Bike to a Better Tacoma Meet-up

Conversation around the map.

I found myself sat around the map. A natural gathering place I’m drawn to. Sitting in the Harmon Hub, to my right and opposite me are David and Ken, both local bike activists working with the city to create a bike-friendlier Tacoma. As we pour over the map we’re exchanging ideas, pointing to new routes, discussing issue areas. I learn a lot. I now know enough to brave venturing not just over the Narrows bridge but also beyond. They assure me that the roads over that way are going to be a lot more like the ones I miss from Madison.

The mention a few development points. A bike boulevard running north-south next to Yakima Ave, an extension to the Scott Pierson Trail that will connect to downtown (hopefully) & better bike access along Schuster Parkway (unlikely, but necessary). It’s fascinating seeing Tacoma from different eyes: new commute routes, shortcuts, and leisure rides. Apparently it’s “a lot better then it used to be,” but I find that that’s typically true of all of Tacoma.

Bike Valet Parking
Bike Valet Parking

I get a contact for a local morning group-ride. No luck with the Saturday AM Tacoma Bike ride, but one day I’ll just have to figure out my schedule and tag a long. A bit later we have a raffle and once again I’ll have to wait till next time to find my first win. Outside I pick up my bike from the Bike Valet Parking, provided for by REI and watched by the 2nd Cycle guys. Quite fancy.

Pereira Cycles
Spotted this custom-built Pereira touring frame on the way out. Very nice.

It wasn’t the public forum I was expecting, but the Meet-up was valuable all the same.

First Ride

The Battaglin at the end of the ride

After a few crazy months of searching for a house, moving into said house and dealing with winter, I finally got out for a ride. A short 17 miler along the water-front to Point Defiance and back. Started off well, I rode downhill, through downtown and got some speed up, quickly realising how much I had missed this. Last summer I was riding weekly around the lakes and in the countryside of Madison, WI and felt in very different shape.

Riding for pleasure is so different to commuting. Losing the backpack and not having a time crunch makes all the difference in the world! The straight along Rustin Way was a blast: I went as fast as I could into the wind (which is odd, because I’m pretty sure I rode into the wind on the way back too!). The climb up into Rustin proper was easier then I ever expected; my daily commute involves 2 decent hills, and this one was a pinch! As I started the loop around 5-Mile Drive in Point Defiance I caught up to a rider in his 50s on a Carbon Trek. He seemed to be struggling so I started conversation. He’d been really sick and had to quit work to get better. He started telling me about an expensive wind-breaker that he’d been holding out for, but finally decided to buy. Guess who makes it? Yup, Rapha! I replied by telling him that $200 is a lot in bike-parts. Not a concern for him – after all he has a few Treks with Dura-Ace & Record (bastard!). It was fun actually riding with someone for a change, but I had to drop him when he took a break for the restroom.

On the ride back I decided to tackle what is probably Tacoma’s steepest hill! It was so steep I couldn’t stop climbing to change down to my bottom gear – curse these downtube shifters! I made it home intact and checked my stats – an average of 16mph which is a notch higher then what I would regularly get in Wisconsin. And this is all on the heavier Battaglin. Can’t wait until I get the fork-shudder taken care of on the Gios!

Ride Map - 5/6/11
Ignore the first 4 miles – this was from a ride with Olivier a few weeks back.

For the full map with mile splits see: Ride Map

Tacoma Bike Swap This Saturday

Tacoma Bike Swap

From exit133.com

The 3rd annual Tacoma Bike Swap will be held on Saturday, April 30th from 10am to 2pm at the University of Puget Sound Memorial Fieldhouse, located on the corner of N. 11th and Union Avenue. This is a great event, with a wide range of bicycles and related merchandise. We’ve seen everything from 1970’s European road bikes to “tricked out” contraptions that wouldn’t look out of place in a music video. The swap draws individuals looking to sell a set of wheels and well-stocked bike shops.

We have been informed that there is still plenty of vendor space available, but the time to secure your space is now. You can find out more here. The organizers would like to remind you that if you’d like to sell 1 or 2 bikes, all you need to do is lock them to the corral at the venue with a tag informing potential buyers of your phone number.

Highlights of the Bike Swap include:

  • $7 adult and children’s helmets and free helmet fittings with Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital Center for Childhood Safety.
  • Free Intro to Bike Maintenance with REI at 11:30AM and 12:15PM.
  • Free flat repairs by Tacoma Bike
  • Bike registration in a national data base

Warmer weather is approaching, and you’re going to want to experience it on a bike. And don’t forget – Bike to Work Week is coming up fast!

The Tacoma Bike Swap is part of Bike Month 2011 and is a collaborative effort of the City of Tacoma, Pierce Transit and Pierce County. For more information, visit PierceTrips.com