Wednesday, April 02, 2014

#30DaysofScootering: Scootering the Long Way to Seattle

When I got the invite from David Kroodsma to attend the Seattle launch event for his book The Bicycle Diaries, it was just the excuse I was looking for to put into motion a plan I've had for a while. Wednesday is one of my days off from work, so I pretty much had all day to spend scootering from Issaquah to Seattle. The short way, which I've scootered before, involves going across Mercer Island and the I-90 floating bridge

but the old train station 2 blocks from my house displays the distance for the route the trains used to take. It's 42 miles from Issaquah to the heart of Seattle if you go around Lake Washington and almost all of that route has now been made into bike trails. Stephen Wright famously said "Any distance is walking distance if you have the time." I've long applied that wisdom to bicycling and over the past year, I've come to apply it to scootering as well. Today I have the time and the forecast is for a dry day so after I hearty breakfast, I roll out the door at 7:00 AM. I've got all day, the book event isn't until 7:00 PM. I've got a day to fill with adventures.

At Gilman Boulevard, I roll onto the southern end of the Lake Sammamish Trail.

The wetlands off to the left is part of Lake Sammamish State Park.

The trail is currently unpaved as it passes through the town of Sammamish (pavement is coming in the next couple of years), so just south of the Sammamish border I turn up and onto the Sammamish Parkway.

The Parkway has a good shoulder or bike lane all the way up to Redmond and in some places there is a sidewalk.

A lot of deer cross the Parkway to get down to the lake to drink.

Redmond is where the trail pavement resumes

so I cross under the parkway via this nifty little pedestrian tunnel.

I'm at the north end of Lake Sammamish now.

As the trail rolls into Redmond, I turn left to go through Marymoor Park.

There is some giant circus-like thing going on near the velodrome.

On the western edge of the park I turn north onto the Sammamish River Trail.

As the name indicates, the trail follows the river. There's lots of bits of art along the trail

including the statue I call the woman sitting on nothing.

This water fountain is handy for both humans and their critters.

It's pretty much impossible to get lost on the trail and handy signs and mile markers point the way

The river is home to lots of waterfowl.

These geese are completely unafraid of bikers, joggers, baby strollers and people on kick scooters.

This is one of my favorite bits of trailside art. On one side, it's the man in the moon

and on the other side it's a leaping salmon.

I take a quick break at Woodinville. These tiles map my route.

It's a beautiful spring day.

In Bothel there are various boats in the river.

This bit of graffiti points the way to Bothel Landing.

More waterfowl.

Up in Kenmore, I pass by Crocodile Rocks. I can't go past without that Elton John song sticking in my head.

This is Kenmore Air. It's the quickest and most scenic way to get from Seattle to the San Juan Islands or Victoria, British Columbia.

I stop briefly at Logboom Park. The day is overcast, but mild and perfect for scootering.

There is a lot of fish-themed art along the trail.This fountain is still closed for winter.

A few kiosks along the trails display trail maps.

This mural in Lake Forest Park celebrates the rebirth of the old rail line as a walking and biking trail.

Ever since Bothel, I've been on the Burke-Gilman Trail. It's one of the earliest Rail Trails and it's in the Hall of Fame.

This bit of trailside art is really cool. From this angle, it looks like a hobbit house.

From the side it's a fallen tree.

At Sandpoint, I leave the trail. I'm headed up and over the ridges of North Seattle because I want to see my friend Davey's new bike shop in Greenwood.

By the way, this is an idiotic way to go to Greenwood. Lots and lots of up and down. I walk lots of the up, I'm not a total idiot. But if I was smarter I would've gone much further south before cutting over or even going "too far" south and then backtracking north.

Seattle has been adding bike signage to help folks find their way.

One advantage of my route is that I got to see these lovely trees.

I keep forgetting that ugly freeways cut off Seattle neighborhoods, so I have to work my way further north to get across I-5.

Around 1:45 I'm settled into G&O Family Cyclery. This is my famous friend Madi Carlson and her son.

Davey in his element.

Madi said, "There's a big yellow scooterish thing right next door, you should check it out." And sure enough, it's a Kickbike.

