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Seattle recommendations

Old 04-12-18, 03:45 AM
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johan_h
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Seattle recommendations

Having a trip to Seattle coming up and our plan is to rent bikes and go for a ride. Will be staying close to the space needle and my friend wants to have a look at the Microsoft Redmond campus. So, I looked at a bunch of maps and tracks and came up with this route:

connect.garmin.com/modern/course/17953337

The 520 trail does not look that fun to me, does it go right beside the 520 all the way?

Anyone wants to weigh in or have any recommendations or alternate routes?

/Johan
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Old 04-12-18, 04:16 AM
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jpescatore
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A few years ago during a work trip to Seattle that spanned a weekend, I rented a bike from Greg's Greenlake Cycles. From there I connected to the Burke Gilman Trail north and then to the Sammamish (sp?) River trail to Redmond - very scenic, surfaces were in good condition then - YMMV.
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Old 04-12-18, 07:54 AM
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The 520 trail is not that scenic. It does parallel highway 520 the entire way, and parts of it are on roads (with recently added bike lanes). It's more of a commuter route rather than scenic route. But from where you are staying it's the most direct route.

Your route around on the north end of the lake on the Burke-Gillman and Sammamish River trails is a very nice route that you will enjoy. If you don't mind the extra mileage, I would do an out and back on this route.

Other advice/option I would add to your route:

- Where the Sammamish River trail hits Leary Way, cross the Sammamish River and rather than staying on the Sammamish River trail take the 520 trail up the hill to the Microsoft Campus.

- An alternative route back to Seattle that is a bit more scenic: from Microsoft Campus head back down to West Lake Sammamish Pkwy. Head south and make sure to stay on W. Lk. Sammamish Pkwy. where is splits at Bel-Red. Rd. Ride along the lake, cross under I-90 and turn right onto Newport Way. turn right on 150th and left on SE 36th St. At the bottom of the hill where SE 36th T's with Factoria Blvd., stay in the left lane and across Factoria on the left you'll see the entrance to the I-90 trail. Take that across Mercer Island and the I-90 floating bridge into Seattle.

See the Strava Global Heatmap for routes that cyclists ride in the area. There are a lot of hills and roads not suited for cyclists.

An aside, not sure exactly what your friend is expecting on Microsoft campus. It's a bunch of commercial buildings with some open space thrown in here and there. Well kept for sure but not especially scenic.
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Old 04-13-18, 12:31 AM
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johan_h
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Thanks!

I'll check out the I-90 route and see how much further (and/or hillier) it makes the route, I think we are getting close to our upper limit if since we would like to enjoy more than just cycling that day. But maybe start with the Burke-Gilman trail and decide where to go when we are at Redmond depending on how we feel.

What he expects to find? I don't know, I'm just happy to get company on ride!
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Old 04-14-18, 04:42 AM
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You can always take the scenic route to Microsoft, then hop a bus back to Seattle. All busses have bike racks in the front.

But, riding across 520 would be cool, especially if you've never been on a floating bridge.

John
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Old 04-27-18, 09:54 AM
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If you have time, other options are: Short ferry ride from downtown to Bainbridge Island, then explore the island or ride South to West Seattle, then a flat ride along the waterfront from Alki beach to Lincoln Park. Don
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Old 04-27-18, 10:36 AM
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Originally Posted by ollo_ollo View Post
If you have time, other options are: Short ferry ride from downtown to Bainbridge Island, then explore the island or ride South to West Seattle, then a flat ride along the waterfront from Alki beach to Lincoln Park. Don
Bainbridge is nice, but Vashon and Whidbey are also within reach.
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Old 05-01-18, 10:28 AM
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The 520 floating bridge trail, while not particularly scenic, is new, wide, and a pleasure to ride as far as commuting trails go. You also get some nice views across Lake Washington. You've found a good route overall, IMHO, and is basically one I've ridden with variations for years—minus the newly opened floating bridge trail. I second woodway's comment that the north loop you've chosen is a lovely ride. The Burke-Gilman trail is one of the nation's oldest rails-to-trails conversions, so there's a bit of history there for the ride as well. And since it's an old railroad line, the ride is very flat—rare in this corner of the country.

Depending on your fitness level and how used to hilly terrain you are, the ride through Interlaken Park at the end may get kind of rough since you're climbing all those switchbacks on Capitol Hill. Alternatively, immediately after crossing the 520 bridge, you can hang a short right, hop on the light rail to downtown, and ride back north from there to your staring point across mostly flat terrain. Bikes are allowed on light rail and there are hooks to hang them. It's a five minute trip or so downtown, and punches right through Capitol Hill, saving you all that climbing at the end of a long ride.

Oh, and be sure to stop in Gas Works Park on your way by it. It's got some fantastic views of the city out across Lake Union.
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Old 05-06-18, 09:55 PM
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Early (about 6.am, due to jetlag, flew in from Sweden friday) this morning we went out on pretty much the same route (ccw northern part of Lake Washington) as linked in the first post.

Really enjoyed the views of distant mountains when riding out of the city and the 520 bridge was a really good to ride. As expected pretty boring after the bridge to Redmond but got better when we got on Samamish river trail. The trail was pretty good, decent surface, no crowd at this hour and far away from traffic. When we reached Burke Gilman trail the sun warmed us up and we enjoyed the views of Lake Washington on our way back. Began to get pretty crowded with hikers and cyclists at this point but not too bad. Surprised me that pretty much no cyclists we met waved or raised their hand from the handlebar (guess the culture is different here).

Anyway, really enjoyed the ride and can definitely recommend it, the roads and trails surface are rougher than I'm used to but at least we didn't have any flats!
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Old 05-07-18, 10:32 AM
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woodway
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Nice!

RE: Waving...seeing other cyclists is really common. When I was commuting on the Sammamish River trail and the Burke-Gillman trail, I would pass dozens of other cyclists. I would have had to ride one-handed to wave at them all. We don't wave at other cars either

Happy you enjoyed your ride.
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Old 05-07-18, 02:00 PM
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johan_h
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Well, technically you can ride two handed with full control and just raise a couple of fingers when meeting someone. But I do get your point about the amount of cyclists, comparing my hometown of 300 000 people to Seattle isn't fare.

Last edited by johan_h; 05-07-18 at 02:01 PM. Reason: Spelling
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Old 05-08-18, 03:51 PM
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San Juan Islands are also accessible by local public transportation.. ferries and busses,
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