WEEKEND RIDE REPORT: SOJOURN TO UW

The Wee-Man and I took a nice little bike tour of the University of Washington campus last weekend, an outing that I highly recommend. Since we come from Des Moines in the south end, we biked up to the Seatac Airport Sound Transit light rail station (app. 4 miles) and rode it to the end of the line to arrive at the campus.

I must say that the city of Des Moines has done a reasonable job of building in bike lanes on most every street. Pacific Highway/Intl. Blvd. leaves a lot to be desired, however. There is plenty of real estate available to at least paint in a lane, and with 45+ mph driving, it’s quite nerve-racking staying on the road, particularly with a kid. However, once the new Angle Lake light rail station is completed (end of this summer?), there will be a much better route to do this. Unless they build in a trail, we’ll still have to jog up Pac. Hwy. from 208th to about a block before 200th where a road is being built that leads right to the south platform, but this is better than navigating all of Pac. Hwy to the airport station. I imagine the new road will be for transit to enter, so we’ll see what it’s like when it’s actually opened.

We got on at Seatac and rode to the end of the line and had a chance to admire the new UW light rail station. It is particularly bike friendly with a plethora of bike parking and a nice ramp to the foot/bike bridge that crosses Montlake Blvd. and links right into the Burke Gilman Trail.

Riding around UW campus and on the Burke Gilman Trail is a lot of fun, particularly on a weekend when there is not a lot of foot or automobile traffic. It is a great way to tour the campus if you don’t frequent it very often. There are fewer places more cycling friendly than here, and there is even a bike parking station that features a built in pump and a variety of tools! It is just on the NW side of Kane Hall. I have never seen a station like this before, but hopefully other campuses and cities will follow this example.

Once we saw all of the campus, we rode up University Way to find a place to eat dinner, of which there are many options. Riding the Ave was refreshingly straight forward for a relatively busy street. There are bike traffic markings and speeds are relatively slow with the many intersections. Several bike parking stations are available along the way. 45th is a completely different story, and not a route I necessarily recommend, particularly with the availability of the trail just blocks to the south.

For dinner, we settled on Cedars Restaurant, and the staff was very accommodating and welcomed us to park our bikes on the covered patio at the entrance.

The ride back down University was nice and we linked up again with the Burke Gilman Trail. Having a protected bike lane in an urban setting at your disposal is truly a breath of fresh air compared to most of the terrain I ride. I look forward to as many more of these that are put in, as it takes a lot of the stress out of riding along with car traffic. We took the trail back across campus to the light rail station for the ride home.

Getting bikes on board the light rail is a breeze, however my one minor complaint is that the bike hanging areas only have a hook for one bike, whereas the pocket can easily fit two. This means that if two people are riding together, you have to hang your bikes in separate areas, which requires a little more coordination when getting off the train. Since we went to the end of the line both ways, it wasn’t a big deal for us, however, for in-between stops, plan your exit strategy in advance so that you’re not scrambling at the last minute.

We made it back to Seatac just as the sun was going down, so we raced home before it got too dark. The ride back from Seatac is more of a cruise since it is mostly down hill, and a great way to end the ride.

I highly recommend the UW bicycle tour if you don’t already spend a lot of time there, and there are many ways to access it whether it be by biking directly there or hitching a train ride. We’ll plan future rides to the Capitol Hill area and other destinations that we can access via light rail, which I will report on in the near future.

Please comment, and I look forward to hearing your experiences riding around UW as well as if you are combining the use of light rail with any bicycle outings!

THE ORIGIN OF BICYCLEBUNGEE USA

Bicyclebungee USA was born out of a deep desire to spend more meaningful time with my kid by way of cycling together. I discovered Bicyclebungee while searching for a system to effectively tow another bicycle and rider. Bicyclebungee provided the best means to ride together while independently practicing cycling at our own levels. We could take longer routes and steeper hills without needing to worry about him getting too tired, straying behind, or simply limiting my riding style or route so that he could keep up.

Bicyclebungee is distinct to other towing products since the towed rider is always freely cycling and not stiffly pulled along. It is also a very smooth ride due to the high elasticity of the bungee and nothing like the jerkiness of pulling with a rope, strap, or cable.  Unlike tandem bicycles, you just use your existing bike that already fits to your needs and liking instead of investing in another expensive bicycle specifically for tandem cycling. These distinctions were obvious to me from the very beginning and the product certainly lived up to its expectations.

Before using the Bicyclebungee, our riding distance was very limited to a just a couple of miles and approaching any kind of hill meant getting off the bike and walking. We’re now able to ride up hills together, and being from Western Washington state, it’s hard go anywhere without encountering a hill. With the Bicyclebungee, we quickly became used to riding 5-10 miles regularly and are continuously increasing these distances. We’ve become much more liberated to ride just about any route and as a result are discovering so many more areas together via bicycle. Above all, although cycling is an individual sport, it is so much more enjoyable as a companion activity!

Bicyclebungee is also an effective method of resistance training and is what the accessory was originally designed for. Although for me personally, this purpose is secondary, using it has been a very welcomed workout!

As a Bicyclebungee user, I was so impressed with the quality, engineering, and refined simplicity of the product, that I felt compelled to take on the role of promoting it and making it more available to other cyclists in my situation, who are otherwise missing out on many opportunities to regularly ride with his/her riding companion. After the tremendous success I had with the product, I knew I could stand behind it 100%.

Bicyclebungee was developed in New Zealand (the land of bungee!), by competitive mountain biker, Patrick Meffan. Patrick initially wanted to develop a resistance training accessory that could be used on the road and trail, and then quickly realized he also needed a solution to enjoy bike rides with his wife and kids while getting the workout and keeping the pace he is used to. The end product was very unique and formidably addressed both of these goals, while robust enough to hold up to miles and miles of all-terrain riding.

Until now, the Bicyclebungee has only been available directly from its native New Zealand. Bicyclebungee USA was founded to become the official distributor of Bicyclebungee for North America. Bicyclebungee USA’s mission is to make the Bicyclebungee readily available to anyone in the Americas and to raise awareness of the benefit of it for the many people who desire to have the same experience with their riding companion as I did. Bicyclebungee USA also adds value by being a direct point of contact for customer and technical support for the Bicyclebungee. Bicyclebungee USA provides demos, training, and presentations to dealers and end-users alike. Furthermore, Bicyclebungee USA works directly with customers on any adaptations or custom installations that are required to use the Bicyclebungee outside of the normal design parameters.

Bicyclebungee USA is very active in the Pacific NW cycling and parenting community.