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75 Classic Rides WA: The Best Road Biking Routes (Mountaineers Books)

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75 Classic Rides WA: The Best Road Biking Routes (Mountaineers Books)

Old 05-29-12, 10:25 AM
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Seattle Forrest
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75 Classic Rides WA: The Best Road Biking Routes (Mountaineers Books)



I bought a copy of this book on Sunday, at Metzger's Maps, for $25. Which works out to learning about 3 routes per $1; seems like a good deal. It turns out Amazon has the book for $15. The guy who wrote the book (and a few others) has a cycling blog, and publishes photos from some of the routes online.

Some of the routes are pretty obvious if you look at a map, or talk to other cyclists. I've already done a few of them: the Leavenworth/Plain loop (the book omits Lake Wenatchee, a must see), Icicle Creek, Steven's Pass or Skykomish to Leavenworth, and the Mount Baker Climb. All of these are fantastic rides, and I hope that means the rest will be, too. I would have done a few of the other 70 or so rides without learning about them through the book, but most of them look like ones I wouldn't have stumbled on. Here are more routes the guy recommends.

I'll bump this thread after I've had a chance to ride some of the routes I didn't already know about. Until then, two things stand out: a few of the rides the guy suggests have narrower shoulders or more traffic than the ride description seems to let on, like new Blewett Pass, and Route 2 approaching Steven's Pass from Skykomish, which made me especially nervous. While there are a few island rides, most of these are in the mountains. Not just the Cascades, either, there are a few rides in the Blue Mountains, one up Spokane Mtn, and several in the Okanogan.

I've had a hard time finding good routes to ride. I usually manage to, but it takes a lot of time and energy, researching places I've never been, or haven't been to in years. I ride mostly for the scenery, and tend to do solo rides. This is the third guide book I have for road cycling - the other two are Puget Sound, extending as far out as Granite Falls. You can see why I'd want a book like this. If you find yourself looking for new places to ride, and enjoy climbing, you should check this one out.
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Old 05-29-12, 10:56 AM
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B. Carfree
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That book looks like a nice find, with the usual caveats that one man's great road is another man's traffic nightmare. When was it published? Oftentimes, a road that is quiet enough to make for great cycling is subsequently inundated with motorized traffic. It is my experience that the folks in charge of the roads often anticipate the increased traffic and lay down a nice, smooth surface a few years before the traffic volume picks up. If you find the road shortly after it is paved, it is a dream. Ten years later, the lack of shoulder and the now-pitted surface make you think the earlier riders' reports were made after too much post-ride libation.

By the way, I'm really enjoying your ride reports and photos. Please keep posting them.
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Old 05-29-12, 11:43 AM
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I think this book went to press within the last month. You're probably right about different people having slightly different perceptions, and also attention over the course of a long ride. Taking Blewett for example, for most of the ride the shoulder is generously wide, 6 to 8 feet in places. But the few miles surrounding the pass, especially leading up to it while you're climbing slowly, have a shoulder that's just narrower than my handlebars, and a guard rail. There are two car lanes, and there wasn't much traffic when I went, so most people got in the right lane to go around me. It wasn't bad (near Steven's Pass was scary!), but I think people should know what they're getting into.

There's an Oregon book, too, FYI.

Originally Posted by B. Carfree View Post
By the way, I'm really enjoying your ride reports and photos. Please keep posting them.
Thanks! And will do. I go out and ride them because I enjoy it, but you'd be surprised how much work goes into finding good routes, and I post them here in the hope that somebody is going to benefit from the research I did... I don't know if other people have the same trouble or not, and I didn't grow up here, which has to be part of it. But I'll keep posting, and hope other people go out and enjoy some of the same rides.
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Old 06-04-12, 12:27 AM
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And here I thought, Forrest, it was your own sense of adventure...!!
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Old 06-04-12, 05:37 PM
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Read that article that Seattle Forrest links when it cam out and have been waiting for this book to come out since then. Just ordered a copy form Amazon plus a another book covering Colorado that just came out since we're heading there this summer.

I can't wait to get this. sounds like I've ridden a few but am looking forward to new ones to me especially ver in eastern Washington.
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Old 06-04-12, 09:15 PM
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Yeah Forrest may have planted a seed.
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Old 06-18-12, 08:55 AM
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Yesterday I rode Leavenworth to Wenatchee and back. I wouldn't have done this one myself, it's (almost) beyond the mountains, and the scenery is very arid. Seems like you come down beyond the lower tree line (for pines anyway, there were broad-leaves at the river) and the eastern foot hills are either bare, or covered with dead, brown grass. It's the edge of the great sagebrush steppe. On the other hand, a girl I know tells me it was muggy and gray here all day, and I got a sunburn on my face, neck, and arms. It's good to escape the Tim Burton cloud cover and feel the light of the sun.

