Springtime: A Time to Rediscover

Every spring as we head into the mountains again, it is exciting to rediscover the roads that we love. For us, each season has its particular routes. The spring rides are some of our favorites.
Heading to Index for the first time of the year is special. Index lies deep in the mountains, but its elevation is low enough that it is snow-free most of the year.
We head out on roads that we know well, but haven’t ridden in almost a year. It’s wonderful to rediscover these old friends.
After the relatively flat base miles, it’s fun to stretch our climbing legs again.
We usually have the little backroad to Index to ourselves, but on this day, we met a train on its way up Stevens Pass.
Index itself is a little town offset from the highway. It is surrounded by mountains and seems worlds away from the big city of Seattle.
On this day, we had planned to arrive in Index by noon, and we were pleased that our randonneuring skills survived the winter break intact.
When you rediscover favorite places, you always wonder what has changed. This time, things are changing for the better: The long-abandoned Bush House hotel and restaurant is being remodeled. I look forward to being one of the first guests here.
Currently, we get our lunch at a small convenience store. The beautiful setting makes up for the lack of food choices.
As we head home through sun-dappled forests, it’s hard to believe that it’s still winter. We enjoy every minute of this ride, since quite a few more rainy months are ahead before it will be summer again.
We swoop down into the valley as we head back toward Seattle. The joy of riding our favorite roads stays with us all week. These mini-vacations restore our spirits during the gray winter months. We try to take as many of them as we can fit into our schedule.

22 Responses to Springtime: A Time to Rediscover

  1. Christopher Grande March 15, 2013 at 2:45 am #

    Decided to not take the new Herse out?

    • Jan Heine, Editor, Bicycle Quarterly March 15, 2013 at 7:16 am #

      The Herse was due for a new chain, and my schedule was hectic, so I took the bike that was ready to ride. I took the Herse on the 200 km brevet last weekend…

  2. Rod Bruckdorfer March 15, 2013 at 6:34 am #

    Your writing about riding in the mountains portrays a romantic journey to a time, when the world did not move at the speed of an electron. It is refreshing to know one can enjoy cycling without wearing Rapha, riding to Strava or race training on a carbon fiber machine through cold and rain all day in the mountains then drinking chocolate milk after “going to hell and back” – refreshing indeed. Thank You.

  3. David Gaible March 15, 2013 at 9:09 am #

    Awesome riding (and I love that you have the same Ibex gloves as me). Can you post a link to the course? Happy riding!

      • Dax March 15, 2013 at 9:36 am #

        This looks like only a portion of the course? Did you start in Gold Bar?

        • Jan Heine, Editor, Bicycle Quarterly March 15, 2013 at 10:41 am #

          I fixed the link – it was linking to just the Reiter Road part of the ride. Now it shows the route.
          We live in Seattle, so we start our rides there. The Bike Route Toaster course picks up in Kenmore and ends in Bothell. That is where we leave the Burke-Gilman Trail on the way out, and re-enter it on the way back. (The trail doesn’t work with car-centric the “auto-routing” feature of the web sites.)

      • Bill Gobie March 17, 2013 at 9:29 am #

        The last bit up to Index is missing.
        Out of Startup, did you ride Dike Rd and cross the railroad tracks somewhere?

  4. DummyDiva March 15, 2013 at 9:21 am #

    Nice! Love the photos. I’m heading for a ride today I haven’t done in 21 years!

  5. Daniel A March 15, 2013 at 9:28 am #

    I noticed you’re wearing a Timex and not a vintage mechanical watch. Thoughts? 😉

    • Jan Heine, Editor, Bicycle Quarterly March 15, 2013 at 10:45 am #

      I appreciate the craftsmanship of beautiful mechanical watches, but I am not a watch aficionado. For me, a watch needs to tell time and have an alarm, plus be waterproof. It gets sweaty and may get scratched when I am hiking. A digital watch fills my needs and allows me to allocate my resources on things that make a difference in my experience.

      • Steve Palincsar March 15, 2013 at 2:33 pm #

        What do you use the alarm feature for?

    • Rod Bruckdorfer March 15, 2013 at 11:20 am #

      In terms of accuracy, a Timex is several orders of magnitude better than any mechanic watch, even the handcrafted watches. Sailor who use sextants, use Timex type watches to determine lat and long.

      • Matthew J March 16, 2013 at 5:02 am #

        Smart phone and computer will be just as accurate as a digital watch.

  6. Alexey Merz March 15, 2013 at 8:11 pm #

    “…a romantic journey to a time, when the world did not move at the speed of an electron.”
    …and the speed of an electron in a 1mm copper wire at 3A of DC current is about… 0.001 km/h!

    • Rod Bruckdorfer March 16, 2013 at 4:56 am #

      This 0.001 km/h drift velocity is negative, i.e. -0.1 m/hr, whereas “By comparison, the Fermi velocity of these electrons (which, at room temperature, can be thought of as their approximate velocity in the absence of electric current) is around 1570 km/s.[1] 🙂

  7. Joel Niemi March 16, 2013 at 9:06 pm #

    Bike Route Toaster does have a bicycle selection in the auto-routing section, and it usually knows about bike paths. I don’t recall if you can switch between bikes and cars and pedestrians while you are making a route.

    • Jan Heine, Editor, Bicycle Quarterly March 17, 2013 at 6:08 am #

      You can switch between “auto-routing” and not while making a route, which is nice. When I was drawing the course, the software (which is using Google Maps as a base) didn’t recognize the trail… but maybe that has changed now?

    • Bill Gobie March 17, 2013 at 9:26 am #

      Yes, you can switch BRT between cars and bikes and peds while drawing a route. Routable bike routes have to be in the map database. Sometimes it routes onto mountain bike trails, or makes crazy detours to reach bike routes. Editing routes drives me nuts — correcting a mistake usually requires redrawing the whole route. I wonder if this a browser problem.