2019 Cycling goals

The last couple of years I worked I commuted by bike quite a bit, running up 8,000 or 10,000 miles each year. When I stopped working I knew I needed to maintain my activity level so I decided to try to bike every day and settled on a goal of 1,000 miles each month. I soon realized that short months during ski season get in the way of a monthly goal, and I restated my ambitions as 12,000 miles a year. 2018 was the fourth of those, and I hit the 12,000 mile mark at the end of October. At first I figured I’d just work on getting more than in 2017 until I realized that with a little push I could get to 10,000 on my single bike. I managed that, and ended up with 4,000 tandem, too.

Here’s how 2018 looked on Strava. (14,110 miles, 748,398 ft. climbing & 1,173 hrs on the bike.)

So what do I aim for in 2019? just doing more miles is kind of dull. I like the challenge of getting 10,000 on my own bike. Maybe I’ll come up with some more sub-goals like elevation and miles on gravel – but then I’d have to track those as well. I think that maybe the answer is to set a multi-year goal instead of another annual one. Right now I want to get to five 12,000 mile years, but in the back of my mind I’m thinking about how at the end of 2018 I’ve ridden 63,000 miles since leaving work and that means I only need 37,000 more to claim 100,000 in retirement!

More Assholes

Hard to see in this image, but the sign right after the “bikes may use the full lane” signs is a “no bikes” symbol. here’s a zoom

This is on 84th in Clyde Hill. This fall they rebuilt the first couple of blocks off of 520 to put in sidewalks and make the landscaping nicer. Since 84th is the main bike commuter route to Bellevue you would have expected them to connect the bike lanes to the 520 trail, but no – they still start after the first traffic signal. What were they thinking?

I expect that the idea is that cyclists will move to the sidewalk for that stretch, but that’s not likely to happen and it takes you across 28th (where there are lots of cars heading for the bridge) at an uncontrolled crosswalk instead of routing cyclists through the traffic circle.

I’ll ride the curb lane here and take the traffic circle. If I get questioned a bout it I’ll point to the “may use full lane” sign and say that it looked to me as if the “no bikes” symbol referred to the sidewalk where riders must yield to peds. I may be the asshole in this context, but the street designers ought to get called on a stupid plan that doesn’t take into account the volume of riders coming off the trail.


So last night as I was walking home from PNA I got hit by a car.  I was crossing Phinney at 65th, in the crosswalk, with the light, when a guy in a white SUV came up fast to the intersection and made a right turn without stopping.  He  knocked me down but  I got up, yelled at him , and banged on his hood – so he gunned his motor and hit me again.  I jumped sideways and as he went past he stuck his fist out the window and hit me in the face knocking off my glasses.  I was kind of shaken up but only my jaw hurt.

It was just over a month ago that I got hit on my bike crossing Blakely, in the crosswalk, by a woman in a minivan.  This is after years of riding lots of miles with no incidents.

Sometimes when it seems like everyone around you is an asshole, you have to ask whether or not it’s you.  I wasn’t being aggressive in either of these incidents, and both times I was paying attention.  I was wearing highly visible clothing both times (although that really shouldn’t have mattered.)   I don’t know – maybe it’s me, but I kind of think it’s just luck.


Ride In The Rain

So it turns out that if you link your Strava to the bike everywhere site once, you continue to post there in future challenges.  Unknown to me I was the high-mileage male rider for the UW in November ‘s ride-in-the-rain and I was third overall.  I wasn’t affiliated with a team.  (Extraordinary Least Squares ws there but didn’t post so many miles this time.)

The impact of the new 520 Bridge Trail

This month makes one year that the new trail has been open over the 520 bridge.  Here’s a link to several routes that have morphed to take advantage of my ability to ride across 520.  The big difference that the new trail makes is that my default ride has shifted to segments of the Lake Washington Loop route either north or south of the bridge.  I’ve rediscovered some of the rides in the old bike guides because I don’t have to drive to the trailhead any more.  A lot of the rides on the eastside that I’m used to doing have now become loops and a lot more interesting.

