Guest Post

A wheeledpedestrian in Seattle on the 4th of July.

Guest Post: Dale Wambaugh of Seattle has taken up the invitation to share his #wheeledpedestrian story. Thanks Dale.

You can read more of Dale’s bicycle adventures here.

View of Seattle from ?? Bay

A view of the Seattle skyline from Alki Beach

Fireworks are a big part of the 4th of July celebration in the USA. The fireworks display in Seattle draws hundreds of thousands of viewers in every possible spot with a view of the lake. Unfortunately, I was required to work a 4-11pm shift in downtown Seattle. The display was due to end at about the same time as my shift, which meant traffic gridlock of epic proportions and streets full of drunken celebrants.

That meant only one thing…B-I-K-E!

It was also the hottest July 4th on record at 92F/33C and I wanted to arrive at work fresh and rested. So, I took advantage of the bicycle racks on the front of the Metro Transit buses. The bus stop is just two blocks from my home and I was dropped off just 1/2 mile from work. It worked perfectly. I got to work in plenty of time and the bus fare was just $2.50.

A phenomenon of events like this is that the crowd assembles over a period of several hours, but when the show is over, they all leave at once.

Seattle’s Burke-Gilman Trail would be perfect for the slow and gentle ride home. It’s a great rails-to-trails bicycle path that runs from the north end of Lake Union into the northern and eastern suburbs. It passes within 2 miles of my home.

Multi-modal transport

Multi-modal transport

My initial path from work took me quickly through some downtown side streets and into the maw of the retreating crowds. I had my helmet light blinking, my handlebar-mounted headlamp on full, two tail lights blinking away and a bell at my left thumb. Every intersection was being controlled by several police officers and traffic was so gridlocked that moving through with a bike was easy.

My route north to the trail was along the west side of the lake. People were walking back to their cars and many were tipsy after an evening in the heat waiting for the fireworks. They wandered around the parking lots, blocking traffic. This made it easy for me to pick my way through the stalled cars, laughing and shouting every time I rang my bell.

I continued across the Fremont drawbridge and connected with the trail, passing Gasworks Park along the way. This park was a main viewing area on the lake of the fireworks display but most people had left by the time I passed by.  The path was clear enough for full speed travel…just a few miles more and I would be home.

‘Cycling’ is sport and recreation. ‘Riding a bicycle’ is everyday activity. No sweat.

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