Sunday, March 22, 2009

Taking a Loop Around the Rock

Our route this week was to look "the Rock"--Mercer Island. As we gathered at Eastside Foursquare Church in the morning light, we shared a brief devotional, prayed, and then I reminded my group of the rules of the road. Mercer Island was highlighted in a few news reports last summer on their propensity to stop cyclists for not obeying traffic laws. Basic stuff, like blowing stop signs or rolling through red lights. But, I also learned that to officers on "the Rock," a full stop means putting your foot down and stopping all forward movement. So, with those reminders we set off for a beautiful morning of riding.

As we rode through Kirkland and Carillon Point along the waterfront, the weather was cool but it was dry. And for the first weekend of Spring, that was a great thing! As we stopped at an intersection in Hunts Point, a group of neighbors was out landscaping the entrance to their neighborhood. I thought about whether I should have stayed home and worked in my yard... "Nah!" I replied to myself as I hit the gas and turned the corner!

We rolled through downtown Bellevue and began the very hard climb up from Old Bellevue. I was surprised I made it up without having to drop into the granny gear. But, I was breathing hard, so don't think for a second it was without effort. At the top of the climb, one of the other riders said my favorite words. "I've lived in this area for years and I've never been here!" I relish those moments when I can lead a ride into a neighborhood, along a route, or through a town that someone in the group has never been.

But, some of the best views were still to come. We rolled up and down through Beaux Arts. Founded in 1908 and incorporated in 1954, the Town of Beaux Arts Village has a population of 300 residents. The community is stunning with tall trees, ivy, and classy homes tucked along short rolling streets with peekaboo views of Lake Washington and the East Channel bridge of I-90.

Dropping out of Beaux Arts, we hopped onto the I-90 trail, crossing over to Mercer Island. I once again reminded everyone to watch that they ride single file and obey the stop signs. The traffic was tame on this early Saturday morning. At least initially. As we reached the "Cape of Good Hope" of Mercer Island, a driver pulled out of a driveway looking to her right, but never to her left where I was. It wasn't a near miss, but it could have been.

After reaching the "west coast" of the island, we turned inward and rode to Starbucks for a rest stop, caffeinated refreshment, and a moment to sit in the sun. On the return ride, we crossed paths in Kirkland with another group of cyclists out for their Saturday ride. The sun was warming things up even more. This was a beautiful day for a ride. A great day to take a loop around the Rock.

Riders: Warren, Bob H., Ken, Mike, Cary, Rob, and Jim
Dist: 27.81
Time: 2:03
Avg: 13.4
Max: 35.0
Weather: Cool and Clear

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