Sunday, January 28, 2007

Critical Mass conquers the Alaskan Way Viaduct!!

The showing at this month's Mass (on 1/26/07) was larger than I expected, definitely more than 150 people in cold and dark (but dry) weather. I hadn't gone to 'mass' in a few months, but I finally made it to one. It was a good crowd, as usual - there were even two boom-boxes this time.

We started off with the usual random snaking route through downtown, including the usual stop in the Seattle Center, under the Space Needle. (not sure why we go there since there's no cars but...)

About halfway thru we started to go up the entrace ramp to the Alaskan Way Viaduct, so I knew this was gonna be interesting.. (For those of you not blessed to be in Seattle, the Viaduct is a two-level freeway going thru downtown Seattle. It's not somewhere you can ride a bicycle). We had to wait a few minutes to re-group, and after about five minutes we moved forward, into 50+ mile-an-hour traffic!!

(sidenote: there was a guy who RAN along with us for the whole route, even on the Viaduct!)

The running man ran out in front of a car and signaled for it to slow down, which it did. Then we (the cyclists) took up the 4+ lanes for about a half-mile, exiting at about the stadiums. It was an exhilarating ride, not a place that any bikes usualy go. We ruled it!

Route saved at the mapping site.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

everyone's on a fixie these days, but what city loves 'em the most?

using google trends you can see how many people are googling 'fixed gear' versus 'single speed' - apparently 'single speed' gets more searches, and the term has apparently been in google's 'lexicon' longer than 'fixed gear'.

top three cities that google 'fixed gear':

1) portland, or
2) renton (just south of seattle), wa
3) madison, wi

i had no idea madison was a fixie city, but it must be. portland and seattle are no surprise.

as a side-note, when comparing 'bicycle, cycling, and bike', bike is the clear winner.

Friday, January 19, 2007

The Holy Grail of Bicycle Mapping features seems to have implemented a feature that no other mapping-site (that I'm aware of) has: follow the road for you.

Meaning that if you click at one end of a curvy road, and then click a few miles away on the same road, the site will draw all of the points in between for you! This is the coolest thing since the Google Map came out itself..

I believe this is done by setting the Google Maps API to output = KML, but from what I've heard this is against the Google Terms of Service. I might just give it a shot on and see what happens tho...

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Hills of Seattle - gotta love 'em

After a few years riding in Seattle, one either begins to love or hate the hills. At some point you just have to embrace them, and just keep riding. I'm starting to love 'em, although on a fixed gear some of the grades (10%+) are a bit much.

Since I've come to love the hills we've got, a friend and I are planning a ride over the five largest hills in Seattle: Queene Anne, West Seattle (Delridge), Beacon Hill, Capitol Hill, and Phinney Ridge.

So far we've done four in one ride, it was about 32 miles in total - route map here:

Here's the elevation graph (starts/ends on Capitol Hill, goes in the order listed above, minus Phinney)


  • Min elevation: 4.9 ft
  • Max elevation: 518 ft
  • Total gain: ~2300 ft
  • Total dist: 32.2 miles
  • Hardest part so far: Othello St going up to Delridge (!)
Once we add Phinney in there it should be about 2500 feet! Not bad for riding around in one city...

Eventually I'll graduate from doing climbs of 500 feet to thousands of feet at once, such as going over Snoqualmie Pass (~3k feet I think)... but we'll get to that later.