Monday, April 06, 2009

A Sunny Sunday in Seattle

I have this theory that whenever folks from out of town visit, the weather improves in Seattle. The day last week that Meade Anderson flew into the city for a geology conference, I had to wipe the snow off my bike saddle before I rode to work in thirty-something rain, but by this weekend the "visitors get nice weather" effect had kicked in.

I've known Meade virtually for a few years via the iBOB list and when I found out that he'd be in Seattle for a few days, I'd told him I could hook him up with a bike. Running down my list of bikes, I quickly realized that Mark Thomas was right, I don't have any "normal" bikes. Figuring that Meade might like something more than a fixie, a tringle-speed, a three-speed folder, or a retro-direct to tackle the Seattle hills, I stripped the retro-bits off the Trek and made it into a slightly more normal bike with a single front chainring and a fairly wide range 7 speed cassette. The rear derailleur is shifted with an old thumb-shifter.

I hooked Meade up with the bike, a lock and a Seattle bike map on Friday night. I was working on Saturday, but I pointed him to Bainbridge Island and told him about Classic Cycle. It turns out he had a great time exploring Bainbridge on Saturday.

I emailed various pals proposing a mellow Sunday ride, but while many of my buddies used up their allotted cycling time riding the SIR 300K on Saturday, Mark Canizaro came through with enthusiasm.

Sunday proved to be stunningly nice. We met up at Pert's Deli at 10:00 AM and rolled north along the lake to the UW. Plans to show Meade the Burke Gilman trail were thwarted by what seemed to be thousands of MS walkers, so we wisely stuck to the roads. Mark is an absolute encyclopedia of Seattle history, geography, politics and general lore and he's one of the few guys I know who can talk more than I can, so Meade got a pretty much non-stop Seattle Chautaugua as we passed by Kurt Cobain's house, Gas Works Park, the Freemont Troll, the Lenin statue and other touristy sites. In Ballard we test rode the Conference Bike at the Dutch Bicycle Company before crossing over the locks, rolling through Magnolia, past the train yard and along the waterfront. Then it was off to west Seattle and the crowded Alki trail before heading back downtown. Mark wanted to make sure Meade got to roll on the floating bridge, so they accompanied me as far as Mercer Island before we went our separate ways.

Sometimes it takes a long, dank winter to make you appreciate the first really nice days of spring. And sometimes it takes a visitor from out of town to get you out in that sunshine and remind you how lovely it is to live in this part of the world. Thanks for the ride, Mark and Meade. It was really a great day.

Keep 'em rolling,



Anonymous said...

Ha! I think you're right. When I came out to visit my brother on Bainbridge for an extended weekend in February 08, the weather was fantastic! I wished I'd had my bike. Maybe I'll try the Chilly-Hilly next year.


Mark Marowitz said...

I love the winter. Dank not so much. No hot sun beating down on my noggin'. No pedestrians, few cyclists, what joy:) Cold is good; cold and wet not so good. Not much cold rain in NYC until March & April. Hasn't been too snowy the last coupla years, either. I didn't own a bike then so what am I writing about? We have many sunny, cold days here in NYC during winter. Enjoy the spring. In NYC Spring becomes a LONG hot humid summer way too soon. I bet the NW has a temperate summer, much nicer than ours. And a ride in a summer rain can be fun, right?

Justin said...

I wish your theory held true for my Seattle visit last Tuesday. It was a cool and wet commute around town for me.