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Blowin’ in the wind

October 5, 2008

In order for a storm to qualify as a hurricane, it must have sustained winds of over 74 mph. Saturday, there were only gusts of 50 mph. Well, from my perspective it may as well have been a hurricane on 15th.

Hurricane flags

It was day 2 of Oktoberskoot 17, and a bunch of us were riding from Hale’s Ales in Ballard to the Pike Brewing Company downtown. I got blown from the outside to the inside lane on the Ballard Bridge. On the grating. But the real fury occurred somewhere south of Dravus. I really don’t know why I didn’t get knocked down, but even so the crosswind was so strong I dropped out of the group and made for the curb.

I am not ashamed to admit I am scared s**tless by strong crosswinds. Maybe I should be riding them out, and even when on the GTS, which is largely unfazed by moderate wind, perhaps I should be more trusting of my skills. But on this day, at this time, all I wanted to do was find a little alcove and wait out the storm.

No little alcove was available, and hopping off 15th at Gilman wasn’t an option (or so it seemed at the time), so all that was left was to make my way to a place with wind barriers.

Luckily, there’s now a bus lane on 15th, and luckier still, bus service on weekends is largely nonexistent. I can crawl until Mercer Place, then take Mercer Street to 5th Avenue. The tall buildings should provide some relief until Pike Street.

The operative word being “should.” There were freakin’ mini-tornadoes of dry leaves at some intersections, islands of calm in others. Okay, maybe 1st Avenue would be a better bet, so I head that direction at Bell Street. The wind is as strong as ever, but traffic is going slowly and the lights seem not to be synchronized.

I get to the Pike Place Market and head down the ramp into Post Alley. This was where we parked last year.

Not a scooter in sight. I found out later that Pike Brewing Co. opened its loading dock door so scooters could park. Not knowing where that door is, I decided the best course of action would be going to the next stop, Elysian Brewing Co. on E Pike.

Luckily, the wind was well-broken by the gigantic roof-like structure at the convention center. But the trees were seriously bent at 12th & Pike. I really wondered if the GTS would get blown over as put it on the centerstand, close by the building.

Safety Ed wants to go to Die Bierstube for dinner. Yes, the idea of noshing on wurst and sauerkraut does appeal to me, but there’s the matter of getting to Roosevelt. It’s windy outside, remember?

Luckily, the logical route from Capitol Hill is sheltered, and the trees on Roosevelt are not being hammered as we park our bikes. The sky clears as we eat dinner, but the wind picks up, too. Uhh. There’s a party scheduled for the evening, and I probably would’ve been better off going and waiting out the passage of the front, but at the time my thoughts were focused on getting myself and the GTS home in one piece.

So I head south on Roosevelt toward the University Bridge. Though the GTS’s tires are tres nibbly, I can deal with the nibbles. I’m just hoping the wind doesn’t catch me just the wrong way…

UPDATE: You can see the Oktoberscoot gallery here. Favicon

One Comment
  1. October 10, 2008 11:09 am

    My Flickr Oktoberscoot 17 set is here.

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