Monday, March 30, 2009

Conference Bike Church

Sunday morning, six people—three dads and three kids—rode a seven person bike about eight miles from the Leschi neighborhood in central Seattle to the Ballard neighborhood, across town to the west, thereby setting, I’m pretty sure, the long-distance record for Conference Bike travels, at least in our hometown, at least by this particular CoBi available for rent from the Dutch Bikes of Seattle.

All things considered, it was pretty easy sailing, and somewhat less eventful than anticipated. Our elapsed time was just about an hour, meaning that our average speed was in the vicinity of ten miles an hour, that rate made possible by the initial descent down Martin Luther King Boulevard from Cherry Street to Madison, on which we probably hit a top speed of somewhere closer to fifteen or twenty mph.

There was only one hill steep enough that it might have been faster to have a few of us jump off and push, and it was pretty short. And the part of the trip I was most worried about—the busy section along Pacific Avenue in front of the UW Medical Center—turned out to be no real problem. Sure, we took up a whole lane of traffic, but cars in a hurry could get around us—although more typically, drivers slowed down and took out their cell phones to snap photos of this strange contraption making its way down the road in front of them.

The adventure did little to quell my enthusiasm for the Conference Bike; I still believe it has potential—especially with a few tweaks—to be a viable form of urban transport.

Outfitting it with a couple higher gears, for instance, would go a long way, I think, towards making it a more reasonable option for getting around. And an electric assist motor so it wouldn’t be such a nuisance to pedal solo.

And, of course, those padded gel seats have to be replaced with Brooks saddles.


Blogger Arnica Montana said...

you had me until the brooks saddles.

12:48 PM  

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