Sunday, July 3, 2011

Biking the Lake Washington Loop

Rest stop in Marymoor Park

Taking a break on the I-90 bridge

This is how I felt after biking 43 miles

And this is how Ryan felt - how does he have so much energy?
Today we biked the short version of the Lake Washington Loop for the first time. We headed north from our house on the Burke Gilman trail to Bothell, followed the Sammamish River Trail to the trail that follows hwy 520 to Bellevue, and then rode over the I-90 bridge and back north toward UW and home. It was a great day for biking - cloudy and in the 60's for most of the day and then sunny and in the 70's for the last part of our ride. We did encounter some, um, excitement though.

To start this story, I'll just explain that I have a little pouch under my bike seat (see first photo) in which I usually keep bike tools. Today I also stuffed my wallet, iPhone, and keys in there. Skip ahead to us biking on a short section of sidewalk in Redmond that connects the Lake Sammamish Trail with the trail that follows Hwy 520. About 30 yards in front of us we saw a tree fall next to the sidewalk and quickly realized an SUV had hit the tree. We then saw the car crash into a light pole (which fell over into the road) and then finally came to a stop after hitting another tree. Ryan sped ahead on his bike to get to the accident. I jumped off my bike and yelled to him that I was going to call 911. In the meantime two cars had already stopped, one of which got to the SUV a few seconds before Ryan and said he was a paramedic.

I quickly unzipped the pouch under my bike seat, pulled out my iPhone, and threw my bike on the ground. After I got off the phone with 911, I put my iPhone in the pocked of my shirt. Ryan was standing in the road directing traffic around the light pole that had fallen over (a good job for him since he was wearing bright yellow). The man who had said he was a paramedic was talking to the driver of the car, who was still in the car and appeared not be seriously injured, but was obviously shaken up. Within a minute or two a police officer arrived and less than two minutes later an ambulance and firetruck were there. Apparently the driver of the car had just had an MRI and did not remember the accident at all. She had probably lost consciousness while driving and didn't "wake up" until her car had stopped.

After the police officer asked us a few questions, we got on our bikes and headed on our way - thankful that we hadn't been riding under that tree a few seconds earlier, thankful no other cars or pedestrians had been involved, and thankful the driver seemed to be okay. Just a few yards down the trail my keys tumbled out of my bike pouch and I realized I had never zipped it back up after hastily pulling my out my iPhone. This should have alerted me that my wallet might have fallen out too, but for some reason it didn't. I am rather good at loosing my wallet, but this time I'll blame being shaken up from watching a car accident happen.

We pedaled all the way to Bellevue and found a place to have lunch at before I realized my wallet was missing. I knew it must have fallen out near the accident. We decided we'd have to ride back (several miles) to look for it. In the meantime I dialed my bank to have them put a hold on my debit card. While I was on hold with the bank (of course) someone from the Redmond Police Station called to say that the officer had picked up my wallet and I could retrieve it anytime from the station. I was SO relieved to know my wallet was safe and I would definitely be getting it back. And what amazing timing for the police department to call me!!

The remainder of the ride was comparatively uneventful. We did have a few moments of confusion trying to find the route at different points, but one can never get too lost with an iPhone. I didn't really get tired until about mile 37. After that point all I could think about was "When can I get off this bike seat and out of these shoes that are making my toes go numb?!?"

But we made it. Now I know I can bike 43 miles. And I got my wallet back thanks to a very nice police officer.

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