It's a lot of fun connecting known corridors in unexpected areas.
Throughout the ride, I was dealing with the pegs of those beefy pedals of mine causing some serious pain in the soles of my feet. See the epilogue for details.
More after the break…
Part 1: To Tacoma
I started at the usual time of 05:00 and headed south through downtown and SoDo, taking East Marginal Way much further than before, all the way until S 115th St. The transition from Seattle to Tukwila was pretty easy to notice, since the bike lanes end right around there when going south.
Ending bike lanes are a good indication that one is leaving Seattle.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) May 10, 2014
From there, I followed the eastern edge of the Duwamish River similar to an earlier ride. Rather than crossing I-5 at S 129th St, however, I kept following the river along this little one-lane road.
I've seen the trestle section below every time I've taken a bus on I-5 in the area and have wondered about its safety for quite some time.
To get back to the other side of the river and the Green River Trail, I crossed at 56th Ave S, which involved going around a barricade.
After getting to the trail, I stopped off at Fort Dent Park to fix a minor issue with my riding clothes. I also got some tea while there.
I'm at Starfire Sports (Tukwila, WA) http://t.co/loe9FRkLQF— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) May 10, 2014
I transitioned to the Interurban Trail as soon as possible, taking it straight down the valley to Algona. Rather than dealing with the nasty pavement in Pacific, I cut over to the W Valley Highway…which still had the detour from earlier in place.
Landslide detour on W Valley Highway is still present.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) May 10, 2014
After the detour, I stuck to the highway until Sumner.
It's sunny down here.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) May 10, 2014
After passing through the area along Sumner/Puyallup/Edgewood area, I left Valley Avenue E for the familiar Freeman Road E to get to Fife, passed through Fife itself, then went through the Port of Tacoma. I chose that route because I knew the port wouldn't be too busy on a weekend.
Some awesome equipment here! (@ Port of Tacoma) http://t.co/uUn95oOjdB— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) May 10, 2014
This took me along an old viaduct that had its shoulder lanes and sidewalks closed for reasons beyond my knowledge, then across a bridge with polish-smooth gratings that scared me stiff while I rode across it.
I then crossed the 11th Street Bridge, which had been recently renovated. Notably, it now has bike lanes!
My family went to Tacoma often when I was a child (and still does, though without me), so this bridge has always occupied part of my mind.
I made my way through Tacoma, then stopped at a familiar Tully's for water.
Downtown Tacoma would've been pretty sweet if that whole urban decay thing hadn't occurred.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) May 10, 2014
From there, I headed south to exit downtown. Tacoma is a bit odd in my mind, because I'm used to the main thoroughfares being north-south, and I-5 is east-west here, so it felt like I was somehow going west.
And another bridge with its shoulder lanes closed.
Part 2: Parkland/Graham/South Hill
I exited Tacoma via Parkland, following a bike lane for much of the way.
The bike lanes also end when leaving Tacoma and entering Parkland.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) May 10, 2014
While there someone in a muscle car blared there horn at me as I rode along the shoulder of the road. It seems like this happens at least once each time I visit the Tacoma area.
Rather than going along SR-507 again, however, I kept on SR-7 for a while. The pegs in my pedals were really killing my feet at this point, but I kept pushing forward.
Perhaps I ought to give serious consideration on finally taking the plunge and going clipless. #cycling— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) May 10, 2014
I was clearly heading into the middle of nowhere at this point, and traffic became less and less. I left SR-7 at Rocky Ridge to start heading east, which included a rather steep hill.
This eventually brought me to SR-161, which I took in the opposite direction on an earlier ride.
Just south of Graham, I stopped to eat on the side of the road. The property owner was washing down a bulldozer or tractor (I can't remember at this point) and nodded when I told him the stop was a food break.
From there, I continued north, through the familiar area of strip malls, parking lots, and Frontier Park. I left SR-161 in South Hill, instead taking a slightly more easterly route.
I ended up going through large areas of new housing subdivisions for quite a while.
I really dislike huge housing developments out in the middle of nowhere; they're so dull, tasteless, and environmentally wasteful.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) May 10, 2014
I did eventually make it to an area of older houses with trees still present in the area.
I left the ridge with a very steep downhill run just east of Puyallup, then headed for Sumner. Worried about missing my typical coffee stuff in the area, I made a slight deviation south from my route before making a left on Valley Avenue (not to be confused with Valley Avenue E). I hit the same Starbucks as always north of where I made the devatian, so I could've just followed the route.
I don't think I've ever seen this place so busy. (@ Starbucks) http://t.co/6LoTTnjKoa— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) May 11, 2014
The only groups in which I belong are the groups I create myself.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) May 11, 2014
Part 3: Return Home
I saw one of Amtrak Cascade's new Talgo units.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) May 11, 2014
Cottonwood season is trying to start.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) May 11, 2014
I left it for the White River Trail once I skirted the eastern edge of Pacific.
Apparently, the White River also has a trail.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) May 11, 2014
I left it in favor of taking city streets to get to the Interurban Trail.
Once on the trail, I had to put my phone into "airplane mode" before heading north along the trail.
I forgot my phone's spare battery, so I'll be largely offline until I get home.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) May 11, 2014
A couple of other cyclists caught up up to me and we chatted a bit. One of them said I looked ready to "travel the world" because I was carrying so much. They were surprised that I wasn't using clipless pedals, and I told them I was going to switch soon.
There were a couple of road cyclists who road with me along a bit of the Interurban Trail. We chatted a bit.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) May 11, 2014
It also drizzled a tiny bit there, but I wasn't bothered.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) May 11, 2014
I ended up with a couple of cyclists on Rainier Avenue between Renton and Rainier, and they seemed to consider having the brightest light to be more important than having a no limit to running time paired with good brightness.
I'm guessing hub dynamos aren't very popular because most people don't ride long hours in the dark.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) May 11, 2014
It was pretty routine all the way to Seward Park, so nothing to note there. My feet weren't hurting as much somehow, but I don't think that was a good thing.
I took the usual route all the way up to the Arboretum, but left it at Boyer Ave E to detour around the construction surrounding the University District. Feeling worn out mentally, I stuck to the Burke-Gilman Trail all the way to Gas Works Park, only switching to Northlake Way after it.
And then I was home.
Today really reminded me why I enjoy these long rides.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) May 11, 2014
It's pretty amazing how I am able to explore so much distance without the aid of a motor or an enclosure.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) May 11, 2014
Sleep would also be pretty amazing right now.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) May 11, 2014
Epilogue: Going Clipless
A while back, I ended up breaking a pair of pedals due to a number of factors, one of which was my pedaling style. I switched to some crazy mountain bike pedals with these huge partially-removable pegs. This was fine for a while, but as I corrected my pedaling style, they only hurt more and more.
As it turns out, the pain started to reduce as my feet formed calluses at the problem pegs. Even so, I don't think that's for the best.
I've been putting off clipless pedals out of fear for a while, but decided to just go and take the plunge.
Going clipless. (@ Bikesport) http://t.co/zNXHhZkhSY— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) May 11, 2014
It wasn't easy, but I gradually grew accustomed to it.
.@MAndersson1968 Hey, I just fell on the way home!— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) May 11, 2014
First #clipless ride into work and I didn't fall! Learning stuff without any assistance is hard, but I'm getting it.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) May 12, 2014
My first full #clipless day and I didn't even die a little!— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) May 12, 2014
A bit part of learning was go be able to get going while trying to clip in. #clipless— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) May 12, 2014
Day 2: Clipping in is significantly easier and now I'm getting the speed boost from using more than the downward motion for power. #clipless— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) May 13, 2014