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A Quick (beam) Update

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014
A Sunday Ramble - Quickbeam
 A Quickbeam in the grass, alas

It’s been some time since I’ve done much riding on the Quickbeam. The winter months were much more suited toward the Atlantis what with it’s generator light, fat durable tires and ability to carry multiple extra layers of clothes.  Also while I’ve done the commute on the Quickbeam, climbing Capitol Hill isn’t really a good time on the single speed. Doable, but not going to make my top ten rides.  Also I feel I gave the drop bars a shot and while they were fine they didn’t blow my skirt up.  After ages of hearing Albatross handlebars talked up I decided that I was going to switch the ‘beam over to them.  I’d gotten the h’bars, stem, grips, brakes from Riv months ago and was just slacking on doing the work.  Well last weekend I finally did it.

A Sunday Ramble - Quickbeam in front of pool
 Quickbeam at Volunteer Park

Along with the the Handlebar changes I also put on a Nitto R-12 saddlebag support which you can sort of see in the above photo. You can see a bit of the rubber coated clamps on the frame and a bit of the stainless steel hoop. Follow the link if you want to see what this actually looks like.  I have to say it does the job – the pictured saddlebag was brushing the fender when I loaded it up and clearly it is kept away from that now.  After putting on these items, adjusting the brakes I headed out for a test ride.

A Sunday Ramble - Glorious cherry tree
 Glorious cherry tree

I road across Capitol Hill, to Volunteer Park which I rambled around taking pictures. I started off with the bars quite high on the ‘beam and stopped to adjust them several times. I’ll probably lower them a bit more and maybe experiment with the angle on them. I have to say the Albatross bars and the super upright position took some getting used to. I already prefer it to the drops I had on there, but so far mustache bars remain my favorite. I’ll give the Alba’s a good long shot though and see if I can’t get the perfect rambling bicycle going.

A Sunday Ramble - Carved whale fin sculpture with Quickbeam
Carved whale fin sculpture with Quickbeam

It really was a nice sunny, warm sunday afternoon, nice enough that after rambling around the park, I went out for Gellato. Then I headed back toward my apartment with a stop at a little (unnamed afaik) corner park near the Capitol Hill Juvenile Detention Center. At this park, which seems to be mostly a dog walkers park, there is the pictured carved whale fin sculpture rising out of the ground like an Orca just below the ocean surface. I live just a few blocks from here and as it was already cooling down as the sun sank below the cityscape I returned home.

More pictures from today’s ramble: A Sunday Ramble
More pictures of my Quickbeam: Quickbeam Set

The Current Commute

Sunday, November 10th, 2013

Commute 2013: Murals on the Capitol Hill light rail station project

Mural on the walls surrounding the Capitol Hill light rail station project

Since I’m back in the workforce and commuting daily it seems apropos to document my current commute. This will differ significantly from my previous commutes in Woodinville and Kirkland in that I am now right in the heart of the major city of city. A completely urban commute in contrast to my previous suburban routes.  It is the shortest of the commute routes I’ve had at around 4.5 miles but is certainly the most hilly with a big climb up Capitol Hill on my ride home every day.

Commute 2013: On 12th Ave in front of my Apt.

 On 12th Ave in front of my Apt, across from Seattle University

My route begins on 12th Ave, right across from Seattle University. From my dwelling place on the First Hill/Central District/Capitol Hill boundary it’s just a few blocks north to the Pike/Pine corridor in the core of Capitol Hill. I stuck with 12th for a few more blocks when I first started this commute, but construction that has extended beyond the sidewalk and into the road has led to my taking a short jog on Pine and continuing north on 11th.

Commute 2013: On 11th east of Cal Anderson Park

On 11th east of Cal Anderson Park

This change takes me around the east and norther edges of Cal Anderson Park which in the summer was filled with people camping – both genuine and the recreationally homeless. Now it is only the genuinely homeless and people in transition living out of their cars. This is city life but it is a daily reminder of the true economic realities we live in.

Commute 2013: On 10th next to the future Capitol Hill light rail station

On 10th next to the future Capitol Hill light rail stationt

On the northern edge of the park there is an entire block behind a temporary wooden wall covered with quaint murals from local artists. This is the future site of the Capitol Hill light rail station; a project which can’t get wrapped up soon enough in my opinion.  I’m commuting from Capitol Hill to the U-District and the light rail will cover the route.  This will be a nice option for icy days (typically the only weather I won’t commute in) but with a 2016 completion date who knows where I’ll be living and what job I’ll be working.

Commute 2013: On 10th, staying east of Broadway

On 10th, staying east of Broadway

I wend through Capitol Hill neighborhoods basically paralleling the more heavily trafficked route on Broadway  Mostly uncontrolled intersections in these areas with roundabouts. I have seen shocking amounts of poor round-about usage, sometimes clearly deliberately but much more often deriving from confusion.  This only makes one less confident in the drivers around you.

Commute 2013: Heading down Capitol Hill

Heading down Capitol Hill

Eventually the road quality becomes so poor that it is preferable to jump onto the more busy 10th for a spell including the epic descent from Capitol Hill.  No actual pictures from the descent as this is a busy route with plenty of parked cars, intersections and traffic to keep an eye on.  This will certainly be a major hazard on any potentially icy/snowy days – it is already a bit sketchy on just rainy days.

Commute 2013: A brief respite from the busy roads on the now side road of Broadway

A brief respite from the busy roads on the now side road of Broadway

The Hill is descended in two steps with a brief jog on Roanoak which is even briefer for the bicycler and one can turn off at Broadway next to Roanoak Park and cut through residential streets. Eventually though it’s back to major streets for the descent down to the University Bridge. I do take another jog here to cut out some lights and the traffic but it’s pretty much all major roads from here on out.

Commute 2013: Descending to the University Bridge. I-5 to the left

Descending to the University Bridge. I-5 to the left

Crossing the University Bridge one is now in the University District dominated by the University of Washington. The bridge dumps you right on to Roosevelt which is one way in each direction separated by a block. An exit off of Roosevelt to two separate feeder streets almost right off the bridge is one of the more dangerous bits of the commute. Otherwise from here it is a gentle climb up into the District Proper.

Commute 2013:  University Bridge

Descending to the University Bridge. I-5 to the left

Commute 2013: Looking east from the University Bridge

Looking east from the University Bridge

My place of work is actually on University Ave so I make my way north and east as I go. At first I’m riding through neighborhoods of student housing and apartments that cater to students. This gives away to merchants and other community services.  This is an older area of the city but with plenty of recent and in-progress construction. Crowded with students from all over the world it has  a very cosmopolitain yet transitory character.  A nice location to work as it is packed with places to eat and drink and such resources that students may find valuable such as book and records stores.

Commute 2013 - The end of my route. Just past the light on the right is my building.

The end of my route. Just past the light on the right is my building.

So that’s my current commute; highly urban but with some really nice stretches.  If interested I’ve got a few more photos from the commute in this Flickr Set: 2013 Commute.