Madi and son check out the kid's seat that fits on a Brompton.

G&O has the coolest bike repair stand I've ever seen. It has a counterweight to help with lifting some of the heavy cargo or electric bikes.

Tyler building up a lovely Soma.

G&O has lots of practical bike gear for sale.

And a bunch of bikes, of course.

Cargo and Family bikes are their specialty.

And they have a nice little selection of bike books.

Madi loads up for the ride home. This is a small load for her, just one kid, a couple of long boards, clothes, food...

After visiting with Davey and Tyler for a bit, I head off in the general direction of Freemont and Wallingford.

I'm easily distracted. One thing I love about scootering is that I go at a pace (around 6 or 7 mph, twice my walking pace, half my biking pace) where I'm more apt to notice things and it's so easy to stop.

This mailbox converted to a free poem depot is lovely.

It's packed with poems. I take one.

Here's the poem I got.

Now I have an odd little true story for you. I'm scootering down the sidewalk when I hear a voice call out, "Hey, Kent!" I stop and yell out "Hey, what?" It turns out my friend Wayne Johnson, was looking out his window as I rolled past. Wayne and I have been friends for years through various bike connections but I never knew where he lived. Until today, when I randomly scootered by his place as he was randomly looking out the window

Wayne is a stay at home dad. He and his daughter invited me in for lemonade and a nice chat.

Wayne has all kinds of cool stuff in his garage.

A cargo bike. The batman-ish thing hanging from the garage ceiling is a rain cover for the cargo box.

Wayne and his super nice kayak.

Skoot bikes are the best way to teach your kid to ride. Wayne's daughter is really fast on hers.

After a refreshing pause at Wayne's place, I roll down to Freemont and eventually work my way to Wallingford.

Here's the signboard for the event. The store, Wide World Travel, sells books and all kinds of nifty travel gear.

I park my scooter next to bikes I recognize. This is Dave Shaw's Davidson. By the way, I have a little cable lock that I loop through one wheel of the scooter to secure it.

This is Barb Culp's Davidson.

These are my friends Julie, Barb and Dave. Barb's husband Andy joined us later as did my friend Bill Lippe.

It was a packed house for the talk and reading. David is an engaging speaker and eventually I'll get around to posting a review of his book. You can learn more about David and his past and upcoming adventures at his blog at:

OK, one more story to wrap this up. As I'm chatting with my friends, I'm enthusiastically extolling the virtues of kick scooting. "It's great," I say. "You're at eye level with folks. You go at a great pace, you can work hard or not depending on your mood. And in the year I've been scooting, I've had nothing but positive reactions from folks -- drivers, pedestrians, dog walkers, everybody!" I also mention that I've been asked several times about whether or not I change which foot I kick with, a question which surprised me because it never occurred to me NOT to switch feet. So now I've been thinking about how often I switch (I paid attention today and it seems to be in the range of 6 to 24 kicks between switches) but I hadn't counted before and now I'm wondering if there might be some kind of Heisenberg effect induced with my counting. I also wonder if I give equal kicking time to each foot. I explain my plan to get two pedometers and strap one to each foot to count kicks. "I want to see if I'm balanced." At this point my friend Barb assured me that "Anyone who knows you can attest to the fact that you're imbalanced!" She probably has a point.

After the book event, I scootered over to the U-district and caught a bus downtown. I then grabbed the Sound Transit 554 for home. I was back home at a bit after 10:00 PM with 45.3 scootering miles for the day. This brings my April scootering total to 55.5 miles. Tomorrow is going to be a MUCH lower mileage day.


recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

Wow now that's an epic scoot Kent! That's a beautiful trail system you've got there. I'm envious. Thanks for posting.

Anonymous said...

What a coincidence--I learned where Wayne lives yesterday, too! But because he texted me his address so I can pass down an old kid bike to him today. But still.

Some day I will follow the good part of your route in the reverse...but on a bike. And a regular bike with just me on board.

And I was wrong about our next Issaquah trip--it's Wednesday 4/30--the last day of 30Days! I'll be in touch to see what you're up to.

Anonymous said...

wow, Kent. You keep reminding me of what is humanly possible on 2 wheels.