Ride Recap: Critical Lass and Friends: Last Loop with Madi

Farewell from Madi! I’ve had a wonderful eight years in Seattle and a wonderful five years with Seattle Critical Lass. There’s a lot I’ll miss about Seattle, and Critical Lass is near the top of the list. This last loop was a lovely final ding of my bike bell.

As always, I snapped many photos of our adventure: Flickr album: Critical Lass and Friends: Last Loop with Madi – August 13, 2017 – 131 photos. The photos and captions give a fuller recap of the ride than will this blog post.

To reiterate the sentiments of my original Critical Lass and Friends: Last Loop with Madi post: I started Seattle Critical Lass with three friends as a welcoming and inclusive social ride to get more women-identified/trans Seattleites bicycling. The intention was for our rides to appeal to both new and seasoned riders, enabling anyone with a bit of experience in urban cycling to feel like a mentor and to build confidence for all our participants. Of particular interest for me was sharing my love of getting everywhere around Seattle by bike by demonstrating the many places we can access safely and scenically.

I think it worked!

I hope I have always given the impression that WE ARE ALL CRITICAL LASS. Just because I was the main ride leader of late, doesn’t mean Seattle Critical Lass shouldn’t have many ride leaders. Especially now, it would be wonderful for more help! I’ve handed over the reins (handlebars?) to Morgan Scherer of Familybike Seattle, who has taught more people to ride bikes and led more rides than anyone I know. She’s incredibly cool and knowledgable and I’m so happy she’s game to take this on. Email morgan@familybike.org if you’d like to be involved. You don’t need to be a Cascade Bicycle Club volunteer Ride Leader or a League of American Bicyclists League Cycling Instructor (LCI) (both terrific programs if you’d like an official title, though!), you just need to have the interest and time. Feel free to repeat past rides–there’s a lot in our archives with maps and descriptions–or create something new and convenient for where you’d like to start and/or end up. This last loop may have been a vehicle for my returning a stack of library books to the Ballard Library book drop, ha.

Morgan Scherer

I look forward to visiting Seattle to join a Critical Lass ride and see changes to the bicycling landscape. I still can’t get over the fact that there are two intersecting Neighborhood Greenways in Ballard now! I never thought I’d see the day of things connecting. I’m sure there’s much more to come.

Read more about Critical Lass.

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Critical Lass and Friends: Last Loop with Madi

Sunday, August 13, 2017
10:00 a.m.
Solsticio
(1100 N Northlake Way, Seattle, WA 98103)
Facebook RSVP

Hi, Madi Carlson, outgoing keeper of Seattle Critical Lass, here. Five years ago, three friends and I started Seattle Critical Lass as a welcoming and inclusive social ride to get more women-identified/trans Seattleites bicycling, while appealing to both new and seasoned riders. I have very much enjoyed being at the helm of Critical Lass and using it as an outlet to share my love of getting everywhere around Seattle by bike, but I’m moving away. I hope you’ll ride a favorite loop with me one last time!

Note: this is a Critical Lass and Friends ride which means you don’t need to identify as a “lass” to attend. However, the regular kid rules apply: children should be able to keep up a 10-12 mph “leisurely” pace or else be bike-ily attached to parent or guardian (trailer, bike seat, trail-a-bike, tandem bike, you get the drift…).

Our ride will start from Solsticio along the Burke-Gilman Trail in Fremont at 10:00am. Go early if you want coffee or breakfast–they have a great breakfast! I’ll be there for eating and hanging at 9:30am.

Here’s our 14-mile route. It utilizes some terrific Seattle bicycle infrastructure:

  • Burke-Gilman Trail, multi-use trail in the Rail-Trail Hall of Fame
  • Separated bike lanes on N 34th Street
  • Bike counter on the Fremont Bridge
  • Ship Canal Trail, multi-use trail
  • Westlake Bikeway
  • Dexter Ave N separated bike lane
  • Mercer Street/5th Ave N separated bike lanes
  • West Thomas Street Overpass
  • Elliott Bay Trail, multi-use trail
  • NW 58th Street Ballard Neighborhood Greenway
  • Bike counter on NW 58th St Neighborhood Greenway
  • Intersecting Neighborhood Greenways! NW 58th St and 17th Ave NW
  • All-way stop sign for NW 46th St at 14th Ave NW of the Missing Link
  • Missing Link bike lanes on NW 45th St

I dunno what the latest Fremont Sunday Market bike detour is like so we’ll figure that out together! Or if it’s not too packed, we’ll ride slowly along the Burke-Gilman Trail. Or perhaps we’ll walk our bikes along the Burke-Gilman Trail.

