2010 is mostly behind me.

At the start of the year, I decided to mark a number on the calendar at the end of every Saturday. That number was the number of miles I'd ridden on a bike that week.

I just went through the calendar today and added up all of those numbers. Although the year isn't over yet, my year for bike riding is pretty close to being finished, since I'm leaving for Michigan on Thursday and I don't have a bike there.

The numbers told a story - weeks in which I had a lot of fun, versus weeks when I was sick, or weeks when I was on vacation, or doing fun stuff that (gasp) didn't involve riding a bike.

I didn't being this exercise with a goal in mind (what happens when I reach it? Do I sit on the couch for the rest of the year?)- more a sense of curiosity and the fact that since I don't have a bike computer, this is the only way for me to really know how far I've gone. How much road got left behind me this year.

May had the most miles, while June had the least, and despite my whiny cold-ridden self these past few days, December is right about in the middle of the pack, even though the month isn't even finished and I have three more days in which to squeeze out a two-wheeled protest against the winter rain and dark.

I'm not sure what I expected to learn from this practice at the start. It's been fun to put down a number every week. It's given me little goals to strive for, and let me be in competition with myself in a "yay, look what I can do" and not a "I suck for not doing more" kind of way, which is important for me.

So, in that spirit, I'll say that from January 1st, 2010 to December 20th, 2010, I rode 1,784 miles on three different bikes, and I had a fabulous time for almost every single one.

Who wants to go for a bike ride when I get back in January? There's a 2011 calendar up on the wall, all fresh and blank and ready to go, and I'm lucky enough to get to fill it.

pure joy!

I had a commute filled with happy this morning. It was all foggy and atmospheric!

Near the I-90 trail, I caught up with a woman riding a cargo tricycle, with three very cute children in it. As I passed, I said "Hey, nice school bus!" She said it was her minivan, and that she'd left the 4th kid at home.

The midpoint of the I-90 bridge itself, where it's floating on the water, was in a bank of fog, so it looked like I was riding right into the end of the world. It was beautiful and surreal, and the cars were going so slowly.

Upon arriving on Mercer Island, it was all decorated for Halloween! There were gold and orange leaves all over the bike path, and a huge flock of crows were there. I passed enormous, dewy spiderwebs hanging from the trees and bright red bushes.

And all the drivers were nice.

Bellevue, I was still so wrong about you.

My coworker was telling me the other day that Bellevue Way was a better way to get to our office than the way I was going. So I decided to try it this morning.

Again, I was pleasantly surprised. Allow me to elucidate, using two examples from this morning's commute.

Exhibit A: I'm going down 2nd avenue, in downtown Seattle. It's downhill, so I'm going pretty fast. Someone passes me and suddenly decides to turn right. With a screech of their tires, they cut in front of me to get into the parking garage that I'm going by, forcing me to brake to avoid them. It would have been easier and faster for them to stay behind me.

Exhibit B: I'm going up Bellevue Way, in downtown Bellevue. It's uphill, so I'm going kind of slow. Someone passes me and suddenly decides to turn right into a parking lot. He stops, puts his right turn signal on, and waves me by through the sunroof of his car. I holler "Thank you!" as I pass him on the right.

Conclusion: all the jerks come to Bellevue on the weekend. Judging by Sunday's ride, they all come in from Maltby.

Biking to downtown Bellevue for the first time...

... was surprisingly nice. You could knock me over with a feather.

I took I-90 over, and then went up 108th street in Bellevue. It's a super-quiet, super hilly street. Everyone passed me nicely. I even got waved at by someone who was waiting for me to pass so that they could turn left.

On the way home, there was a huge headwind on the 90 bridge that lasted until I got down from Capitol Hill.

And as an extra special bonus, at the end of my ride, someone passed me way too close about 2 blocks from my building. And they turned up and into my building's parking garage!

They were an elderly couple, a man and a woman (a very large proportion of the folks in my building are retirees), and the man struck up a conversation with me.

