Chilly Hilly 2018

There are certain days of the year people look forward to every single year. Christmas, birthdays, 4th of July, and REI dividend day are just a few of the these. There is also the last Sunday in February!

What happens then you ask? The Cascade Bike Club’s Chilly Hilly!  Continue reading “Chilly Hilly 2018”

Really too tired for tomorrow to be Monday!

Michelle and I ask a question to ourselves all the time: How do we get so busy! This weekend is a classic example! And as I sit here Sunday night building a blog post, I am thinking that I am just damn tired and REALLY not excited that tomorrow is Monday… Continue reading “Really too tired for tomorrow to be Monday!”

Smokin Hot!!

I ALWAYS hesitate to complain about the heat in Seattle. I know there are some places in the states where our high temps are their lows. Also, people in Washington state, who like the heat, sometimes get cross when I complain.

“HEY!! I deal with cold, wet, dreary all winter!! I deserve a summer!” Has been expressed to me more than once.

But this first week of August has been flat nuts. And it’s NOT just because of the heat… Continue reading “Smokin Hot!!”

HOLY CRAP! Spring finally showed up!

I was born, a long LONG time ago, in Boston. But as an army brat I moved around a lot. I DO like the Red Sox, and, until Tom Brady came on the scene, I liked the Patriots. Rarely, if ever, though, do I think of myself as a Bostonian. I have lived in the Pacific Northwest since Junior High, so as far as I am concerned, I am a Northwesterner!

This means, rain doesn’t normally bug me. Lord knows I have ridden in it enough!

This year has been nuts though! We have had more rain since October than EVER before. And, even I am tired of it! (Last week I was caught riding home in a thunderstorm)

So, when it was heard that today, A SATURDAY no less, was going to be in the 70s and sunny, plans had to be made! Continue reading “HOLY CRAP! Spring finally showed up!”

OK maybe I was showing off some…

Last night I cranked out almost 50 miles after work. This isn’t abnormal for me though. It wasn’t raining, and it was the last day I could sneak out of work early for about 3 months. The combination of the two could not be wasted.

Originally I had hoped to rest today, and ride tomorrow. Today, I was going to drop Michelle off for a long walk, and have one of my Starbuck mornings. However two things changed. 1) Our friend Sue decided to walk with her so she was good without me, and 2) the weather dude said there would be rain tomorrow.

OK, it was time to

Continue reading “OK maybe I was showing off some…”

Was it too soon to ride almost 60 miles…

I was hanging out and cleaning up my Yahoo email when we got back from Oregon last week. There was one from Cascade Bike Club letting me know:

  1. The upcoming Sunday was the Kitsap Color Classic ride
  2. Due to some glitch on their side, the cost was going to still be $25 until midnight.

The ferry drops you at the green dot and the ride has a 25 mile loop, a 32 mile loop, or you can combine them for a 57 mile loop.

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In my head the wheels were turning… Continue reading “Was it too soon to ride almost 60 miles…”

Time to make some miles!

Folks, 2016 has been a strange year.  The weather, up and until now, has been closer to a normal Seattle winter and spring (Which makes it a bit harder to ride) so the miles I earned each month have been much less than last year.

I am not too concerned about the totals, but the lower miles means less exercise.  But after a decent April (to be discussed in a forthcoming post) it was time to kick it up a notch… Continue reading “Time to make some miles!”

Snuck off for a weekend

Those who read yesterday’s post may have noted I was writing it while sitting on a deck of a hotel room In Port Townsend, WA.  This is a little town, right on the Puget Sound here in Washington state.

Those who really know me, might think it was strange I was there on the weekend of the Chilly Hilly, which in the Seattle area is the considered opening day of cycling season.  But, it has been a long hard month at work, Michelle and I needed time away, and I SUCK at checking calendars.. Continue reading “Snuck off for a weekend”

Cycling on the Washington State Ferries

So I realized I have mentioned more than one ride I have taken which involved a Washington State Ferry.

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I take them for granted, as I have been taking my bike on them for years.  However, then I remembered the rookie mistakes I did the first time I used them  Since I have a long drive today, I thought I’d give a short post.

First off, why do we have ferries?  If you ever look at a map of Washington State, you will see the western part of the state has a huge body of water called Puget Sound.  To help get people across this body of water, Washington state has the largest passenger and automobile ferry fleet in the United States and the third largest in the world by fleet size. The service is also the largest in the world based on the number of vehicles carried, having carried 11 million annually.  The fleet services the Olympic Peninsula, Vashon Island, and the San Juan Islands, to name a few routes.  

The ferry system welcomes cyclists on board, and actually makes it quite easy on us, but there are a few rules.

Tip #1:  You do NOT have to wait in the LONG line of cars to get your ticket.  We walk up to the passenger ticket window.  There is an extra dollar surcharge for the bike, but it is still MUCH cheaper than a car.

Tip  #2:  We load with the cars.  There will always be a bike assembly area, near the motorcycles.  The best part is we load before any other vehicle.  If you are there and have a ticket prior to loading, a ferry worker will yell “CYCLIST BOARD” and you will ride on first.

This is nice as you can park the bike, and get upstairs and get a prime spot or food before the unwashed masses in the cares show up.

Tip #3 This is not how you stow your bike on the ferry (Except for the Chilly Hilly!)

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Instead look for a piece of rope and the bike parking sign. (As an aside, i always carry about 3 or 4 feet of rope just in case the rope is gone, or I need to make my own spot on a busy weekend day) image

I tie the rope to my stem with a couple of twists and then a simple slip knot.  Give it  yank to make sure it is secure.  Most of the time, the bike will be on a steep slope, I position a pedal against the part of the ferry the rope is attached to in order to steady it.

Tip #4  Go upstairs and see the view, it is gorgeous!  I have never heard of a bike being bothered.

Tip #5  Get to your bike a bit early.  When i see the dock getting close I go down.  Not only are we the first ones on, we are the first off!  Untie the bike and roll it down to the front.  They will tell you when it is time to leave.  Remember to hug the right of the lane though, as the cars will be coming soon!

Tip #6  Bikes and passengers only pay on the one side for most routes.  I have never been on the San Juan Ferries, but for the one’s out of Seattle and Tacoma, you pay on the Seattle side.  Cars pay going both ways, but again, when you get to the dock, bypass the cars and look for the place the bikes are gathering.

Combining a ferry ride and a bike is a blast.  I bring a book and my camera every time.  On really nice days I go up on the sun deck and soak in the rays, on colder days I snag a window seat.  I have also brought a book or my biking journal.  You can also take a last look at your route on the way over!

The ferry lets me get to places in less than an hour, that would take 2-5 to drive to.  I am working out a route from my house to the Edmonds-Kingston ferry, up to Port Townsend to catch the ferry from there to Coupeville on Whidbey Island, over the Deception Pass bridge, and then home.  THAT will yield some beautiful pics!

If you get the chance to ride here, work a ferry route into your schedule, you will NOT be disappointed.  Hope my tips help as well!