Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Winter Cycle Style

I have to admit that today was one of my first late fall/winter rides to work - a cotton skirt, tights and mid weight jacket with a light scarf seemed to be the perfect combo. During my commute I started to think about what my options are going to be for biking this winter and decided to hunt down some inspiration.

images via lars daniel, nabiis and bicycler69.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Bikery and Other Links

I just found out about The Bikery and couldn't be more excited. The Bikery is a non-profit organization that promotes and advocates for biking in Seattle - providing the use of tools at low costs, free (suggested donation) workshops and education, as well as work trade programs. I'll be heading to their Basic Bike Maintenance class on December 27 from noon to 2.

They also have a great link and resources page here.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Seattle D.I.Y.

Some of the best routes in Seattle can be found on page 4 of this PDF by Seattle D.I.Y. - the rest is a good read too.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Sweat Factor

Topography and geography always comes up as a justification for Seattle's slow move to having a true bike culture. It's not Portland or better, it's not Copenhagen, we have steep climbs that sometimes extend for blocks. It makes a casual, easy ride seem impossible; never mind the idea of riding into work in a skirt and heels.

First, having a lighter bike with 5+ gears is a great start. I also found that having a basket or panniers takes the weight off of your back, making the ride easier.

Second, know your route and avoid huge climbs. The City of Seattle has a list of the highest elevations here. Some of the rides I've found to be the easiest to get from point a to point b are below.
  • The Burke Gilman will get you back and forth from Ballard, Fremont, Gas Works, and University District.
  • The Cheshiahud Lake Union Loop will be you between Eastlake, South Lake Union and Fremont.
  • Stone Way is a  slow and steady climb to get from Gas Works to Wallingford.
  • Getting from Downtown to Capitol Hill is easiest via Pine or Pike.
  • Getting from Fremont to Downtown is easiest via Westlake or Dexter.
Finally, know the bus schedule. Now that the weather is colder and I'm not using my bike home as a workout - I've started to the 8 to get up Denny from the gym. If you become familiar with times and routes, it's makes those hills pretty easy. Check here to see how to load your bike.

image via ninjatira.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Velo Routes - Elevation Feature

A coworker sent me the Velo Routes link yesterday; letting me know that they've added an elevation feature. I mapped my commute home and discovered that I'm completing a 400 foot hike on my rides home.

Choose Create A Route from the left sidebar to start. Once there, you'll want to enter your start address or double click to get in closer. Left click on your starting point, then continue doing the same to mark your path. Once completed you can either save your route, export it, or create an elevation image (similar to that above, my ride in to work, a must easier ride).

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Copenhagenize in Seattle


Mikael from Copenhagenize and Copenhagen Cycle Chic will be speaking tonight at the Seattle Nordic Museum in Ballard, along with other lectures to follow in Portland and San Francisco. Marketing Bicycle Culture Lecture is free & starts at 7pm tonight.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Climbing Pine

it was a bit rainy, but still a great fall day. walking toward downtown i had moments of admiration for these riders.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Seattle Bike Fall Style

I love seeing all of the leaves on the ground & bikers sporting warmer clothes. This girls skinny jeans are perfect for fall rides (hopefully there is a little stretch in there). Her purple velvet blazer & flats just added to the lovely. A great example of a flexible outfit for biking, working & socializing.

I loved this girls hat & casual look - layers are ideal for the casual biker. I also wanted to snap a picture, proving that walking your bike up Pike to Capitol Hill is an option, a stylish one at that.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

How Will I Get There - A Guide to Seattle

Simply deciding how to get from Point A to Point B can be challenging when you are new to biking in Seattle, or any city for that manner. What about the fastest way, the safest way or the most scenic way? While there are some great visual and printable resources in Seattle, I think the two biggest helps are this: find a bike buddy or a organized casual group ride and practice (the more you ride, the more you know).

As for visual guides for Seattle, you can find maps, guides and routes at all of the following locations:
If you don't have any friends that ride (or that are willing to be patient as you get comfortable), I suggest trying out craigslist or group rides around the city:
Feel free to send me any links to other group rides or routes in Seattle.

Photo via Lisa Randolph and her beautiful Flickr Photostream. Who says it can't just be a pretty bike pic?

Monday, October 5, 2009

Cycle Style Inspiration - Lars Daniel

Flickr offers endless inspiration, sometimes you get smacked over the head with a portfolio that is exactly what you are looking for. Lars Daniel has a wonderful photostream, but his Bikes in the City set is just lovely lovely.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Feverish Bike Set

A great set of bike photos from Flickr Friend Feverish. Check out his Etsy shop & photo blog.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Topshop Bicycle Club on Chictopia

Some of my favorite cycle looks from Topshop Bicycle Club on Chictopia. An endless source of street style.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Seattle Bikes

Some quick shots of Seattle on bike, most shots taken on Pike/Pine. I need to get out more & shoot - it seems to be getting away from me.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Loading Your Bike on Seattle Metro

Sometimes those hills are too steep, the path too long, the streets too busy. On those days, I wait at the bus stop with my bike, hoping that there is an open spot on the front of the Seattle Metro.

What kind of bike can load onto the Metro? Most conventional bikes will fit on the front of the buses; gas powered, tandem, or three wheeled bikes are not allowed. As frustrating as it might seem, these bikes are not allowed to come with you inside the bus, but folding bikes are.

