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Old 07-08-05, 03:46 PM   #1
SimpleCycle
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Seattle area cyclists - help for a visitor

I'm visiting Seattle on vacation soon, and I have some questions about cycling in the city.

First, which bridges allow bicycles? I see there is a MUP on the I-90 bridge. Is that the only way to get from the Bellevue area to Seattle proper? It seems like there's plenty of cycling to be done, but that getting from point A to point B might be a bit more complicated.

Second, what are your suggestions for rides to "see the sights" in the city? I've never been to Seattle, and I really prefer to see new places by bike. I'm staying near Woodland park, and anticipate rides in the area of 25 miles or less, since I probably won't have a road bike (I'm either renting or borrowing a bike) and I suppose I should probably spend some of the vacation with the friends I'm going to see.
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Old 07-08-05, 05:21 PM   #2
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Hi, I'll pitch in. The only bridge that doesn't allow bikes is the 520 bridge across lake washington.

For rides in the city from Woodland park, 2 suggestions, ride west until you hit Puget Sound, then ride south across the ballard locks, then out to West Seattle for views of the city and the sound. Or, ride south until you hit Lake union, head east along the lake on the Burke-Gilman trail. ride out to the Red Hook Brewery, drink, then repeat the ride home.

Check out www.cascade.org for some rides you can join up with, and the city of Seattle has some great bicycling maps you can pick up for free at most bike shops. Closest shop from Woodland park is Gregg's Cycle on Green Lake.

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Old 07-08-05, 06:17 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SimpleCycle
I'm visiting Seattle on vacation soon, and I have some questions about cycling in the city.

First, which bridges allow bicycles? I see there is a MUP on the I-90 bridge. Is that the only way to get from the Bellevue area to Seattle proper? It seems like there's plenty of cycling to be done, but that getting from point A to point B might be a bit more complicated.

Second, what are your suggestions for rides to "see the sights" in the city? I've never been to Seattle, and I really prefer to see new places by bike. I'm staying near Woodland park, and anticipate rides in the area of 25 miles or less, since I probably won't have a road bike (I'm either renting or borrowing a bike) and I suppose I should probably spend some of the vacation with the friends I'm going to see.

The I-90 bridge is the best way to get between Bellevue and Seattle on a bicycle. You can't ride across on the SR520 bridge.
If you are near Woodland Park, go to either Aurora Bicycle Shop or Gregg's Greenlake Bicycle Shop and get the free Seattle Bicycling Guide Map and the King County Bicycle Map.
Seattle is very bicycle friendly. I have had very few problems with the drivers here, and have never been involved in any really serious incidents in 33 years of riding around the area. Believe it or not, the drivers are almost all mellow and patient! You can confidently ride anywhere in the city with the exception of a few major arterials.
Bellevue, Redmond, Kirkland, and the entire east side of Lake Washington are another matter. This is a much newer suburban area, very car-centric, and designed to actively discourage bicycling or walking. The drivers there are likely to find the presence of a bicyle as offensive, and they will let you know it. Also you can expect police harrassment, without regard to whether you are actually violating any laws. I would avoid riding on the east side, unless you are on one of the multi-use trails. The trails are fairly pleasant to ride although they can be congested on a nice day.
As for suggestions, ride the Burke Gilman trail out to Marymoor Velodrome to see the Friday night races ( round trip is about 40 miles ). Or ride along the Sound from Woodland Park, across the Chittenden Locks to Magnolia Avenue, Elliot Bay Trail, Alaskan Way, West Seattle Bridge, to the Alki Trail, and points south. Using your map, you can ride as far as south as Des Moines on roads that are very good for bicycling. Avoid Ambaum Blvd. between White Center and Burien if you go toward the south end.
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Old 07-08-05, 06:53 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by pmseattle
Bellevue, Redmond, Kirkland, and the entire east side of Lake Washington are another matter. This is a much newer suburban area, very car-centric, and designed to actively discourage bicycling or walking. The drivers there are likely to find the presence of a bicyle as offensive, and they will let you know it. Also you can expect police harrassment, without regard to whether you are actually violating any laws. I would avoid riding on the east side, unless you are on one of the multi-use trails. The trails are fairly pleasant to ride although they can be congested on a nice day.
I live in Bellevue and the east side really isn't that bad. Bellevue is reasonably bike friendly although I certainly wouldn't go out of my way to bike here.

