The Ultimate Social Bike Ride

Washington Bikes marched–I mean biked– in Sunday’s Pride Parade in Seattle and the Dutch Bike Company generously lent us the use of their Conference Bike for the event.  All we had to do was pick up the bike late Saturday afternoon at their store in Ballard and deliver it to the Bike Alliance office in Pioneer Square, then return it before the shop closed on Sunday.

The Conference Bike, with seating for seven, is no ordinary bike.  At 8′ long and 6′ wide and weighing in at nearly 500 lbs, you don’t toss this bike in the back of a pickup truck or put it on a Metro bus bike rack.  This bike is also too big for our trails, so we would be navigating this baby on the streets of Seattle.  This would be a major Share the Road vehicle!
I issued a call for assistance among our loyal volunteers to ride this bike to our office and, within an hour, I had my Conference Bike team: Bill Bloxom, Steve Keithly, Vicki Moseley, Charlie Tiebout, Marti Verkuilen, Jeremy Vrablik, and me.
Only one person controls the steering and braking for the Conference Bike and Charlie volunteered to be our captain.  The rest of us provided the pedal power.  We took a lane on Leary Way then pedaled and chatted our way to Fremont, where we paused as the drawbridge closed.
“What is that thing?” curious onlookers asked.
“It’s a Conference Bike!” we replied.
“What are you doing?” one guy asked.
“We’re conferencing!” was our reply.
We rolled across the Fremont Bridge then turned onto Westlake Avenue.  We pedaled to the cheers of encouragement and amusement from pedestrians, passing motorists, and other cyclists!  A street vendor pulled out his cell phone to snap our picture.  Several Ride the Duck vehicles passed us by.  We rang our bike bells as the tourists blew their quackers and snapped our photos.
At Bell Street, we turned west and all of us applied our pedal power to get us up the hill.  Another comment about the Conference Bike:  it is a single-speed vehicle and doesn’t travel very fast.  We averaged about 6 mph overall and cruised a cool 17 mph through downtown on First Avenue.  Thanks to Bill for the stats–he downloaded a speedometer app during our ride. 

A special shout out to Jeremy’s friend Nick who accompanied us on his bike for much of the ride.  Nick occasionally reminded motorists to share the road with us by directing the traffic around us and guiding us through some tight spots.

We followed First Avenue into Pioneer Square, then made our way to the sport stadiums where we pedaled a victory lap before we dropped the Conference Bike off at the Bike Alliance office.  Hands down, this was the ultimate social ride on a bike!
Check out Jeremy’s video of our cruise through downtown.  Thanks to Steve Keithly for the photos.
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