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  1. #1
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    Recommendations for one day of Seattle area riding?

    I'll be visiting Seattle from San Francisco in a few weeks, and I'll have one free day to spend riding. I've never ridden there before and not sure when I'll make it back -- any thoughts on a single best ride? I'm looking for a road ride, 60-80 mile range, not needing a car but some transit (especially ferries) would be fine. Thanks!

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    Just did a ride from Bainbridge Island (access via ferry across from Seattle). I'm sure there's lots of rides, I was on a tour up to Sequim. If you like hills, there's the Chilly Hilly course (the race is in Feb). Also rides up Tiger and/or Cougar Mountain out of Issaquah. Cougar Mtn Out & Back

    For a more flat tour, you could go around N. Lake Washington and Lk. Sammamish, and throw in an enjoyable lap around Mercer Island and you've got about 70 miles: N. Lk Wash/Sammamish

    Enjoy!

  3. #3
    Senior Member Crimsonghost's Avatar
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    Hey man, im from SF too!

    Id say if want to get an idea of the best riding close to Seattle id go with this (unnamed) - Seattle, WA. Take you all the way around the lake with a loop around Mercier island. Theres a couple of little climbs but nothing too serious. Very scenic the whole way. Kinda reminds me of the paradise loop. Lots of trees and water. And there are still plenty of places to make pit stops.

    And like ceedbux said you can also do the Chilly Hilly if you want something a bit shorter (it think its like 30ish miles). After that anything else is going to take you pretty far outside of Seattle (like 100 miles) and im not sure youd want to do any driving.

    The weather has been nice, so when you come up there should be lots of sun. But just like home, layers are the key.

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    If I had a day, I'd want to ride out the Burke Gilman and maybe hit up the Mac&Jacks brewery tour or do some riding around the wineries around Redmond and Woodinville.

    I've been on most of the ferries, I always liked the view of Mnt. Rainier best from the Fauntleroy-Southworth ferry. The bike route from down town, into W. Seattle, past Alki and down to the Fauntleroy ferry is a nice ride with some cool places to stop along the way. Vashon island is popular for riding and off of the same ferry, only accessible by ferry so the cars that are there aren't driving all that fast. A room mate of mine use to enjoy riding from Southworth to Bremerton as part of a commute when we were in the Navy together but I wasn't into cycling yet at that point (nor did I want to catch a 4:30am ferry to get to work). You could always do that and maybe loop around to Bainbridge or Bremerton and take that ferry back for a great view of Seattle from the water.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Dfrost's Avatar
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    Where would you be starting in Seattle? And what are your riding capabilities, interests, etc?

    Ceedbux's, Headloss' and Crimsonsong's recommendations are pretty good. The Burke-Gilman trail is a local treasure, but also very well-used. It traverses some of the city's nicer parts, including the canal between Puget Sound and Lake Washington, the UW campus (current detours go right into the campus), and really nice waterfront neighborhoods on Lake Washington. If you're up for more miles, it easily connects with the Lake Sammamish trail that goes through rural areas and passes some excellent wineries and breweries before finishing in Redmond, not far from the Microsoft campus. There's an excellent bike path across the I-90 bridge on the Lake, but it can be a bit tricky to find it's starting points. If you'd been here last weekend you could have seen, or been one of the many naked bicyclists in the Fremont (neighborhood near the SW end of the trail) Summer Solstice parade.

    The 10-mile loop around Mercer Island (accessed by the I-90 bike path) is pretty, fun riding, and you'll go by Paul Allen's (one of Microsoft's founders, owner of Seahawks and Trailblazers, among other things) house or at least the gate into it along the way. VERY nice neighborhood!

    if you ride to the Fauntleroy ferry in West Seattle, then Vashon Island, you'll sample one of our more typical urban areas, have the option to ride along one of our nicest beaches (Alki, very busy on sunny days) and my home area. The ferry is nice and free for cyclists eastbound. Vashon is a lovely rural area, but be prepared for hills. I spent most of this winter's weekends there, and there's lots of climbing per mile there, especially the 1st mile climbing about 400' from the ferry dock. Any of the roads on VI are great riding. Pick up an island map at a real estate office along the way. The island is 14 miles long (about the same size as Manhattan, with 1/150 the population), and the town of Vashon has a several nice restaurants, plus others along the road that runs through the center of the island. There's one winery (Palouse) with daily tastings just past the climb from the ferry, and being Seattle, plenty of places to get good coffee.

