Nov 102011

A simple post to celebrate the joys of autumn biking

Bike helmet with black velvet cover, green knitted ear warmer/strap cover.
If you're a knitter look for this ear warmer/helmet strap cover design on Ravelry.

What an utterly beautiful morning yesterday! Wednesday I left my little side street around 8:30 a.m., headed for a meeting on the north side of the river in downtown. The temperature hovered around 37 degrees, according to, but I wasn’t cold. The sun lit the red and gold leaves that lined my route along Rockwood Boulevard, and streets were bare and dry.

The work outfit: Black SmartWool tights, extra pair of wool socks (hate cold toes!), black boots, black knee-length skirt (thanks, Goodwill), red merino turtleneck (thanks, Nordstrom’s Half-Yearly Sale, held conveniently on the weekend of my birthday that just passed), and a little black fleecy cape (OK, so I really shopped at that Half-Yearly Sale; happy birthday to me!).

Extras for the weather: The knitted ear cover/helmet strap that friend Wilma Flanagan made for me, a face mask I got years ago for skiing, and my lobster-claw gloves from Pearl Izumi (the ones that stupidly don’t have a nose-wiping patch). I also wear an adorable black velvet helmet topper that serves as a bit of a wind block, although I wear it more because it’s cute than because it’s practical.

The load: Po Campo loop pannier with laptop, notebook, and windbreaker. Donkey Boxx with Po Campo wristlet (what I use for my basic wallet-type stuff, since I don’t carry as much “essential” crap as I used to), cable lock, and five cans of the best cheese in the world—Cougar Gold, made at Washington State University’s Ferdinand’s Creamery.

Why I was carrying somewhere around eight pounds of delicious cheese: Whenever I go to Pullman I make a Ferdinand’s run for various friends, since it’s cheaper there than at the grocery stores in Spokane. Yesterday I got to (fan alert!) go to Pullman and meet Mia Birk, author of Joyride, president of Alta Planning, and Portland’s former bike/pedestrian coordinator/rock star, who was at WSU to talk about biking with campus planners, transportation coordinators, and advocates. Yes, she’s awesome.

The day’s mileage, destinations, and bike parking:

  • First, the Spokane Regional Health District building, which has a rack outside.
  • Then to the Riverpoint Campus via the Post Street Bridge (which someday will become bike/pedestrian only and lose the vehicle traffic, although it’s typically dead quiet anyway) and the Centennial Trail through Riverfront Park so I could enjoy more of those fall colors and the river sliding along.
  • Into downtown for a noon luncheon with the Inland Northwest Business Alliance (GLBT/Allies Chamber of Commerce) at Rain Lounge on First near Lincoln—parked by hitching to a streetlight post since there aren’t any racks in that block.
  • Back to campus, where we have bike racks next to every building.
  • At the end of the day I rode home in the dark with one of our newer faculty members, who moved up from Pullman this fall and is still learning the best routes but is an experienced commuter in general. We chose to take the Centennial Trail into downtown to the bike lane on Howard, then doubled back east along Fourth/Fifth to Sherman/Southeast Boulevard and the bike lane there. That’s a little out of the way, but a prettier and more peaceful route than the more direct options and better street surfaces to boot, for the most part.
  • Total mileage: 10.66

Beautiful weather. Dry streets. Sunshine. Golden fall. Mid-November in Spokane and still biking. I love it.

Your Turn

  • What fall riding have you been doing?
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Reader Comments

  1. I biked 30km including the NW end of the centennial trail on Tuesday. Sunny. Gorgeous. Peaceful. 🙂

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