Trees on Lake Washington
It’s been quite some time since my last point and while there is a backlog of things I should have put some work into there hasn’t been much of interest going on. The winter doldrums perhaps, hindering rides and blogging past glories. There are a couple of events that happened at the tail end of 2013 that I should revisit: we shall see. Anyway the weather this winter has been pretty… variable, running from sub-freezing, clear days in January, to a couple of days of light snow to the more recent couple of weeks of rain and wind. The general malaise and this weather has kept me indoors even when I’ve been aching for ride. So this weekend I finally just bit bullet and headed out on Sunday a bit after noon (happy that the days are getting long enough that one can leave 12:30-ish, put in a 4-5 hour ride and be home before dark). Since it was close to lunch time I’d packed a lunch and rode to Luther-Burbank Park on Mercer Island for a winter picnic.
View from my picnic table
It had rained a bit early, but when I set out it was just a fine mist. That didn’t last and by the time I reached the park it was drizzling. I found a picnic table with one end under a tree and had my lunch. I then took pictures of the lake and my bicycle before I set out. These pictures were the only ones I took on this ride. I had decided that I wanted to ride on May Valley Road which heads east through suburbia and then farmland around Cougar Mountain. It intersects with the Issaquah-Hobart Road which rides between Cougar and Tiger Mountain into Issaquah. From there it is the I-90 “trail” (mostly on roads at this juncture) back to the I-90 Bridge where it returns to being a trail and I close my loop. This map is pretty much my route except that I started/ended a a couple miles west of Leschi.
More or less my route
It was raining pretty steadily when I left the park and it pretty much rained for the rest of my ride. It increased and decreased in intensity but it was pretty much steady rain the whole time. I got pretty soaked due to waiting overly long before putting on my rain gear. May Valley Road is really beautiful in the summer as it descends out of the Newport hills into farmland but was pretty bleak in the winter. It was really flooded in the farmland in the valley center and while there are signs of spring everywhere (cherry trees, bulbs sprouting up and so on) it was pretty dreary. Interestingly all the various parks and trailheads I passed were packed with people – it’s reached that part of winter when people long to be out of doors. The roads were a lot more trafficked than I expected. I guess it’s used as a way to get from around Issaquah to around Renton bypassing I-90. But kind of unfortunate. Anyway what with the rain and such I pretty much only stopped once post-lunch and I never did take out my camera again.
Atlantis in the rain
One last thing worth noting is the updates to the Atlantis since I last posted. At the front of the bicycle you can see my new Busch & Muller Luxus-U LED light. I completely redid the wiring when I put this on, running the heavy duty Schmidt cable to my rear light. I have to say the light lives up to the hype and while I haven’t tested out the recharging aspect I expect that to work well. Thus this will be the third and hopefully the last charging system I’ve set up. The light is nice and bright and it’s integrated battery really is a nice feature. The light and taillight turn right on with even minimal movement and the stand light is of course appreciated. The only downside is that the wire on the attached switch/USB port is too short to reach from the front of the rack to the h’bars. I’ve got it mounted on my front basket which is okay, but really that should have been something one could get in different lengths.
On the rear of the bicycle is a new saddlebag courtesy of Rivendell: a medium Sackville SaddleSack. My previous saddlebag is in need of some repair and since I need it for commuting I picked up this one. This is the third saddlebag I’ve gotten from Rivendell in this size range and I have to say it’s gotten better each time. Their bags are improved in every iteration based on the usage of a group of riders who use them daily. I’ve only had this a couple of weeks now but I’m pretty pleased with it.
A few more pics from this ride can be found here: Rainy Ride