Biking

I read the news yesterday that Pronto! bike sharing is in financial difficulties, and that, without more money from the city, it may have to cease operations.

My thought is: It was a great idea, it seemed to be well planned, but the demand just wasn’t there. It’s time to let it go. Seattle just isn’t a bicycle city. I don’t know if it’s the hills or the spottiness of the infrastructure, but we just aren’t Portland when it comes to bike commuting. It’s sad.

I see bikes on the front of buses. The Burke-Gilman Trail seems well used. I see plenty of bicycles on the University of Washington campus, but I get the feeling that when riders want to go off-campus, they’ll be putting their bikes on a bus. But I don’t see hoards of bicycles on Seattle city streets. It’s sad.

The protected bike lane on Broadway is nice, but I don’t see it being used very often. The City of Seattle is, at least, trying.

I could be wrong. I know people who bicycle to work, but not that many. I don’t know of a bike rack in my office building.

Most mornings, our 47 bus passes the occasional bicyclist, or two, heading down Pine Street, toward Downtown.

Back in the 1980s, I used to be an active member of The Cascade Bicycle Club. I used to go on club rides almost every weekend. The club met in Wallingford, several members bicycled there, but our club rides were mostly on the Burke-Gilman Trail or outside of the city. The most memorable in-city club ride, for me, didn’t even involve bicycles – it was a walk along Madison Avenue, from Elliott Bay to Lake Washington. I’d reached a point where an 80-mile club ride was the upper-level of my comfort range, when my job switched me to the night shift. I got out of the biking habit, and never got back on – even when I switched back to days. I’d ridden the Chilly Hilly at least twice, but had never attempted the Seattle-To-Portland.

There’s a Pronto! station within a block of our apartment building. The thought has crossed my mind that I could take a bike up to 12th Avenue when I pay the rent on my storage unit – there’s a station right there. But then I think that it’s easier, cheaper – and safer – just to walk or drive.

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