In the shadows of very tall buildings

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The Seattle adventure is not near done. I found old friends, as well as fall-in-lap employment, in Central. 1st Hill – an interesting, quirky area full of hospitals. Been riding a lot of pavement, both rough and smooth.  Just there to observe, I got a chance to see the work handed down by dispatch at the ILWU Hall down near Pier 25/30 and this is the view around the port.  Cranes and gangs.  My friend, who is a hell of a cyclist, got the ‘hoot owl’ shift and was happy about it.  We then had a beer and later went to Comedy Underground, and he starts work at butt early 0300.  Silas has done a century on a track bike.  That’s enough to gain my respect.  Him and I have ridden all over Tucson together, and now we rip around Seattle.

pictures from the bike (3)

The Oriental supermarket Uwajimaya has a lot of stuff, but most important to me, they have the sake selection of a daimyo. I share this image:

Sake heaven
Sake heaven

My ride lunch today was barbequed squid meat and fried puffs in front of the same place.  It is, in fact, close to the stadium; on a Saturday the whole square mile is swarmed with fans.  The Chinese fast food sells as fast as they can cook it.  Salmon prices go up and down rapidly too, bottoming out around $6 a pound for wild Salmon.

If you can't do it right...
If you can't do it right...

Avenue Rainier is a busy bad road that passes under I-90, but I took one of the lanes for three loads of fence and post. Went back with the truck for lumber. I have an 8′ limit.

Doing it for profit for once.
Doing it for profit for once.

I go to places where the nails and screws are by the pound.  Never Home Depot.  I charge $70 an hour if the client insists on obtaining materials at Home Depot.  Thankfully, this client hates the big box empire too.

Caption This.
Caption This.
Fucking damn good bourdeax for $10!
Fucking damn good bourdeax for $10!
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About littlejar

5 - Learned to ride in paved alley behind liquor store in Lowell. 16 - Road bike riding alone while peers do soccer practice. 18 - First new road bike bought with winnings from Project Graduation. 20 - Burlington VT. Nuff said. 22 - Joined the Air Force. 23 - Joined team Fair Wheel in Tucson - rode the Shootout. 24 - Rode El Tour in under five. 26 - Toured to Quebec City 28 - Toured Oklahoma to Vermont 30 - Found my dream bike - a 1989 58cm LaBan (#22) 32 - Experienced Minneapolis and saw BIKE CULTURE. 34 - Building my first bicycle frame, with a self made jig. USA

31 Replies to “In the shadows of very tall buildings”

  1. Barbecued squid? Thought I’d had calamari about every way it could be fixed. How could I have missed that?

    Please tell me those sandals aren’t your work shoes. I cringe jujst thinking about it.

    So are you thinking about getting a union card with the longshoremen?

  2. BBQ squid.

    Yea. That sounds tasty.

    I wish I had a decent seafood place near me. Only thing local are the big chain stupor-markets and I don’t trust their seafood.

  3. A sample of good living by bike? I say so, anyway. Wish you shared a pic of the bbq squid. Seattle is a good metropolis I think.

  4. As far as big cities go, Seattle has the best seafood, best air, mildest winter, and best tap water of any city I’ve been to thus far. It doesn’t have the bike culture that Minneapolis does, but there are enough cyclists to make me happy.

  5. I was born on First Hill, and was my wife, at Cabrini Hospital, which is now gone. I sold some electrical gear there at T46, the Ports were always fun to visit, them big old STS (ship-to-shore) cranes are fascinating to climb around on and inspect their electrical bits. They sway quite a bit when they’re “slinging cans.” Seattle is one of the best seafood towns on earth, and one of the best Asian food towns as well. I was recently standing in front of one of my favorite Sichuanese places over here in Bellevue, and I could see SIX other Asian restaurants: two Chinese, two Thai, one Japanese and one Vietnamese. From First Hill, you can easily ride to the ID (“International District”— not supposed to call it “Chinatown” any more, whatever)… I recommend Pho Bac (best Pho soup in town, they scratch make their own stock daily, cash only though) and Jade Garden for Dim Sum, you MUST have the shrimp dumplings. The waiter carry shears and they’ll chop your dumplings in two for you. Is that service or what? Both are on 7th near King St. And from the ID you can cross the 12th Ave.bridge and pick up the Mountains to Sound Greenway and ride all the way to my ski condo, almost entirely off-street. Enjoy!

  6. LJ— you’re spot on, only people from out of town drink bottled water here— the tap water tastes better, and it’s free. Seattle has so many hills that it discourages casual cyclists and commuters. It always cracked me up when I rode back in the Midwest, even the goobers run double chainrings and corncob (11-21) cassettes. I mounted a 27 cog on the Trophy Bike and I’ll never go back. I don’t run a triple chainring, but I don’t blame anyone who does around here. The hills also keep the fixie hipsters mercifully at bay.

