Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Ride me out to the Ball Game

Duwamish river with Mt. Rainier in the distance
One of my goals while I am on my "work hiatus" was to ride my bike to a ball game.  I was inspired by the excellent "A few spokes shy of a wheel" blog where "Rootchopper", a resident of the greater DC metro-plex, regularly rides his bike to see the Washington Nationals.  I did some research and found out that the Safeco Field, where my beloved and beleaguered (15 years with no post season appearance) Mariners play, is only 5 miles away and has bike parking in one of the stadium garages.  The route is mostly downhill or flat on the way there but it's a fairly gritty and industrial route going by the port and rail yards.  You do get a nice view of Mt. Rainier from the summit of the bridge crossing the Duwamish river though, and it was peaking out on my ride.

About a mile from the stadium I had to pause for this train whose end was just in the intersection when it stopped, fortunately they backed it up and we were able to get through, the final part of the route to the stadium runs on 1st avenue which is a busy 4 lane surface street whose only nod to bikes are faded sharrows.  I am not usually a fan of riding on the sidewalk as I think it comes with it own set of issues but in this case I made an exception.  I used to commute to downtown and used a better bike route but that was a decade ago and lots of construction has happened in that time so I just took the route google maps laid out.

Once I got to the stadium I dismounted and walked the bike as I was close to the garage and there were swarms of pedestrians making their way to the game and/or the beer garden you can't see in the photo above that was on my right.

On my way to the garage I spotted these racks but since I had read the bike parking was inside  I kept going.  As I neared the entrance to the parking garage the attendants must have seen my "this my first time and I don't what I am doing" look and kindly directed me were to go.

no lolly gagging!
The bike cage was really more of a cave, its a low spot in the garage with support beams running through it and any car that wasn't a low rider would have a difficult time parking in that area.  I'm just shy of 6 feet and I had to duck to get in and out. but it is nice they have a secure place for bikes.

I got the HD all locked up and squared away and swapped my bike helmet for my new Mariners cap.  I do like having a pannier for carrying stuff.  I thought I was going to do this trip back in May but between the rain, cold (48 degrees) and dark I decided to bike another day.  In anticipation of that game I decided to order a new ball cap after I realized I had been using the old one for 17 years.

The bike cage reminded me of ones I have used at various employers over the years and although it didn't have a keypad at the gate being inside a garage with parking attendants felt much more secure than outside.

With summer having not truly arrived yet in the PNW the bike parking was under utilized with less than 10 bikes in the cage but I expect things will be different in July.  I thought I had left home early, but by the time I got the bike secured and crossed the street to the ball park I only had 20 minutes to gain entry, grab a beer and a dog and make my way to my seat high above.

While waiting in line to get into the stadium I got to check out the new statue for hall of famer Ken Griffey Jr.

On my way in I took this shot from where the well heeled folks sit.

And the perch my 1/2 price ticket got me.  It was actually very pleasant, a mild 65 degrees, a good crowd for a Monday night but not jam packed.  A beer and a dog and the crack of the bat.

downtown skyline with the space needle peaking out on the far left

Olympic range before sunset
One benefit of being on the 3rd deck of a downtown ball park are the views.  The home town 9 ending up winning 6-2, on the back of two, two run home runs from catcher Mike Zunino.  This kid was struggling so badly at the plate to start the season that he was sent to AAA, but since he came back he's been so hot that they are starting to call this month Junino.

photo credit Washington Post
I felt comfortable enough with a 4 run lead entering the 9th to start making my way back to the garage, I left the stadium with the Tiger's down to their last out and by the time I had my bike out of the garage folks were streaming out of the ball park with the contented glow of a hometown win.  I walked my bike a few blocks away from the stadium and towards my old bike route, I wouldn't have been able to get there by car but as a pedestrian/cyclist  I was able to thread my way to it.  My old cycling route follows the road that runs past the port of Seattle, during the day its busy with big trucks but at 10:30 at night its pretty deserted and it has a real honest to goodness bike lane.

Since I knew I would be coming home in the dark I took my "night helmet", its a bit Rube Goldberg but it allows me to run lights fore and aft on both the bike and my helmet and it gives me light where ever I point my head, I just have to remember to keep my head pointed slightly down so I don't blind folks.  I had forgotten how fun it is to ride on a warm June evening at 10:30 pm, much different than a chilly, rainy, pitch black ride at 7:00 pm in February.  It was so mild I took off my light rain shell as I knew I would be heating up climbing the incline on the bridge.  Back in my kinda go fast roadie days I could big ring this incline but tonight I was lucky to be all alone so I could paper boy it (zig zag) in my lowest gear to the top.

Since I have a bus pass, no climbing chops currently and the last mile was mostly up hill I decided to go multi-modal for the end of the trip as the bus literally delivers me to my front door.  That gave me about 13.5 km of riding this evening and it also gives me an excuse to seek out another game so I can bike door to door next time.  As it was it felt good to sit out on my balcony after I got home, among the bike projects lol, and bask in the warm glow of a goal accomplished.  Ride, Eat Cracker Jacks,Smile, Repeat.


  1. Great post. very cool that you can cycle to the ball park. I don't know, that old hat has beausage, just broken in and perfect for an old bike wrencher.

    1. Thanks Jim -.it was fun and yes I still have the old hat -it's nice & broken in like.a Brooks