Sunday, April 3, 2016

Not a Yellow Brick Road, But a New Bridge in the Emerald City!

We're off to see the Wizard! In this case, the Wizard being the new 520 bridge across Lake Washington. Debbie and I went to Seattle to do the Emerald City Bike Ride today. The weather was perfect. 

We arrived at Husky Stadium at about 7:00. Our plan was to get ready, ride over to the start, get our t-shirts, and bring them back to the car before starting the ride. When we got over to the start, I took one look at the huge crowd, and decided we would wait until the end to get our shirts.
The shirts were on the other side of the crowd at the green tents.

Instead, we joined the throng of people waiting to go in the next wave. There were a lot of people, and a bunch had already gone! I saw ride numbers as high as the upper 6000s. Okay, not as many as the STP, but still a lot of riders, and a lot of kids too. Afterall, the longest option was only 20 miles. And some people only did the bridge part. 
No kidding!

We slowly advanced up to the start. Then, once we got the go ahead...we slowly walked our bikes up to Montlake. Then we continued to walk toward the Montlake Bridge. It was beginning to look like it was a bike walk rather than a bike ride. When we got to the Montlake bridge, a guy stopped us to allow some space saying, "We need to get you riding." Hallelujah to that!
Waiting to cross Montlake. Those people coming the other direction had already been across the bridge.

They had put carpet on the grated bridge deck, which was kind of weird to ride on, but at least we were riding! After Montlake we turned to get on the 520 bridge. 
For awhile we were on the old 520. Then we crossed to the new bridge.
New 520!

The route simply went across the bridge, then turned around and came back. 
Debbie riding on the new 520 bridge.
What a great day!
At the turn around. Note the cluster of people. Everyone was taking tons of photos. I took this one of Debbie and I. 

Then we rode back across the bridge. We saw all kinds of bikes! I saw more Bike Fridays than I've ever seen (even in Eugene where they are made)! There was every type of cargo bike and trailer/tag along with lots of kids. Even a kid on his balance bike (that was going to be a long haul for the little guy). We also saw several "unicorns". Actually, they were unicycles, but Debbie called them Unicorns so...why not! From then on, I made sure to point out all the "unicorns".

When we got back to the Montlake bridge, there was another bottleneck, as there was no carpet on that side of the bridge deck, so people were walking. We got back to riding just after the bridge. Next we rode over to the 7th street entrance to the I-5 Express Lanes. Yep, we had the entire Express Lanes South to ourselves!

Although it was very loud with the traffic above us and beside us, the novelty of riding in the middle of the freeway was very fun! 

We exited into the International District and came to the one rest stop of the route. They had a variety of snacky stuff including something they called "cream puffs". When you think of cream puffs, you think of something sweet, right? You expect to bite into this little puff of pastry, and experience sweet cream filling (hence the name "cream puff"). Sweet these were not. I believe, instead of sweet cream, they were filled with something along the lines of a soft cheese. Now, that's not to say they tasted bad, it's just the expectation was something sweet. Fortunately, the chocolate croissants were actually chocolate croissants. The fortune cookies were a nice bonus too. I think they were specially made for the ride as my fortune was something about many miles and snacks.

After the rest stop, we went up toward Amazon to get onto the Mountains to Sound Greenway. I was on this on my last day of my tour last summer. We rode through the I-90 bike tunnel, and then got onto Lake Washington Blvd. We went along the lake in the reverse of the STP.
Lake Washington.
Warm enough to take the jacket off!

We went up through the Arboretum, and back across the Montlake bridge (for the third time) to the finish.
We're baaaack!

We got our t-shirts, and tried some nasty probiotic drink stuff (seriously, it was yucky--the cream puffs that weren't cream puffs were better). Then, we went back to the car where we ditched our t-shirts and ride numbers before setting off to ride Burke-Gilman Trail north to Kenmore (because, 20 miles is not enough on such a nice day in the Emerald City). We rode as far as the Sammamish Greenway Golf Course before turning around and heading back (about an hour out and an hour back).
Burke-Gilman Trail.

We went to U-Village for some lunch and a little shopping around, then headed for home. It was a great day for a bike ride in the Emerald City (even if there wasn't a yellow brick road)!

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