We’ll end at Fremont Brewing, where there is plenty of indoor and outdoor seating.

Another note: NO WAIVER. While many of my Critical Lass rides have been led as Cascade Bicycle Club Free Group Rides, an awesome program for which I am very grateful to be a volunteer ride leader, this ride is off the books. I’ll still start with a quick safety briefing, but there will be no waiver to sign so if you are someone who does not like to sign waivers and/or chooses to ride without a helmet (though know that Seattle is one of the few cities with an adult helmet law), please join us!

What’s happening to Seattle Critical Lass?
Seattle Critical Lass will live on! I’m handing the reins to Morgan Scherer of Familybike Seattle, who has taught more people to ride bikes and led more rides than anyone I know. She’s incredibly cool and knowledgable and I’m so happy she’s game to add this to her collection of awesomeness.

Read more about Critical Lass.

Ride Recap: Seattle CycloFemme 2017

What an amazing day! 45(ish) celebrants for CycloFemme in Seattle.

See all our photos in the Seattle CycloFemme 2017 Flickr album

We lucked out with the weather, experiencing only a little bit of drizzle here and there. Much better than the forecast promised, though still not as nice as our previous CycloFemme rides so 45 riders was awesome!

We gathered in Cal Anderson Park between 11 and 11:30, sticking flowers in our helmets, eating cookies, and applying CycloFemme temporary tattoos.

Our ride was organized by Critical Lass and Familybike Seattle, and Familybike’s Morgan Scherer welcomed us with an overview of Familybike’s programs as well as the true history of Mother’s Day as an anti-war movement started by a social justice advocate. Familybike is at heart a social justice organization. She also spoke about Black Lives Matter’s participation in Mama’s Bail Out Day, a cause very in need of our donations to help mothers unable to afford bail while awaiting trial to be home for Mother’s Day.

We took the same 4.5-mile route as last year from Cal Anderson Park on Capitol Hill to Madrona Beach on the shore of Lake Washington. We like that the start point is fairly central and close to a light rail station–light rail was utilized by several of today’s participants. It’s a pretty great plan for when CycloFemme doesn’t coincide with Bicycle Sunday…but when it does we love riding to Seward Park!

THANK YOU!

Thanks to Bike Swift and G&O Family Cyclery for generously donating funds for our picnic lunch and to Morgan Scherer, Executive Director of Familybike Seattle, for collecting and carrying-by-bike all the picnic fixings.

Bike Swift
G&O Family Cyclery

And thanks to Bicycle Benefits/Bike Bingo for greeting us at Cal Anderson Park with flowers!

And to Barbara Gordon for corking (traffic control) at the bigger unprotected intersections.

Thank you to each and every participant who joined us! This day wouldn’t have been nearly as special without you.

And big thanks to the entire CycloFemme Global Women’s Cycling Day movement. Empower the Girl. Ignite the Woman.

WE BELIEVE: That strong communities are built around strong women. That being on a bike brings us closer to our community, to nature, and to ourself. That from action comes change. That our hope, courage, and strength is amplified when we unite.

CycloFemme is May 14, 2017!

Sunday, May 14, 2017
11:00 a.m.
Cal Anderson Park
(1635 11th Ave, Seattle, WA 98122)
Facebook event

CycloFemme is coming up, as always on Mother’s Day! It’s also Seattle Critical Lass’ birthday–we held our first ride on the first CycloFemme five fabulous years ago.

