Anyone who reads this blog knows it doesn’t take much to get me to go ride a bike. In November, I take one non rainy (no matter how cold) day to ride my years for my birthday. I try to get out New Years day. Anytime the rains stop and the roads aren’t icy in the winter I am there. Today, there was only ‘chance’ of thunder showers, so after work I was out for 37 miles… Yeah, you guessed it, I was caught by a squall…
So nope, it doesn’t take much to get me riding. So when I am told they are shutting down 3 major highways and allowing only bikes to ride??? I am on it! That happened Sunday…
Somehow, the Cascade Bicycle Club convinced the Department of Transportation to shut down the Interstate 5 Express Lanes, the East Bound lanes of State Route 520’s floating bridge and the interstate 90 express lanes (the other floating bridge. Yep, Starting at 6 AM Sunday these roads were open to bikes only! a 25 mile circle! Hell Yes I signed up!
I had a bit of a dilemma though. I wanted to get more than 25 miles for my ride. But, with the starting time 6 AM and the starting line all the way down at Safeco Field. I would’ve had to be pedaling from my house at 4, which meant getting up about 3:20 AM! I decided to compromise, get up at 4 AM, and drive part way. I parked about 10 miles from the stadium.
Doing this got me 30 minutes more sleep, but would let me get at least 45 miles total for the day. This meant I was at that starting line early, so I had a chance to stop and get this photo with Ken Griffey Jr.
That is one cool piece of art!
Now look at it again, and notice that line of cars behind it. Those are all cyclists driving to the starting line and parking in the garage. I am VERY happy I rode!
As you can see, this was shaping up to be a VERY popular ride!
I picked up my souvenir hat, and was soon in line to start.
As I was standing there, I was chatting with the lady next to me and these two in front of me.
We were comparing rides, we’ve done and other miscellaneous stuff bike riders in line talk about. But as we talked, my eyes kept wandering to the bike of lady on the right in the above picture. Something just didn’t seem right. I then noticed her chain had a serious sag.
Now I was torn… There are some cyclist who take offense (or just don’t appreciate) unwanted advice. And I sure as hell didn’t want to come off as some know it all chauvinist cowboy. But I was worried she would miss out on the ride. So, with my best innocent and unchauvinist voice I asked, “Hey, is your chain supposed to be like that?”
Turns out she had no idea, so after asking if I could check it out, I found it had fallen completely off the front chain ring. Had she hopped on and clipped in she woulda fallen hard! 30 seconds later she was good to go! My good deed of the year is complete!
The ride started and I headed for the Express lanes. Along the way, we passed Centurylink field on our way to downtown
I was of course sporting my Coug Jersey, as was this fellow fan
Funny thing, here we are in Seattle. the home of the OTHER school in Washington, and whenever I wear the jersey, I get loud yells of “GO COUGS!!” wherever I go! Sure as hell,the two of us together got one from Seattle’s finest as we entered the Expresslanes
This entrance takes one through a very weirdly lit tunnel
And over a pretty rough road until you reach the main express lanes. The road was rough enough I had to run and rescue my wayward tail light!
Once we got out into the light though it was just fun having so much road!
What was funny is that MOST people stuck to the far right lane! Old habits die hard. And, I have to say, the view from this road is wasted on cars doing 60+ mph.
This last one below is my downtown office.
After exiting the express lanes, we worked our way through the University District, across the Montlake Bridge
And to the onramp of the 520 Floating Bridge.
This may have been even cooler than I -5…
And again, except in gridlock, there is no way a car could enjoy these views
There was a bit of a headwind, And I had to dodge the occasional photographer
But soon I was at the other end, ready to leave the bridge
From her, the route turned south through Medina, home of, amongst others, Bill Gates. I have heard of Medina for years, but had never gotten there. (Bill and I aint that close) Maybe I was expecting streets paved in gold, or unicorns prancing in the front yards of the inhabitants, but I was less than impressed. It could have been any other neighborhood in the northwest.
But, traffic was light, and it was quiet, so even though I didn’t take any photos, it was a nice ride!
The I 90 express lanes were honestly my least favorite part of the ride.
It was by far the loudest piece of the ride, and we had no access to the edge for pictures. Don’t get me wrong, I am very happy we got to use this road, but I wish we coulda reversed the flow and did this part first…
It was fun though as I topped the last rise, to see both Safeco Field and Centurylink Stadium
Two miles after this, I was heading back toward my car!
As I pulled into the finish line just after 8, I saw they had cut off any new people starting. They wanted to cut off access to the express lanes early so they could reopen the road to cars as soon as they could. This meant I couldn’t use the express lanes to get back to my car.
Instead I headed north using the downtown bile lanes.
I soon found myself near my old office. And, there happened to still be bikes passing this entrance… With just a second’s hesitation, I (possibly) broke a rule (more of a guideline…) and jumped back on the express lanes to head north! Who knows when I will be able to do this again, so it was worth the risk!
I added a few miles getting to this entrance, so in the end, I ended up with 50 miles for the day! It was time to reward myself by taking Michelle and I to breakfast at Diamond Knot. The breakfast burrito and tater tots hit the spot!
Plus I ended up with this Rad Hat!
It was a great ride open to all kinds of bikes. I saw little kids loving riding along the express lanes, couples on tandems, and these two that just caught my attention
It was hard to wake up that early on a day off, but the weather was perfect and the route was something not to be missed! Cascade did an excellent job!