Yesterday was a cool, breezy day in Seattle…one of those days that feels more like September than June. Five of the Seattle Area Riders—Jeff Sloan, John Childs, Greg Harper, Pete Perron, and I—used the occasion to do some casual urban cokering, taking in some city streets, stop lights, people hazards, parks, bridge crossings, lots of hills, and some expansive views of Puget Sound and downtown Seattle.
The ride started at Gasworks Park, better known in uni circles for its trials scenes in Universe 1 and 2, but also located right on the Burke-Gilman bike trail. From Gasworks, we rode along the B-G trail into downtown Fremont, and crossed the boat canal via the Fremont Bridge. From there we followed the water up to Ballard and under the Ballard Bridge, cutting through the Salmon Bay marina where many of the local fishing boats are docked. We continued along the water to the Ballard Locks where we climbed a REALLY steep hill to get up into the Magnolia section of the city. This hill climbs sharply up a neighborhood driveway, then continues climbing across a narrow, bumpy wooden footbridge over the railroad tracks, then takes a sharp uphill left onto a final steep section of sidewalk. It’s a hit or miss affair. Harper, Jeff, and JC all made it, and Pete also had a personal best. The sharp left took me out, so I’m now batting .500 on this hill. I made it the only other time I tried it, despite attempts at the time by JC to take me out.
From there, we ambled along Government Way to Discovery Park, where we had another long climb to the now-abandoned Fort Lawton, which sits atop a big hill overlooking Puget Sound. Great views here, and visually interesting riding past the old abandoned Navy buildings. From there we cut down to Magnolia Blvd, where we wound our way leisurely through the very high rent district–decreasing property values as we went–and around the point of land above Puget Sound and Elliot Bay. Along this section, Harper decided to try cokering on top of a skinny concrete rail separating the bike lane and car lane on a narrow bridge. After a false start or two he took off and got in more than the required “three pedal revolutions” before landing the 2-foot plus drop back to the pavement (see video). From here, a long descent across the Magnolia Bridge brought us back down to sea level in the valley between Magnolia and Queen Anne. John Childs was ostensibly in charge at this point, and we gave him the choice between taking a route with no hills and more traffic, or a very steep hill and less traffic. This led to the “opportunity” to climb the Dravus Street hill as our final obstacle on our way back to Fremont.
For a map view of the area we rode, click here. Clicking on the satellite link gives a decent aerial photo of the area as well, and lets you zoom in on the Locks, Gasworks Park, etc.
For me, one of the highlights of the day—along with trying to follow JC up some of the steeper hills in the city—was watching Harper play on his Coker as if it was a 24”. He was riding skinnies, doing still stands and drops, and riding backwards and idling…all skills that still elude me on the 36”. There is some good video evidence in the gallery link above. A second highlight was being able to teach Jeff firsthand the meaning of my signature line. He was tailgating, and now he knows better :).