Join Familybike Seattle and Critical Lass to celebrate women as the powerful forces we are in our families and communities! Let’s celebrate our commitment and choices in creating healthy, sustainable, stress-reducing, safe, community-building, congestion-free and enjoyable ways of living. Keeping with tradition, we’ll feed you lunch at the end of the ride–thanks to our generous sponsors Bike Swift and G&O Family Cyclery!

Thanks to our sponsors!

Bike Swift
G&O Family Cyclery

The ride starts at Cal Anderson Park. We’ll start gathering at 11am, but spend some time for photos, speaking, and late comers before we head out. We’re riding to Madrona Beach via a scenic route alongside Volunteer Park, Interlaken, and the Arboretum.
Ride with GPS link to route.
Read about last year’s ride here.

CycloFemme is a Global Celebration of Women created TO HONOR THE PAST from the shoulders of those who stood before us, for the freedom to choose and the chance to wear pants. TO CELEBRATE THE PRESENT with strength and courage, voices raised, moving together. TO EMPOWER THE FUTURE of women everywhere, the backbone of positive social change.

WHO SHOULD COME?
This ride is designed to be welcoming to those who identify as female, but open to all.

Per CycloFemme:
“At the core of CycloFemme are the women, children, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers and friends who join us, support us and give this movement momentum. We ride together.”

From the About Critical Lass page: “We don’t want to create any barriers to your getting out there so if you need to bring kids or friend who does not qualify as a ‘lass’ along, please do so!”

Our CycloFemme ride is open to everyone because we wouldn’t dream of turning anyone away, BUT the focus is those who identify as female. BUT part two, it’s also a regular Kidical Mass ride at the same time and we want all non-female-identifying family bikers to feel completely welcome. Basically: come ride! And if you don’t identify as female, it’d be awesome if you could convince a friend who does identify as female to come out for the ride. This is a slow-paced social ride and a wonderful way to get back into bicycling.


About Familybike Seattle
Familybike Seattle decreases barriers to bicycling for families of all income levels. Familybike Seattle believes that biking as a family increases our individual, family, and societal quality of life, while at the same time moving toward sustainable lifestyles and communities.

About Bike Swift
Bike Swift makes it easy to add an electric motor system to any bike. All system installs are performed at a local bike shop, only the highest quality components are used, and everything is backed by a 2 year-warranty. Fly up hills and through headwinds! With a 25 mph top speed and up to 50 mile range, the city becomes your playground. See www.bikeswift.com for more information.

About G&O Family Cyclery
G&O Family Cyclery is a cargo and family bike-focused shop, the first of its kind in Seattle. Their lovely and inviting shop welcomes potential new commuters, potential car-replacers, and potential lifestyle cyclists with adult concerns: errands, kids, jobs. Find bikes that are fun to ride, not too heavy and able to lift and haul kids, gear, and groceries.

About Critical Lass
Critical Lass is an inclusive ride for women-identified people who bike. Our aim is to get more women-identified/trans Seattleites bicycling and we encourage both new and experienced riders to come along.

Ride Recap: Critical Lass Rides to Peddler Anniversary Party

We had a terrific Critical Lass Ride to the Peddler Anniversary Party.
See all the photos here:
Flickr album: Critical Lass Rides to Peddler Anniversary Party – March 25, 2017 – 57 photos.

The weather was gorgeous for our group of eight. Starting at Pike Place Market was fun, but it’s more congested than our usual meeting spots.

I made a couple adjustments to the planned route…here’s our 10.4-mile almost loop. The construction on 4th is worse than the construction on 6th currently, so we sadly skipped biking by the oversized Popsicles on 6th, but got a great look at the Amazon biospheres on 4th.

Using 6th also makes for an easy right turn onto the one-block-long protected bike lane of Blanchard. It’s not really worth taking if coming from farther west. Also, it makes for an awkward Copenhagen Left (also called a two-stage left turn) onto 7th at the end of the block–not at all bad on a weekend, but it would be a mess to attempt with even a small group on a weekday.

