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The tree branch blocking Manito Blvd.

I suspect it has already been removed. Lots of chatter about it on the police/fire scanner.

But for a time this morning, a fallen tree branch blocked 90% of Manito Boulevard — all four lanes — at about 18th or 19th.

There was just enough room for a bicycle to get by.

The reality of bicycle commuting

Bike to Work Week is coming up next month.

I'm a fan. Taking part in the 2008 event changed my life, as they say. I'm still grateful to those who encouraged me to do it.

But at the risk of sounding like a traitor to the two-wheel movement, let me tell you something. Riding a bike to work just isn't for everyone.

I am able to do it because:

1) The distance is right.

2) My morning route is easy, so I don't arrive at the office in a lather.

3) If I need an automobile during the day, I have access to my company's fleet cars.

4) I don't have to pick up a child during the day and take the kid to the dentist, et cetera.

5) If my bike experiences a mechanical problem I can't deal with, I can either walk it the rest of the way or my wife can put our rack on the car and come get me.

6) I'm in reasonably good health.

So with all those factors in my favor, I wouldn't feel right saying everyone ought to do it. That would be a tad preachy.

But the work commute isn't the only opportunity for bike riding, of course. You could just ride in your neighborhood or to the store and back. You name it.

There's nothing wrong with starting slow.

So let me ask you. How long has it been since you rode a bicycle?

If it has been a while, I want to suggest something.

Consider giving it a try. You might discover the same thing I did.

Riding a bike feels good.

Sure, I need the exercise. But the real reason I'm still riding six years after that first Bike to Work Week is that it's fun.

Bike to Work Week breakfast

Spokane Valley Mayor Tom Towey and his Pekinese, “Buddy”, get ready to ride Wed. evening, Aug. 18, 2010, along with Spokane Valley Cyclists FOR the Broadway Safety Project in a “Pedal with the Politicians”, to look first hand at bike lanes and safety issues in the Spokane Valley. Former councilman Bill Gothman (blue helmet) also participated in the ride. SR file photo.

A pancake breakfast to celebrate Bike to Work Week is planned for 7 to 9 a.m. Thursday at CenterPlace, 2426 N. Discovery Place. If you plan to attend by bike, CenterPlace is right next to the Mirabeau Point trailhead on the Centennial Trail. And I'm sure no one would mind if you arrived by car. The breakfast is free, so stop in to support our cycling community.

How to start conversation with cyclist

1. Ever been doored?

2. Do you experience numbness in your most private areas?

3. How many bikes are there in your garage?

4. How many times have you had a bike stolen?

5. What most bugs you about certain other bicyclists?

Free breakfast to kick off Bike to Work Week

BICYCLING — Bicycle commuting — and all of its benefits in terms of health, environment and money savings — will be celebrated in Spokane and Coeur d'Alene with activities during Bike to Work Week, May 13-18.

  • Pre-register to get the most out of each city's offerings.

Spokane's Bike to Work Week riders will kick off with what's become a traditional free pancake breakfast Monday (May 13) in Riverfront Park, 7 a.m. at  Riverfront Park.  Riders can log their mileage online for neat comparisons, enjoy “energizer stations” supported by local businesses on Wednesday (May 15), and enjoy a wrap-up celebration with prizes and refreshments at NoLi Brewery on Friday (May 17).

Coeur d'Alene's Bike to Work Week starts with a kickk-off ride from Silver Lake Mall to the Coeur d'Alene Library for coffee and doughnuts.

Read on for other events through the week in Coeur d'Alene including safety classes, moonlight ride, movies, beer tasging, repair clinic, scavenger hunt and more.

Bent: Back In The Saddle Again … Ouch

On Facebook (and with his permission to post here), Bent discusses the pains — and numbness — of cycling long miles during Bike To Work Week: “You know how they put those really comfortable face pillows on massage tables … you know, the one’s with the hole in the middle so you can lay face down without smashing your nose? Well, the person who invented those needs to get busy incorporating that technology into bicycle seats… while cranking out 24.5 miles on the bike today, I had a lot of time to think about that /just sayin’.” To which another poster responded that she’d gotten her husband “cooling gel packs to keep certain important parts comfy” while he rides his bike.

Coeur d’Alene Ped Bike/Facebook:Thanks to everyone who showed up at the Parks and Rec meeting on Monday to show support for bike lanes on 15th street. They approved it and now it’s going to Public Works next Monday at 4 p.m. at the Public Library.”

Question: Do you ride a bike w/a comfortable seat? Would you recommend the same type of seat for Bent’s long rides?

Bike To Work Week Starts Today

I rode Black Velvet to work this morning. That’s the name my wife has given to the Giant bike that she bought me for my birthday last November. She calls her bike Silver Streak. Smooth rides. As I mentioned in a weekend Wild Card, I took it out for a test drive during the weekend, down and around the waterfront. As long as the days are nice, I plan to ride the bike to and from work this week and beyond — to burn off 1908 calories per week (not counting weekends). I used this calculator to figure out how many calories will come of the waist line by riding to work.

Question: Do you name your vehicles, motored or leg-powered ones?

Bike-To-Work Week Starts Monday

On Facebook, Coeur d’Alene Ped Bike points out that the local Bike-to-Work Week starts Monday, adding: “So dust off your bikes.” Do you plan to participate in Bike-to-Work Week? Or do you already bike to work?