  7. There are also five or more Ethiopian restaurants very close to the area I’m staying. We went to one and had a pile of fatty lamb chunks with some lettuce on cultured, soft, very crepe-like bread – it was very satisfying, and $14 to fill two full grown male bellies is an achievement in itself here.
    I’ll take any recommendations or steer-clear-ofs for the Asian restaurants – there are so ridiculously many, I don’t know how to choose a good one.

  8. Thai Tom = overrated, greasy U-District Thai food. It isn’t altogether bad but I’ve never understood why people worship the place.

    Try Little Thai on 42nd and Brooklyn. The food is delicious, the folks who own/run the place are incredibly friendly, and they’re open until 10pm (even on Sunday). Thai Ocean in the Greenlake area is also high quality. The staff there go out of their way to make customers feel like guests.

    Sichuanese Cuisine Restaurant in the ID is good for Chinese. Just don’t expect to move quickly after dining there. Their hotpots are great. Warning: they don’t fuck around with the spice.

    Seattle Deli has great/cheap Vietnamese sandwiches.

    All told, as a longtime Seattle resident I do love this city. However, I feel it pales in comparison to Vancouver, BC. Seattle is like the bitter, not-the-pretty-or-socially-gifted-one-in-the-family-and-thus-wears-sour-dick-face-all-the-time sister to Vancouver (at least to me).

  9. Well, the U district is far away from where I am. In fact, I said goodbye to Ballard and Maple Leaf but may ride through there one more time. I live in walking distance to a lot of other interesting food places and I’m thinking I might hit up a large bowl of pho at some point if I’m busy and hungry at the same time, and definitely I do love Vietnamese spring rolls.

  10. Just got back from the Sichuanese joint at 12th and Jackson in the ID (Just north of the Beacon hill bridge).

    Awesome and I feel wonderfully horrible… :)

  11. Great post LJ. I’d ride over and get me some of that BBQ squid and more, pity is that from here to there is probably more than a year’s riding!

  12. hmmm – nice circular saw mount….my hunk of metal broke down recently & a week before having the $$ to fix…got 8 hr of commuting by bike in that week – wasn’t always convenient, but made it happen. now a lazy monday, drove the death box to work (15 min this morning (could have ridden in 20 min)…3 hrs later back at home for split-shift. LJ you have inspired me to ride my bike back to work this afternoon, esp. considering I only have to take me (and not a trailer full of lumber and a circular saw).
    Ride on.

  13. Saigon Deli, 12th and Jackson at base of Beacon Hill. It’s been ten years since I’ve been in Seattle, but they had very quite wonderfully excellent marinated tofu sandwiches and a revolving lunch special that was cheap and outstanding. Their Vietnamese coffee was the best I had in Seattle.

    The Ethiopian food in the same neighborhood varies tremendously. Keep trying different spots. The quality of the injera (sp?) bread will tell you all you need to know.


  14. If you like sake and small local businesses, leave the ‘Waj alone and visit Sake Nomi in Pioneer Square. Johnny has way more sake than Uwajimaya, will let you taste some of it, and plays Wii bowling on Wednesday nights with his customers.

  15. …dammit, littlejar…

    …the last thing i remember dreaming about this morning was waiting in line at the counter of some takeout dive (& like in any dream, it could a’ been anywhere) for spicy noodles & bbq squid…

    …the pisser is, i’d already paid for it & i woke up just before my order was brought out…

    …somebody owes me, goddammit…i was dyin’ to try the bbq squid !!!…

  16. LJ,


    If you ever decide you might want a trailer that will haul more (for construction jobs, etc…), check out a buddy of mine @

    (That sounds like a sales pitch, but it’s not).

    He is in Georgetown and his name is Colin (obviously) and while the trailers are a bit pricey (700), he has been known to be partial to bartering…

    Just a thought that popped into my head while looking at that picture of you trucking a load of lumber.


  17. The dream I’ve had for years is to build a dually trailer that includes two rearmost rollers so that two helpers can push with their front tire like tug boats and it can carry 500 or so lbs. The reality is, I don’t have a bike that is *that* tough.

  18. that tugboat idea seems like a good one, but I’ve never seen it implemented… has anyone else?

  19. Soundss like you would need a couple BMX style forks to hold up to that kind of for/aft pressure.
    Sounds kinda awesome though….

  20. Thanks LJ for the post. I just finished dinner and now I am hungry again. BBQ squid huh? What kind of seasoning did they use? That sounds delicious.

  21. Well after pulling the Seattle century ride on my fixi track bike the last two years as well as having it as my only type of transportation for about 3 of the 5 years that i’ve been in Seattle I have also done a ride back in Feb. using my mountain bike starting from Bremerton and riding 300+ down Hwy 101 to Tillamook Or. to pick a honda from my moms place that she told me I could have if I got it running.(please note that it she didn’t give the car to me I still wouldn’t own one and hadn’t owned one in 3 years by choice) I must say though that even though it’s a chalenge to get up some of the hills around here I much prefer riding fixed to a road bike any day of the week. Happy trails to all and remember every day is a good day to ride a bike!

  22. So what kind gear ratio you rocking on these fixed gear centuries? I’m guessing 48:16 would not be optimal for long rides in the mountains.