Posts by Adron

See: http://compositecode.blog/about

Details on Seattle “Bike Culture”

If you’ve lived in Portland, Oregon and experienced the bike culture there, it’s different. If you’ve lived in Amsterdam or Copenhagen, both of those are respectively different too. If you’ve been to New York City, Austin, New Orleans, San Francisco, or almost any other major city, they too, have a different bike culture. For this post though, I’m going to point out some of the things I have found useful in getting around Seattle, getting involved in “bike culture”, cycling, and generally nerding out on gear or picking up food via bike.

Seattle bike culture centers around a few things that you’ll find we’re all involved with in some way. There are the obvious things such as attempting to mitigate paying to keep cars away from people trying to walk, ride, or carry on with their lives since they’re an ongoing imminent threat in this country. Then there are the things that might not be obvious to the newcomer to this city. The first thing you should familiarize yourself with is Seattle geography.

You might think to yourself, “I’m no good with geography?”, and simply put, Seattle doesn’t give two shits how bad you are with geography it is a necessity in order to navigate around this city. There’s the platted standard American grid, which is great, but it ends at various points because of geographic reasons – such as a giant hill might be in the way, or a sheer face of a rocky cliff, or a giant body of water. Whatever the case, one does not simply just traverse Seattle’s geography directly, there is often, and almost always some type of mitigation in between two points. A bridge, some steps, a switchback, you name it you’ll end up dealing with these things.

Might I add though, all of these things can make getting around by bike in Seattle awesome! A few moments where I thought to myself, “wow, cycling here is pretty bad ass” include;

  • The moment I traveled from Ballard (and outterlying neighborhood that used to be a different town) to downtown Seattle in 27 minutes, mostly by trail (not bike lane, not protected bike lane, but by trail!). To note, the awesome thing is I did not hurry, I did not hustle, I did not “go fast”. I just rode, and to cover the same distance during rush hour by driving takes people about ~30-65 minutes, taking the express bus is about 35 minutes, the regular local busses are between 40-55 minutes, and of course here I was at a consistent, enjoyable, epic scenery, beautiful path, chill riders, and ready for the day at 27 minutes! Of course, depending on where you are and all, things are different, but in many places you can easily bike into or out of the city as fast or faster than someone attempting to drive.
  • Years ago, and this actually first occurred in Portland when I had moved to the northwest, but I still ponder this thought regularly today, “Wow, so this is the rain here. Enjoyably piddly rain, a mere rain jacket (not coat, just a jacket, like a hoodie) is rather fine for this placid mist. Now here, where I stand inside, and I’ve already ended up drying off.” Once I realized that the rain is generally, almost always, not heavy and doesn’t drench us, a few minor mitigations like a hoodie and maybe some water resistant shoes and it was no longer much of a concern.
  • Mountains to the left in the distances, mountain to the right, mountains in the distance to the front and to the back of me. This is scenery I can enjoy every day! Oh and look at that, there stands Mount Rainier in its glorious, magnificent way! To boot, Seattle has multiple roads and pedestrians plazas strategically placed around the city that face – on purpose – the glorious Mount Rainier and they are magnificent to enjoy!

Of course, that’s just the few I’ve mentioned here, I could elaborate about how awesome it is to ride regularly for all sorts of reasons throughout the City of Seattle and the surrounding area. But instead of me going on and on about how awesome Seattle is for people who like to actively transport themselves from one place to another, and all the while do it efficiently and entertainingly, here are those details about things I’ve found useful.

In addition to the above, here are some articles I’ve enjoyed and thought insightful.

Not Specifically Bike Related but Connected

Nerdy Stuff, APIs, and Bike Data

Seattle Bike Map

I’ve probably missed things that are of excellent usefulness, if something comes to mind, do comment with a link to additional resources!

East Link Light Rail Extension to Bellevue & Redmond

Here are two other videos about the Link Light Rail Extensions to the east side of the Lake Washington.

East Link Extension Alignment Animation
Part of the I-90 Bridge Construction

LINK Light Rail Flyover Videos (for 2024 Routes)

Consider this a *bookmark* post for quick links to these two Sound Transit flyover videos of the LINK Light Rail spine extensions north and south. I did make a few comments/notes about both of these animations below the videos.

This first flyover is the route heading south to Federal Way from the existing Angle Lake Station.

Here is the Federal Way extension fly over.

Here is the northern expansion to Lynnwood.

The auto traffic shown in videos kind of cracks me up, because it isn’t going to get better any time soon. It will likely be as bad as it is or get worse in the coming years – it’s literally how it works. So forget that free flowing traffic you see around the light rail lines. That traffic, when you’re on the light rail, will as often as it flows smoothly will be backed up all the way to downtown Seattle and probably south to Federal Way! Take that as a thing to smirk about as you enjoy that freely moving light rail trip to Federal Way in the future, it should be pretty nice!

