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Observations from the Bike Trail

May 17, 2009

Today I went for a longer bike ride all by my lonesome. I started at my usual spot, but this time vowed to go farther before turning around and heading back. I calculated that I did about 14 miles round trip, which is pretty darn good for this newbie bicyclist.

In Seattle and neighboring regions today, the sun was out, and temperatures were up in the 70s. This is heaven around here. The lakes are gorgeous, the wisteria is fragrant and sweetly pungent, and everyone and their brother, sister, aunt, uncle, and long lost relative gets outdoors to do something – anything.

This was my first longer ride and it was *very* crowded on the bike trails, and this generated a lot of thoughts and observations about bicycling:

  1. You can go as fast or as slow as you want and stop as many times as you need to.
  2. People of all shapes and sizes ride bicycles. No one really cares if you aren’t a lean, trim riding machine. The important thing is to just get out there and do it.
  3. No one really cares what you wear – it’s only important so you’re comfortable and safe – or if you’re a member of a bicycling club, then everyone wearing the same shirt appears to be mandatory.
  4. Some bicyclists people are just rude, whether you’re riding too, or if you’re a pedestrian. There were times I was slowing down because of people either riding or walking ahead of me, and as I was preparing to pass them, these insane, speed monsters passed me almost making me run into the people in front of them.
  5. Bicycling is not autocross. If you want to go really, really fast, weave in and out between obstacles (read: people), then go find a track to ride around on, or put cones in a parking lot. Seriously. Riding too fast on a crowded trail is just stupid.
  6. Riding is for fun. I need to remember the thrill of my first ride and remember to smile. But not too widely. There are lots of bugs along the river when it’s hot. Eewww.
  7. It baffles me when people don’t wear a helmet. I don’t care how silly they may look, you look a lot sillier dead or a turnip from a brain injury.
  8. Riding strenuously, and then stopping along the lakeside, sitting in the sun and staring out across the lake is some serious serenity-inducing activity.
  9. Maybe next ride, I’ll take a lunch.
  10. . I can’t wait to do this again.



  1. May 19, 2009 7:18 am

    All your points on riding are excellent. I especially like the one about riders who want to go fast as hell and dart in and around everyone else. They want to come off as real daredevils or something, yet they’re doing it in crowds where everyone can see them. Why? Do they think they’re getting the admiration of everyone they just scared the bejeezus out of?

    14 miles is fantastic, Claire. You are amazing.

  2. May 30, 2009 8:34 am

    Ditto @Wendy. Most of the cyclists around here are pretty friendly and courteous, even the racer and racer-wannabees. I don’t get not wearing a helmet either, and our state has no helmet law even for motorcyclists. I think the kind of cycling you and I like is called touring. Racers average speeds over 20mph while us touring folks, whether alone or in groups, average more like 10-14mph.

    I feel like a slouch now, haven’t been for a real ride in a couple of weeks.

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