Monday, November 25, 2013

Riding the mean streets: South Lake Union to Gasworks Park

I did it. I worked up enough nerve to try riding the streets of Seattle on my bicycle. Yes, I rode them a little bit last September, but that was mostly quiet streets or sidewalks/paths. This is a first real attempt at street riding on a busy street. Some areas had a bike lane, others like this one is shared space. Parked cars to the right. Moving traffic in the left lane. I rode along the left edge of the right lane. A little to close to parked cars for comfort, but I wasn't always brave enough to move over to the left more, especially on uphills.
Eastlake Avenue E
Once across University bridge I was able to drop down onto the Burke Gilman Path. With plenty of runners, walkers, and cyclists, it wasn't exactly the quiet, tranquil experience I'd hope for, but it was calmer than the busy roads.
Burke Gilman Trail
Gasworks Park. I've wanted to come here since forever. I can't remember when I first heard of it, but it sounded fascinating. Sorry for the harsh pics today. The sun always seemed to be in front of me.
Lake Union from Gasworks Park
Part of the gasworks

A little mound of a hill. This doesn't really show itself in google maps.
I didn't realize the park wasn't flat. I had thought to bring Rachel for a stroll with her wheel chair, but that will have to wait until she's ready to walk her own self up the hill.
Eastlake Avenue - heading back 
I returned by the same route. The bridge above is I-5. The bridge I'm crossing is University bridge. It has a nice wide lane for bikes, but the lane ends once over the bridge. Then you share the single lane with traffic. It's wider and cars are generally very good at passing safely. Again it was the parked cars that made me nervous.
Ahhh return of the bike lane. 

Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. My daughter's clinic.
Requisite Iconic Space Needle shot with bikey. Noisily processed due to heavy backlighting - darn sunshine!
Space Needle over Mercer Street.


  1. "darn sunshine!"

    Thank you for enduring and getting the shot! Is it a easier with the road bike? How "bike friendly" is Seattle?

    1. Hi Richard,
      This was probably a better ride for the hybrid, but I love my road bike. I've tweaked it enough that it feels "just right".

      Funny thing about bike friendly; When I read stuff online it sounds like the place if full of drivers hating cyclists and cyclists hating drivers. On the road people seem to get along just fine for the most part. That seems true here and at home. It's just busier here.

  2. Actually, I think your "noisy" photo is very lovely.

    I enjoyed your photos and tour. Temps? Similar to Richard's question- would you say Seattle is as bike friendly as Portland?

    1. Thanks Martha,
      Temps were probably in the 50's is my guess. Not too hot, nor too cold. For the little bit I've ridden in either city, they seem about the same to me. To be fair I haven't done much riding in either place.

      Honestly I think the friendliest place I've cycled was Eastern Oregon. Drivers there would usually give us a friendly nod or wave.

  3. Nice job Bluekat, not sure I'd brave the cagers of Seattle on a bicycle.

  4. The sunshine may not have made your pictures what you wanted but it sure feels warm on the face. Soak up some vitamin D.

    Glad you got out and survived the streets.

    1. Yep, can't complain about any sunshine we get this time of year! :)

  5. Kari:

    our son used to be a serious cyclist. We used to go down to Seattle often on Saturdays to visit all the bike stores. can't remember all the names now but it was going from store to store to buy stuff not available in Canada. Since 9/11 the border isn't as friendly as it was and we are not fond of the long lines

    I like the University area, lots of restaurants. Looks like you are riding your bike just down the hill from Broadway. I am not sure I could ride up and down all those hills though

    Riding the Wet Coast

    1. Hi Bobskoot,
      Yes we're just down the hill from Broadway. So far I've avoided the worst of the hills. University district is pretty nice. Lots of little shops...and bike stores. I've managed to visit a few here and there.

  6. Well done, Kari. Too many hills for me though, I am going to stick to my motorized two-wheeler.

    1. Hi Sonja,
      thanks. On some of these hills I'd prefer a motor too! I'm rather selective on which roads I pick. Any close to the water usually is nice and flat. :)