Published on September 22nd, 2014 | by Joe Korbuszewski


Ride: Downtown to Defiance

Last year as I prepared to ride the first Downtown to Defiance event, I looked outside and I sighed that sigh we all know so well as Tacomans. It was raining. I had a new bicycle and the stubborn kid in me said the rain didn’t matter; new toys are new toys. I left my old bike (the one with fenders) in the house and put my new (to me) road bike on the car. I wasn’t going to let a little water stop me from enjoying my  high performance race machine.

At 7:15 am, I pulled into the Tacoma Dome parking lot, grabbed my shiny bike and rode over to the mass of people waiting to brave the rain. It was only a steady sprinkle, no big deal.

Our mayor gave the signal and we all started pedaling– a mass of flashing lights, bright yellow rain jackets and bike bells– and right on cue, the clouds opened up and it poured.

Every fenderless bike created a rooster tail behind it and my own front tire sprayed water all over my feet. I was soaked within the first quarter mile. My shoes sloshed with every pedal stroke and my rear tire sprayed a steady stream of water up my back, but I was smiling from ear to ear as I pushed a steady 18 miles per hour down the middle of Dock Street without a car in site.

As we dropped down to Schuster Parkway, the sun broke through and lit up the road in front of us. It glistened on the ivy wall to my left and I stopped. Standing in the middle of the road, soaking and cold, I looked back at the port. The sun was peeking through the clouds as steam rose from the stacks, and I realized  just how beautiful Schuster Parkway is at 8:15 am. I don’t know how many times I have driven that same route, in similar weather– it doesn’t matter. Things look different on your bike.

I rode twenty miles that day. I pedaled past runners, walkers, families, guys on recumbents, longboards, and at least one unicycle. And every single one offered a wave and a smile.

This year I’ll take my chances with the weather and ride Downtown to Defiance, fenderless, again. The ride takes place this Sunday, September 28.

Cyclists, runners, walkers, and families are invited to take part in the event, which begins and ends at Point Defiance Park. Food trucks will be open for business in the park bowl at 7 am, so show up and have breakfast with your friends.

Cyclists will start the ride at 8 am and runners and walkers will start at 8:30 am, but feel free to join in at any time.

The route will take you near SAMI down to the Point Ruston trail and then continue down Ruston Way, Schuster Parkway, and Dock Street. Once you reach 21st Street Park, you’ll turn around and head back to Point Defiance where live music and the food trucks await your return.

This is an open streets event, so the route will be closed to car traffic until noon. That means you are free to walk, run, pedal, rollerblade (or whatever other method of human-powered transportation you can think of) your way down seven miles of our fair city’s beautiful waterfront.

Just because fall is here doesn’t mean you have to hang up your bike and put away your running shoes.

For more information, go to–U


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"I don't know much. But I know I love Washington. And that may be all I need to know." Internetter, Writer, Husband, Dad, Belgian Beer Snob.

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