January 8th, 2011 Ride

The Raleigh Sports triumphs again: Oooo! Pick me! Pick me!

Thermometer-on-the-back-fence reading: 40 degrees. Like summer in Tuscany. Saturday afternoons are Boy-free, and The Beloved has The Girls off at various enriching organized childhood activities, so I was free to take off and explore.

The day before, I’d done a quick ride on the Sports down the Interurban Trail again, but it wasn’t at all worth documenting (even if I’d actually remembered my camera). Moody sky, threatening rain, and about 15 miles, half of it in a headwind so strong I felt like a cartoon character running on ice: lots of pedaling, little progress. I felt I had DONE the Interurban and was ready for something new. How about the northern portion? Venturing further into the snowy wastes, toward the Great White North (Seattle)? Why not?

This time I figured out that there’s more reliable parking than the Doubletree/Comfort Inn/Day’s Inn/Motel 6 parking lot, a spot where I was under a vague threat of eviction. The Tukwila Park-and-Ride, where one can park, and ride. So the Raleigh and I began there, cycling under the train line and north on the Interurban to where we discovered it intersects with the Green River Trail. Surely a trail that winds its way along a river would be more scenic and fascinating than one that ran alongside a railroad line, right? Oh, the rhetorical questions abound!

Note the absolute lack of anything appealing in this photo, beyond the immediate confines of the Raleigh. The river is the color of swamp, the grasses are dead, and the housing and wires beyond speak to urban decay, not riparian bounty. Besides the fact that it makes an intriguing squiggle on the map, the Green River Trail north of I-405 is not exactly pretty. But at least it wasn’t straight!

First stop, the bathroom. I’m not sure why it is, but it does not seem to matter if I use the restroom before I begin riding. My bladder promptly assumes that no bathroom will ever appear again, and goes into spasms of fear. Find relief! it shrieks. Find it now! Enter your friendly neighborhood park. Fortunately, the Raleigh fit right inside the restroom, since I’d forgotten to bring a lock. The Raleigh and I always wash our hands, because the Raleigh is intensely concerned about Swine Flu.

Note the sexy new “hand-sewn” leather grips.

Anyway, the squiggly line on the map led us through a section of town lined with roadside casinos and then… it disappeared. Here the Green River Trail cleverly disguises itself as either a sidewalk, or a parking lot, depending on which direction you choose. The Raleigh was very confused, and looked to me for guidance. We tried both.

I highly recommend the parking lot, as it does eventually lead back to the trail, but not until one has wound along next to the river some more. Which beats more casinos and the 7-11, but not by much.

We discovered a lovely railroad bridge over the Green River.

That may be a heron out there, or perhaps just an exceptionally tall, mutated crow. At any rate, it’s all very picturesque, until one looks at the other bank.

Let’s just hope no one ever accidentally sets the river bank on fire, as it will no doubt smolder for weeks.

We moved on, intrigued by the utter lack of anything intriguing. How can a river-side trail be so ugly? Riding along the river conjures up images of the Seine and Paris in springtime. Not freeway on one side, truck depot on the other.

For a brief moment, through the dead branches, I could see Seattle, like a shining beacon of hope (but I couldn’t see it well enough to take a good photo of it, apparently. Perhaps it was a mirage). Then, seconds later, we reached the end of the trail. No really.

Dejected, the Sports and I turned around and headed home. If one ignores the squiggly line, we went about 10 miles. Considering how long it took, and how tired I was (after doing 22 miles on the Sports last weekend without breaking a sweat), I think it must have been considerably longer once one has accounted for the squiggles. We tried a half-hearted stab at two miles on the Interurban again, but our hearts weren’t in it. My goal for next weekend, should the weather oblige and NOT dump 6-12 inches of snow on Puget Sound this Thursday, as some sources ghoulishly suggest it might, is to find an interesting trail. Perhaps the Lake Washington Trail. The name is promising. Of course, one would think the Green River Trail would be prettier, as well. We’ll see…

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Love to ride my bikes!
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13 Responses to January 8th, 2011 Ride

  1. Keith says:

    It was nice to be able to join you on your wee adventures… 🙂

  2. Doug says:

    I just added you to my blog roll so I can keep up. Living in Eastern Ontario, I don’t do a lot of pleasure riding this time of year; my short work commute and occasional forays for vittles is enough.

    When I do get out on the bike, I always have my trusty Rebel XT, so I do take a lot of photos, but not necessarily of my bike(s) 🙂

    I like your writing style. Wish I had paid more attention in English Comp 🙂

  3. rideblog says:

    There’s a Raleigh Facebook Wall? Who knew? I’m so excited to be there! Fame and glory, here I come.

    Thanks, Doug and Keith. I’m just thrilled folks are enjoying it. I’ll have to ride more now. Oh, the pressure!

