More nuanced ops

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Here's what you see to the Northwest of the cliff.
Here's what you see to the Northwest of the cliff.

The General has a way with words. [Petraeus]
That phrase describes this experience pretty well.
Incredibly more nuanced is an international city, and the approach must be in accord.

An approach to city riding – I’ll go anywhere… for reasons great or small.
“But must there be a reason?” asks the [hypothetical] young cylist.
“Yes, there should be at least one.” I reply.

The Industrial landscape is calling
The Industrial landscape is calling

This view is from up on the edge of a cliff long ago made
Yes, we’re going down there.

Get the best view of the worst of Interstate lunacy
without sitting in a mile long line of idling cars

Double Black urban

Ride a bike!  Ride with your friend to work.  It doesn’t have to be pretty or car-free..  There is ALWAYS A REASON.
Here we got a wrong side sidewalk and steep stairs.
Not that bad, really.  Nothing to complain about, it just is…. unless the big earthquake strikes.

Double Black urban terrain
Double Black urban terrain

Going bumpity bump down 4 courses of Seattle stairs the other day, I pictured what a fall would be like (with the plastic bottom Sidi shoes)
and then stopped to rest my hands, contemplated walking, went down two more, front wheel reasonably gripping the stair edges, but still…
I stopped this nonsense by walking the last three or four sets.  I’m sure I broke some minor code, but I don’t care to look it up.

It gets dirty.  Bikes can pass through Spokane st. and onto the West Seattle bridge, but through, for real, some shit.  The empty Semis are barreling down one side and merging here and there, and the full ones occupy the other.  The path breaks, starts again on the other side of clusterfuck, and then goes again to the other side through an intersection where clearly bikes do not belong.  It was no time for pictures, this was all tactical death avoidance.

The beach and condominiums for miles on the other side: uninteresting, largely… though a beach is always nice.

The way back is just as gnarly due to debris, trucks, and bicycles having been completely left out of the planned infrastructure.   We stopped in a little triangle of glass bespeckled pavement between the road and the merging IN lane, to avoid some fast moving semis paying much more attention to each other than us.  Soon, we were in loose dirt where a sidewalk might be someday.  I shoved a fucking sign that said “Sidewalk closed” out of my way.  At that point, I wanted out of the mess so I crossed the tracks and negotiated my way back to 1st.
We are riding under loud overpasses and unable to talk.  Dirt, large rocks, curb, and back to pavement.  This ride ends with Silas going to the Hall and me going to the wine outlet at 1st and Holgate.  Can’t find a place to buy the tool I need in the Industrial South, but at least I have found the store that sells cones, face shields and reflective shit, I can find good wine, and have found lots of challenging terrain.

Riding in this city feels more dangerous than some others I’ve been to.  It’s something that keeps many others inside the car while on the streets.  It’s a fallacy that the car is safer.
See, for me – Seattle is bike friendly in a ‘more nuanced’ way.

There's beauty in man's lunacy
There's beauty in man's ridiculousness
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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

23 Replies to “More nuanced ops”

  1. Sounds like an epic ride to me. The freeways are total crap there, at least whenever I’ve had to drive on one. Getting over, past around the temples of modern roads is always a pain and dangerous.

  2. I spent a few years there and recognize the areas you have shown. I lived on Beacon Hill and watched that baseball stadium get constructed — right out my window.

    Biking in Seattle is a challenge. The traffic, the hills . . . and then the rain. It isn’t getting wet that is so bad (although it gets a little tiresome) it’s the added danger of slippery, steep streets that are often lined with old railroad tracks. Watch yourself!

  3. Harbor Island, SODO, Georgetown— nightmare cycling terrain. I know a nice 14-mile loop around West Seattle that I think is fun. I lived on Beacon Hill from 1960 until 1962, don’t remember much of it. The Moutntains to Sound Greenway starts there and goes uninterrupted to the Columbia River.

  4. Top post, LJ.
    You describe a world so totally removed from my own , but the way you describe it actually makes me want to go and have look into the belly of that beast myself.

  5. Awesome post LJ.

    I courrently live on the southern end of that Hill and my old commute took me right throught that shitty, shitty interchange from West Seattle. Talk about a crapshoot.

    What tool were you looking for? I know the area a bit. Perhaps I can help point the way…

  6. I need a thread cutter – a die, 9/16 coarse thread. Tool sellers have gone out of business, due to Homeland Cheapout, but they wouldn’t have this tool anyway. I need a hand machine tool supply.
    Google is worthless for this.

  7. @Ralph – YES, indeed it is far more dangerous to be whipping around merging at car speeds than to crawl along the sidewalk of same such loopy ramps, on two human powered wheels, and then negotiate the busy world under them with the full awareness of an un-distracted cyclist.

  8. I assume for pedal threads? Do you need a left hand as well?

    If you don’t you might just try Tacoma Screw (I am sure you already have though).

    I will do some rooting around…

  9. I ride from West Seattle along the Duwamish River to Kent. Yeah, it’s pretty industrial/urban but there is one eagle nest and four osprey nests among other wildlife on the route. Plus it’s mostly off-street dedicated bike path and the semi drivers are way more aware than the cars on Marginal Way. For urban riding it’s pretty pleasant.

  10. No shops, but I have a buddy with a set of taps (for pedal threads) that he would be willing to sell. He is is Georgetown.

  11. …the images captured were almost poetic in content as you descended into the belly of the beast…

    “the de-evolution will not be televised” (w/ apologies to gil scott heron)…

  12. Yes, I fucking rode by Tacoma Screw in Ballard Interbay four days ago. I need it for an automotive application. My steering wheel is not held on!
    Today’s ride was down Rainier almost to Renton, to get a carburetor, and then back in the rain, with a one-sided load.
    You want to know what I fear the most? Those blotches of oil where cars have leaked onto the pavement in the wet. They are death waiting to happen. The wet conditions make me hyper-vigilant, especially without a helmet.

  13. The Burke-Gilman Trail runs parallel to Leary Way. It’s a better way to get to Tacoma Screw. Or, at worst, come down 8th ave from the North. It has a dedicated bike lane.

    Love the Sea-town ridin’.

  14. Tail end of a long, dry summer. That is normal for the Sound region. Rain is seasonal, and comes gradually. We’re at about 33% daytime sun now and fading. I may be Arizona-bound this winter.

  15. Jesus you guys sound like tourists. It rained all day and will rain all weekend. Hell, it rained every day that I was on the Peninsula. It has rained all summer, except for a nice stretch in July. We’re staring down the barrel of mud season, wearing tights every ride and spitting mud. Destroy your wheels if you run rim brakes. How soon can we start skiing?

  16. Lived in Kenmore for 6yrs. There isn’t any place in that town bike wheels can’t touch. I was particularly thankful for the encouragement I received on the Burke-Gilman when I was starting out. Now I live in the ATL where it’s quite a different story.

    Anyone ever been to Gordito’s?

  17. I rode in the fucking rain with no fenders to the Screw and paid $9 for a Vermont American 9/16×18 tap. Good to go. Shopping for helmets, too. My Giro had its shit start coming apart so it got so uncomfortable I threw it in the bushes on the waterfront path.