Like John and Claire, I rode today to coax myself out of the holiday doldrums. The trip home was Seattle winter crud: 39°F, heavy rain, dark, and windy. I was soaked, but thanks to the wool underlayer, I stayed warm as long as I kept moving. Fortunately I have a lot of hill climbing on the way home.
It was freezing this morning. Literally. I took the loop around the lake only to find that, around 212th street, a power line had fallen across the road. Traffic was blocked both directions. The fire crew suggested that I take the East Lake Sammamish Trail past the backup.
(Slaps forehead) Of course!
I’d been riding the parkway itself, occasionally glancing down to see the gravel trail with pedestrians. The trail officially opened in 2006. I’d never actually taken it because there seemed to remain bad blood amid the controversy of converting the former railroad into a public path. (Read about it here.) I did notice the abundance of signs in driveways proclaiming “no trail access.”
On the ride southbound, several drivers rolled the window down to ask if I could tell them what was holdup was. “Road blocked for the next half hour.” I feel bad for enjoying zipping by congested traffic. Okay, not really.
The light gravel trail required more effort and offered slower progress, but the trail was in pretty good shape as long as I rode in the channels off to the side. Several people were walking their dogs, with a few so into whatever their iPod played that they didn’t hear me roll up and “on your right/left”-ing. Towards the “middle” of the lake were a lot of driveways. Most are set up so traffic yields to the trail, but I was still having flashbacks to Lake Forest Park’s heavy density of stop signs. Further north was a very cool art exhibit. If I go on this again, I’ll bring a good camera because it’s random and neat at the same time.
The trail route is much flatter than the road adjacent. However, with the gravel, pedestrians and abundance of stop/yield/wash/spin/rinse signs, I was about 3mph slower to work this morning. It was a nice diversion.
I’ve been riding the trail regularly over the past few weeks because a brake cable broke on my road bike and I’ve been too lazy to fix it. Instead, I’ve been left with my ‘cross bike, which is perfect for the trail.
I agree, it is a very different experience.. a nice diversion from the norm. Last night while riding home in the rain I really didn’t notice how nasty it was out until I popped back up to the street. The sound of the rain on the trail was nice.
My only annoyance is that pedestrians don’t practice very good trail etiquette (staying on the right side) and will do brilliant things like wear totally black clothing in the dark. Even with a headlight they pop up pretty quickly.
Yes, the peds seemed pretty oblivious. (Though I don’t know if the ones on the eastgate connector are any better, or if we just know roughly when to expect each other.) There were three women, walking side by side, each with a large dog heading in a different direction. “On your right” meant different things to each one of them. 🙂
I hadn’t thought about the usefulness of the trail for rain shielding. Huh. I sure could have used that Monday.
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