Our second route change was to go a bit out of the way and ride the Ballard Greenways after leaving our mid-way stop rather than cross busy Leary again. This way we rode only one block of Market rather than four. I like that Critical Lass rides feature some arterial (busy streets) riding where we can make use of the safety-in-numbers aspect of group riding (also, there’s no way to get from point A to point B in our fair city without encountering a busy street), but one block of Market (part of the Missing Link) is plenty!

Peddler Brewing Company
The fourth anniversary party at Peddler Brewing Company was great. We were among the earliest visitors so it wasn’t crowded yet and it made for a perfect lunch stop. Cycle Dogs bike-based vegan hot dogs were there and there are always sandwiches for sale from Peddler, handy for when there’s no food truck or food bike. We all sat outside at one of the many large, sheltered picnic tables, but Peddlers also has indoor seating. They had yet to set up the patio bike racks but we brought our bikes into the patio and leaned them against the fence. Great meeting spot, safe bike stowage, food! Also, dog- and kid-friendly. We saw several sweet dogs in Peddler Brewing Co bandanas.

Walking through the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks on a clear day is always nice:

And the view from the Elliott Bay Trail is THE BEST, even when Mount Rainier is hiding:

While we missed out on the special bonding experience that is getting caught in a rainstorm together that happens for so many Critical Lass rides (misery loves company!), it was a lovely ride on a lovely day and we look forward to more clear skies and exploring of Seattle by bike.

Critical Lass Rides to Peddler Anniversary Party

Critical Lass is an inclusive ride for women-identified people who bike. We encourage both new and experienced riders to come along, street clothes welcome.

Saturday, March 25, 2016
11:00 a.m.
Pike Place Market
Route on Ride with GPS

Our friends at Peddler Brewing Company are turning four! Let’s bike over and celebrate with them. Their party runs 11 to 11, and we’re going to hit it early to beat the crowds and make it part of a leisurely loop around the city.

Here’s the Peddler Brewing 4-Year Anniversary Party Facebook event.
Here’s our Critical Lass to Peddler Anniversary Party Facebook event.

11:00 We start at Pike Place Market, right by Rachel the Pig

Our ride leader will be there by 10:30 if you want to leave your bike in safe hands and grab food, flowers, or crafts (check out the Market Directory). Many people lock their bikes on the rail by the information booth to the southeast of Rachel the Pig if you want to go even earlier–most merchants open at 10am, breakfast starts at 6am, and produce/seafood start flying overhead at 7am.

At 11am we’ll do our waiver signing and safety briefing, then hope to get a group picture with Rachel the Pig (rub Rachel’s snout and make a donation–she’s a real piggy bank!–for good luck) before we set off.

Our route is a 12-mile loop including the lovely Westlake Bikeway and Burke-Gilman Trail before our mid-way stop at Peddler’s Brewing Company and then a stroll through the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks (bikes must be walked through the locks) and the gorgeous Elliott Bay Trail on the way back down. We’ll officially end at the south tip of the Elliott Bay Trail to avoid the climb back up to Pike Place Market, but our ride leader will unofficially show you the flattest way to ride back up or point you towards the elevator (the other flattest way back up!) if you don’t want to remain at sea level.

Peddler Brewing Company
Critical Lass loves Peddler for its bike-friendliness, wonderful space, and it’s co-owned by a Haley, bike advocate and friend! We’ll stop in for about an hour to have a snack, but note: there won’t be a food truck until later in the day, but you’re welcome to bring food along and they keep a selection of tasty sandwiches at the brewery. We’ll bring some snacks for all, too. Also, it’s OK if you want to ditch the ride at Peddler rather than complete the loop, just let our ride leader know! UPDATE 3/20: Cycle Dogs (“100% vegan hot dogs transported by bicycle”) will be at Peddler 11am-4pm!

About Critical Lass
Critical Lass is an inclusive ride for women-identified people who bike. Rides are leisurely-paced (10-12 mph, though we’ll go as slow as needed to all stay together) social bicycle rides around Seattle lasting a few hours, with time for stopping to take photos and chat.

