Category Archive: Uncategorized

Emerald City Bike Ride speculation

Cascade Bicycle Club recently announced a new major ride: the Emerald City Bike Ride, which they hinted will be on a state route bikes haven’t been able to use before. Unfortunately, they forgot to make the RideWithGPS route hidden and it was discovered by a commenter on the Seattle Bike Blog.

So, we know it’s going to be on 520. But, which 520? The new bridge is scheduled to open in “spring 2016,” so my money’s on the ride being the first public use of the new bridge before it opens to cars. That would be awesome!

Red lights

Spinner’s law: mention bicycles, and someone will start complaining about helmets and running red lights within five minutes. I’d like to write about helmets, but today is about red lights.

I have run a red light exactly once, by accident, but I do sometimes treat red lights as a stop sign. I generally have three conditions for doing this:

  • The light takes a ridiculously long time to turn green.
  • There is no traffic.
  • I have clear visibility to confirm the above.

I also cross against the light as a pedestrian in the same circumstances. The basic rule is that I’ve confirmed that it is safe for me to cross right now, and that I know I may not be safe if cars arrive and I have to contend with people turning when the light turns green.

There are a few intersections where I always treat a red as a stop sign when on bike or foot. These intersections have poor, biased light timing during non-peak hours and some have walk signals that don’t work correctly. These intersections are:

  • 17th Ave S and S College St
  • Terry Ave N and Valley St
  • 9th Ave N and Republican St. (Normally; thanks to construction taking over the sidewalk, I obey the light now due to poor visibility).

There are also intersections where I never cross against the light, because traffic is fast and unpredictable. These intersections are anything involving Mercer St, Aurora, Rainier Ave, Nickerson St, and Westlake. Also, most intersections downtown.

I think I’m reasonable, and most of the time my exceptions are for safety just as much as time.

Ouch

Managed to get my first (that I can remember) bike injury this year. The worst part of it is that I was not even riding my bike at the time! I was walking it down a steep incline, turned onto another steep incline, and then lost a battle with gravity and agility when my bike tipped due to the weight of my pannier on the inside of the curve. Dropping my bike would have not been a big deal, but the pedal ripped up the back of my heel on the way down. I guess my bike needed some blood.

Not my finest moment.

Locking technique: F

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When will I ever learn?

Sometimes, I wake up in the morning and just don’t want to ride my bike to work. So I drive, because I want to be lazy. I almost always regret it.

Take this morning. Seattle’s usually gray and moist this time of year, but thanks to the atmospheric river flowing through our area it was pouring this morning. Riding to work through the rain, getting wet and having my face pelted with water? No thanks. I got a ride in with my boyfriend. That was nice. Leaving work was not so nice, because it was still pouring and there was a lot of traffic. It took me an hour to get home on the bus, during which I cursed myself for my short-sightedness. Sure, I would have gotten drenched riding home, but would have been 15 minutes of drenching instead of 45 minutes of it.

Here’s a breakdown of my commuting options. The winner is clear.

Drive to work before 8:30 am: 15 minutes from door to a vacant spot in the parking garage under my building.

Drive to work after 9:00 am: 10 minutes to work, then 10+ hunting for parking spaces

Drive to work after 10:00 am: 45 minutes of hunting for parking and engaging in self-hatred

Drive home: 5-20 minutes to get out of the immediate neighborhood, then 10-15 minutes to home.

Bus to work: 30 minutes, possibly crushed up against four other people on a bus route with one of the highest riderships in the region.

Bus home before 6:30 pm: 45-60 minutes. Half of this might be spent standing at a stop watching my bus slowly inch toward us in traffic before it reaches my stop, if I’m lucky. If not, I might get passed a few times by buses that are already full.

Bus home after 6:30 pm: 20-30 minutes

Bike, either direction: 15-20 minutes depending on traffic lights