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Old 06-08-09, 06:28 PM   #1
ROJA
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Seattle or San Juan Island Tourist Ride?

I am a fellow BFer from the SF area. I will be visiting Seattle in July and would like to rent a tandem and take a ride. I will not have a way to transport the tandem, so the ride will need to start from the rental place. Target length would be about 25-35 miles, depending on the elevation gain (flatter is better, but 2000 or so feet of climbing would be OK).

Any tips or ideas?

Here are a few options I've figured out from my research:

There is a rental shop on San Juan Island that rents Burley tandems. http://www.islandbicycles.com/ I was thinking about taking the ferry and riding this route:
http://trail.motionbased.com/trail/activity/162859
Would that be a nice ride? The bike shop also lists some shorter routes, like this one, so we could definitely play it by ear (http://www.islandbicycles.com/index....via-beaverton/).
The downside is that it sounds like it takes 3 hours to get there from Seattle (2 hours driving and an hour on the ferry). Is that right? How about once we are there- is it worth it? I like nice scenery and light traffic. My wife likes things to do along the way, especially foodie stuff (maybe a winery, a nice cheese shop, a gourmet/picnic lunch, etc.)

This place also rents tandems in Seattle:
Montlake Bicycle Shop
2223 24th Ave E.
Seattle, WA 98112

Other tandem rentals include Vashon Island and Woodinvale, so I could probably start from one of those locations as well.

Again, the idea route would be scenic, lightly traveled (we ride back roads in the Bay Area), and with one or two nice spots for wine, cheese, lunch, food, etc. (My wife is very big into all things related to wine and food.) This will be a weekday in July. We could also drive an hour or two to another rental location.

I would appreciate any advice or recommendations.

Thanks!
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Old 06-09-09, 09:12 AM   #2
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When I lived in Seattle, I used to ride up to the Edmonds ferry and then make my way south to the Bainbridge Island ferry back to Seattle. You go from urban to rural with just a half hour ferry ride.
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Old 06-09-09, 09:30 AM   #3
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San Juan Island is nice but I prefer Lopez Island which is right next to it. Much less traffic and a bit flatter. There's a bike rental there too http://www.lopezbicycleworks.com/ The loop around Lopez is about 30 miles depending on how you do it. There's a winery and some resaurants in the little town. The scenery of both islands as well as the ferry ride is spectacular.

3 hours from Seattle to the islands might be a little optimistic depending on how you hit the ferry schedule though. There can be long delays if you want to bring your car but getting on as a foot passenger is never a problem.
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Old 06-09-09, 09:32 AM   #4
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ROJA-

the San Juan islands are much more senic than riding around Seattle and a classic destination. best to make it an overnighter as the San Juans aren't usually a daytrip option.

Woodinville is a great place to start a ride if you only have a day to rent a bike and enjoy it. South of Woodinville there is both Red Hook Brewery and Chateau St. Michelle winery as well as a couple others. good country road riding North and West out of Woodinville to Snohomish, Duvall. There's a series of MUP trails connecting all the way back to seattle.

I'd go due east from Woodinville. One killer uphill out of Woodinville but then you're in the country. North goes to Snohomish right quick thru Maltby, East on Woodinville/Duvall road to Highbridge road and then N/S.

Woodinville and out, then back to a winery for wine tasting and a little food at the Red Hook would be a great day trip.

Renting at Montake would put you fighting urbania for tens of miles until you escaped the grid, although riding south on Lake Washington Boulevard to Mercer Island and Seward Park would be a great option from that location.

I'd go from Woodinville if it's country road riding and wineries fur sure.

cheers!
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Old 06-09-09, 09:51 AM   #5
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Lopez Island is a great ride, but pretty far away. Vashon Island is close in, nice to ride, very hilly, and probably has fewer fun places to stop. Montlake starts too far from scenery.

I'd say Woodinville if you need to stay close in, Lopez Island if you have the time to dedicate to it.
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Old 06-09-09, 11:15 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by crackerdog View Post
When I lived in Seattle, I used to ride up to the Edmonds ferry and then make my way south to the Bainbridge Island ferry back to Seattle. You go from urban to rural with just a half hour ferry ride.

i used to do that they other way Bremerton to Kingston, stopping for Lunch on the waterfront in Polsbo. What a great ride.
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Old 06-09-09, 01:55 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by ROJA View Post
I would appreciate any advice or recommendations.
Check out the ferry schedules, to, from, and inter-island, at the WSDOT site:
http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/ferries/schedule/

and the route for the Tour de Lopez:
http://www.lopezisland.com/tourroutemap.htm

and find out if the folks with the tandems on San Juan permit you to take their bikes off of the island.

If you can park in the lot at the Anacortes terminal, and walk-on, you will save a bunch over the cost to have your vehicle taken to the islands and back.

There are definitely nice places to dine on either San Juan or Lopez, and you will want at least an overnight. Some of the overnighting places will pick you up at the ferry if you arrange ahead of time.

The suggestions to ride east from Woodinville and ride in the Snoqualmie and/or Snohomish River valleys are also good. Cascade Bicycle Club's "Flying Wheels" century ride (this weekend) uses many of those roads.

