Originally Posted by headloss
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:
Ship Canal, Interbay, and Elliot Bay Trails
The Ballard Locks (but not on a weekend day in summer!)
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.
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.
: 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.
: 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.
Foot Ferry | Kitsap Transit
Carlisle II - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
FWIW, I find the Burke-Gilman to be boring, aggravating, and mostly uninteresting. YMMV