senior living facility next to the trail.  There were some portable sandwich board signs telling of upcoming parking restrictions.  The signs were placed in the center of the bike path, wide side perpendicular to the direction of travel.  As I do in most of these types of instances, I stopped and slid the obstructions off the path.  In this instance I turned them lengthwise and placed them in the painted buffer.  A guy came out of a pickup and scolded me, saying I didn't need that much room.  I told him it was a safety issue, especially with the impending darkness.  Then I pointed out that he didn't need that much room either.  Before I could get the second sign moved, an official name tag wearing woman came out of the facility and told me I couldn't move the signs, that they "belonged there".  My patience was wearing thin.  I told her they did not belong in the center of the bike path.  She went on to say that the police said they could be there.  I told her that they could not legally be there, and if she wanted to call the police, I'd be willing to wait there and talk with them.  She declined.  With that I  rode on.

I didn't make it 200 ft when two skate boarders come across the road with their backs facing me, and looking backward.  I verbally announced myself while ringing my bell and braking hard.  I zigged, zagged, and cleared them while going about 5 mph.

My fun in this protected bike lane was not yet over.  I  rolled up to the next intersection slowly as the cross signal was red.  Just before I got there, the cross signal activated for my direction.  There was a car coming from the left, wanting to make a right on red, despite the sign that said "No turn on red".  I gave the fender a slap after slamming on my brakes to avoid the collision.  The car never stopped before turning, or after I slapped the fender.

I'm not sure what these "protected" bike lanes protect cyclists from.  Certainly not from cars making right turns on "no turns on red", certainly not skate boarders crossing without looking, and certainly not from obstacles being placed in the path. This infrastructure came at a cost of nearly 4 million dollars per mile. There are better ways to spend that kind of money.

Once I ran out of "protection" I had an uneventful remainder of the trip. I rolled down 8th Ave NW at 25 mph, with light rain falling. I got to Ballard, went upstream along the Ship Canal to Fremont, then back up Queen Anne via the Kralik Way.

I arrived back with an hour to spare before guests arrived.

A successful 58th consecutive day on the bike.


...........road bike..........rollers.........mtb..........lifecycle.......total Today...........51...............0..............0...............0...............51 Jan.............710...............0...............0...............0............710
Feb............ 578...............0..............0...............0............578
March ..........701...............0..............0...............0............701
April...........749...............0..............0...............0............749
May.............613...............0..............0...............0............613
June............309...............0..............0...............0............309
July............615...............0..............0...............0............615
August..........359...............0..............0...............0............359
Sept............292...............0..............0...............0............292
Oct.............708...............0..............0...............0............708
Nov.............650...............0..............0...............0............650
Dec..............564.................0..............0...............0...........564 Total..........6740...............0..............0...............0...........6740

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Day 57

Today was my 57th consecutive day on the bike.  Whenever I think that might be something special, I am reminded that 3 guys will be going for the Highest Annual Mileage Record beginning January 1st.  If they ride everyday, they will have to ride about 225 miles each day to get the record.  By comparison, my 57 days of piddling around amounts to nothing.

 I needed a different grinder disc for a project.  I could have biked 4 miles south to a Home Depot and got the supplies I needed, but I wanted to bike a bit longer, so I mapped out a route to a Home Depot that was just over 8 miles away instead.

It was a nice ride northward.  It was cloudy, but not raining.  The wind was moderate and was helping push me along.  The last part of my route was on the Interurban Trail.  I pulled into the Home Depot, locked my bike up, and went inside and got my needed supplies.  It was not lost on me that most who shopped in this store had the knowledge (and the necessary tools just inside the store, or in the back of their pickup)  to make quick work of any lock.  I moved quickly.

After finishing my shopping I came back out to the bike and noted that it was still not raining.  I decided to get back on the Interurban Trail and ride farther north. I had been biking moderately uphill since Ballard but with the tailwind it didn't require a lot of effort, but it now started raining lightly. There were some artsy signs showing fish swimming that got me to feeling like a salmon swimming upstream.



As I rode past the Gateway Shopping Center I noted that it was raining lightly and 46 degrees.


I continued on just a few more blocks then turned around.  If I had known that I was just a few blocks short of Echo Lake I probably would have turned around there instead.

As I rode back, the rain increased a bit in intensity, though still not heavy.  I was rolling down the gentle grade at 25 mph without pedaling, and did so for miles.  When I reached Ballard I had to pedal, but it was level so it was still quite easy.