This is not to say that there aren’t areas for improvement:

  • The elevated plates over the expansion joints are an abomination – we’d be better off if they were uncovered like on the I-90 bridge
  • The crossing at Evergreen Point should have been an underpass at the level of the tennis courts
  • The segment on Northup between 108th and the trailhead on 24th is really disappointing – the City of Bellevue needs to step it up.  Guys, there are two major pieces of bicycle infrastructure here and they don’t connect with each other!
  • The west-bound intersection at 108th is really a bad design.  There should probably be a pedestrian bridge here, (but then you’d need a MUP on the south side of Northup to connect it to.)
  • The trailhead on 24th is a blind crossing that’s going to kill somebody.  It’s made worse by the steep hill you come up approaching it westbound.  You have to keep up your momentum to get up the hill, but then you risk popping out in front of a car you can’t see.
  • The crossings further east on the trail continue to be irritants – particularly the one at 148th.  I thought Microsoft had gotten State money to improve those crossings, but maybe that was just the one on 36th?
  • The 520 trail needs to start at the Avondale / SR 202 intersection and the Redmond Central Connector and the East Lake Sammamish Trail need to thread under those ramps and feed into the 520 trail.

I can’t wait to see how the plans for the segment on out to I-5 get realized and I’m even more eager for the second Montlake Bridge.  (Like either of those will happen in my lifetime!)

road maintenance

I rode up the hill in Golden Gardens today and came back on 85th.  That took me by the place where we crashed last year and Odette’s pelvis was fractured.  Since the last time I rode that way they’ve repaired the sunken paver.

now it looks pretty benign


I figured out

  1. how to upload the import files (kml files) from cyclemeter into ridewithGPS
  2. how to convert those kml files into routes so the ridewithGPS does queue sheets for them
  3. how to append one route to another so that I can show the whole trip one one map
  4. how to embed a ridewithGPS map in an html page (on a wordpress site)


More Construction

I read online that the Maple Street underpass at Swamp Creek would reopen the evening of October 31 (after eight months of construction) and I thought I’d take a look the morning of November first.  The first thing I came to was the Interurban Trail crossing at 212th street.  This was the first time I’d ridden the trail there since April when it still detoured and went by the tennis courts.  I was skeptical about the new design since it looked like a long stretch protected bike lane going against traffic, but they did a great job and despite negotiating a couple of driveways the trail segment is short and set way back from the street.  Won’t miss that chicane we used to have to get through!

The next development was less positive – the trail is now closed at 52nd (where it runs next to the school bus lot.) There’s no detour, no indication how long it will be closed, just a sign and a fence.  I rode over to 200th and then back through the transit center parking lots only to find that the bridge over 44th was closed as well!  Light rail comes to Lynnwood in 2024 but it is going to be a long five years.

The trail behind Target was open (and even blown clear of leaves.)  The new underpass has a bike lane.  I don’t understand why it took eight months but now that it’s done it’s nice.

The bonus came where you take Filbert (SR 524) to get from Larch to Locust.  Since the last time I was there they’ve inserted two traffic circles – one before and one after the 405 underpass.  We’ll see how good oncoming traffic is about yielding to a bike in the roundabout, but this morning traffic was light and it worked really well.


New system going in on Burke-Gilman Trail will alert drivers to pedestrians, bicyclists
By: KIRO 7 News Staff

Updated: Oct 29, 2018 – 8:59 AM

A cutting-edge system is coming to one of the area’s most popular trails.

The goal is to alert drivers to pedestrians and bicyclists.

The new system, which will rely entirely on solar power, will be installed along the Burke-Gilman Trail next week.

University of Washington researchers will place smart sensors on light poles that will be exposed to the sun, so they can be powered independently and will function as a warning system for areas where the trail meets the road.

The reason for the system on the trail is borne out of other technology.

Warning systems for cars can often sense other cars but may not be able to sense pedestrians or cyclists on trails.

STAR Lab researchers from UW are going to put up the small solar-powered sensors, called “Smart Road Stickers,” to send safety warnings to both pedestrians and drivers via their cellphones, alerting them to one another.

The stickers will only detect cellphones that have the star labs detection app installed, but they also can communicate with vehicles. The app will send safety notifications on users’ phones and drivers will receive the alerts through their vehicles.


I got hit by a car on the Burke last week – traffic was stopped when I approached the fancy new crosswalk on Blakley so I proceeded and when I was in the middle of the crosswalk a woman in a blue van gunned her motor and ran right into me.  Since I was only a couple feet in front of her she didn’t have time to pick up much speed so I just got knocked down, bruised, and my front wheel got tacoed.

Somehow I don’t think a text on my phone would have made any difference…