Ride Report - Bike To Work Day 2011

Commuter Station at NE 124th between Redmond/WoodinvilleLast Friday, May 20th, was Bike To Work Day (BTWD), a great excuse to get people to ride their bikes to work who usually don't have the time, energy, or motivation to otherwise do so. What does that mean for those of us who regularly commute via bike? More people to share the fun! The more people we can get biking the better.

There are bike snobs out there (sorry, I refuse to link to them) who think that Bike To Work Day is the worst day of the year. Some of those even boycott the day completely. I relish it! OK, maybe not, but I am no where near the attitude I refer to. If you want to read the vile put out there about the N00bs who dare to get in their precious way, then please go and do a search yourself. Go ahead, my blog will be waiting for you when you get back from cleaning the vomit off your keyboard.

My favorite BTWD in 2008 was the best. I was in fabulous shape (compared to years previous). I pulled up to a stoplight at the back of a pack of about 20 cyclists waiting to go up a big hill (corner of E. Lake Sammamish Pkwy and Leary Way in Redmond). As the light turned green the guys in the front (obviously not regular riders) were having trouble getting started which caused the group to stop, accordion style. I pulled out to the left of the group and was able to pass the entire group. As I climbed the hill I was able to look back using my rear-view mirror to see the incredible carnage playing out behind me: people falling over because they stopped mid-stroke and couldn't unclip, pushing their bikes (out of shape), while the regular commuters weaved around them trying not to become a victim themselves. Overall there were no serious injuries but lots of colorful metaphors.

This year I decided to do something new: a long route starting early in the morning that would take me by 2 of the BTWD commute stations (i.e. SWAG stops). I even invited some friends from work to join in the fun.

  • Start time: 7:20 am
  • Estimated distance: 19.24 miles
  • Estimated climbing: 1033 feet
  • Estimated time: 90 minutes
  • SWAG stops to hit: 2

Of course things don't always go as planned...

  • Actual start time: 7:35 am (missed meeting my friends)
  • Actual distance: 28.87 miles
  • Actual climbing: 1520 feet
  • Elapsed time: 2:01:55
  • Swag stops hit: 3

      Commute Station on the Sammamish River TrailThe weather was FABULOUS (sunny, highs in the 60s) with very little wind. I kept to my route for the most part but diverted north on the Sammamish River Trail a bit to hit a third SWAG stop in Woodinville. The bad news was that they were closing up shop. The good news was that they told me to take as much food as I wanted because they didn't want to transport it. SWEET! I loaded up on samples of nuts, dried fruit bars, Cliff Bars, and assorted other snacks (this proved useful later). The other commute stations along the way at 60 Acres and the 520 trail were also very thin so I didn't stay long at either place.

The final destination of the morning was a BTWD breakfast hosted by my employer but when I arrived I found that they had literally just run out of food. No! What was to be the highlight of my day turned out to be a bit of a downer. As I was sulking, looking at the empty tables, a good friend, Steve, arrived as well to find the bad news. That's when I remembered by bag full of snacks! The two of us sat down, exchanged ride stories, and chowed down on all the snacks I picked up earlier. The morning had been saved.

Overall the day was a success: I got in my long-ride for the week, hit the commute stations, ate some pretty good food, and socialized with some friends. When I got back to the office I took inventory of the SWAG take for the day, including the snacks that weren't eaten earlier...

BTWD SWAG collection

My ride home was supposed to be an easy 8-mile ride that I have done hundreds of times before but it was not to be. Only 3.5 miles into the ride I popped a spoke nipple and ended up taking the bus home...

Popped rear spoke, drive side spoke nippleMy saving grace, KC Metro route 269

To end the day I took the family down to the Marymoor Park Velodrome in Redmond for some bike racing action. My kids eat this stuff up, especially the Kiernan race with the scooter...

Setting up for the Cat-4 Chariot heat

Next year I think I'll start something new: "Bike to anywhere but work day," thinking that I will take the day off to just bike anywhere that suits my fancy.