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    Senior Member Wildwood's Avatar
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    If I was coming here with 1 free day, the day would have to include a ferry ride and some ride in the woods.
    That could be Vashon. The Mercer Island alternative gives lots of opportunities for short stops and Lk Washington views. DFrost hit the nail - what's a primary interest?

    With a bus ride on each end - your options become huge.
    Ex. - Express bus to N.Bend and ride trails to the Snoqualmie Summit, or beyond. Cyclocross type frame, or MTB recommended. Edit = Oh yeah, a headlight for the tunnel at the top.
    Last edited by Wildwood; 06-26-14 at 06:14 PM.
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  7. #7
    Senior Member Medic Zero's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by headloss View Post
    If I had a day, I'd want to ride out the Burke Gilman and maybe hit up the Mac&Jacks brewery tour or do some riding around the wineries around Redmond and Woodinville.

    I've been on most of the ferries, I always liked the view of Mnt. Rainier best from the Fauntleroy-Southworth ferry. The bike route from down town, into W. Seattle, past Alki and down to the Fauntleroy ferry is a nice ride with some cool places to stop along the way. Vashon island is popular for riding and off of the same ferry, only accessible by ferry so the cars that are there aren't driving all that fast. A room mate of mine use to enjoy riding from Southworth to Bremerton as part of a commute when we were in the Navy together but I wasn't into cycling yet at that point (nor did I want to catch a 4:30am ferry to get to work). You could always do that and maybe loop around to Bainbridge or Bremerton and take that ferry back for a great view of Seattle from the water.
    Pro-tip: there's a small (foot traffic & bicycles only) ferry that leaves from Port Orchard and goes to the lower level of the ferry dock in Bremerton. There's actually a couple of boats on this run (Kitsap Transit), if you are lucky you'll get the 100 year old one that is made of beautiful wood and full of historical pictures. Set your bike wherever you can (I laid mine down inside, despite having a great kickstand) and check out all the pictures throughout the small vessel. That boat (The Carlisle II) normally handles the rush hour traffic and is tied up mid-day while a more modern vessel services that run, although I've caught it pretty late in the evening too. Fare is a whopping two dollars, and it saves you the unpleasant part of the ride from Southworth to Bremerton (busy roads, hills, suburbs). You should also get a bit of a view of the decommissioned aircraft carriers and other naval vessels from the the Kitsap ferry. Look to the left as the ferry leaves Port Orchard for a glimpse of the huge carriers, the other vessels you'll pass nearer to. Of course, if you do ride the rest of the way from Port Orchard to Bremerton (about another 11 miles) you can ride to within a few yards of the decommissioned carriers as there is a public parking lot just to the southwest of them. That does require a bit of a detour and I expect it is quite hilly the way Google is trying to route me at the moment.

    FYI: The Port Orchard/Bremerton ferry is maybe a 10 minute ride, the ferry from Bremerton to Seattle is a solid hour just on the boat, plus load and wait times, but there is a cafeteria on the boat should you need to refuel at this point.


    Not knowing where the OP is going to be staying at/heading out from, I'll toss out some of my favorite areas to pass through in town-ish:
    Ravenna Park
    Ship Canal, Interbay, and Elliot Bay Trails
    The Ballard Locks (but not on a weekend day in summer!)
    Interlaken Park
    Mercer Island
    Lake Washington Boulevard
    Airport Way/Perimeter Road (southbound, and not during rush hour)
    Green River Trail (If you chose this one, check out the thread in this sub-forum for details about the detour on it right now.)


    I think riding to the Fauntleroy Ferry terminal (via the trail along the shore around Alki (and the street next to it if its congested)), taking that ferry to Southworth, riding to Port Orchard (close to the shoreline, not the direct route), catching the little boat to Bremerton, and taking that ferry back would make for an awesome ride. In fact, I've got just that planned for some random day this summer. I haven't cycled the portion from Southworth to Port Orchard, but I drove it just recently and it's quite pretty if you follow the coastline. The view on the ride back on the ferry from Bremerton is absolutely spectacular on a summers day, and there are great views along Alki as well. All that is only about 25 miles (starting out in downtown), but there will be some hills from the Southworth ferry terminal to Port Orchard.