I crossed the Fremont Bridge, and noted that  the rain stopped and that the painting project is still not complete. There has been some pretty decent weather for painting in the last few weeks.  I wonder what the hold up is? I guess much of the work being done is not visible to the general public.

I started back up Queen Anne via the Kralik Way, but detoured for some bonus climbing since the weather had improved.  I came around the west side of Queen Anne and started up.  Many of the streets I pedaled up ended in stairways.  Many of those streets that continued would change to brick or stone.



As I zigged and zagged my way up the hill I noted a good view or two across Elliot Bay.


There is a ship in that sun soaked water.
I finally made it to the top of Queen Anne and finished up day 57.  Despite the rain, it was a nice ride. (I've biked in a lot worse!)




...........road bike..........rollers.........mtb..........lifecycle.......total Today...........29...............0..............0...............0...............29 Jan.............710...............0...............0...............0............710
Feb............ 578...............0..............0...............0............578
March ..........701...............0..............0...............0............701
April...........749...............0..............0...............0............749
May.............613...............0..............0...............0............613
June............309...............0..............0...............0............309
July............615...............0..............0...............0............615
August..........359...............0..............0...............0............359
Sept............292...............0..............0...............0............292
Oct.............708...............0..............0...............0............708
Nov.............650...............0..............0...............0............650
Dec..............513.................0..............0...............0...........513 Total..........6689...............0..............0...............0...........6689

Friday, December 26, 2014

Day 56- The search for good deals


Today was my 56th consecutive day on the bike.  It is of course the day after Christmas, the day when many are out in search of good deals.  The best deal I could think of today was to go for a bike ride.

Julie and I started out from Wilsonville and pedaled out a few miles to Tualatin for breakfast.


The roads were wet, but they were drying out as there was no rain today.

Following breakfast we decided that the weather was so nice and terrain so flat (compared to Seattle) that we'd continue northward.   We stopped for a photo as we crossed the Tualatin River near Cook Park.


There has been some localized flooding in the Willamette Valley, in the low lying areas of the Fanno Creek Trail it was still obvious. At this intersection the choice of which way to go was a simple one.


We got as far north as Denney Rd we exited the trail and took Hall Blvd back south.  It was a funny day, there was a river on the path, and geese on the road.


When we got to Durham we worked our way over to Boone's Ferry Rd and followed it to Wilsonville.


By the time we were half way finished, the roads were dry.  You couldn't ask for a much better day for late December.

...........road bike..........rollers.........mtb..........lifecycle.......total Today...........24...............0..............0...............0...............24 Jan.............710...............0...............0...............0............710
Feb............ 578...............0..............0...............0............578
March ..........701...............0..............0...............0............701
April...........749...............0..............0...............0............749
May.............613...............0..............0...............0............613
June............309...............0..............0...............0............309
July............615...............0..............0...............0............615
August..........359...............0..............0...............0............359
Sept............292...............0..............0...............0............292
Oct.............708...............0..............0...............0............708
Nov.............650...............0..............0...............0............650
Dec..............484.................0..............0...............0...........484 Total..........6660...............0..............0...............0...........6660

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Day 55-Ho Ho Ho!

 Today was my 55th consecutive day on the bike, or more precisely, a partial day on the bike.

Like most of us, today will be filled with family celebrations of the holiday.  Before heading out over the river and through the woods, I had a half hour to get on the bike.

The weather was nice.  It was dry, partly cloudy, calm, with just a touch of fog around as I pedaled out.


I rode in an area that I used to ride years ago with my kids when they were small, except today I'd ride the roads instead of the paths most of the time.



I had to chuckle as I rode past the Hillsboro Airport perimeter.  I guess even pilots need to worry about the "practicable" thing.


I was happy to get 9 miles in my half hour out, especially with the stops for pictures.  Ho Ho Ho indeed!

Merry Christmas to  all of you!


...........road bike..........rollers.........mtb..........lifecycle.......total Today............9...............0..............0...............0...............9 Jan.............710...............0...............0...............0............710
Feb............ 578...............0..............0...............0............578
March ..........701...............0..............0...............0............701
April...........749...............0..............0...............0............749
May.............613...............0..............0...............0............613
June............309...............0..............0...............0............309
July............615...............0..............0...............0............615
August..........359...............0..............0...............0............359
Sept............292...............0..............0...............0............292
Oct.............708...............0..............0...............0............708
Nov.............650...............0..............0...............0............650
Dec..............460.................0..............0...............0...........460 Total..........6636...............0..............0...............0...........6636