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Category: bicycle commuting

Bicycle Corral

Bicycle Corral

During Dan’s visit (see May 29th post), we went for a walking tour of the Capital Hill neighbourhood of Seattle. On the way, we saw this beauty:I delayed our quest for the martini bar in order to take a photo of a bicycle rack – yes, I’m exactly that geeky. But…it holds a minimum of 9 bikes in a single car parking space! And it has an adorably cartoony car design. Since only a few bikes were parked there, I couldn’t really tell if the spaces were wide enough to allow two bikes per space. I suspect not. However, even at a single bike per space, a trade of 9 bikes for one car is fantastic. At that time there were only three bikes parked. However, I wouldn’t assume that meant a lack of demand. This was early afternoon on a Monday and the neighbourhood was extremely quiet. The streets were really quite deserted until two or three hours later.

Sadly, we are unlikely to see more bicycle corrals in the near future. Due to budget cuts, SDOT (Seattle Dept. of Tranporation) has put the bicycle parking program on hold and it may be cut entirely (see the write-up on Seattle bike blog http://seattlebikeblog.com/2011/05/26/sdot-bike-parking-program-on-hold-could-be-cut/).
First Ride of the Season

First Ride of the Season

March 13 was marked twice on my calendar – the first was a reminder to change my clocks and the second was to take out my bike. I am, I confess, a fair weather cyclist. I know this may seem terribly wimpy to those of you in Canada and other snowy climates, but I do not like riding my bike in the winter in Seattle. Riding in the dark and rain, in traffic, is not my idea of fun, so I take the bus, walk or drive, depending. However, once we “spring ahead”, the day lit hours stretch long enough that I can comfortably get to work and back before it gets dark. I pulled out my road bike, checked the tires, cleaned and oiled the chain, and searched for my gear. A quick check of the weather forecast (fair weather, remember?), and I picked Thursday for my first ride.

Wednesday evening, I packed up my backpack with Thursday’s clothes, toiletries, etc. It’s hard enough to get ready in the morning – if I’m changing my routine, I’d better get things prepared the night before. Thursday morning was overcast, but chilly (yeah, yeah, go ahead and laugh at me, Edmonton) when I set off. The neighbourhood streets were quiet, as the morning commute was just beginning. I crossed Salmon Bay at the Ballard Locks. It slows down my commute, because I have to dismount and walk my bike, but it’s pretty and I love seeing the water and the boats. That day, however, as the locks were closed and empty for their annual maintenance. It’s a fascinating chance to see the mechanisms that are normally underwater.

I got to work without too much effort, which is only a modest accomplishment, as my route is two-thirds downhill. I entered the parkade and was about to lock up my bike, when I realized that I didn’t have my bike lock. Doh! It must not have gotten unpacked after our move last fall. Right – time for plan B – storing it in my cubicle. It’s hard to be inconspicuous, wheeling a bike into the elevator in tights and a bright yellow jacket. Back down to the locker room to shower and change. That’s when I found the second mistake – no shampoo! Well, I could make do with soap from the wall dispenser, at least once. I had a quick shower, got dressed, went to put on my shoes…and realized that my spare shoes were upstairs, under my desk. At least I had a pair and didn’t have to wear sneakers all day. Besides, walking around in sock feet isn’t THAT eccentric, when you work with a bunch of scientists, right?

All in all, it was a relatively successful first day for bicycle commuting.

Friday’s forecast predicted a high probability for rain and for beer. I took the bus. But I did promise to be back at it the next week.