Links to Bellevue bike maps are here
http://www.ci.bellevue.wa.us/page.asp?view=24104

Montlake Bicycles rents road bikes.
http://www.montlakebike.com/rentals.php
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Old 07-08-05, 09:35 PM   #5
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Here is a site with links to Seattle bike maps. Although the SR520 bridge is closed to bikes, buses frequently cross the bridge and most have bike racks. The bus bike racks in Seattle get lots of use so drivers are used to it. It's almost an oddity to see a bus without at least one bike on the rack on a nice day.
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Old 07-08-05, 10:04 PM   #6
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I live in Sammamish and regularly bike around the eastside. There are also some beautiful country roads to explore. There are plenty of cyclists about year-round so most drivers are used to seeing us out on the roads. I haven't had too many problems. Another area that's great to ride around is northeast of Everett and the Skagit Valley even further north. For a wonderful experience, take the ferry to Bainbridge Island or from Edmonds to Kingston and the Kitsap Penninsula. The rest of the San Juan chain is of course a cycling haven. Check out Orcas, Lopez and San Juan Island for some wonderful cycling. The ferry from Mukilteo to Whidbey Island is recommended.
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Old 07-09-05, 02:13 PM   #7
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I live in Sammamish and regularly bike around the eastside. There are also some beautiful country roads to explore. There are plenty of cyclists about year-round so most drivers are used to seeing us out on the roads. I haven't had too many problems. Another area that's great to ride around is northeast of Everett and the Skagit Valley even further north. For a wonderful experience, take the ferry to Bainbridge Island or from Edmonds to Kingston and the Kitsap Penninsula. The rest of the San Juan chain is of course a cycling haven. Check out Orcas, Lopez and San Juan Island for some wonderful cycling. The ferry from Mukilteo to Whidbey Island is recommended.
Perhaps I am being overly harsh about the area, but I have had bad experiences there and have avoided it for years. One thing I really don't like about the eastside is that it is laid out as hundreds of mega-malls and strip malls, interspersed with large suburban residential areas that are full of cul-de-sacs. The result is that most of the roads that go anywhere out of the immediate neighborhood are high-speed multilane arterials with no shoulder, not very suitable for biking. This is the same pattern you find in any modern suburban area in the US.

Where do you go to ride on the eastside ? The beautiful country roads sound interesting ! Do you know of a good, safe route to get from Seattle to the end of the Ironhorse Trail, for example ?
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Old 07-09-05, 02:57 PM   #8
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Where do you go to ride on the eastside ? The beautiful country roads sound interesting ! Do you know of a good, safe route to get from Seattle to the end of the Ironhorse Trail, for example ?
Best route would be to take the I-90 trail across the bridge into Bellevue. Cut through Mercer Slough Park and you will get dumped out in front of 128th. Then continue straight on across 128th. and pick up SE Eastgate. Take SE Eastgate Way to continue across 148th. You will eventually hit 35th. Pl. Hang a right and it will become 34th. Pl. Take it to 901/West Sammamish. where you will hang a right. Follow W. Samm towards Issaquah where it will become NW Sammamish Rd. and you will eventually hit the bottom of Lake Sammamish State Park. Cut east to stay on NW Samm Rd. and you will eventually hit East Sammamish. Hang a right and follow it for about 1/4 mile and then make a left to go up Black Nugget. Gear down low because this road hits 12%. Take Black Nugget till it ends at Issaquah-Pinelake and make a left. This will be about a 5% climb. The speed on that road is 35MPH but many drivers do go quite a bit faster so be careful. Most of them will give you room though. Take Issaquah Pinelake up to the next major light and continue on through. It will turn into Issaquah-Fall City. You will be greated by a bunch of 5% to 7% climbs along the way. You will eventually reach a fork where you can choose to continue on Issaquah-Fall City by hanging a right or continue on straight where the road turns into Duthie Hill. If you choose to go straight, you will eventually hit 202 in about 2 miles where you will hang a right towards Fall City. There's a high-speed winding descent that's fairly narrow. If you hang a right and go down Issaquah-Fall City, you will 202 about 2 miles further east. Then you take 202 past Fall City and towards Snoqualmie. Near the falls, you will find the entrance to Snoqualmie Valley Trail which you can take towards Rattlesnake Lake. Once at Rattlesnake Lake, you can pick up the John Wayne Pioneer Trail/Ironhorse Trail and take it towards the Snoqualmie Pass.

Yes, the eastside is chocked full of highspeed arterials that connect towns but they are fairly bike friendly. I have had no problems coexisting with 55MPH traffic on Hwy 202 for instance. Also, there are plenty of lower speed scenic routes. You just need to find them. The best route are the ones that follow along the terrain boundaries (ridgelines of the valleys, rivers, etc). Other good routes are the ones that parallel the major expressways just off to the side.
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Old 07-09-05, 03:45 PM   #9
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I would like to add that I have never been harrased by the law while riding in the Puget Sound area. I think you will find for the most part people are friendly toward bikes here. You can also go to the King Connty website for other ride options. Enjoy your stay here I think you will like it.
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