Our aim is to get more women-identified/trans Seattleites bicycling and we encourage both new and experienced riders to come along. We don’t want to create any barriers to your getting out there so if you want to bring kids or friend/partner who doesn’t qualify as a “lass” along, please do so! However, we do enjoy and experience a special energy and connection on our cis-male-free rides. We ask that children who cannot keep a 12 mph pace be bike-ily attached to parent or guardian (trailer, bike seat, trail-a-bike, tandem bike, you get the drift…). We sometimes have “Critical Lass and Friends” rides at which everyone is welcome.

Critical Lass rides are Cascade Bicycle Club Free Group Rides and all participants are required to wear a bicycle helmet and sign a waiver.

Ride Recap: Critical Lass and Friends Ride to Candy Cane Lane 2016

Our annual Critical Lass and Friends Ride to Candy Cane Lane was a huge success! The skies stayed dry the whole time and 26 of us enjoyed the lights.

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Here’s the Flickr photo album. Many of the photos are from daytime test rides so you can actually see where we were.

Here’s a Hyperlapse video of Candy Cane Lane in the daylight:

It was amazing how much new bike infrastructure has gone in since last year. It’s made quite a difference in the best way to get there from Green Lake. Here’s the route map, though we took the road above Ravenna Park both directions.

Particularly exciting 1) flexi-post protected bike lanes on either side of the 15th Ave NE/Cowan Park Bridge:

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Particularly exciting 2) contraflow bike lane on NE 62nd St:

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Want more biking to lights in the dark? The Ella Rides group is holding a women’s holiday lights ride next weekend: Ladies Ho-ho-holiday Lights Spin To Pubs, Friday, December 16 at 6:00 p.m., starting at Peddler Brewing Company–“Come join the Seattle Ella Ambassadors and other Seattle women cyclists on a festive spin up to Olympic Manor to enjoy the neighborhood lights and decorations!”

Upcoming: Critical Lass and Friends Ride to Candy Cane Lane 2016

Sunday, December 11, 2016
Meet at 4:00 p.m., ride by 4:30 p.m.
Start Location: Fix Coffee (6900 East Green Lake Way N, Seattle, WA 98115)
Route map, 3.7 miles
On Facebook? RSVP here
* Light up your bike!
* Donate canned goods!

Candy Cane Lane

It’s that time of year! Bundle up and enjoy the festive lights of Candy Cane Lane. Meet at Fix Coffee (6900 East Greenlake Way N, Seattle WA)–outside if the weather is decent, inside the cafe if the weather is too cold or wet.

As with previous years’ Candy Cane Lane rides, rain does not cancel. We’ve enjoyed both wet and dry holiday rides in the past. Here’s a recap of 2013’s ride.

Be sure your bike is equipped with lights and earn bonus points for extra lights and decor! We’ll create our own rolling holiday light display–the brighter and more colorful, the merrier.

After a circuit through Candy Cane Lane, we’ll make our way back to Green Lake to Tacos Guaymas (6808 East Green Lake Way N, Seattle, WA 98115) to warm up and have snacks or a meal.

The more the merrier: bring your friends!

We’ll meet at 4 p.m. while it’s still a bit light out and roll by 4:30.

There’s a food donation bin at the end of Candy Cane Lane–much more easily accessed by bike than car–so bring canned goods to drop off if you’ve got them.

About Critical Lass
Our aim is to get more Seattle women biking and we encourage both new and experienced riders to come along. We don’t want to create any barriers to your getting out there so if you need to bring kids or friend who does not qualify as a “lass” along, please do so! We ask that children be bike-ily attached to parent or guardian (trailer, bike seat, trail-a-bike, tandem bike, you get the drift…). Note: rides with “and Friends” are open to all! Read more about Critical Lass.

This ride is a Cascade Bicycle Club Free Group Ride and all participants are required to wear a bicycle helmet and sign a waiver.

Ride Recap: We Bike, We Count!

Our October 8th We Bike, We Count! ride was terrific. For a day predicted to be non-stop rainy, we really lucked out with a completely dry ride on the way over to West Seattle…not so much on the way back, though.

See the Critical Lass: We Bike, We Count Flickr album for all the pictures.

