15 May 2009


Imagine riding your bike to work every day, surrounded by hundreds of other cyclists. Imagine cars being so used to seeing a lot of bicycles that we have become just another part of the transportation fabric in our society. Imagine people being patient and tolerant of each other and recognizing that we're all just trying to get to work efficiently, safely and ready to do a good job for our employers.

May is National Bike Month. All month I've been part of the Group Health Bike To Work Challenge, hosted by Cascade Bike Club. Of course part of the purpose is to get people on their bikes more for commuting to work. But it is so much more than that. It's also about increasing community awareness. If only we could get people out of their cars one day every week, imagine how much more visible we would be to the motorists. Imagine if we did this twice a week. I've done it 84 days so far this year, and driven only once, feeling cheated out of my morning routine.

This year for the Bike to Work challenge, I've got to be part of Team Carpe Velo, a 10-person team of which 2 of us have ridden our bikes to work every day, riding this week in some pretty wet conditions to do it. So we have Bike to work Month, Bike to Work WEEK and now, today is Bike To Work DAY. And the cyclists were out in force.

Mimi and I started out together and rode up to Columbia Way so she could get counted. Then we rode down to Boeing and I headed north. I ran into my team captain, Mike McCormick:

Mike - Spokane St. Bridge

We both ride this same route almost every day, but have never crossed paths before, so this was pretty special for both of us. After we got our picture taken together

Team Carpe Velo - 100%'ers

we hung around for a bit, had some coffee, enjoyed all the support out there, wondering why people do this just one day, one week or one month out of the year.

Interesting Table - Part 1

Interesting Table - Part II

Great Bike - Needs Cup Holder

Nice Rack

But soon, it was time to ride off to our respective offices, Mike heading south, me heading north into downtown. But not before loading some goodies into the panniers.

Mike on his way

Typically, I see 2 or 3 bikes coming south as I'm heading north. In May, I usually see 10 or so, and this week because of the rain, the number has been down. This morning, I counted 34 bikes coming at me before I got to the bridge. Once I got there, with bikes heading in from West Seattle and heading out of downtown towards West Seattle, I saw over a hundred bikes on the road. The woman counting bikes coming out of West Seattle was up to 233 when I arrived and it was early yet.

Imagine how differently cars might see us if there were these numbers EVERY DAY!!!


14 May 2009


It was raining a little bit yesterday morning, enough so that we had our raincoats, pants and booties on, but not so much I felt like I needed my helmet cover. By the time I left work yesterday evening, it was raining hard and I really needed full battle gear, but as I rode south, I was grinnin' ear to ear, realizing I really do love days like that, and chatting with another cyclist heading out of downtown, we remarked how nice it is to be able to smile through the raindrops.

This morning was a little different story. Yes, I do love being able to smile, but when I got up, it was one of those "saturating mist" rains we have in Seattle that is interspersed with periods of heavy rain. You walk outside and are instantly drenched. I hinted to Mimi that she may not be too excited about being out in it today. She was putting on her bike shoes and rain pants, but she is so easily talked out of it in inclement conditions, it took not much time for her to get changed out of rain gear. I, on the other hand, am not to be deterred this month. Only 2 guys on our 10-man Carpe Velo commute challenge team still have perfect records, me one of them and the team captain the other. I can't blink. So I put on all the plasticized anti-wetness armour and headed out. As I left, I remarked to Mimi that this is the first day all year I've really thought to myself that it would be a really good day to take off and ride the bus. Of course, as it always seems to be, I'm only really miserable for the first couple of minutes while in the process of getting soaked. I equate it to jumping in a cold lake. Once I get used to the cold water, I'm fine, but it does take a moment to adapt. As the #36 passed me going along Beacon Avenue, spraying me with buckets of cold, gritty, muck, I laughed, thinking that I could actually be nice and warm, reading a book and relaxing. Instead, I am being that little boy who doesn't have enough sense to come in out of the rain, out there in my rain coat and galoshes, stomping in mud puddles, seeing how big of a splash I can make. This just reinforces my age old belief that youth may be fleeting, but immaturity can last a lifetime.

I got to work about as wet as I could ever be, and found I don't have a spare set of socks in my desk as I thought I did, but at least my wet socks are wool so my feet won't be cold and wet all day, just wet. It's supposed to improve as the day goes by - well, we'll see.

05 May 2009

Only The Hardcore

This morning's commute warrants at least a mention. It's been raining pretty hard overnight, and when I got up to read for an hour at 2:20, the wind was howling through the trees and the wind chimes were really singing. By 3:30 it had calmed down, I turned the light off and went back to sleep til 5:15 and when I woke up, the wind had picked up again, it was still coming down pretty good, but I decided to go for it anyway. With full rain gear (Showers Pass jacket, rain pants, helmet cover, Potenza booties and winter gloves), I set off. I usually count bikes coming at me in the morning, and typically see 3 or 4 most of the year, but from mid April through the end of May, I usually see anywhere from 15 - 20. That doesn't include the flotilla of bikes coming off the ferry. This morning, I counted a total of TWO bikes, and when I got to the ferry, instead of the massive herd, I saw maybe a half dozen bikes moving south.

Only the hardest core of the hard core were out there this morning, braving the elements. I guess I must have become one. My wife called me a "goof". I'm not sure, but I think she meant it in a good way.

In the Starbux downstairs, people were talking about how miserable it was. I had a grin from ear to ear, and had to explain to one guy that I'm just a little kid who liked to play in mudpuddles and never really grew up.

When I grow up, I think I want to be a little kid.