Riding on the Sidewalk

Like a hermit crab inhabiting shells of creatures that have expired or outgrown their old homes, my company moves every couple of years to new, slightly larger subleased space. This summer we moved to the Century Square building in downtown Seattle, which cut my commute down by the 3 often-harrowing blocks I used to traverse on Third Avenue. Third Avenue is filled with buses – in fact, it’s buses-and-bikes only during commute hours. Not the best combo.

But the move did raise a quandary: given all of the one-way streets, I still need to take Third for a block and make a left turn across all this bus traffic. Oh, and deal with Seattle’s most clueless pedestrians, who seem to congregate around Third and Pike and are forever shuffling out into the intersections. I tried it a few times, but sitting at the intersection with buses whizzing by me (there’s no protected left turn), waiting for a gap in both the opposing bus traffic and the tweakers ambling through the crosswalk didn’t feel like a viable and safe solution.

So now I ride on the sidewalk for the final block and half. That may seem like sacrilege, and I do get the occasional dirty look. This despite the fact that I try to ride at near-walking speed to keep it safe. And while sidewalk riding is not a good idea under most circumstances, it is in fact legal in Seattle. It’s still taking some getting used to, but all things considered it beats praying every day that I don’t get a bus up the tailpipe while waiting to turn off of Third.

Summertime, and the data is easy

Too much work and vacation; not enough posting. And not enough riding, either. Between business travel and family roadtrips, I’m lagging in my bike commuting goals. Last year I commuted 203 times, but this year I’m on pace for only about 180 days.

One interesting side effect of keeping data on my daily rides: I just noticed that I haven’t missed a commute for illness since last December. And looking further back, it turns out I’ve only missed two days in the last 2 years to colds.

Maybe there IS something to this bike-riding-is-healthy business I keep hearing about.