Jan 152012

My original definition of a bikespedition included the idea that I would target a particular neighborhood and explore it pretty thoroughly.

Saturday, though, I spent the day on a bikespedition of a different sort: just running around on my bike from place to place for a fun day of activities.

I thought I’d catalog it to show how easy—truly easy—it can be to use your bike for a day of friend time and errands. Even if you never venture into rush hour traffic on a bike, you might spend some weekend days pedaling around.

It also turned out to be a 100% “buy local” experience (counting one larger retailer that is headquartered in Washington state). Spokane’s greater downtown area is fortunate to be home to many one-of-a-kind businesses, which makes this pretty easy.

Letters below correspond to spots on the map.

A–Scout: My monthly girl gang get-together assembled at this new restaurant at First and Monroe next to the Montvale Hotel to check them out. Our crowd of a dozen or so was probably a bit much for the servers, but they were cheerful and the food was decent. This is in the same block as the tail end of Bikespedition #1 to Carnegie Square.

B–REI: To get to the north bank I headed east to Wall, then doubled back to take the Post Street Bridge up to Boone and west to REI—a slightly quieter route than Monroe. This was a quick errand; I’d been carrying around a receipt thinking I’d been overcharged but turns out I read the sale price wrong.

C–Rocket Bakery: Next I had a shopping date with a couple of girlfriends (Megan and of course Betsy of Belles and Baskets) back at Carnegie Square.

From REI I took the straight shot across the Monroe Street Bridge, although I could have backtracked via Boone to Post if I wanted to avoid the heavier traffic entirely. From Monroe it’s a nice ride along Riverside Avenue to Cedar, and I parked my bike in the rack in front of Carousel Vintage.

Fringe and Fray: In the same building as the Rocket—they don’t have a lot of dressy things but it was worth checking.

Carousel Vintage: Right across from the Rocket and Fringe and Fray. Owner Jenny Stabile knows from vintage and brought some great knit suits (perfect for riding) up from downstairs for me to check out—too bad they didn’t fit, but I’ll be back!

Megan was hoping to find a vintage dressy dress for an upcoming gala. This was the fun kind of shopping: open to possibilities but no “must find it today!” pressure.

D–Finders Keepers II: Staying in the dressy-dress hunt, we headed to the block of West Main between Browne and Division. They have bunches of special-occasion dresses–not vintage, but some things made to look vintage. Megan still didn’t score a dress but I got a great wool hat.

E–Nectar Tasting Room: Owner Josh was holding a couple of bottles for me (a Washington wine from a vintage that was about to sell out) so I swung by the corner of Main and Stevens to pick those up.

Because I was on the bike I could skip some of the one-way messing about by walking my bike for a block, although it wouldn’t have been more than another couple of blocks out of my way if I had ridden. Biking is often more directionally efficient than driving because of the flexibility to switch modes and become a pedestrian.

F–Neat Old Stuff: We came here specifically because of my SoDo bikespedition, without which I never would have found this place. We got to taste some amazing fudge owner CP shared with us, Betsy got a way-cool piece for a Halloween costume that I won’t describe because that would spoil the surprise, and Megan tried on more dresses. Still no luck, but this was one fun time.

I thought about making a couple more stops at Sun People Dry Goods and the Spokane Public Market because they were only a block away, but decided to head home to Sweet Hubs and cook something delicious for dinner.

Basically I spent time with friends, shopped, ate, and had fun: the definition of a successful bikespedition!

I’d also add that if I had done all this running around in a car, I know from experience that a day with eight stops in it would have felt more like a series of chores because of the constant parking/reparking. Because all I have to do is hitch to the nearest tall signpost, I’m inside and shopping in a flash.

Oh, in case you think I can’t count when you look at the titles of the bikespedition posts below, there’s a missing that I need to write about. Betsy and I explored South Perry back in October and I keep meaning to write it up. One of these days! Meanwhile, you should just go there and check it out for yourself.

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