In May, the third Friday of the month has historically been Bike to Work Day. OK, I know, y’all are thinking “But Tony, almost everyday is bike to work day for you!” This is very true. However, this is a day set up to encourage EVERYONE to do so!
Looking at the calendar, it’s the last Sunday of February. For some that means thoughts of spring, others are thinking getting taxes done, and those in the northeast are getting snow. In Seattle, for us cyclists, its time for the Chilly Hilly!
Around here, (Seattle area, Washington State) 4-5000 riders start watching the forecasts about a week before Cascade Bicycle Clubs Chilly Hilly. We all know its going to be cold, its February for Bikes Sake! However, repeat riders know just how bad it can be….
Friday we had a huge storm come through, high winds, heavy rain, biking woulda sucked big time. To me this was a closer near miss than the giant meteor that skimmed us a week or so ago. Then yesterday was gorgeous and almost warm, but the day before weather does me no go at all!
I woke up today at 545 AM (Got VERY lucky as the alarm I set did not go off.) I made a quick Starbucks run and I was happy to see it was no rain, I was NOT happy to see it was blowing pretty hard.
I made it to the Seattle waterfront, scored free parking and headed for the holding area of the ferrys. I was far from the first one there! But I was there in plenty of time to make the 7:55 ferry.
Its fun running walking around waiting for the ferry. You get a chance to walk around looking at all the bikes. I can tell you, I was WAY down at the bottom of the pecking list in the bike comparison. There were bikes cost more than I my loan qualification amount! I’d have to put both my kids up as collateral! Luckily I love my bike, so no envy, but its fun to look.
Aside from spendy, you find different bikes waiting in the holding pen. Sometimes, ones like this are most different.
At least this one has pedals! This year I found something I had NEVER seen before! I have no idea why someone would want this one, and it CAN’T be easy up hill, and it would be kinda scary going downhill, but each to his own!
Well after about a very cold and breezy half hour, our ride showed up!
It was time tp take over the boat. As you can see the cardeck is covered in bikes, but some people were NOT smart enough to keep the bikes away from the emergency equipment. Those bikes were moved by the crew, and some people were still looking for their bikes when the ferry landed. I wonder if they went overboard?
and the upper decks were taken over by riders!
Now I’d like to digress for a second, did you notice how all the bikes are laying down? Well look at this:
Notice the one bike in the middle, that’s mine, a simple kickstand keeps my bike off the ground! Not sure why more don’t use them.
When we got to the other side, the sun was trying to come out, and it was NICE! The only time we had headwinds was when the route took us to the water (we were on an island after all). I hit this route hard! I have been working out hard this year, putting the miles under my butt and it helped! I cut 30 minutes off my best time! And that included:
Stopping to take a picture like a tourist:
I also helped a dad fix the gears (translate that to I held the bike while he worked on it) on his tandem
After that, it was go like the wind! I did stop for a cookie and brownie at the food stop halfway, I needed it before the Mother Bear of a climb, Baker Hill Road! (Ok its also a charity for the Bainbridge Island Rope Skippers, now THEY are in shape!) I didn’t hammer up it, but I did pass more than passed me! And I hit 37 MPH on the way down!
The first time I rode this was 1999, and I walked the bike up most of the hills, At the end I was done! It was not a pretty sight!
This time I ended feeling like I could do another 20 miles, and looked like this!
More importantly, I finally get to wear the commemorative jersey! I bought it when I registered, but superstition prevents me from wearing it till I finish the ride! (Sill? Yes, but it’s what I do!)
This is a classic ride! It’s the only one I do EVERY year, it is ridden by all ages!
I love it when a ride comes together and I do even better than I could have hoped! Its going to be a good year! Next month, the McClinchy Mile!
My dad used to say this to me ALL the time when I was a kid. Then I remember Mr. Guglamo my Jr High Shop teacher saying the same thing while using a table saw. Just seemed unfair to me!And Yet, here I stand telling you the same thing. “Whatever do you mean Tony?” I can hear you thinking (Ok maybe what I heard was a collective “Huh?” but I thought I’d embellish a bit.
Well, the day after tomorrow is the Chilly Hilly, the first big bike ride of the year. It’s only 33 miles, but it’s 33 cold miles up some pretty good inclines. So what I tell people doing this ride for the first time is to take a break from training the week before, get a lot of rest Friday and Saturday night, and get hydrated with water and/or Gatorade. Yeah that’s what I TELL people to do…
What am I going to do? Well this week I trained hard, a 40 on Sunday and an inside ride or stairs every night except Wednesday. Ok first rule broken.
Tonight is Friday so I will be hanging out at home and relaxing at home right?