Cascade, and other clubs linked from their site, have some good map suggestions at
http://www.cascade.org/Community/maps_routes.cfm

And, the local tandem club, Evergreen - www.evergreentandemclub.org - has rides in the summer, and might have some other suggestions for tandem rental sources.
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Old 06-09-09, 03:33 PM   #8
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Thanks for the helpful responses! Unfortunately, the time is tight and an overnight trip will probably not be possible. I think that means the Woodinville option would probably be best, eh?
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Old 06-09-09, 06:33 PM   #9
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Thanks for the helpful responses! Unfortunately, the time is tight and an overnight trip will probably not be possible. I think that means the Woodinville option would probably be best, eh?
It's possible to fly to San Juan and Lopez Islands from directly Seattle. Kenmore Air has scheduled service on small planes. Not cheap but a really great way to see the area. That would be one way to make it a day trip. But I think the normal drive to Anacortes/take the ferry approach would make for a very long day. Of course it's light out until 10:00PM that time of year...
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Old 06-09-09, 08:45 PM   #10
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If you can do only 25-35 miles and can't stay overnight, then, sticking close to Seattle is the best bet. Flat? Ride the Burke-Gilman Trail + Sammamish River trail. If you are staying in Seattle, catch the Burke-Gilman, head east and north, where it will eventually meet up with the Sammammish River Trail. If you go far enough, you can ride to the Red Hook Brewery, enjoy a snack, and ride back to Seattle.
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Old 06-09-09, 10:02 PM   #11
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http://www.woodinvillewinecountry.com/ for the wine lover. Make sure to go to "Bookwalter". You could ride out here and hop from tasting room to tasting room but not sure I would recommend it.

you could take a bus or cab to Montlake Bike shop and grab the Burke Gilman trail, ride west out to Shilsole Bay and then ride it back East as far as you want to go then turn around and head back to Montlake. RedHook Brewery would make a nice turn around spot and is easy to find (your in the wood wine area then). This ride is as flat as it gets near Seattle. Have fun
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Old 06-10-09, 09:36 AM   #12
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OK, I mentioned overnighting on San Juan Island and my wife was very excited, so it looks like the overnight thing might work. I think the plan would be to drive to the ferry early one morning, take the ferry over to Friday Harbor or Lopez Island, rent the tandem and do a nice ride around the island. We could go longer or shorter, depending on how we are feeling. When we get back to Friday Harbor (or our starting point, if we do Lopez Island), we would return the bike and hopefully go to dinner and stay in a motel or B&B. This would all be car free, by the way. We'd grab breakfast in the morning and then take the ferry back.

Any thoughts on this plan? If we are able to do an overnight, is this the best choice or would there be better options?

How does Lopez Island compare to San Juan? I've never been to Lopez, but someone mentioned above that it is more scenic and has less traffic. Those both sound great to me! Are there accommodations and restaurants there? Does the ferry drop you off in the same town where the bike rental is located? Could I do all this by leaving my car at the ferry terminal in Anacortes?

Thanks!

Last edited by ROJA; 06-10-09 at 09:39 AM.
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Old 06-10-09, 10:28 AM   #13
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Lopez is about the same size as San Juan but far fewer people live there. The last time I rode around Lopez I saw maybe a half dozen cars. San Juan and Friday Harbor in particular is kind of a busy bustling sort of place, plenty to do off the bike but not as quiet and peaceful if that's what you're looking for. Not bad by any means but just a lot more people and cars.

The ferry dock for San Juan is right in the middle of the town of Friday Harbor which makes things easy. On Lopez the dock is a couple miles from the village which has all the services on the island. You could probably get the B&B to pick you up or maybe the bike rental place could leave bikes at the landing. It's that sort of place. You could even ride around Lopez and then catch an interisland ferry to San Juan. Lopez has some places to stay and some restaurants and shops but Friday Harbor has many more.

Either way leaving your car back in Anacortes is the way to go. It's not unusual to have to wait for 2-3 ferry sailings to get your car on particularly coming back from Friday Harbor in the summer. Walking on is never a problem.
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Old 06-10-09, 12:19 PM   #14
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How does Lopez Island compare to San Juan? I've never been to Lopez, but someone mentioned above that it is more scenic and has less traffic. Those both sound great to me! Are there accommodations and restaurants there? Does the ferry drop you off in the same town where the bike rental is located? Could I do all this by leaving my car at the ferry terminal in Anacortes?

Thanks!
There are links to Lopez lodging at the site that has the Tour de Lopez map, or you could google for Lopez Island Lodging and see what comes up. In the "Village" -- that's what they call their little snippet of urbanism -- the Bay Cafe has good food, and there's a bakery too. Lopez residents, by the way, have a habit of waving at other cars / cyclists as they drive around.

If your lodging can pick you up at the Lopez ferry dock, and return you when you're done (or if you can make some other arrangements), you could stay in/near the Village and walk out to pick up the bike -- the rental place is maybe a mile from the Village. And, study the ferry schedules, you could probably sneak in a quick trip over to San Juan; I'd say if you're there, try to check out the big lavender farm, and the whale museum.

If, on the other hand, you don't make it up to the Islands this trip, there is quite a growing wine-related area between Woodinville and Redmond, with food to match, for your stoker.
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