So, lately life has gotten busy. Between people turning 80 years old, 15 year olds needing to get to the skateboard shop, errands, chores and wanting to spend time with my wife, I have NOT been able to ride during either of the last two weekends. This coming weekend, Michelle and I are heading to Corvallis, OR and the Ocean for a 3 day weekend we BOTH deserve!
This means that there will be 3 weekends in a row of no riding. Folks, I honestly, even in the dead of winter, do not remember a stretch of not riding that encompassed 3 weekends. Damn good thing I still ride home from work 3 days a week!
Here’s where the efficiency comes in! I had a brilliant (well at least to me!) idea. Instead of biking home, I would pick up the Lake Washington loop from work, and get a good stretch of the legs! It should only take an extra hour or so, and it will be fun!
Hmmm, now remember the only time I have ridden this loop is on a Saturday or Sunday morning… Now I would be riding on a Wednesday afternoon during rush hour… Anyone see a problem with this? Obviously I didn’t, but lets NOT get ahead of ourselves here…
First off I had to get to the loop itself. EASY I thought, I know just how to do it, So, without directions I headed out. Knowing full well the route is well-marked. MAybe its not THAT well-makred! Now I am not sure what road I needed to be on to get to the lake. But I SURE as knew it wasn’t Martin Luther King Jr Way. That is a north/south thoroughfare and the lake is due east! EASY, I was going south so just do a hard left and sooner or later you will hit water.
Of course it aint that easy, I turned left and ended up at the top of this:
Seattle is known for its outdoor stair cases. In fact I have a guide-book that takes you to each one. However, when I do stairs, I do NOT normally have my bike or bike shoes with me! Now I could have turned around, BUT I knew the water was downhill. So I picked up the bike and trudged down the steps!, Hung a left and rode the hill to the water! OK!! on track!! Time to roll!
I went across the I-90 bridge
And when I reached the other side, I went due north! No worries Rarin to go! I made it through downtown Bellevue without a hitch, and continued north heading to Kirkland… Then I saw the sign. Road closed detour. The road I was on, 112th, has a wide shoulder AND a bike lane. It’s a well cycled road. The detour put me on a road backed up for miles (oh yeah, rush hour remember) full of grouchy drivers, and no shoulder!
OK, I’m not proud of this, but I did something I NEVER do, I hopped on the sidewalk, and passed everyone, until the sidewalk ran out. Then I merged back in, ignored what I am sure was a plethora of middle fingers and got across the final intersection and back on my loop! OK!! Back to a designated bike lane! Heading for downtown Kirkland! AND once again, traffic stopped. (Oh YEAH, rush hour!)
Now in Kirkland, there is a car lane, a bike lane just to the right of it, and then a parking lane to the right of the bike lane…. YEP, you guessed it. I had cars making a right hand turn right in front of me, cars pulling out of parking spots and blocking the bike lane, guys checking out girls in bikinis and drifting into my lane… It was an obstacle course! Took every trick I had to get through there, and I am not exaggerating when I say I must’ve passed 200 cars that were stopped dead or just crawling along! Again, more middle fingers, either literal or imagined!
Once through there (with one more use of a sidewalk near Juanita, these drivers were GROUCHY!! ) (Yes I know, rush hour is MUCH different from weekends…) I made it to Woodinville, and what do I see, a party! Live band playing music in the park!
A hotdog cart and a short line! I do not know why, but I LOVE a hotdog when I’m out riding! A beer soaked brat with ketchup later, I was raring to go again for the last 10 miles! I took off along the river, feeling the cool breeze off the water (It felt like it was 90 when I stared!) and then I had to stop for this picture! He is a man without a care in the world!
He was snoozing, in the shade, letting the slough take him where it wanted to. Hope he wakes up before he gets to the ocean!
It worked out to be a 37 mile ride, but with the traffic and issues and the hotdog it took almost 4 hours NOT a good pace obviously, but then, it was rush hour!
I did learn I am spoiled with my bike commute! I ride 17 miles total from work to home. Three are on a well-traveled cycling road in Seattle. People are used to us there, and we all get along. then 10 are along a multiuse, very well maintained bike path, no cars at all. then 4 miles up hill with manageable traffic. If others have a daily commute like I had today, my hat is off to them and I will buy them a beer!!
I did enjoy the ride though, I very much-needed it! I may not do this route after work again, but then again, I survived once, so why not!