Wednesday, April 16, 2014

#30DaysofScootering: Soggy Scootering

There are many wise people who never ride their scooters in the rain. I'm not one of those people. I grew up listening to Billy Joel songs ("you may be right, I may be crazy, but it just may be a lunatic you're looking for...") but I'm not totally reckless. One big reason I chose my KickPed over various other scooters is that it has two-inch wide, grippy tires. And, over the past year, I've scootered many, many miles in the rain. I've learned a lot about how much traction I do or don't have and how much extra I should slow down for given conditions and how much harder I need to stomp on the rear fender brake. I advise folks to use their own judgement when it comes to when and where they go scootering. In general I don't let the weather keep me from riding.

Christine pedals off to work at the Safeway super early in the morning (she's a shopper for Today she finished up around 8:00 AM and she gave me a call. I scootered off to meet her for breakfast.

It was a wet morning. This little snail was on our walkway.

I moved the snail off the walk and into the bushes where it would be less likely to get stepped on.

We've had a couple of dry weeks in Issaquah, but today the rains have returned.

If you want a real challenge, try taking pictures while scootering in the rain.

I was trying to capture the image of water streaming off the front wheel. I kind of succeeded.

Here's my sweetie with her grocery pannier and her rain jacket.

I lock my scooter up next to Christine's Allant and then we walk over to Panera for breakfast.

After breakfast we pick up some food for Inkling and ourselves and then we roll for home. Christine commutes by bike every day, while I use my scooter for my shorter commute.

It keeps raining throughout the day and I don't have any strong reasons to go anywhere, so it's another short day in terms of scooter miles.

3.67 miles today, bringing the April total to 139.53 miles.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

#30DaysofScootering: Taxes, Green Places and Goats

Another busy day at work, but I got in a little extra scootering done in the morning in addition to my commute. I scootered over to the post office to drop my tax return in the mail.

It was a fine morning for scootering along the Pickering Trail.

More of Issaquah's great green space.

Another of the many pedestrian bridges over the Issaquah Creek.

These goats graze in a pasture right next to the bike trail.

When I get close, they come closer.

I think this guy was hoping I brought snacks.

4.41 scooter miles today, bringing my April total to 135.86 miles.

Monday, April 14, 2014

#30DaysofScootering: Scootering in Sunshine

Another beautiful spring day Issaquah, which means it will be a busy day at the bike shop, but I do manage to get a few extra scooter miles in this morning, taking a longer, definitely not direct, route to work.

The thing in the foreground is art. The thing behind it is history. The mountain behind that is geography.

You can't swing a dead fish without hitting some public art in Issaquah. This is a bench in front of the library.

And this is a bench beside the library. Issaquah really likes art you can sit on.


I scooter on down to the Issaquah Creek. I don't actually scooter on the stony shore, but this is a nice walking and thinking spot. In the fall, it's a great spot to watch the salmon as they jump up past this little bit of whitewater.

There are some great old trees in Confluence Park.

This little stone bench is ideally shaped to be a scooter support.

It's a bright, beautiful day in Issaquah.

But it's time for me to loop back to work.

3.55 miles of scootering today, bringing my April total to 131.45 miles.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

#30DaysofScootering: Faithful Steed

It was another beautiful spring day in Issaquah, so it was busy as heck at the bike shop. I'd been busy doing my taxes this morning before work, but I got out a bit this evening to scooter around and enjoy the fine weather.

I've written a fair bit about places I've gone on my scooter, but tonight I'm going to focus a bit more on the scooter itself, my faithful steed. It's a NYCeWheels KickPed and it's more than lived up to its rugged reputation. I've ridden this machine darn near every day for a over a year now, in nice and lousy weather and aside from wiping off some mud now and then and dribbling a little TriFlow into the bearings a couple of times, I've basically had to do nothing to keep the scooter humming along. Oh, I did tighten down a couple of the deck bolts last week because they'd loosened up a bit over the course of a year and I was getting a wee bit of a creaking noise from the deck. But that's it.

The tires still have plenty of life on them (thousands of miles, probably). They are solid and can't go flat. Pneumatic tires would give a cushier ride, but I find these wide tires combined with a strong steel frame give a much smoother ride than the aluminum scooters I've tried with skinnier "faster" urethane tires. I'd never trust the urethane tires in the wet conditions I've subjected my KickPed to and it is so nice never having to worry about flat tires or think about tire pressure.

