Tag Archives: biking

How Does Mercer Island Commute?

Just saw an excellent post in the Seattle Bike Blog on how Seattle commutes. Which got me wondering how Mercer Island commutes.

I went to the Census American communities Survey, just released for 2012, and looked at Mercer Island versus Seattle, Bellevue and all of King County:


In only a few minutes with the data a few things popped out:

1.Islanders drive more than the rest of King County.

2. Our mean commute is lower than Seattle, Bellevue or all of King County, probably because of how central the Island is.

3. Almost 10% of Islanders work from home, quite a bit higher than the rest of the county.

4. Islanders take public transportation at a much lower rate than the rest of the county. I think we’d take it more if we could get to the Park & Ride more easily or find parking there. These days, it’s parked up before 8 am, causing a stressful morning for anyone planning to get a spot.

My husband and I have tried many of these methods– driving alone, carpooling, the bus, and biking– at different times. Basically anything other than walking. One of the nice things about Mercer Island is you can get almost anywhere, fast.

I wonder how these numbers will change when the Express Lanes give way to Light Rail. One would expect a dramatic drop in driving alone and a rise in public transportation. We’ll see in about 10 years.

Pictures from Veloce Velo’s Grand Opening

It’s official: Mercer Island finally has a bike shop.

The Blockbuster store reimagined as a bike shop.

This weekend is their grand opening. They’ve got vendors in the parking lot, door prizes tomorrow, and a store ride that promises to be epic.

Shop ride starts at 8 am and there will be a fast group and a slow group.

Some of the Veloce Velo team and friends. Welcome bike geeks!

Bike Shop (Finally!) Comes to Mercer Island

As commenters Steve and Bill noted, Mercer Island is finally getting a bike shop: Veloce Velo, currently of Issaquah and soon to be of Issaquah and MI.

From this…

Here’s an interview with the owner, Graham:

Why Mercer Island? How’d you chose the location?
When I was looking for a location to open with three years ago, Mercer Island was actually top of my list. Back in 2007 there were practically no vacancies for retail space anywhere on the Eastside, so we opened in historic Downtown Issaquah. Earlier this year our landlord approached us about the old Hollywood Video building which they also managed – they thought it would be perfect for a bike shop and after seeing it we wholeheartedly agreed!

When are you opening?
We don’t have an exact date right now, but it will definitely be in the first half of August. We’re waiting for final approval from the city on the plumbing and lighting, but it should all come together quickly once we get that done. We have all the inventory and fixtures just waiting in Issaquah ready to come over!

Tell me about Veloce Velo. What kind of a bike store is it, who does it serve and will the MI location have the same focus as the Issaquah location?
We’re a bike shop focused on enthusiasts, and can help all sorts of people from those who are getting started in the sport all the way up to those looking for the ultimate high-end. Our staff are very experienced and knowledgeable and we also have a very friendly atmosphere – that combination is unlike a lot of other shops in the area. We’re going to focus on road and family bikes in Mercer Island, and mountain bikes in Issaquah.

Are you primarily targeting MI residents or the area, including folks who ride on the Island but don’t live here?
Many of our best customers live on Mercer Island and come to visit us regularly in Issaquah. Serving them better is definitely a primary goal of our expansion, but we’re also positive that Mercer Island’s central location will attract more customers from Seattle and the surrounding area.

Why, in your opinion, has no other bike store opened on MI despite how much cycling activity it has?
I can say that the low vacancy rate three years ago was what kept us from opening on Mercer Island initially, so perhaps the economic environment had something to do with the absence. There are also some very strong competitors in downtown Bellevue and Seattle, and without doing something different it would be easy to get lost in the shuffle.

Are you planning to lead any group rides out of your Mercer Island location?
We are going to do a shop ride every Saturday morning. There will be more details on our web site when we’re a little closer to opening.

To this.

Any fun events planned for the grand opening?
I’m firming up the details on the Grand Opening, but it is looking very interesting so far with a lot of industry people flying in from around the country for technical seminars and new product launches. We even have an ex-Pro rider who will be hammering on a group ride around the island, daring locals to keep up!

