Thursday, November 12, 2009

My Son Doesn't Read This Blog

And how could he? He doesn't turn three until April, but boy can he ride that bike on the right. He flies over and into stuff, can balance for whole city blocks (much to his mother's consternation) and looks just plain cute as heck. The new one, that super shiny bike on the left, well, that is T's new bike. I haven't given it to him yet.
So when he started telling me that he wants a bike "with pedals, like daddy" and "red, like daddy's" well who am I to deny him? By golly, as a bicycle addicted wonk and doting father, I went out and bought him the nicest bike I could find, indeed, I bought the only children's bike to be reviewed by Jan Heine in Bicycle Quarterly.

The Specialized Hot Rock 12. Oh baby, 12 inch by 2.125 tires, fully adjustable stem and handlebars, aluminum frame, coaster brake for gnarly skids; it's the bike I would have wanted, period. I don't know how I'm going to wait until Christmas to spring it on him because my heart pumps just looking at it, just thinking about all the crazy fun this little dude is going to have. Or should I just give it to him today?

Living vicariously through my children in Seattle, Washington; Brad Hawkins signing out.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Yesterday's Commute

Sure, it's sunny today, but I have officially given up on wearing street clothes while riding for the month of November. I've gotten soaked more times than I care to mention since the front came in on Thursday and I am now converting to wool knickers, wool jersey, rain jacket, two sets of wool gloves, and a long brim hat. I now carry my clothing in my panniers which has really increased my commute time and necessarily my average speed because of the time spent changing into and out of the Seattle biker uniform, but I have had it with being wet and cold all day.

Never the less, I still got caught in it yesterday and even though I had a change of clothing, I never really warmed up.

I had a big schedule yesterday, teaching during the day, one lesson up on Capitol Hill at 6, and then a rehearsal in Lake City after that. Here is the route. Sure, 37 miles in urban Seattle, is a little hard, but then I was also pulling the cello, my now necessary change of clothing, sheet music, books, and perhaps 2 gallons of rainwater in the back of the trailer.

And to make matters worse, at mile 25, a spring in the rear cantilever broke, causing the rear to act as a drag brake from the end of the Burke Gilman, up to Lake City, then back to downtown. I have a replacement so that's all good but for a while last night going home (the only dry part of my riding (after midnight)), I thought I was really getting weak. I just thought it was roadway crud until I got home and inspected.

Stay safe out there and keep your bikes in good shape.

Monday, November 2, 2009

How Impossible a Journey Can Be

People seem to think that riding a bike to go places is a real imposition. I know because people think I'm crazy and I only commute 10 miles each way up to North Seattle from Downtown 4 days a week, and then out to Beaux Arts in Bellevue which is something like 13 miles each way, one day a week. Sure, I'll drive every once in a while when I need the extra half hour because of Claire's scheduling or for instance tomorrow morning, when I have to be at a rehearsal from 8:30 to 10:30, coach an ensemble at 11, and somehow get my kids across town to the friends house in Magnolia before these activities and then pick them up somehow afterwards. In these cases, a car is pretty slick.

As a side note, I never commute in those fancy duds picture above. I just included it to scare you. No, jeans, wrapped up at the ankle and my often red sweater rounds out my cycling ensemble. The fear of sweat is overrated. Besides, would you make a run to the grocery store by bike if you had to dress up for it? Neither would I.

Now, my buddy Kent has an uber long commute, something on the order of 19 miles each way. He digs it, and really the main treat of a long commute in my book is that you can wear out equipment fast enough that you can keep things interesting. Judging from the amount of perfectly good, lightly used bikes on CL, I would imagine that actual mileages vary considerably, and mostly downward.

In any event, the real point of this post is that I came upon the most hilarious route listing I've ever seen. You see, we bikers are always giving out, finding out, and seeking sage advice on the best routes to and from places. Typical routes are structured this way:

So you take 12th ave through little Saigon and follow over the bridge then up to the left past Pac Med and onto 14th, veer left onto Beacon...... (best directions to Bike Works, for instance) or similar street jargon that we gleen to keep our synapses expanding.

Then there is John Bonner. This guy Really digs British documentaries; he digs them so much that he has made is own commute route into a doccumentary. My favorite part? The bike mount. Enjoy.