    Ship Canal trail: this is a nice mix of a pretty strip of park alongside the canal that then shifts into very industrial area (albeit quiet and super low traffic) with the trail running behind shipyards and rail lines. Here you can see the "Deadliest Catch" fleet being overhauled and ride past a neat fire simulation structure that looks like a miniature ship, complete with helicopter on deck. Very often I see very interesting graffitti on rail cars through here. A slight detour to Fishermans Terminal gives you an opportunity to buy fish fresh off the boat at the market there, there's a couple of good restaurants, and sometimes one of the fishing vessels from the TV show is giving tours.
    Interbay Trail: not a whole lot going for it, but I like riding through the rail yard and seeing the trains and their cargo, which often includes airliner fuselages going between the plants
    Elliot Bay Trail: great views, running from the cruise ships docked alongside at the northern edge of this trail, to views of the Cascades across the Sound, and views of the city.
    Pro-tip: there's an observation deck on top of the Bell Harbor Conference Center. Great views of downtown, the wheel, etc. Take the elevator up from right on the sidewalk (with your bike). This is also a great way to get to downtown (Belltown actually) from the waterfront as there is a skybridge there that eliminates climbing up the steep hill.
    The Ballard Locks: check out the salmon swimming upstream from the observation room below the Locks, see Blue Herons, seals, and lots of other sea life, see the boats locking through. Not recommended for cyclists on summer weekend days as the crowds will be super thick and difficult to get through as you walk your bike across the top of the locks.
    Interlaken Park: if you are passing north-south through this area, this is the way to go! Almost no traffic on a quiet lane through the woods. You won't feel like you are in the city at all for one mile.
    Mercer Island: Buddy of mine rides this very regularly, and I've joined him a few times now. Nice rolling hills, pretty quiet roads with cars that are very used to cyclists, some views, and the Roanoke Tavern is a good place for a bite or beer.
    Lake Washington Boulevard: an opportunity to just pedal for decent ways (only a couple of stop signs over several miles), alongside the lake with views of Bellevue and the water. Closed to cars part of some weekend days in the summer.
    Airport Way/Perimeter Road: I like this ride. Don't do it during rush hour, and southbound is the way to go. This takes you alongside King County Int'l Airport/Boeing Field and there are often interesting aircraft parked right alongside the road there and interesting activity at the field itself. I've seen everything from one of the largest planes in the world (Antonov 225 Mryia) delivering parts to Boeing to a replica 1920's Douglas World Cruiser, as well as a Lear jet very hastily turn around and land after taking off with a trail of smoke coming from one of its engines! There's often activity at Boeing's Museum of Flight across the field as well, this past weekend there was a P-51 and B-17 taking off and landing from there all day long as they were giving rides. A number of aircraft are arrayed around the outside of the museum as well. There's good food to be had in the Georgetown neighborhood just to the north of the airfield, or there's classic diner food (including buffalo burgers) at the very airplane themed Randy's right alongside the museum and airport.
    Green River Trail : Another slice of nature winding through the city. The further south you go the better it gets. Frager Road where it is closed to cars is my favorite part, but there are lots of good chunks of it.
    Cedar River Trail: should you find yourself near the southeast of the city this trail follows the river for 17 miles. I've only ridden the western half of it so far, but it's a pleasant and zero traffic way to put in some miles.


    links:
    Foot Ferry | Kitsap Transit
    Carlisle II - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


    FWIW, I find the Burke-Gilman to be boring, aggravating, and mostly uninteresting. YMMV


    .
    Last edited by Medic Zero; 06-28-14 at 07:41 AM.
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  8. #8
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    Thanks very much to everyone for the advice. I ended up doing a loop of the Burke-Gilman, Sammamish River, Marymoor, and East Lake Sammamish trails down to Issaquah and Maple Valley and then the Cedar River Trail and Lake Washington Loop route back into town. Back in SF now and hope to be able to visit Seattle for more riding soon.

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