Coffeeneuring #5, Caffe Ladro, Kirkland

I don’t often venture deep into downtown Kirkland by bike, which means that I mostly don’t go there at all. I had an errand there, so we went to find a bakery at the same time.

Kirkland has a lovely location on the lake, with a small lakefront park. There is more space devoted to parking than park at the waterfront, and the nearest bike rack to our destination was in the middle of the parking lot. Worse, the bike rack isn’t easy to get to with obstacles in the path.

It’s not too surprising that the rack was empty.

Then it was a somewhat annoying walk around the buildings surrounding the parking lot to find a stroller-friendly route.

But the coffeeneuring? We went to Caffe Ladro where we got three fantastic chocolate chip cookies and a cup of spicy chai that I actually got to finish. A fun outing with my boys.

We ended up later than intended so I got to see the mess that is Kirkland traffic at 5pm. Downtown Kirkland is small, with only a few streets that serve as through routes for many commuters. It’s hard to get to downtown Kirkland because of all the traffic trying to go through downtown Kirkland. I’m surprised the awful traffic hasn’t convinced more people to take other routes. I’d like to see the city do something to discourage the through traffic. It would make Kirkland a much more pleasant place to go.

All this traffic ruins Kirkland as a destination, but is it an effective through route at least? No. I waited minutes at this light here:

and watched exactly seven cars pass through the intersection northbound. Seven! Carrying presumably seven people. You can’t tell me that allowing SOV travel through Kirkland at 5pm does anything good for the city.

Coffeeneuring, #2 and #3

Our bakery tour continues.

Bakery #2: Kringles Bakery, Redmond.

We love this bakery! Sadly, we rarely go there because it’s really awkward to get to. Only a block or so from a nice trail, but in between two very busy streets.

We rode through the Value Village parking lot, then onto the sidewalk

and walked the bike across the crosswalk. Here’s a better picture of the crosswalk. The bakery is in the yellow house in the middle of the picture.

No bike rack, though there was this interesting feature protecting the gas meter that looked an awful lot like a staple… so I locked up to it.

Our haul: one lemon curd kringle, two chocolate chip cookies, one chocolate croissant (split between two big kids), one chocolate muffin (for Daddy), and a cup of jasmine green tea that was still too hot to drink when the kids were done eating.

We also went to the thrift store on this trip, for Halloween costumes and other things, but ran out of time for the errands I’d intended to do.

Bakery #3: Hoffman’s Fine Pastries, Kirkland

Hoffman’s is currently in downtown Kirkland, in the Park Place area, but will be moving soon as their area will be redeveloped. Park Place is actually a fine place to ride a bike. There are many cars milling about, but they mostly move slowly. The street is narrow and there are lots of people walking around.

No bike rack anywhere nearby that I know of. I wheel locked the bike on the sidewalk outside.

Our haul: one chocolate croissant (split between two big kids), one blueberry muffin (split between two babies), one more chocolate croissant (for Daddy), one cinnamon roll, and one cup of chai tea.

We also went to the park and the library on this trip.

More to come…

Coffeeneuring after all

When coffeeneuring came and went last fall, Mark asked me if I was going to participate, and I told him no, because I don’t like coffee. But it turns out that I’m a sucker for these sorts of life-by-bike challenges, and I DO like tea, and cocoa, and, most of all, pastries. So this year I proposed a bakery tour to Mark, but he declined because he doesn’t like bikes. Even for pastries? No.

Well. Fortunately, there are four other members of the family who are happy to ride a bike to seven bakeries in seven weeks, but we’ll have to do it while we’re out during the week, because I like to spend my weekends with Mark. We might not qualify for a prize, but an excuse to stop at the bakeries that we so often skip is reward enough.

Bakery #1: The French Bakery, Kirkland

The French Bakery is kitty-corner from the Kirkland Library, so we see it almost every week. The kids frequently ask to go there, but it’s just annoying enough to get to that I usually say no, even though we really like it. Today’s haul: one chocolate croissant (split between two big kids), one plain croissant (split between two toddlers), one blueberry turnover, a chai tea latte, and another chocolate croissant for Dad (who benefits from coffeeneuring afterall).

Is it bike-friendly? weeeeeelllll, no. You see, Kirkland thinks it’s bike-friendly, but as soon as you get downtown, the traffic appears and the bike lanes disappear. While there are plenty of situations where I’ll control the lane, I am not comfortable doing so in most of downtown Kirkland, because the people driving are looking for parking, not for kids on a bike. And the sidewalks are too narrow to add bikes to the many pedestrians using them. For the most part, the farthest I go in downtown Kirkland is the library, and then we walk from there. So while this bakery is just across the street from the library, the intersection in question is a big barrier – it’s busy, and it’s just too close to all those cars.

Plus, there’s no bike rack. Today I dropped the bike off at the bike shop across the street (to which I’ve found a reasonable if circuitous route) to have its brakes bled, and we walked over with the trailer, then to the library, the playground, and back for the bike.