  4. Darryl (LuckyChow99) says:

    I recently joined Bike Forums and saw your blog mentioned in your signature, so I though I’d check it out. I love to read about the local rides other people have in their area. Your’s looks a lot like mine, except you have a lot more trails that we do. We are still in the throughs of a last snow/ice event, so it’s not safe to be out on the roads yet. And, the roads are full of slush and slick spots. I hate having to wash a bike in the winter. Right now, it’s not even possible as the hose pipes are frozen solid. Thanks for sharing. I enjoyed the pics.

  5. rideblog says:

    Thanks, Darryl. Isn’t Bike Forums great? Everyone there is super helpful and nice, and I suspect it’s not just because I’m one of about five women. 🙂 We had snow just a couple days ago here, but the rain washed it all away so quickly, we didn’t even get a snow day! What’s the point of snow then, you know? The forcast is for rain all weekend, so I hear you on not being able to ride. I’m determined to get out there for a few miles this weekend, rain or shine, but that determination may fade in the face of actual winter storms.

  6. Darryl (LuckyChow99) says:

    Bike Forums is great! The 3 speed thread is truely a stand-out of all threads. One of the most striking things is the nice people (as you mentioned). I’m sure it isn’t just because you’re a girl. Heck, I didn’t even know that until I saw your pics! Upon examination, my favorite blogs seem to be written by ladies. Lovely Bicycle is probably my all time favorite. I just love the topics she writes about and the great looking bikes.

    Speaking of great looking bikes, I was admiring your Pletscher rack on the Sports. My Tourist did not come with a rack. I’ve given some thought to putting a Pletscher on it, but I’m not sure it will fit since the Tourist all have 28″ wheels. Maybe this is something I can get help with on Bike Forums.

    I picked up my Raleigh Sprite today from the LBS. I took it over last week, as I wanted them to put new cables on it. I don’t really have the right tools to do a good job with cables. It’s so cheap to get them to do it right, I just took it over and left it. It sure rides sweet. Although I only put a about a mile on it (ice/slush everywhere) I sure did enjoy the jaunt. I was very anxious to try out the 22t rear cog I installed last week. It originally came with an 18t and I wanted to get my gearing a bit lower. Very pleased with this change and it only cost less than $10 to do it. If you haven’t done this yet, you might want to consider it.

  7. rideblog says:

    I intend to update the cog this spring, once I’m done with the Shogun. One bike disassembled at a time, you know? 🙂

    Veloria has a whole thing on Lovely Bicycle! on finding a rack that would fit her DL-1, which is the same as a Tourist, I believe. She ended up with a gorgeous hand-made rack. I’m interested in Sprites and would love to compare one to my Sports. A few more gears, I know, but also it’s got the same frame as the Raleigh road bikes, I believe, rather than the 3-speed frame. Interesting. I’d see what the others, especially Veloria, say about the rack. The Pletscher is cool, and I have found it works well. The “rat trap” top, which is like a big mouse-trap-y thing on top to clamp down on a jacket, say, and hold it while one rides, is pretty cool. Don’t think they fit 28″ wheels, though.

  8. Amanda says:

    I think you may find that the Lake Washington Trail is more trail-by-freeway action. However, I don’t know this from personal experience.

  9. rideblog says:

    Shhhh… let me live in hope for a brief time…

  10. Liz says:

    I love riding in light rain. Fenders come in handy, there, and a rain top purchased for $1 at the Family Dollar store. You have some great trails in Seattle. Where I live in N. Fla. we get a lot of rain in the summer, when the weather is acting normal. There are lots of hills, live oaks with moss, beautiful scenery, which is different from the rest of Florida. Some say words are important and can give life to things. Thats why I named all my bikes. They are my steeds. Thanks for the nice blog site.

  11. rideblog says:

    Thanks! I will definitely put fenders on the Shogun, if I like the bike once it’s built up. The Panasonic doesn’t have the clearance for them, and I don’t really like the clip-on variety.

    I have been to the Tampa Bay area of Florida a couple times, and really liked it… once I got out of the cities and suburbia, and the endless stripmalls. The wildlife is amazing. I would love to do some birding there, in particular.

    And I do have a name for one bike, it’s just not a person name: The Root Beer Bomber (that, of course, is the Raleigh). I like bike names that sound a bit like train names. Person names, I’m too picky about. I always know someone I didn’t like or who was a great friend or whatever, and then the association becomes too personal for a machine. Even the cat has a non-human name. She came to us with the name “Sarah,” which was the same name as a former student of mine. I wasn’t overly fond of said student. The cat is now called “Mitten,” from Kitten-Mitten, which I called her at first until Mitten stuck.

  12. Pingback: April 19, 2011 Ride | rideblog

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