Saturday, November 29, 2008

Turkey Day Family Ride

George got this really fun idea of taking all the kids out on a little bike ride on Thanksgiving and who am I not to show up if can't help it? We invited some extra people, some of whom, Steve, Sumer, Kathleen, my sister Patricia, Yaroslav, Rob, Sara, their friends, and our kids: L, C, P, L, J, T, and 3 (trust me, that's a real person but you have to use the cyrillic alphabet to spell that name).

The course took us from the Ballard Fred Meyer out to the ocean, or that is, Golden Gardens city park through a very quiet Ballard and then the new section of the Burke Gilman Trail.

Here are some photos of the kids: L & C: (and Yaroslav, George Arminda, and Kathleen).

Here we see Steve, George, Kathleen, C, L, and Sumer prepping for the return trip wherein the fine tail wind we enjoyed on the way out will somehow seek to destroy us as we turn about face.

P & L, not sure what their parents have gotten themselves into. Yes, they are twins.

And finally, T & 3 who have just been bought off with some granola snacks. J somehow eluded my camera for this ride.

We rode down to the park, brought some goodies, let sleeping children sleep, and then rode back when critical mass felt upon us. Have I mentioned that the people depicted here are the some of the nicest I know?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

An Inadvertant Tour Of Southeast Bainbridge Island

Add to that 5 miles round trip from my house to the ferry dock, and you have a great way to spend a morning with Kent and Matt.

Photos are found here.

Here's the kicker. If you go out on a foggy day with two cyclers who are crazier than you are, and by the way, you are pretty crazy, and your 18 month old son has just enough toys and the like to make it through a morning, then, oh, did I mention that it's foggy? Then you have the ingredients to a good day.

Claire went to work especially early and Thorvald was up with her so we decided to make the most of it. Kent had set up a ride on Bainbridge Island which is my favorite place to ride because it involves a ferry, is literally inches from Seattle (you get on a boat, and then you get off a boat), and transports you to a rather tranquil version of exurbia where you can cycle to your heart's contentment, enjoy the ups and down of the hills, and are never more than 20 minutes from a coffee shop.

The rub arises however when those two crazy cyclers hold the map and then refuse to look at it, even though it's taped to their handlebars. This sounds much worse than it is, for if we had slavishly adhered to the map, we never would have found out where The Country Club of Seattle is (keep turning left from the ferry and look out for the dogs). We also never would have found the beautiful shangri-La at the end of Toe Jam Hill.

The best moment was finding out that we were going exactly south when it felt like north, realizing that we had a very sketchy downhill replete with wet leaves, and then from the confines of the bike trailer I hear "Daddy?". It was so precious, more so when Kent and Matt realized right there why they were waiting for me on the hills. I'll get Thorvald pedaling soon enough. For now he's just along for the ride and game as long as I stop when he wants. That's a good deal as far as I'm concerned.

Kent's write up on the ride is wonderful and he really does climb like a mountain goat, but when they were tired of waiting, they sent me on Fort Ward Hill and Blakely Hill while they hugged the shore and what I now understand was the shortcut. Hmmmmm...... They really are great friends. Really.

The next time I go over there, I'm leaving time for the visit to the bike shop. Wouldn't you?

Bailing out the Auto Industry

I was just thinking about the hearings today and had a thought. If the domestic automakers were to be allowed to fail and were perhaps bought up by foreign companies, we would see even less political support for cars and car infrastructure than we do today. Perhaps with no major domestically owned auto companies (plenty of foreign owned companies have production here, typically in non-unionized or hard to unionize sections of the country), we might find larger support for mass transit, rail, cycling, walking, and the infrastructure improvements that would improve those options.

That said, I'm for a bailout, if only because it's much cheaper than the costs associated with letting them fail including, depression in the upper midwest, which just voted strongly for Obama (hello lefties!), destruction of the parts industries that feed into the auto makers including mining electrical, and others, and of course, a cleaning out of one of the most unionized sections of the country. The UAW has been a leader in worker rights in this century and though none of us have the benefits of an autoworker, we all benefit from their contracts when it comes to weekends, vacation pay, etc.

It's also telling that the senator working hardest against the bailout is Richard Shelby of Alabama who has factories in his state owned by Toyota, Honda, Mercedes, and Hyundai; none of which are unionized, but must pay at least competitively thanks to union contracts negotiated by the UAW. Take away that support and what will happen? It's not like Senator Shelby is pro union. He is pro Alabama, whatever that means.