The ride was more pleasant than I expected. I had a hard time following the route. About ten miles in, I was supposed to make a turn on Pine Flat Road, but the street sign was twisted, and it wasn't clear which one was Pine Flat. I missed a little bit of good climbing and scenery, but connected with the route pretty soon. In Wenatchee, I just couldn't find the road I was supposed to take out of town, and it looks like my return route was way off. And, one more time somewhere between Cashmere and Peshastin, I just couldn't find the connection I was supposed to take. If I did it again today, I'd get the first turn right, but the second two are mysteries.

Still, it was a good ride. Mine wound up being 50.25 miles and 2,700 feet of elevation gain.

Once I've had time to go through the pictures I shot, I'll post a ride report. Until then, I wanted to say that this was basically a good and enjoyable (and scenic, in an arid kind of way) ride from the book.
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Old 06-18-12, 03:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
I think this book went to press within the last month. You're probably right about different people having slightly different perceptions, and also attention over the course of a long ride. Taking Blewett for example, for most of the ride the shoulder is generously wide, 6 to 8 feet in places. But the few miles surrounding the pass, especially leading up to it while you're climbing slowly, have a shoulder that's just narrower than my handlebars, and a guard rail. There are two car lanes, and there wasn't much traffic when I went, so most people got in the right lane to go around me. It wasn't bad (near Steven's Pass was scary!), but I think people should know what they're getting into.
I rode it on a Sunday afternoon last year and it wasn't bad at all - cars gave a good, wide path and moved left when they saw you that last mile or so. Mid-week would be the best time to ride Blewett.

That said I had always heard about the Old Blewett Rd but never ridden it. My wife and I spent the night in Wenatchee for our anniversary last night and on the way home I decided to take Old Blewett. I was absolutely salivating at the climbing on that road and kicking myself for not having brought a bike. I would have just sent my wife home and ridden out of there. The ascent on both sides seems to be a Cat 2 according to Mapmyride. Paved road, single lane in some places and a few spots with some torn up surface. A couple of fantastic 180 switchbacks on the Ellensburg/Cle Elum side. An organized hill climb ride would be an absolute blast on that road.

Now - I just have to figure out a date I can go ride it.
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Old 06-18-12, 03:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
Yesterday I rode Leavenworth to Wenatchee and back. I wouldn't have done this one myself, it's (almost) beyond the mountains, and the scenery is very arid. Seems like you come down beyond the lower tree line (for pines anyway, there were broad-leaves at the river) and the eastern foot hills are either bare, or covered with dead, brown grass. It's the edge of the great sagebrush steppe. On the other hand, a girl I know tells me it was muggy and gray here all day, and I got a sunburn on my face, neck, and arms. It's good to escape the Tim Burton cloud cover and feel the light of the sun.

The ride was more pleasant than I expected. I had a hard time following the route. About ten miles in, I was supposed to make a turn on Pine Flat Road, but the street sign was twisted, and it wasn't clear which one was Pine Flat. I missed a little bit of good climbing and scenery, but connected with the route pretty soon. In Wenatchee, I just couldn't find the road I was supposed to take out of town, and it looks like my return route was way off. And, one more time somewhere between Cashmere and Peshastin, I just couldn't find the connection I was supposed to take. If I did it again today, I'd get the first turn right, but the second two are mysteries.

Still, it was a good ride. Mine wound up being 50.25 miles and 2,700 feet of elevation gain.

Once I've had time to go through the pictures I shot, I'll post a ride report. Until then, I wanted to say that this was basically a good and enjoyable (and scenic, in an arid kind of way) ride from the book.

I keep forgetting you're not a native. Keep up this stuff and you're going to know the state. I think I've been most everywhere in my 40+ here.
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Old 06-21-12, 01:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
...It turns out Amazon has the book for $15...
Current price, (Thursday, June 21, 2012, noon PDT), is $18.29. Copy ordered, (since I'm investigating retirement in eastern WA and will be spending some time there "checking it out").
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Old 08-09-12, 04:48 PM
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Originally Posted by scozim View Post
..That said I had always heard about the Old Blewett Rd but never ridden it. My wife and I spent the night in Wenatchee for our anniversary last night and on the way home I decided to take Old Blewett. I was absolutely salivating at the climbing on that road and kicking myself for not having brought a bike. I would have just sent my wife home and ridden out of there. The ascent on both sides seems to be a Cat 2 according to Mapmyride. Paved road, single lane in some places and a few spots with some torn up surface. A couple of fantastic 180 switchbacks on the Ellensburg/Cle Elum side. An organized hill climb ride would be an absolute blast on that road.
Yes, Old Blewett is a very nice climb. I've done it twice, once on my old cf Trek road bike, and again on the tandem. Both were up the northern face. On the tandem ride we started in Leavenworth, took Old Blewett up and down, then New Blewett on the way back. The descent of new Blewett was fast and smooth, hitting 85 kmh near the top along the gentle bends. About 20 minutes of not having to pedal.

The grade of Old Blewett is not difficult, but going down the south face we did stop a couple of times to cool the rims. Highly recommended. Just watch for rocks on the cliff side of the road.

Luis
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