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T minus one day: The warm-up ride

Every cross-country bike ride needs photos at the Atlantic and the Pacific. That’s just how it is.

Despite having taken at least 10 trips to Seattle in my life, today was my first time actually touring the city on bike. In honor of the occasion, I decided to follow the Burke-Gilman trail out to Golden Gardens Park along Puget Sound so I could officially start my ride from the Pacific. It’s supposedly customary to dip one’s bike in the water, but as you may notice from the red sign at the left, the water is currently off limits. I was told it was due to raw sewage discharge.

Of course, my day didn’t start with Golden Gardens. My original plan had been to do this ride tomorrow and start the big ride on Saturday. But I had gotten my bike back from the shop a day early, I was getting a bit antsy, and the forecast for thunderstorms Friday afternoon had been canceled. So after getting in touch with the friends I’m planning to see in Eastern Washington and confirming that they were free to see me a day sooner, I decided to move everything up a day. So far so good. But somewhere along the way on today’s ride, I noticed that I didn’t have a headlight on my bike. This was rather disconcerting, since the light had been there when I’d had the bike disassembled. So I went back to the bike shop that had reassembled it. Fortunately they still had the box, and lo and behold my headlight was sitting at the bottom of the box. All’s well that ends well, but it did take a bit of a bite out of my day.

As a result, I was only able to make a couple of stops en route to Golden Gardens. First up was Gas Works Park, which is popular with locals but generally unknown to tourists, and which has great views of downtown Seattle across Lake Union.

It also features the rusty old gas works for which the park is named.

Being short on time I had to skip right past the Fremont Troll without paying my respects. So instead I continued straight along the trail to Ballard and hit my only brewery of the day, Lucky Envelope.

It’s really hard to go wrong with any of the beers here, and the colorful flight pictured includes the raspberry sour, the grapefruit mosaic IPA, the peanut butter cream stout, and the two pepper pale ale (featuring habanero and shishito peppers). My only complaint is regarding the grapefruit IPA, because mosaic hops are just not my thing. When I mentioned this to the bartender and said I was more of a Citra kind of guy, she very nicely gave me a taste of their upcoming Citra Haze IPA, which should be released in the next few days. Definitely more my thing.

Following the trip to Golden Gardens, I headed downtown to meet up with my friend Mike. I was a bit leery about the safety of my bike downtown, but it remained unmolested. At least, it was unmolested until after a couple of beers, when Mike decided he wanted to commandeer it.

Somehow in the course of riding my bike, he managed to reset my odometer! I therefore don’t actually know how far I biked today or what speed I was going, other than I did roughly 30 miles. All told, a pretty good day. I even got to say goodbye to my cousin’s adorable (and chatty!) 5- and 2-year-old daughters.

Due to my compressed schedule, I didn’t get to check out as many breweries as I would have liked, but I get to Seattle often enough that I’m sure there will be other opportunities. In the meantime I’m off to sleep for a few hours before I head out at first light!

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