My scooter is made in America by Americans. I scuffed a bit of the grip tape off the deck in the first weeks I owned the scooter, but the rest of the tape is holding up fine.

The varnish at the back of the deck is a bit worn now. That shiny spot is where my toe rests when I'm feathering the rear fender brake with my heel.

This is one of my modifications. That's a Bontrager Ember USB tail light strapped to a wine cork and stuffed into the "tailpipe" of my scooter.

Up front I have a little bell and a Planet Bike 2 Watt Blaze Micro headlight. I use a bit of old innertube rubber to keep the light from bouncing free of its mount.

This is the bottom of the scooter deck. Over the course of a year, my scooter has collected it's share of scrapes from banging into curbs and rocks. Some scratches and dings but nothing even close to compromising the structural integrity of the machine. I figure it will take decades more pounding and still be going strong.

The rear fender doubles as a brake. Both the rear tire and fender look like they've got years more wear in them.

I did scooter around my neighborhood for a bit. This is a bit of shade in Confluence Park.

Finally, I played around some more with my tripod and timer.

I got a few shots of me rolling.

Evidence that I do in fact trade off which leg is doing the kicking. One surprising thing you learn when you start kick scooting is that it isn't the kicking leg that tires, it's the one you're standing on.

This shot turned out pretty good. Don't I look like I'm having fun? I am. I really like zipping around on this faithful steed.

No epic miles today, just 2.4 miles including my commute, bringing my April total to 127.9 miles.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

#30DaysofScootering: Breakfast with Bender

Another busy day at work but I did get out for a little scootering this morning.

I scootered over to the post office

and then rolled over to the Issaquah Coffee company.

Bender is the shop dog at the Issaquah Coffee Company. He was very interested in my ham & cheese biscuit.

Bender's a very good dog and he reminds me a little of another dog you should know about, Norman the Scooter Dog.

3.31 miles of scootering today, bringing my April total to 125.5 miles.

Friday, April 11, 2014

#30DaysofScootering: Scootering Through Time, Space and the Other

I didn't do any epic scootering miles today, I just rolled around a little extra in my neighborhood on my way to work. Instead of rolling out the door early, I finished up rereading one of my favorite novels, Borgel by Daniel Pinkwater. I've written elsewhere about the novels of Daniel Pinkwater. He manages to combine the mundane and the fantastic in a goofy, wise way.

One of the many great observations in Borgel is when he notes to his nephew Melvin that "There is no limit to what most people don't notice." Borgel and Melvin spend the course of the novel travelling in Time, Space and the Other in an old Dorbzeldge. Time, by the way, is like a map of New Jersey. Space is sort of like a bagel, but an elliptical one, with poppy seeds. The Other is the hardest to explain, but it's sort of like a mixed salad with only one ingredient you like.

Now I don't have a Dorbzeldge, but I have a scooter. I travel in Time, Space and the Other with this scooter and I notice things. I've concluded that I notice things because of the pace. I have a certain scootering pace and attitude. This pace, which can be mundanely quantified down to maybe six or seven miles per hour, doesn't tell you much when you're just looking at numbers, but the thing is, I don't look at numbers. I wind up tracking distance with my phone and later it tells me how fast I went and where, but the more important thing to me seems to be that I go at this wandering pace. I go further than I'd walk so I find more things. I'm sifting through this  space salad, stopping and here and there when I find things I like. And a lot of times I like scootering, just the motion of it. I'm bad at taking pictures of motion, you'll just have to trust me on that.

But I stop places, like by the statue of Pan behind the town candy factory.

Have I mentioned that Issaquah has a candy factory? It looks like this.

The next to the candy factory is a little park with this statue of Wilhelm Tell.

The candy factory grounds also include this little church.

Here's a view of the mural that's painted along the side of the Darigold Creamery.

As I scooter off to work, I cross paths with my colleague, Hughie.

Hugie is taking Dillon for his morning walk. Dillon works with us 5 days a week at the bike shop.

By the way, this is a busy weekend for us. It's Trekfest.. If you're in the market for a bike, Trek makes good ones.

Where does the money you spend at your local bike shop go? Some of it goes to feed this guy. Some of it goes into the donuts and chocolate that power the scooter and bike adventures that you read about on this blog.

It was a busy day at the shop, but I did get to scooter home for lunch. As I said earlier, nothing epic, just scootering through Time, Space and the Other.

2.26 miles today bringing April's total to 122.19 miles.