Another thing about this entire light rail project is how much of the project actually ends up being “road and automobile” spending. The entire project should be renamed “Something something automobile enablement and a small rail transit project” to be more accurate. The hundreds and hundreds of millions for parking garages, road rebuilds, intersection rebuilds, new lights and new configurations just to make it easy to *drive* to the transit is mind boggling. But alas, in ole auto-dependent, non-walking, non-transit using America it is indeed what a city often has to do to encourage ridership from the suburban communities. I’m all here for that, it’s just sad we have to subsidize suburban ridership so much when there’s more than enough expansion opportunities inside the existing city urban areas that still need service!

I’m also curious, and articles will be forthcoming as these open up, about how the compounding ridership of each stop will end up creating an extremely packed ridership situation on the stop further in toward the city. Eventually, branch lines are seriously going to be needed to sprout off of the main trunk! In the meantime, it’s gonna be a great improvement!

Bike Collection & Gear: All-City Macho Man Disc, AKA “Pop Rocket”

I picked up an All-City Macho Man just a few weeks before I got the Space Horse Disc built at Back Alley Bike Repair here in Seattle! From here on though, I’m going to call the bike by it’s now given name of Pop Rocket.

The Pop Rocket has traveled with me to well over a dozen cities over the last few years. Except for the fenders, everything on this bike started out stock.

Specifications

  • Headset: Cane Creek 10 series
  • Stem: Salsa Guide, 1-1/8th threadless, 31.8 clamp
  • Handlebar: Salsa Cowbell 3, 31.8Tape Black
  • Shift/Brake lever Shimano 105
  • Brake: Hayes CX-Expert, 160mm rotors
  • Front Derailleur: Shimano CX70 31.8 with 28.6 shim
  • Rear Derailleur: Shimano 105, short cage
  • Crankset: FSA Gossamer 46/36t
  • Bottom Bracket: FSA MegaExo
  • Seatpost: FSA SL280, 27.2
  • Saddle: Brooks England B17
  • Cassette: Shimano Tiagra 12-28
  • Chain: KMC X-10
  • Hubs: Formula DC20/22 6 bolt 32 hole
  • Rims: Alex Black Dragon 32 hole
  • Tires: Continental Gatorskins 700×35

NOTE: As with the past bike posts, no sponsors, just informational. To check out the Macho Man from All-City check out the link here.

Bike Collection & Gear: All-City Space Horse Disc

This is my main ride for almost everything. I’ve got larger tires on for smooth riding in bumpy ole’ Seattle. Good gearing. A reliable and comfortable seat. Solid additional parts like Chris King Hubs, etc.

I have been through short rides, heavy rides, slogs, and distances of over 100 miles a day on this bike. It rides like a dream, and quick to respond, and solid for heavy loads. Combined with my Bill Trailer from Surly and it can carry a formidable multi-hundred pound load without much strain at all!

Specifications

  • Frame: All-City Space Horse Disc w/ fork and gruppo.
  • Shifter: SRAM Apex 2x
  • Brakes: Yokozuna Motor Cable/Hydraulic
    • Rear DER SRAM Apex WiFli (32t max)
    • Front DER SRAM Apex
  • Crankset Arms: SRAM Apex 50/34 w/ Rings
  • BB GXP
  • Cassette 10-speed 11-32t
  • Headset Chris King R45, sotto vocce blk
  • Rims Pacenti CL25
  • Hubs Front Shutter Precision PD-8, Dyno/ISO
  • Hubs Rear Chris King R45D blk
  • Spokes Front/Rear DT Swiss Revolution
  • Nipples Gold w/ ano/green accent
  • Tires: Compass Cycles Barlow Pass 38m
  • Tape/Grips Fizik Green to beautifully match the frame.
  • Saddle: Brooks Cambium C15, black
  • Pedals: Shimano XT PD-M8020 Trail Pedals
  • Fenders: Planet Bikes ALX black)
  • Cages: One bottle, one Salsa “Anything Cage”
  • Front Rack: Jandd Lowrider
  • Back Rack: MSW Pork Chop
  • Lights: Front B & M Luxos U
  • Lights: Rear B & M
  • Charger/USB Charger w/ Luxos U
  • Power Switch w/ USB Charger on Dyno/Light Configuration

Over the years I’ve gotten a new dyno replacement, and changed the cassettes to different gearing. Otherwise all pieces are still in place after a solid 35k miles so far! BOOM!

NOTE: Again, not sponsored by anybody to write this. Just doing to to document the gear I use in case anybody is interested. To check out the Space Horse Disc hit up the product page.