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Ask BikeNerd: Burke Gilman, Bike Racks, and Really Long Bike Rides

By Josh Cohen July 16, 2010

Welcome to the second installment of our new feature, Ask BikeNerd.

Adrienne asks: How will the remodel of the 45th street Viaduct, near the University of Washington, impact the nearby section of the Burke-Gilman Trail? It looks like they're getting awfully close to having to do some serious work right above that portion of the trail.


(Photo via SDOT)

For those who don't know, the Burke-Gilman passes right under the 45th St. Viaduct, which is currently closed for major construction to replace the viaduct's west approach. Cascade Bicycle Club has kept close tabs on the project, and even partnered with the Seattle Department of Transportation to host a workshop encouraging people to ride the Burke rather than drive the viaduct detour during construction. According to Cascade communications manager M.J. Kelly, the Burke-Gilman will remain unaffected throughout the replacement project.

Next, regular PubliCola commentator joshuadf asks: Is the bike rack at Terry Pettus Park (at Fairview Ave. East and East Newton St.) the worst in the city?




I'll admit, I'd never been down to Terry Pettus Park before Joshua posed this question. But after a quick jaunt to the park to investigate, I think I have to agree that this bike rack is a strong contender for "worst in Seattle."

First of all, the design prevents locking anything but just your front or back wheel. I wish this went without saying, but given the number of orphan wheels I see locked to bike racks around town, it clearly doesn't: When you lock your bike, the lock needs to go through both your wheel and your frame. Otherwise, a thief can just remove the 95 percent of your bike that's been left unlocked.

In addition to the mediocre design of the rack itself, the pavement surrounding it is cracked and raised, and there's a tree on the right side of the rack that gets in the way. I don't get the impression that Terry Pettus park gets enough bicycle traffic to warrant spending money on a replacement any time soon, but it's definitely a fine example of a shoddy rack slapped into place by people who don't know much about bicycles.

Finally, with Cascade's annual, 200-mile Seattle-to-Portland ride less than a day away, I find that I am asking myself one question over and over: "Why did you sign up for the one-day ride?"

I'm sure that, in retrospect, it will feel like a great accomplishment, and the first 150 miles will be delightful, and the chance to eat and eat and eat without second thought is a huge selling point. But those last 50 miles probably won't be very fun, and getting up at 3:45 tomorrow morning (I think that 3:45 am should technically still be referred to as Friday night) is definitely going to suck. For those of you joining me on the ride (with 10,000 participants, I figure at least a few 'Cola readers must be doing it), say hello if you see bib #104 on a dark-green Bianchi. For those of you wise enough to choose sleep and comfort but wo still want to experience the excitement and magic of STP, I'll be posting updates on Twitter throughout the day, or at least until I fall asleep under the snack table at mile 143.

That's it for this week. As always, send your bike questions--mechanical, policy, aesthetic, or otherwise--to [email protected]
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