Lauren is not allowed to bike to Alki with the group Any More. Period.

[This was written on 4/29…]

Why is Lauren not allowed to bike to Alki you ask?

Because just like last time [on 4/8] it started to rain… no … POUR on the trip back. Oh and there was a headwind. Shall I describe the headwind. No. I’d like to show you what happened, but I’m having trouble posting the info from the GPS. So I’ll have to tell you. We bailed at Tully’s on West Seattle. A special round of thanks to the folks at Tully’s for putting up with three wet soggy riders and all their wet soggy gear. Another kudo goes out to the Goddess of a ferry worker-woman who gave me a black plastic trash bag to wear coming off the ferry.

But I am getting ahead of myself.

The day started out really great. Megan and Scott met me at UZ and we got a quick cup of coffee. Well it should have been quicker. We left a little after 7:30. Mistake.

We hooked up with Kate on the trail – she had ridden from downtown. We then hooked up with Marc at Gasworks.

Our path went up and over Dexter – which wasn’t as bad as I thought it might be. (The elevation data from the Garmin seems to be a little off in some places, particularly down town.).

We scooted down 2nd, and cut over to Alaskan via Yesler. That was all great – there is very little traffic that early in the morning. The trip across to Alki was much like last time and we were … but I was starting to get worried about making the 9:15 ferry. I didn’t think we’d make the load time (20 minutes before)… but I thought we could still make it. Mistake #2 was a goof on my part: I thought the trip to the Fauntleroy ferry terminal was 15 miles, not the 20 miles it actually is. Ooops. Bad Ride Leader. The other problem is that there are two fairly significant hills about a mile from the ferry terminal. They’re not that high (around 175ft), just one is pretty steep. It slowed us down.

We missed the ferry literally by minutes. I couldn’t find Joan so I assumed she went on the ferry. I only hoped we could hook up with her on the other side. Marc and Megan turned back at the ferry and headed back. They can make any comments about their return trip separately.

Well it was great. Waiting on the other side was Joan and her really cool new bike. I have bike envy now.

The first hill off the ferry is a long one. Not too step, but very long and it gets you (according to the GPS) to about 400 ft. But I didn’t even have too much trouble with it.

The first downhill is pretty steep though.

There are a lot of rollers on the bike trip. We didn’t fully follow either of the suggested route. We road along the west side of the island, and decided at Cemetary road (where the 21 mie route cuts off) to continue South instead of cutting back to town. We went Wax Orchard Road to SW 232nd – there’s supposedly a stand that sells juice etc, but apparently they are closed on weekends. So we pressed on.

232nd meets up with Vashon Island “Highway” and we turned north. This is were the routes suggest you take a right on 222nd, but we kept going straight.

At the I think 204th we debated about stopping in a bakery/cafe there…. But it was at the bottom of a hill. So we pressed on. At the top of a hill (At Cemetary road) was a coffee roaster and we thought maybe a bakery. Nope. Apparently that restaurant is a good one, so stop there if you want a sit down meal. We pressed on and found the “Town” of Vashon. Across from the town park (and there was a Saturday market), there is a place called Bob’s Bakery with some hand held savory treats.

Oh.My were those good. Scott and Kate had a pizza type one with pumpkin seeds on top. Scott also had a Salmon one that he said wasn’t quite so good. I had one that was filled with tofu, peanut and spinach that was to die for. MMMMMM.

At this point Kate – who was getting very cold during the trip, borrowed Joan’s extra coat. Good thing. Kate, Scott and I all had issues with our clothing choices. I didn’t wear a long sleeve under my jacket. Kate needed an extra jacket to keep warm. And Scott needed socks that weren’t cotton. Joan, the mountaineer, was very well outfitted for the trip 🙂

From there it was a few more rollers and the big downhill that we earned at the beginning of the Vashon ride. We felt a few drops.

We got on the boat and it was still fine. I did notice a lot of rain on the windows, but I figured it had to do with the fact that we were moving in the drizzle.

I was wrong. It was POURING rain that was blowing sideways when we got back to the bikes. Fortunately the Ferry Goddess gave me a big black plastic garbage bag that I fashioned into a waterproof sleeveless Jacket. Note to self: Always keep one or two larger plastic bags in the panier from now on.

The plastic bag kept my body VERY warm. However my legs and arms below the bag were soaked in about 2 minutes. Biking glasses were a MUST, but even still you could barely see through them.

The headwind was attrocious though. And the bag … while keeping me dry, was also essentially a parachute no matter what I did. I could only do about 14 miles down the hill from Fauntleroy to the beach road.

We managed to make it to the point of Alki where I just realized that I could make it to the north point of Alki and the tailwind, and even across Spokane street, but then we’d hit the headwind… and there was no way I could even make it to Kate’s. I also realized I was now litterally stepping in puddles of water in my shoe. BTW, the toe covers and wool socks work wonders at keeping my toes warm, but not dry.

We called Ruben and had him meet us at the Tully’s – they have a fire place. Ruben and Elias came and rescued us…

And that’s the story.

So there were a few lessons learned… I think it’s worth the extra weight on your bike to carry appropriate all weather gear. You never know when the weather will turn like that. I did have an extra pair of socks (which helped Scott once we got to Tully’s) and a spare pair of full fingered gloves. But I didn’t have a warm enough top.

