As much as I enjoy decrying car americana, I feel it’s important to remark on some of the things that have brought me joy while riding around.
For starters, I always enjoyed a good climb. Chengdu had a fair share of accessible climbing that made for a decent day of the old up and down. Though Chengdu had some great little 30km (20 mile) rippers in the city, sometimes I couldn’t deny the call of the hills. Cue an hour of spinning along dusty boulevards, sometimes enshrouded in smog, to get to those sweet, sweet ascents. No bueno.
Being in Seattle is a climber’s paradise. Climbs are unavoidable. To make it out the door I’m faced with either 50 meters ascent to start a loop or a cold 100 meter descent and the prospect of doing the 150 later on. It took me some time for my attitude to warm up to the idea. Then out riding today it clicked. It’s great.
I had always wanted accessible hills. Chengdu’s nearest, Longquan, required a good two and a half hours in the saddle. It’s not a ride you can readily squeeze into your day. When you’re climbing from your door, as you’re like to do in Seattle, you’re guaranteed a diverse effort in the saddle compared to Chengdu’s sole option of riding the rivet and running red lights.
The result? 30km and a little bit more elevation gain than an effort up Longquan. Pair that with a sweet little 10km of flats to spin the legs out and you have a recipe for the perfect short ride.