Saturday, June 25, 2011

Seattle (Purget Sound) Tour - Day 1

Travel to Seattle and the bike rental went flawless. Neil from Montlake bicycle shop explained everything about the older Bike Friday and a brand spanking new NWT. Initially I thought the bike's gear ratio is a bit on the low side but after hitting a couple of San Fransisco style hills I'm glad about the gearing. I could even keep up somewhat with a buff commuter cyclist girl with clipless clip-on shoes or whatever you call them. So the bike must not be to slow. Of course some traffic lights where in my favor. The big thing that differs the Bike Friday from other bikes are the 20 inch wheels. On rough roads, especially with pot holes, you'll notice this. Handling is surprisingly good. I could even ride hands free without any difficulties. Tomorrow I'll get more experience with the bike, especially for long rides. Maybe I also get to see if the highest gearing is to low.

BTW, this Bike Friday has 3 speed internal hub in addition to 7 speeds.

BikeFriday loaded and ready to go

Seattle and the surrounding neighborhoods are really nice to ride. The trans urban trail is really great as most of it is fairly flat with the exception of a couple street crossing bridges. The highlight of course was when I zoomed down the street, passing the endless line cars waiting to get on the ferry. As stated in the tweets I got to ride all means of public transportation in one day: plane, train,bus, and boat. Now, is this something to brag about?

Drawbridge in Montlake

Ferry signs

Can you find my bike on the ferry?

The weather has been great. Overcast and cool. Now that I'm in Kingston the there are several light rain showers. Not to bad though, especially since I'm already at my destination.

The Blue Water Inn hotel is pretty is pretty much what i expected. The walls are pretty thin and you can hear your neighbors quite well. Now, why didn't i take earplugs along? They don't currently have any house keepers. So the owner lady has to do everything. The towels and pillow sheets weren't ready at check in. Now finally I got everything. The joy of business ownership.

Blue Water Inn in Kingston

I had dinner at the Main Street Ale House. I was occupying a table for myself alone as was another guy at the next table. The restaurant was full and he offered his table. With that I invited him over to my table. I even got a free drink from the restaurant owner. Little later he and his wife were joining us as they were hurriedly eating the fancy gourmet as if it was a quick meal at home. Did I mention the joy of business ownership? It turned out that the man was the father of the owner lady. I sat a wile with him and chatted. The food of the restaurant was great. A great place for an upscale meal and great beer. I had the hefeweizen. Two might have been a little much though.

Main Street Ale House in Kingston

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Seattle Tour & Bike Friday Test Ride

I'll be going to Seattle next week for work and as usual I'm trying to connect my work trip with some fun stuff.  This time I'll take the opportunity to test ride a Bike Friday folding bike on a 120+ miles tour around the Seattle bay area.

I'll be a wimp and won't be camping out but seek for more comfortable shelters this time.  So no camping and I'll carry only snacks.  The ride should be very neat.  Having three ferry rides how could it be otherwise? I'm excited about it.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Katy Trail - We gonna try it

Our family is doing an easy and enjoyable ride along the Katy Trail in Missouri. Due to the recent flooding and several trail closures it was questionable if we could make the ride.

After checking with the DNR and online river gauges it looks like we might be riding just between flooding periods. Apparently the reservoirs upriver are releasing excess waters and causing flooding but it looks like we will ride just ahead of the flooding. So it might be just like our 2002 bike ride along the Danube in Austria. A few weeks later they had major flooding. The only difference was that we weren't aware and worried about the flooding.

Our plan is to ride from Rocheport to Weldon Spring. We'll stay overnight in our little 4 person tent in Hartsburg, Portland and Marthaville. Oskar will ride with Melissa on the trail-a-bike and Heidi will be in the bicycle trailer.

Last night we started packing. It's the first time we are doing a totally self supported tour with the kids and Melissa was a little panicky. It's quite daunting since you don't have much space (sleeping bags and mats take a lot of space) and one wants to bring something along for all the worry. For example I successfully talked Melissa out of taking a tarp along to protect us from hail by stating that we can use the rigid foam pads of our kids for that.

I'll try to post some updates via twitter when we are on the road. So watch the space.