Vashon is hilly, but even I was ok with it. You will go *very* slowly up some of the hills and there are two pretty steep downhills.

Rides so far

Just for completeness, I thought I’d put down some of the rides we’ve done so far:

4/1 – A trip from near University Village to the Brewery in Woodinville via the Burke Gilman trail.

4/8 and 4/9 – University village to Alki. The Saturday crowd, including Lauren, got dumped on.

4/15 and 4/16 – Toe Clips through the Tulips. Here are some pictures from the Sunday ride with Kate, Lauren and Ruben.

4/22 – U District street scramble for a few of us (with the results here)

4/23 – Daffodil classic put on by the Tacoma Wheelmen’s Bicycle Club

4/29 and 4/30: Ride from U Village to Fauntleroy, around Vashon Island and back. A post about this one will follow.

5/6 and 5/7: Ride around Lake Washington, going to the south first.

5/13: Ride almost 60 miles on Whidbey Island.

History of the Pastry Powered Turing Machines

Fact #1: The Turing Machine is a simple model of a computer – a concept by Alan Turing.

Fact #2: There is a mural painted of a Steam Powered Turing Machine in Sieg hall, the old home to the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Washington. Click on the link for a history of the mural.

Fact #3: When we did the Seattle To Portland bike ride 11 years ago, we were mostly a group from UW’s Computer Science department (well 9 out of our group of 13 – one of the other 4 was the soon to be wife of a CS person and another of the non-CS 4 was a UW math PhD who worked with the CS Graphics group, so he was virtual CS).

Fact #4: A lot of our rides came from the book “Bakeries by bicycle: A guide to Puget Sound’s best bakeries.” (Now out of print)

So we called ourselves the  PPTM name  (also seen as the Pastry Powered T(o)uring Machines) with the byline “we live to eat, we bike to eat more.” We even had shirts made. The front said the group name and Lauren sketched the artwork (that is on the back of the shirts).

Here’s a picture of all of us (including Erik Selberg, in the picture but not in the caption) from 1995.

This year, 2006, Pastry Powered Turing Machines ride again, with about half of the last group joining back in (including Rich and Joanna who now live in New York) and a whole group of new people we’ve met along the way.

Our proposed schedule is/was largely stolen from Rich’s schedule from 1995, modified slightly:

Sat 4/1 (4/2): Gasworks Park->Bothell via Burke Gillman trail (approx 35-40 mi)
Sat 4/8: Greenlake->Alki (36mi). Alki Bakery & Café at halfway point
Sat 4/15 (4/16): Toe Clips through The Tulips (40 mi)
Sun 4/23: Daffodil Classic (50)
Sat 4/29 (4/30): Gasworks to Ferries and around Vashon Island (50mi)
Sat 5/6: Whidbey to Deception Pass (56)
Sat 5/13 (5/14): Around Lake WA (60) (south first)
Sat 5/20: UW to Issaquah (north over lake, to Issaquah, back via I-90)
Sat 5/27 (5/28): U village to Carnation/Duvall (71)
Sat 6/3: Snohomish(70)
Sat 6/10 (6/11): UW -> Puyallup (via STP route) (78?)
Sat 6/17: Tacoma Wheelmen’s Flying Wheels Summer Century (70)
Sat 6/24: Tour De Blast (67 or 82)
Sat 7/1: SAN JUANS – Orcas(80?)
Sun 7/2: SAN JUANS – Lopez(50)
Sat 7/8: Alki(50)
Sat 7/15: *** STP *** (101)
Sun 7/16: *** STP *** (101)


In 1995, Rich Segal, a grad student in the Computer Science & Engineering (CSE) department at the University of Washington (UW), roped in a number of fellow grad students to ride STP, the Seattle to Portland Bicycle Classic. While training, using routes from Bakeries by Bicycle, someone coined the term “Pastry Powered Turing Machines” — a pun based on the unofficial CSE icon, the Steam Powered Turing Machine. Our motto is: We live to eat… we bike to eat more!
12 riders: Paul, Rich, Joanna, Don, Ruben, Keith, Lauren, Eric, Erik, Marc, Jennifer, and Kevin completed STP that summer.

Flash forward 11 years… Lauren, Ruben, and Erik, still in the Seattle area, decide to do it again. So we call the gang… Paul, Keith, Marc, Rich, and Joanna are in, with Keith, Rich, and Joanna all pledging to fly out. We meet some new people – including Megan, Julie, Scott, Kate, and Katie. And we do STP again!

Now, the Pastry Powered T(o)uring Machines are back, and are an informal cycling, triathlon, and social club based in the Seattle area. We’re interested in group training and do mostly cycling rides, either lead by members or part of other groups (such as Cascade Bicycle Club or Tacoma Wheelmen).

Seattle to Portland 1995

In 1995, a number of grad students in the Computer Science & Engineering Department at the University of Washington were roped into riding the Seattle to Portland classic. Pictured here are George Forman (who came down to see us off, but didn’t ride), Paul Franklin, Rich Segal, Joanna Labendz (now Segal!), Don Rollins, Ruben Ortega, Keith Golden, Lauren Bricker, Eric Stollnitz, Marc Friedman, Erik Selberg, Jennifer Fisch, and Kevin Hinshaw.

1995 STP Group Photo