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Anyone here bike the San Juan Islands WA?

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Anyone here bike the San Juan Islands WA?

Old 07-09-18, 10:39 PM
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TheCAkid
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Anyone here bike the San Juan Islands WA?

My wife and I Visited Orcas Island a month ago and have been plotting a bike excursion out that way later this summer. I would Love some beta on spots to check out/ how to avoid ferry traffic. The only real concern I have is lack of shoulders on a lot of those roads.
thoughts?
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Old 07-10-18, 12:57 AM
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CliffordK
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Mom & Dad went biking up there 30 years ago and enjoyed it. Unfortunately I don't have a lot of details about their trip. I would assume that at least the locals are used to tourists.
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Old 07-10-18, 11:55 AM
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fietsbob 
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It's a popular place, as you say just bear in mind roads are narrow
& you still have cars on them,
and on the WSDOT ferries. Used busses to connect ferries *
(Other than your own boat, Ferries is how you get to Islands )

Visited a friend there, years ago but used public transit to get there ..
then We Sailed from Orcas to Olympia , rather than bike.

* Scottish Inner Hebrides, I rode my bicycle , as I was on a tour , then,
between the Cal-Mac ferries..







..

Last edited by fietsbob; 07-10-18 at 12:02 PM.
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Old 07-10-18, 02:11 PM
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Doug64
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My wife, daughters and I have cycled in the San Juan Islands as part of longer tours, and specifically exploring the San Juans.

Are you camping, CC, or a combination? On our exploration ​​​​​​tour, we camped on San Juan Island, and explored the other Islands as day trips. The ferries are free, and it was a fun trip. We started most trips from Anacortes, WA.

A nice side trip is to take the ferry to Sidney on Vancouver Island, and ride the Lochside Trail south to Victoria. If you still have time the Canadian Gulf Islands are also fun to explore. There are also motels in Friday Harbor.


​​​​

Last edited by Doug64; 07-11-18 at 12:36 PM.
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Old 07-10-18, 02:40 PM
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Lopez Island is the most pleasant to tour of the four major islands served by the ferry.
It has two campgrounds - a county park near the ferry dock and a state park on the east side.
Lopez Village has a nice cafe/bakery and a small grocery.
Plus there are quite a few lovely B&Bs.
Great cycling all over the island - esp. down to Agate Beach

San Juan Island is hectic - Friday Harbor quite the party spot.
Camping on the county park on the west shore fills quickly.
Plenty of cycling, but roads not as quiet as Lopez.

Orcas Island is pretty busy too - with the steepest climbs.
The state park is on the far side of the island on the east peninsula.
Some pretty fancy-schmancy resorts and marinas.

Shaw Island is smallest and the most remote.
The local nuns used to operate the ferry dock, but don't any longer.
There is camping but no services - i.e. stores, cafes, etc.
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Old 07-10-18, 04:28 PM
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I biked San Juan Island a few weeks ago. Although some areas have limited shoulder, I found it to be the most enjoyable biking I have done in a while. Cars slow down and move to the other lane for you and do not come close to you. Several small island deer graze along the side of the road making for some nice scenery (and the occasional racing partner). The only camping i know is of out near Kiln Park.

I'd like to go back to do Lopez Island. It is supposed to be very pleasant biking and more gentle hills. As well as more overly laid back
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Old 07-10-18, 06:48 PM
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We have a friend who lives on Orcas so we are probably going to base our adventure out of there. This is the overnight trip for my wife and only the third for myself so we probably wont be doing anything too crazy.
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Old 07-10-18, 06:50 PM
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Originally Posted by jamawani View Post
Lopez Island is the most pleasant to tour of the four major islands served by the ferry.
It has two campgrounds - a county park near the ferry dock and a state park on the east side.
Lopez Village has a nice cafe/bakery and a small grocery.
Plus there are quite a few lovely B&Bs.
Great cycling all over the island - esp. down to Agate Beach

San Juan Island is hectic - Friday Harbor quite the party spot.
Camping on the county park on the west shore fills quickly.
Plenty of cycling, but roads not as quiet as Lopez.

Orcas Island is pretty busy too - with the steepest climbs.
The state park is on the far side of the island on the east peninsula.
Some pretty fancy-schmancy resorts and marinas.

Shaw Island is smallest and the most remote.
The local nuns used to operate the ferry dock, but don't any longer.
There is camping but no services - i.e. stores, cafes, etc.
This is great info thanks!
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Old 07-10-18, 06:53 PM
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Originally Posted by madscot13 View Post
I biked San Juan Island a few weeks ago. Although some areas have limited shoulder, I found it to be the most enjoyable biking I have done in a while. Cars slow down and move to the other lane for you and do not come close to you. Several small island deer graze along the side of the road making for some nice scenery (and the occasional racing partner). The only camping i know is of out near Kiln Park.

I'd like to go back to do Lopez Island. It is supposed to be very pleasant biking and more gentle hills. As well as more overly laid back
I got the vibe that it was a pretty bike friendly place but my friend who lives on Orcas said he has seen some tourists pull some evasive manuvers to get around bicyclists that made him nervous for us. Like I said in another comment it will be my wife's first time touring and I want to make sure she has fun so we can do it again ;-)
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Old 07-10-18, 07:15 PM
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The Pacific Coast bike touring book I bought for 1991 suggested this as a warm-up for the Coastal ride. I haven't done it on my bike, but I have been there and I think it would be a really nice option for her. Maybe traffic during the week would be more forgiving.
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Old 07-11-18, 08:01 AM
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skimaxpower
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Putting your car on the ferry to the San Juans (particularly on a weekend) can involve hours of waiting. However there is basically unlimited capacity for pedestrian and bicycles. Leave your car in Anacortes, and ride on to the ferry. It's much cheaper and ferry lines are irrelevant.
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Old 07-11-18, 06:42 PM
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adventurepdx
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Originally Posted by jamawani View Post
Lopez Island is the most pleasant to tour of the four major islands served by the ferry.
It has two campgrounds - a county park near the ferry dock and a state park on the east side.
Lopez Village has a nice cafe/bakery and a small grocery.
Plus there are quite a few lovely B&Bs.
Great cycling all over the island - esp. down to Agate Beach

San Juan Island is hectic - Friday Harbor quite the party spot.
Camping on the county park on the west shore fills quickly.
Plenty of cycling, but roads not as quiet as Lopez.

Orcas Island is pretty busy too - with the steepest climbs.
The state park is on the far side of the island on the east peninsula.
Some pretty fancy-schmancy resorts and marinas.

Shaw Island is smallest and the most remote.
The local nuns used to operate the ferry dock, but don't any longer.
There is camping but no services - i.e. stores, cafes, etc.
Agree with most of what you said, though I found riding on San Juan Island to be decent outside of Friday Harbor. Maybe not as quiet as Lopez, but still not that bad.
And the county campground on the west side has a hiker/biker site with a waterfront view and great sunsets!



But one thing to note: Shaw DOES have a store/cafe/ice cream joint. It's right at the ferry dock, next to the
postage stamp sized post office. It's pretty well stocked for what it is. But that is the only service on the island.


And all of the county park campgrounds (Odlin on Lopez, Shaw Island, and San Juan Island) have hiker/biker spots.
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