Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Fall couldn't come sooner

Peace to Mary Rose

The summer came and went without making much noise, but for the Night Riders, the lack of sunshine wasn't the worst part.

In the order with which they occurred over the past three weeks: Handsome Jack's cancer came roaring back to life, Mr. Q face-planted and seriously damaged his grill and doesn't have health insurance to help pay for the repair of his face, and now the unthinkable, tragedy beyond understanding, has struck Jeremiah's immediate family.

Fall begins Friday. This summer can't end fast enough.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Bad medicine in Tukwila

bad luck may look like fun, but it sucks

Posted 10:11 p.m.

TUKWILA, Green River Trail -- Rain was a bad omen. Wrecks n effect in tukwila. First jeremiah dumps his bike. Then mr. Q struck a random, unflagged bollard at cecil moses park. Chipped two three four teeth. Harborview  ER. Son of a bitch.

UPDATE: 2:23 a.m.

It began raining when we left Magnolia. By the time we hit downtown we were pretty well soaked. We launched early, 7:20 p.m., to make sure we could make it all the way to Auburn and not have to turn around, like last time. The ride is about 60 miles.

The bad luck started when Jeremiah fell behind. Mr. Q turned around to check on him.

Turns out we had left him far behind, and while standing in the saddle and looking for us, he rode off a curb at 27th Ave. S and S 102nd St., dropping his bike. No injuries, but kinked his handlebars.

Mr. Q found him, and not seeing headlights for a while, I turned around and found Mr. Q digging for his tools. Jeremiah got his bars straight. Rather than have us wait for him to repack his bag, Mr. Q told us to start without him, he would catch up.

At this point we had started the Green River Trail, no street lights on 27th Ave. Jeremiah and I broke off and made it across the first bridge. Jeremiah held back to wait for Mr. Q. He never showed up.

At about 9 p.m. -- visibility poor, headwind and rain -- Mr. Q was about to enter Cecil Moses Memorial Park when he encountered shifting problems. He looked down at his drive train. At that moment he approached a bollard in the middle of the trail, bifurcating the path for two-way traffic, but did not see it.

Here is an example of what a bollard looks like.
The quick release cap and left blade of Mr. Q's fork struck the bollard. The handlebars cranked hard left.* Mr. Q was flung face first toward the pavement. The impact chipped three four of his front teeth. He was able to recover one part of a tooth. We were unable to find any more pieces.

Beth drove down and picked him up, took him to Harborview. Received a text at 12:42 a.m. that he was waiting to be x-rayed.

After Beth and Mr. Q left, Jeremiah and I hung around a park shelter. A cop showed up to check the restrooms, but he was cool (sheriff's deputy, not city of Tukwila cop). We rode straight home. To make it more of a bitch, it had stopped raining. Final mileage was about 28 miles. Mr. Q's wreck occurred half way to our destination.

UPDATE: Sunday

Mr. Q got out of the hospital at about 4:30 a.m. No broken bones, but four teeth damaged and his knee is messed up. He said the pain isn't bad.

*White paint transfer from the bollard was observed on the fork. The skewer cap, in pieces, was found in the middle of the path. Handlebar tape on the right drop was torn and scuffed.

Hurray for the Ship Canal Trail!

blue dots are proposed trail, red line is dead man's curve

A new stretch of bike trail to be finished in the coming months will connect the Ship Canal Trail to the Elliot Bay Trail, closing a crucial gap in (north) Seattle's bike infrastructure.

For those Night Riders who know too well "Dead Man's Curve" (otherwise known as the Nickerson/15th Avenue West Ramp to southbound 15th Avenue West, see red line on map above) this tiny stretch of trail is glorious news. Among the north end's most pressing problems -- the Ballard Bridge -- this is up there.

Dead Man's Curve will be closed for a month to secure the wall above the future bike trail, which means cyclists will have to take a somewhat dodgier route to get to Magnolia and beyond. (See green arrows for suggested route)

Something the union's Engineering Committee discussed in its analysis of bike infrastructure published last year, the influential Grape Swisher Report, is that the completion of the trail means more users and more users using the road that runs by Fisherman's Terminal, W Emerson Place, to connect the Elliot Bay Trail.

The little stretch of road has a short, but steep, incline over the BNSF mainline to a four-way stop at Gilman Avenue. It also is narrow, rough, and sees many engines gunning.

This could end up being a weird little bottleneck for southbound riders, especially not especially strong riders. Quite a bit of industrial traffic uses that road, as well as a lot of office workers. At rush hour the place is a mess. Add to that it is one of only three arterial roads in and out of Magnolia, this piece of road might start to totally suck.

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Mean Streets of Seattle

The Ave and Campus Parkway
Twelve people in Washington have been killed while riding bikes so far this year.

The most recent deaths were last weekend, two, one outside Port Angeles and another just a few blocks from here.

The average is 10 a year.

I'm curious, though, about how many more are seriously injured. So far this year I have seen two downed cyclists, alive but laid the fuck out. One back in June, and another in August, on Ravenna Boulevard. No cars appeared to be involved in that one.

Two in one year seems like a lot for one person to see.

Friday, September 2, 2011