30 Days of Biking, Day 28: Morning

2014-04-15 08.40.55An impressionistic list of things seen, heard, scented, thought, and felt on this morning’s ride to work as I roll toward April 30 and a successful 30 Days of Biking:

  • Gray skies when I started out, with a forecast of partly cloud and 60 degrees.
  • Cool air, but not cold; I was just fine in a T-shirt and light cardigan.
  • I could feel the effects of the greater mileage I’ve put in the last few weeks — I felt stronger and that motivates me to ride more miles, more often.
  • My neighbors all along my route grow beautiful flowers that smell wonderful. Lilacs, hyacinth, blossoming trees
  • A woman walking her dog smiled and said, “Good morning!” in the first three blocks, which made a nice start to the ride.
  • Those hills I face in the earliest leg of my commute seemed a little easier, especially after the climbs on yesterday’s bike date with my husband calling out the grade as we climbed up off the Burke-Gilman Trail and over the ridge: “14%! 11%! 9%!”
    • As a side note, I now want him to ride my morning commute with his GPS unit because some of those 9-10% grades yesterday looked an awful lot like a part of my commute that a mapping app told me was a mere 3-4% climb. Ha! I knew it was steeper than that.
  • A motorcycle rider ignored the rules for going through a roundabout and whipped a left turn ahead of me that would have taken him right into an oncoming car, bike, or pedestrian. If and when that impact comes it can’t be deemed an unpreventable “accident” — heads up at NE 113th St. and 25th Ave. NE.
  • I watch my mileage climbing Roosevelt because my goal is to make that climb a little faster as an indicator that I’m getting stronger. I kept my speed a tiny bit higher on average than the last time — progress!
  • As always, I got passed a few times. I’m trying to get stronger for future bike travel plans, not because I have a bunch of ego at stake, so that’s fine. I do appreciate it if someone lets me know he/she is passing, though….
  • Despite saying that I don’t have ego in the game, I do get motivated by someone riding either ahead of me (can I keep up?) or behind me (can I stay ahead?). With a guy on a bike right behind me on Roosevelt crossing Ravenna, I pegged it up the hill, feeling quite pleased that I must be riding at a decent clip because he hadn’t caught me and it had been quite a few blocks. Then I realized he was no longer behind me. I win!
  • In front of Trader Joe’s, a woman in a great black and white striped Bern helmet prepared to launch into the bike lane as I approached. Taking my own advice, I called out to let her know I was passing. She caught me at the stoplight and as we waited together I turned to compliment her on the helmet.
  • The waters of Lake Union shone silver on my left, blue on my right, as I crossed the University Bridge.
  • I could smell the goodies baking at Le Fournil right after crossing the bridge. They’re a Bicycle Benefits participating business; get your $5 sticker in our store and you can take advantage of special deals offered at a variety of businesses that want to welcome bicycling customers.
  • Riding on a bike on city streets (any city in Washington) is a little bit like riding a slalom course as I avoid cracks, utility access covers, holes, bumps, and other street hazards. You get what you pay for.
  • I’m glad Critical Lass Seattle did a ride that showed me the route that uses Franklin to avoid Eastlake and set up for the Melrose Trail connection.
  • A man with a fierce, tiny dog said, “Hey-hey-hey! No!” when the dog wanted to charge into Franklin from the sidewalk and chase me. Miniature boxer, maybe? I don’t underestimate the little ankle-biters — glad the dog obeyed.
  • Quieter and flatter than Eastlake, with almost no traffic, Franklin takes me past a school. Today I passed at recess and heard two indignant little girls telling the adult monitor about something that had happened between them. She patiently said, “You’re talking to me. You need to talk with each other.”
  • Somewhere along Lakeview, or maybe on Melrose, I realized the sky had turned a beautiful blue.
  • The Space Needle looked like a picture postcard off to my right as car traffic hummed below on I-5. They were actually moving today; that isn’t always the case when I ride past above the freeway.
  • The light at Denny is really, really long to wait for if you want to cross on Melrose. A lot of people walk downhill on Denny and then wait for the light with me, which is handy because they push the crosswalk light.
  • Some restaurant at the corner of Melrose and Pine is often preparing something deep-fat-fried that smells dangerously good when I ride by, even in the morning. Why is this?
  • I love wheeling down Pine because I can keep up with traffic so easily on the downhill.
  • On Second I generally use the right-hand bus lane. I love flying down that street too. Large arterials aren’t usually my favorite streets to ride, but when there’s so little traffic volume that I can have a whole lane to myself (which is often the case when I’m on Second), they work great. It’s like a really, really big bike lane. Can I keep it?
  • The very end of my ride takes me onto the old street surfaces of Pioneer Square, with their bumps, bricks, and character. Somehow it doesn’t seem as bad there as it does on a newer street surface; I ride more slowly anyway because of the greater density of people walking.
  • Usually Mike, who sells the publication Real Change at the corner, says good morning as I pass by. He wasn’t there today and I missed his gentle hello.
  • I finished my ride two minutes faster than the last time I rode to work on the same route. Not enough to think I’ve really knocked that time out for good, but a sign that I’m heading the right direction.

Life packs a lot into one morning ride.

Day 28 of the 30 Days of Biking, 30 Words, 30 Pictures series

30 Days of Biking

Your Turn

  • What’s your favorite time of day to ride?
  • What kinds of things do you notice along the way if you ride to work or school in the morning?


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