Can I load my bike anywhere? Used to be no, but it looks like they've started a one year demonstration project earlier this year. From Seattle Metro's site:

Effective February 7, 2009, bicycles may be loaded and unloaded anywhere in the Ride Free Area (RFA) during off-peak hours, including Saturdays, Sundays and major holidays. The only restriction for bicycle loading on surface streets in the RFA is Monday through Friday during peak hours (6 - 9 a.m. and 3 - 6 p.m.) at each route's first and last RFA stop.

Alright, how do I get my bike on there? Well, read it here or watch it here.

Here is Seattle Metro's bike page, check it out for further information.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Gorgeous Bike Shoot - Style Inspiration

Such beautiful colors, I makes me want to dress, pack a lunch & visit the open meadows. Visit Marc Bordon's site for the full shoot.

Avoiding Crashes - Cars, Traffic & Infrastructure

I was pretty sure I'd get really hurt on the road when I started biking. A co-worker said to me, "If you ride most days, you need to be prepared to get hit or crash, it will most likely happen." Maybe that's a little harsh, but looking around my office - I see a few people that have been hit by opening cars doors, gotten caught in streetcar tracks or bridge grids, & been plane out clipped by a motorized vehicle. On that lovely thought, I want to give you my quick advice on staying safe while biking around Seattle.
  1. Avoid Streetcar tracks, as well as old rail tracks in South Lake Union & along Westlake Avenue. I ride the left hand side of Westlake because I have seen one too many bikers get a tire caught in the 2" track, biffing pretty hard. There are also some old tracks near Fairview & Valley that should be passed over with caution (I'd recommend getting on the Cheshiahud Lake Union Loop here).

  2. Stay off bridges, use the sidewalks especially at Montlake. Those grids will catch you, drop you & hurt you with the slightest of movements.

  3. Use the sidewalk when traffic is heavy or you feel safer there. Seattle law allows us to ride on sidewalks & I often take advantage of this; people will sometimes disagree, but stand firm it is your right. Additional comments here would be to make sure you ride at an appropriate speed & respect the pedestrians you pass.

  4. Ride on bike heavy streets to avoid your surprise element to other cars. It seems to me that riding alongside other bikers on sharrow or bike lane streets gives you a little more visibility.

  5. Stay 3 feet out from parked cars to avoid getting clipped by a car door. Streets marked with bike lanes & sharrows indicate the proper distance, but you should also be mindful on unmarked & neighborhood streets. No one wants to end up like the girl from Wayne's World.

  6. Own the road, this forces cars to slow down & think before passing you. Remember that you have a right to be in the lane, don't apologize or hug the curb to accommodate a car passing unless it is 100% safe.

  7. Have the proper gear to increase visibility. Now, the whole point of me starting this blog was to prove that we don't need to gear up to ride, but sometimes things are necessary. Don't wear head to toe grey/black/navy during a rainy day or at night - try to have some sort of color on your person, bag or bike. I also recommend (& Seattle law requires) a white headlight & red tail light (blinking is best) at night.
Image from Car Free Days.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Ballard Bridge

A quick post on The Slog about the new curb cut on Ballard Bridge. Savage makes a good point saying that this much discussed filter of southbound cycles back into traffic is just one tiny piece of what is scary about the bridge; he also makes the point that Ballard is a prime ride to/from downtown, with no hills. 15th Ave W & the bridge need dedicated bikes lanes if we are going to keep pushing all residents to bike; even experience & aggressive riders avoid it.

Image via Subsetsum.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Seattle Bike Trail Etiquette

Some of Seattle's most prominent bike trails include the Burke-Gilman and Interurban, both can be really convenient & an easy way to get around Seattle by bike. I've never ridden the Interurban, mostly because I rarely ride north. Biking on the Burke-Gilman can be tricky, depending on the day & time. Some days you'll be alone for long stretches, others you are avoiding a head-on collision while missing the couple & their baby stroller. I've also had some weird (horrid) interactions with aggressive riders on the trail, forcing me to pull off to let them pass as they speed by. I also was scolded by another biker for not giving him an "on your left." I was miffed by this; on a busy day on the trails do I really need to tell every person that I'm passing them if there is no oncoming traffic or danger? Turns out, you're supposed to. To me it seems like the "Good morning" rule. You might say hello to a person you pass walking to work on your street, but you wouldn't say something to everyone you pass on Broadway, would you?

See the City's website more information on Seattle Trail Etiquette.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Manhattan On Bikes

Just a taste of all the New Yorkers on bikes.

New York Biking Infrastructure

I spent Labor Day weekend in Manhattan. It was a great time filled with friends, celebration, and taking in the city; my only regret was that I didn't get myself on a bike (fail). Now, I'm not the type of person to get to critical when it comes to political moves or city infrastructure - to me, anything is better than nothing. I also realize that we should be making smart decisions upfront that work towards a better system, not just appease the immediate & waste money. My point here, is take this with a grain of salt.

New York was covered in bike paths, many buffered with street markings & parrallel parking. Many larger avenues (specifically 8th Ave & soon 1st & 4th) have new lanes with bike lights at most intersections & a wide pathway. Some areas use the green paths & bike boxes, other simply have marked bike lanes in both directions. While I didn't see as many glamour girls as I thought I might, I did see all walks riding their bikes - some carrying pizza, some on their cell, some in heels, etc etc. New York has made it easy. For more information about the NYC Bike Master Plan, click here.