"It's a whole new world out there, you know, with so many bikes on the road." I didn't know what he meant at first, but then he went on to say "I passed a lady a few blocks from here, and she was taking up the whole lane! Is there a reason for that?"

Me: "That was me! It was because cars are parked on the side of the road and people pull out and open their doors without looking."

Him: "How'd you get here so fast! And thank you for explaining that to me."


Major League Soccer

I just saw Seattle's first Major League Soccer game.

It was freakin' awesome. And not just because the game was sold out and we beat the crap out of New York. It was also awesome because:

a) our soccer team has a marching band

b) The band led a parade TO THE STADIUM, which a couple thousand people took part in

c) There were a multitude of taco trucks parked outside the stadium, allowing me to have a very nice dinner. I actually had a torta, while Eldan chose tacos pollos from "Taco Gol".

d) the security folks didn't find my hip flask

e) beer in sight of the pitch!

f) a loud, enthusiastic audience, doing every soccer-related variety of yelling that I can think of, along with the marching band

g) Ridiculous amounts of confetti, fireworks, and flag-waving for each of the THREE GOALS we scored.

I could get used to this.

weirdest ride ever

Today, I rode bikes with Eldan and Stef. The plan was to start at our house, ride around Alki to the West Seattle ferry, take that to Southworth, ride from there to Port Orchard, take the passenger ferry from Port Orchard to Bremerton, and then the Bremerton-Seattle ferry home.

Everything went according to plan for the first half of the ride. West Seattle was windy and overcast, but not unpleasant, and there weren't that many people out. The ferry ride was gorgeous. Southworth was lovely, and we saw some great views, and a few places where the road apparently gets submerged at low tide sometimes. There were hardly any cars anywhere.

Then we got to Manchester.

Eldan had mapped out a detour that gave us a "little climb" instead of going through Manchester on its main road, which he thought might be a little busy.

It turned out that this little climb actually ascends 300 feet in the space of about 4 blocks. I felt awesome, because I made it up, and had to rest for a good 5 minutes in order to not puke. A guy in a big shiny pickup waved at us for even being up there.

Google maps had given us a plausible way down, through a subdivision that was named for the states. We were supposed to go down Nevada St., which would hook back up with Beach Drive, and we could continue on our merry way.

The first 4x4 that we saw roar down Nevada St. should have given us some indication that the construction on it hadn't been finished yet. We decided to try some impromptu mountain biking, mostly because we didn't know what else to do, and it looked like fun. It was fun. It was incredible amounts of fun, but no such fun is complete with out a comedic pratfall, which I ended up taking when I decided to move out of a rut with 3 inches of mud in it to a more packed down part of the "road".

Falling over would have been extremely hilarious if I hadn't hit my crotch on the top tube of my bike. As it was, it was only mildly hilarious.

We made it down to Beach Drive, and continued on, when I saw something that I'd never seen before outside of a zoo. Camels.

After gawking at the camels, we continued on towards Port Orchard. I didn't like Port Orchard. My dislike stems from the fact that while we were on a part of the road with no shoulder, someone decided to shout "JUST RUN THEM OVER" at some cars that had gotten stuck behind us. That and the fact that the passenger ferry to Bremerton doesn't run on Sundays, which we had no idea about.

In the absence of a passenger ferry between Port Orchard and Bremerton, the alternative is to ride your bike to Bremerton. On the shoulder of the expressway. It was actually only about as scary than riding in Port Orchard, and there were some nice workarounds that made it a lot easier. Still, I wouldn't want to do it again - there's just something about cars and debris going along next to me at upwards of 60 mph that makes me wish I had a full-face helmet, or a car.

We finally got to Bremerton, which had a host of confusing detours, and had some tacos at a Chinese restaurant that was masquerading as a Mexican one. Or maybe it was the other way around. Whatever, it was cold and starting to drizzle a little, so I was just glad to be off the expressway and heading home.

Don't mistake this post for too much complaining, though. It was still a fun day, but it was probably the best worst bike ride ever. I feel good, I got to ride my bike around, and my crotch doesn't hurt too badly at the moment.