Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Swifty Scootering Around Lake Sammamish

Yesterday morning Swifty and I set out for trip around Lake Sammamish. It was just getting light around 7:30 AM and the morning had a bit of light drizzle. The temperature was cool but not cold and it was a fine day for scootering.

The gateway door is a gift from Issaquah's Sister City of Chefchaouen, Morocco.

The Issaquah Train Station. The last trains came through here in the 1970s. This is now a museum.

Happy Chanukah

Starting at Gilman Boulevard, the old rail line becomes a multi-use trail.

Sammamish State Park. Ownership of this park is being transfered to the City of Issaquah.

At the Sammamish City line, the travel turns to gravel. Over the next few years, the entire trail will be paved.

Squak and Cougar Mountains in the background.

Sign explaining upcoming trail construction.

There are a lot of big houses with great views along the trail. Big mortgages and property taxes, too!

This is one of the older houses along the trail.

There's active construction and paving happening on the northern section of the trail.

The artist who lives here sells these various bits of fence art.

Here is where I switch over to riding on the Sammamish Parkway.

Detailed map of the construction area.

Construction on this segment should be completed in the spring of 2015.

Where there are sidewalks along the parkway, I make use of them.

When the sidewalks run out, I ride on the shoulder.

At the Redmond town line, I rejoin the trail.

There's a little tunnel that passes under the Parkway.

The trail in Redmond has nice, smooth pavement.

I stop at Peet's for fuel.

This is the Sammamish River crossing at Marymoor Park.

Rolling back towards Bellevue.

Here's where I turn south to go back to Issaquah.

I'm neither a walker nor a biker, but I mostly stay toward the right.

The PDW Lars Rover is a nice, bright light. Lots of debris on the shoulder left over from last week's windstorm.

One of the many nice entrances to the trail network we have here.

Details of the Lake to Lake Trail System.

Heading toward Issaquah.

This is an example of a climb that I can kick up.

This is the start of the prettiest way to climb up to the I-90 corridor.

It's not far to get to the I-90 trail, but there is a good bit of climbing.

First, there's this little bridge over a creek.

There's a series of switchbacks here.

You can tell that we get a lot of rain here, it's always mossy.

These switchbacks are too steep to scoot.

The spiral ramp leads to the bridge over I-90.

A better view of the bridge.

Going up.

The bridge over I-90.

It's a downhill run pretty much all the way into town from here.

I have to stop for one more picture at Montreaux.

Back in the Issaquah Valley, crossing the creek.
I was home by lunch time. This 27.45 mile trip was my longest Swifty trip to date. I'll be posting a detailed comparison of Swifty to my other scooters (a NYCEWheels Kickped and a Razor A5) in the future, but here are some of my impressions from the first week. Swifty is a larger, more expensive scooter but the extra money buys a much smoother ride. I feel like I go further with less effort on Swifty but the average speed on all the scooters are quite similar. As I've often said, scooters fall into the middle ground right between walking and biking. My average walking speed is about 3 mph, my cruising speed on a bike is about 12 mph, and I scooter at 6 to 7 mph. The rougher ride on the smaller wheeled scooters make them seem faster and "quicker" but Swifty is actually slightly faster in terms of average speed over the long haul. With the bigger wheels I can roll more places that I'd have to walk on with the smaller wheeled scooters. Swifty is more complicated to fold and heavier to carry than the smaller scooters, but he's quickly become my favorite scooter to ride.

More details to come in future reports.

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Road Less Scootered By

On Sundays I don't have to be at work until noon, so I was able to get out for a few hours in the morning on a scooter adventure. I left home around 8:00 AM and it was still misty in the Issaquah valley, so I figured I'd scooter up and see if things were clearer on the plateau.

This is the Tradition Plateau trailhead. I'm actually headed up to the more developed Issaquah Plateau.

Here's a vanity shot of Swifty's headbadge.

Swifty has 16" tires, a front hand brake and rear foot brake.

The local skater kids can't resist the bare walls of the trail tunnel.

The city keeps repainting the walls beige, the kids keep redecorating it.

This is "official" beige art.

The trail switchbacks up to the Plateau.

Swifty's handlebars are 53 cm wide and offer good control.

Swifty's front brake has good modulation and stopping power.

Tiger Mountain in the background.

Swifty doesn't have a kick stand, but I'm getting good at finding picturesque things to lean him against.

This staircase on the Plateau has a little grove for bike or scooter wheels.

Looking back at Tiger Mountain

A mossy retaining wall.

I'm getting the hang of my camera's self timer. See how slick the trail looks? That's ice. It's really too slick to kick!

I kick anyway (very, very carefully!)

It's cold but the sun is working on warming up the day.

More mist and mountains.

The unpaved trail is actually better scooting this morning. It's crunchy, but not as slick.

The pond by the hospital is like a mirror this morning.

Here comes the sun.

I improvise a stand for Swifty from a stick.

Back on the paved trail. It's still damn icy.

Swifty's deck is textured like a skateboard.

It's shaping up to be a bright, clear day.

Another shot of the ice. I wound up walking the slickest sections very carefully.

But mostly I scootered. And since I get asked a lot, yes, I switch off which foot is kicking.

I've got a high-vis slow vehicle triangle on my backpack.

Still misty in the valley, but I'm going to head a bit lower.

I'm scootering down into that fog bank.

This is the Issaquah-Preston Trail. I'm not going to Preston today, but I'll kick up to Highpoint.

As I climb gradually east and the sun climbs in the sky, I come out of the fog.

One of the little trailside streams.

This is one of my favorite spots.

I cross under I-90 at Highpoint and head west to the trailhead and the Powerline Road

An overlook at Tradition Lake on Tiger Mountain above Issaquah.

The rolling terrain of the Powerline Trail. Super fun mountain scootering!

A bit of still water beside the High School Trail.

This was a wonderful descent.

At the base of the mountain now. Almost back in town.

The return to paved trails.

I love the way the moss is gradually eating away at these old foundation stones.
So that was my Sunday morning. I'm still getting used to a big wheeled scooter and eventually I'll post a detailed comparison of Swifty to my other scooters. But I know this already: this is a scooter that can handle the road less travelled by.