Tour de France photo credit: ndumas on Flickr.

Breaking Away from Cycling Ordinance

The Mercer Island City Council wisely broke away from an ordinance that would have required bikers in groups of 2 or more to pull over for cars. The MI Reporter is right on the wheel of the story, giving a stroke by stroke account of the meeting.

From the P-I Velocity blog.

Cyclists drafted a variety of protests at the meeting. Skinny people in spandex may not look too tough but they can get cranky (especially when they haven’t eaten an hour into a long ride). Mercer Island is one of the premier cycling destinations in the area for our winding, hilly and stoplight-free route from East Mercer to West Mercer to bike path. Team Luna rides it for training, commuters cross the Island to link the East Side and Seattle, and there’s even a Waffle Ride.

The cyclists attack:

  • criminale.com posted an account of the council meeting. He spoke of this highlight: “The MI police testified that they receive more complaints from cyclists about cars than they do from automobile drivers about cyclists.”
  • mattridsesfar sprinted to comment on Bike Snob NY, saying “The council is trying to pass an ordinance that will require cyclists to stop and pull over if (even a single) car is behind them. This is the same place where, 2 years ago, I was given a $248 ticket for “failing to stop” at 2 stop signs.”

These aren’t really attacks, but I’ve got a metaphor to maintain.

It’s great to keep East and West Mercer bike friendly. Many Islanders are cyclists or commuters, and I for one  don’t mind most of our  spandex-coated visitors (though as a former competitive cyclist myself, and a bike commuter, I’m the first one to say that some cyclists have an attitude that is totally unwarranted.)

And by the way, May is Bike to Work month. Here’s a photo from last year’s:

Thanks again to Joshua Putnam and his great bike photos on Flickr.

Bonus link.

What Does Mercer Island Look Like In The Snow?

The mail still came through the sleet and snow, and cheerfully–


even though none of the side streets were plowed today:


Folks were driving on Island Crest Way when I took a walk this afternoon. It had been plowed but covered again in snow:


The buses were out too, as were the police, and some Mercer Island plows.

Mercer Island snowplow

There were lots of people walking around Mercerdale enjoying the snow,

mercer Island walkers

at least one intrepid biker,


and a passel of people boarding, sledding and skiing at Homestead Park.


I wasn’t crazy enough to go into work today, as 520 was closed and there were accidents everywhere. Did you go, and if so how was it? Anyone do anything fun at home?

Oregon Likes Our Bridge

I was delighted to see this enthusiastic review of the I-90 bridge bike path, by the Oregonian. Excerpt:

“The crossing of Mercer Island is through a string of neighborhoods and pleasant parks, though the bike path is a bit confusing as it joins the sidewalk to pass in front of the island’s park and ride.

They’re right- it’s a nice bike lane. I couldn’t help but feel a little proud, even though I had nothing to do with the design or construction of the bridge. Even the Blue Angels love it:

A Blue Angel at Seafair this year, getting about as close to the bike lane as you can in a plane.

Bonus Link: Santa Fe Follows Mercer Island’s Lead

In more random news from places that are not Mercer Island, the Political Ticker reports that the New Mexico Sun News called the election for Obama. If you’ll remember, this blog did just that a few weeks ago, based on the number of political signs up for Obama. We restricted our headline to Mercer Island, but we were glad to get out in front of the number of news outlets and blogs that calling the election.

Helmet-Cam Video Part 2: I-90 Bridge

jputnam’s at it again, taking weirdly engaging helmet-cam videos of the bike paths around Mercer Island. Here he is riding over the I-90 bike bridge from Mercer Island.

The middle of this video is a little less interesting than jputnam’s last helmet-cam video, mostly because the path is straight and you don’t get the exciting feeling of being about to fall off your bike. But when it gets hard to commute in the winter, this is a good way to remind yourself how much fun it is.

Credit: jputnam on flickr.