My nemesis.

By | October 23, 2015
The bike counter!  Pretty cool!

The bike counter! Pretty cool!  The climb looks so easy doesn’t it?

Every day on my commute, I come face to face with my nemesis.  The Spokane street Bridge.  The Spokane Street Bridge is a concrete double leaf swing bridge.  Here is more information if you are an engineering nerd.    The bridge is a very popular cycling route connecting West Seattle to Downtown Seattle.  There have been over 250,000 bike crossings over the bridge so far this year.  Here are some numbers.  There are two reasons why the bridge is my nemesis.  They are as follows:

  • The climb.
  • You never know when the bridge will open, delaying your journey.

    View of the open bridge (without the gate).

    View of the open bridge (without the gate).

For obvious reasons, the majority of Seattle’s drawbridges are supposed to be inactive during rush hour.  There are few things more annoying that waiting in traffic for a half hour because some rich yahoo wants to take out his sail boat.  The Duwamish River on the other hand is a working waterway and highly subjective to tides.  The result, is that bridge openings are not subject to rush hour restrictions.  Openings instead are based on the tides.  The result, an ill timed bridge opening can make hundreds of cyclists late for work or late getting home.  On the plus side, you get to meet some interesting people on these unplanned stops.  I highly recommend a purple 1988 Cannondale ST1000 if you are interested in meeting attractive women.  Sure they are not easy to find, but that bike has sparked more conversations with total strangers than I can count.   The other nice thing about bridge openings, is that it gives you a nice break on the climb.


The Spokane Street Bridge is not a long climb.  It is certainly not a steep climb, but whenever I cross the bridge heading south it just kills me.  It should be a breeze, but it never seems to get easier.  In years past, I would climb at between 9 and 10 mph.  This year I am between 10 and 12 mph.  Regardless of my improvement, I am always gasping for breath and suffering when I make it to the top.  Recovery from this effort always takes forever.  I have short 20% plus climbs at the end of my ride to work and  on my ride home.  These climbs are tough, but the puny Spokane Street Bridge is the climb I dread most on my commute.  Someday I hope to figure out why and defeat my nemesis.

What about you.  Do you have a cycling nemesis?




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