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Riding with Dan

Riding with Dan

A couple of weekends ago, our friend Dan came to Seattle for a visit. In between talking, eating, and drinking, we also fit in a couple of bike rides. We were very intrepid.

We rode to Gas Works Park, the former site of a gasification plant. When the city bought the site to convert into a park, much of the former plant was preserved. It’s a gothic, rusting hulk that makes a fascinating contrast to the lush greenery of the park. Saturday was overcast, but the views of downtown and of the boats on Lake Union are always worth the trip.

We then took the Burke-Gilman Trail to nearby Fremont, and off-beat little neighbourhood that a bit self-consciously artsy, but is a great deal of fun. We checked out a second-hand book store, Theo’s Chocolate factory, and paid homage to the troll, who lives under a bridge and is clutching a real, full-size VW Beetle in one hand.

Then it was time for lunch at El Camino. The plantain chips with guacamole and pico de gallo were delicious. As were the margaritas.

At some point in the midst of all this, we had fancy coffees and cake at Simply Desserts. It was delicious, as always. Unfortunately, I was distracted by the chocolate and forgot to take a picture.

The next day, we rode up the Interurban Trail to Carkeek Park. After making your way down a steep hill and crossing a pedestrian bridge over the railway tracks, you reach the beach. It was a bit lonely and windswept that day, but still pretty. At low tides, it’s a great place to investigate the tidal pools and sea creatures.

All in all, our bikes were a great way to visit and see some of the city. We kept a fairly relaxed pace, which allowed us to visit and sight see along the way. I didn’t want to use my road bike for these trips, because it’s quite a bit faster than the other bikes, making it hard to keep together. Plus it’s less comfortable with street clothes. However, we only have two other bikes, so we couldn’t all go out together. Luckily for me, Andrew took the parenting shift, so that Dan and I could go out. I may look into renting a bike next time we have visitors so that all of us can go out at the same time.

Bicycle-friendly hotels

Bicycle-friendly hotels

This paragraph appeared on page 102 (the Travel page) of a recent print issue of Elle:



As cities get ever more bike friendly (yay!), smart hoteliers are offering guests complimentary, stylish two-wheelers. We can’t imagine a nicer way to experience the Hamptons off-season than on the Maidstone’s red Kronans, adapted from the Swedish Army standard-issue ride (207 Main Street, 631-324-5006). Survey New York’s Hudson or East River Park on a cruiser from the newly opened James Hotel*, the Bowery Hotel, or the Jane; or explore Boston’s Charles River on one of the Liberty Hotel‘s steel steeds**. Longing to test all the cute roadside foodie trucks in Portland, Oregon? The Hotel Monaco*** or the new, lower-priced W sibling, Aloft,** have your carbon-emissions-free, calorie-burning vehicle waiting. – M.P.

*(The James’ website mentions a pedicab service, but not bicycles, for their NYC location. Their Chicago location offers Paul Frank adult & child city bikes.)

**(not currently mentioned anywhere on their website)

***(I think they mean the bike rentals that are part of the Car-Free Vacation Package – more info here)

I’m already looking ruefully at our icy Edmonton roads and dreaming of a holiday somewhere more bicycle-friendly. 

Not mentioned in the article:
– Portland’s Jupiter Hotel rent their guests Electra bicycles
– Seattle’s Watertown Hotel offer free loaner bikes & helmets
– Vancouver’s Wedgewood Hotel have a promotion involving road bicycles and a tour of the city

Let’s crowdsource and see if we can make that small list of bicycle-friendly hotels a little longer, shall we? Also feel free to mention cities that have public bike-share programmes, like Montreal, that would make the bike-friendliness of the place you’re staying less important! Aaaand: go!