The forecast kept our numbers low, but we five riders has a lovely time together. Our ten-mile route to West Seattle took us by all three bike counters with displays: Fremont, Downtown, and West Seattle swing bridge:

Critical Lass at the Fremont Bridge bike counter

Critical Lass at the Fremont Bridge bike counter

Critical Lass at the downtown bike counter

Critical Lass at the downtown bike counter

Critical Lass at the West Seattle bike counter

Critical Lass at the West Seattle bike counter

Our one problem (besides the weather) was the threat of tacks on the Westlake Cycletrack. Our last ride, Critical Lass cycles through the seasons, left one rider with a flat from Westlake so this time we took a vote ahead of time: Westlake or Dexter? The consensus was to risk it. We even checked our tires for tacks after!

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But still, Lisa fell prey to a tack poke (no leftover telltale tack this time, though). Silver lining: we were delighted by her flat fix technique, complete with little blanket upon which to rest the saddle of her upside down bike.

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The rain started right as we arrived to Marination Ma Kai for lunch. We had an hour to eat before the next (2:00 p.m.) water taxi so the timing was perfect. That rain never let up, but the 5.5-mile ride back to Fremont wasn’t too miserable given the cheery company. For most of us, this was our first time on the newer water taxi vessel and the bike accommodations are amazing–so much space!

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And then pedal pedal pedal rain rain rain blah blah blah. Let’s do it again soon!

We Bike, We Count!

October 8, 2016
10:00 a.m. depart
MiiR Flagship
(3400 Stone Way N, Seattle, WA)
Facebook RSVP

image-1

Did you know there are three bike counters with displays in Seattle? October is Pronto Women’s Bike Month so what better time to show we count than ride by the counters?

And we’ll also hit a spot for Java Joy Rides: Coffee + Bikes and coffeeneuring for those participating (details below).

Meet at the Miir Flagship in Fremont; organizers will be inside sipping coffee starting at 9:30 a.m. if you want to mingle and caffeinate. There’s plenty of bike parking outside on Stone Way and lots of room inside.

We’ll ride through the three bike counters with displays (and stop for pictures even if it’s raining): north side of the Fremont Bridge, near the bottom of 2nd Avenue protected bike lane downtown, and on the east side of the West Seattle swing bridge.

Here’s the 10-mile route there. This route has us ending at Marination Ma Kai, but if the weather is great and everyone wants to bike the two miles to Alki for additional food options, we can do so. We’ll hang for about an hour before we head back.

As we’ll have noticed on the way down, East Marginal Way South really isn’t bad on weekends when there’s no freight traffic, however, we’ll skip it on the way back and catch the West Seattle Water Taxi–$5.25 cash or ticket, $4.50 with ORCA card. The water taxi only runs on weekends through October so this is too good a chance to pass up!

We also want to avoid traversing downtown on the way back–the protected bike lanes on 2nd Ave are nice, but after that…not so much. So here’s our 5.5-mile route back. Riding along the Elliott Bay Trail will be particularly nice because we can look across the water to see where we came from (provided it’s not too grey out, of course). And we’ll take the flat-enough way up from the waterfront through the Seattle Center (and go right by La Marzocco Cafe if anyone is super serious about #JavaJoyRides and needs to hit two places in one day).

#coffeeneuring
The Chasing Mailboxes Coffeeneuring Challenge runs October 7th through November 20th and is about taking seven separate two-mile-mininum bike rides to seven different coffee places. There are lots of fun and finicky rules so click the link.

#JavaJoyRides
Java Joy Rides: Coffee + Bikes runs the whole month of October, hosted by Public Bikes + Gear Seattle. Get your punch card at Public or any of the nine participating cafes.

About Critical Lass
Our aim is to get more Seattle women biking and we encourage both new and experienced riders to come along. We don’t want to create any barriers to your getting out there so if you need to bring kids or friend who does not qualify as a “lass” along, please do so! We ask that children be bike-ily attached to parent or guardian (trailer, bike seat, trail-a-bike, tandem bike, you get the drift…). Read more about Critical Lass.

This ride is a Cascade Bicycle Club Free Group Ride and all participants are required to wear a bicycle helmet and sign a waiver.