After running a few errands on foot yesterday afternoon, I wandered my way through the neighborhood on my return trip home. I was making my way past a popular playground park when I spotted this:
This, my friends, is a Spin bike.
Spin is one of two private bike share companies (the other is LimeBike) that launched services in Seattle this month. They’re easy to identify: Spin bikes are bright orange and LimeBikes are bright green/yellow. Both bikes are equipped with front baskets, kickstands and locking devices.
You need a smart phone to download an app and a credit/debit card to use either bike share. The apps help you locate nearby bikes, unlock them and pay for your ride ($1 for thirty minutes). This screenshot shows the distribution of Spin bikes in West Seattle at this moment. As you can see, most of them are clustered along the waterfront.
I had downloaded both apps earlier this week in anticipation of trying out these bikes, so I was ready to ride when I discovered the Spin bike at the park. I scanned the barcode to unlock the bike, paid for my ride and took off for a test ride. My ride lasted for about twenty minutes and here are my quick observations:
- The bike is easy to use but the 3-speed gearing isn’t low enough for Seattle hills. Spin is aware of this and promises lower gears on its next round of bikes in the city.
- I like the convenience of parking the bike almost anywhere at the end of my ride (public bike racks or on the sidewalk out of the way of pedestrian traffic).
- With good citywide coverage, these bikes will make good options for spontaneous short trips.
- Downside: Not everyone has smart phones or credit/debit cards in order to use the system.
- Downside: Unless you travel with bike helmet in tow, you’ll probably violate our local helmet law when you ride of these bikes.
Will I take a spin with Spin again? You bet. I’m also looking forward to trying out a LimeBike soon.
In urban, traffic-gridlocked Seattle many folks (me included) often opt to move around the city by bike.
The Fremont Bridge, a drawbridge spanning the Lake Washington Ship Canal, is a bicycle thoroughfare. It links Fremont and other North Seattle neighborhoods to Queen Anne, South Lake Union and downtown. It connects the Burke-Gilman Trail, which parallels the waterway’s north shoreline, to the South Ship Canal and South Lake Union Trails on the other side.
Yesterday there were 4,525 bike trips across the Fremont Bridge. Yes, you read that number correctly. In 2016, people on bikes crossed this bridge 981,908 times. That’s nearly a million bike trips across this bridge!
Riding a bike can be meditative. The rhythmic revolution of each pedal stroke and steady breathing can help clear your mind and put you in the present.
It feels natural then to make a short pilgrimage to the bicycle prayer wheel in Nord Alley. The wheel is mounted outside Back Alley Bike Repair and is available 24/7 for spinning prayers and good thoughts.
Today Mother Nature gave us a snow day in Seattle. It was a much needed respite from the political havoc that has descended upon this nation since the transition to a Republican administration.
For at least a few hours, many Seattleites opted to shun news, social media and work to play in the snow. Instead of turning on the morning news programs, we walked through neighborhoods blanketed with snow. We tuned out the tweets in favor of building snowmen. We took a day off work to sled with our kids.
For those who eschew winter, the snow day was a perfect time to ignore current events and cozy up to a fire. We used the down time to catch up on some reading or finish a knitting project. It was a chance to watch a movie that we added to our Netflix list months ago.
Thanks, Mother Nature. We really needed this break today. Tomorrow will be a new day.
We live in a society that values productivity and achieving goals. Work hard, play hard. Worthy attainments, yes. But sometimes overrated in my opinion.
My idea of a full and productive life includes ample amounts of unplanned time. This free time allows me to be spontaneous in joining friends at the last minute for an activity, or it’s a time to chill, or it can be used to wander and wonder.
I frequently opt to wander and wonder. These aimless rambles are on foot or by bike, and are often in my neighborhood or an easy bus ride away. They typically involve exploring streets, paths and alleys in search of the interesting, unusual, odd or beautiful gem. And they always include a pause to take in my surroundings, reflect, and wonder.
I went on an aimless bike ride on Sunday, rolling down the hill to a waterfront park. To my surprise, it was low tide–reason enough to pause, sit, and take in the Puget Sound views. Continue reading
You can usually find me in the mountains on a warm sunny weekend, but not this past one. Home projects kept me in town. I took a break from house painting Sunday afternoon to explore Alki beach at low tide.
Sunday’s low tide at Alki was -3.2 feet, making it possible to walk around the lighthouse point, peek into tide pools and discover aquatic gems usually hidden by Puget Sound waters. It’s a reminder that some of the best things in life are right in my neighborhood.