Well, no. The WSU coach Mike Leach is in town, and the diehard Cougs will be there to hear him speak, eat, and (shocking I know!) have a beer or two!
OK tomorrow is Saturday! The day before I will model the correct behavior, right? Well, no, we have a wine and sushi outing planned with two of our best friends. Alexandra Nicole has there offering party and we can’t miss that.
Bottom line, I am doing everything wrong prior to the ride. HOWEVER, I have one firm rule. If I paid for it, I am going. If I am dehydrated, or even a bit hungover, its my own damn fault. It will be a Suck it Up morning, and I will be in line for the ferry at 730 AM Sunday!
I only do this, though, because I know this route and I know I can do 33 miles in my sleep if I have too. If it was a longer ride, HELL no!
Yep, any Dad out there will agree with me. We dads can screw up. we are far from perfect. Lord knows I have made more than my share of mistakes, but there’s only really been one involving bikes. Well involving bikes AND kids. I’ve made plenty on my own!
My youngest is almost 15 now, but back in 2009 when he was 11, i convinced him to ride Cascade Bicycle Clubs Flying Wheels ride. I had done the Century ride before, but with him I was going to do the 25 mile loop around Lake Sammamish.
He was a little worried about 25 miles since he had never gone that far before. But I promised him great food stops with plenty of sandwiches, cookies and fruit! He was on board.
At the starting line, you can see he was raring to go:
Ahh, but here in lies my mistake. You see, if I hear a ride starts at 7 AM, I am crossing the starting line at 7 AM. Not a minute later. Had I read the fine print, I would’ve seen that the 25 mile riders didn’t start till 10 AM.
What’s the big deal you say? So we are early. Well I’ll tell ya. In this ride, the food stops are set up as needed, meaning they planed to have our food stops set up for people starting at 10!
So there we are pedaling away,
and we are approaching the halfway point. He’s getting a bit tired and I say “No worries, 2 more turns and its ALL YOU CAN EAT! 11-year-old boys LOVE that phrase. We turn into the food stop and, yep you guessed it, nothing. Maybe the fact there weren’t any other bikers on the route should have clued us in.
No worries, Plan B! To the AM/PM! A fresh bottle of Gatorade, a candy bar, and a soft pretzel later, and we are the wind! Soon after that, we started passing roadkill. Normally this is NOT good thing! But to an 11-year-old boy, who’s only ever seen this from a car, this was the coolest thing ever! I did convince NOT to run over them again with the bike to see what would happen…
We took our time, and I let him lead the way, spotting the Dan Henrys as we went. He was starting to feel it, and it was almost time for a 7/11 stop when we saw the entrance to the park ahead! we were almost done! I raced ahead to get this pic!
I have no idea how much time it took, as we did not push it at all. It was a nice summer day, and it was a chance for just the two of us to hangout together. He was “dogbutt” tired at the end, and I was worried that he hadn’t had fun until I was able to take this.
I owned up to the making the mistake that cost us the chance for the great food stop, but he was happy with a stop at McDonald’s and my allowing (for the first and only time) him ordering a double quarter pounder. He had earned it!
He and I have done other things together just the two of us, the Coastsavers beach clean up day, The Columbia Tower climb, a zip line course and going to Silverwood Amusement park. Of all of these, this is my favorite memory. He is a skateboarder now, and may not ride a ride with me again, but we conquered this one together and had a blast.
Cascade held their annual bike swap Sunday. I, along with my wife who HATES crowds and bike swaps, but loves, and about a thousand of my closest acquaintances, converged on the Seattle Center Exhibition hall to see what we could get for cheap! 🙂 The downside for a new biker is the lack or time and professional advice, the upside is saving money. It’s a tradeoff, but it was fun!
As you can see, there was no lacking for stuff or people! It was a busy day for me, so I had to make it a quick round. But like I said I didn’t need anything. There was every component I had ever heard of, and some I hadn’t EVER seen before. Bikes ranging from kids trikes to classic lever shift 10 speeds to some of the most sophisticated bikes I’ve ever seen.
Backs, panniers and tools, anything a biker could ask!
Well given all this, there is no way I could get out without buying SOMETHING! So what did I come out with?
A Specialized bike jersey, high pressure mini-pump and a multi bike tool. Hex wrenches, screw driver, bottle opener, and chain breaker. it all fits together into one! All for under $45.
My friend Liz spent less than $60 for a 4 bike Thule rack, jersey and pump, Amanda a Jersey and coat. Great day, and great values. Worth the $5 admission fee!
I have to say though, I had to stop and consider what you see in the picture below. A hedge against layoffs? A dream to live in Key West? Or just money on the side? Oh well its fun to think about!