Editor’s Note: This is the first in a series of posts written by Martina Brimmer, a friend and owner of Ballard-based Swift Industries. Swift is a Seattle Bike Blog advertiser, but this post is not paid for. Martina has passion to bicycle travel that is reflected in both her business and her personal life. I hope you enjoy her outlook on Seattle-area bike travels!
The early morning sunlight illuminates my tent. I can hear the propane of our backpacking stove whispering on the picnic table outside, and the rustle of my travel companion pulling coffee from a pannier. Watching the light play on the dome of the tent I retrace the route from our prior day’s wandering. The fruit stands and farmland, a gut wrenching climb right after lunch, a few frustrated tears, the stellar cup of coffee that put a little town on the map. This is the life!
Welcome to traveling by bicycle.
I’m not sure whether my observations are statistically viable, but something in the air tells me that we experiencing a resurgence in traveling by bike. There are lots of amazing ways to be a tourist, but going by bicycle invites you into the social and geographical landscape in ways that make traveling spellbinding and adventurous. The inside cover of the book Two Wheel Travel, Bicycle Camping and Touring, published in 1974, says nothing more than:
To me, that can mean packing my panniers and making sure that, along with the camp necessities, my watercolor kit, favorite bourbon and a kite make it onto the bike. But it can also mean booking a night in a youth hostel in Vancouver and hopping on Amtrak with bikes in tow to explore unfamiliar city streets, or cycling out to a yurt at the foothills of the Cascade Mountain Range in the Snoqualmie Valley.
From the Seattle area, we have amazing bike camping and travel right out our doorways. Here are a list of my favorite destinations, each vary in distance and offer a few sleeping options:
Fay Bainbridge State Park (17 miles), located on Bainbridge Island a short ride from downtown Seattle (mileage includes the ferry crossing). It’s a great destination for first-time family bike camping!
Tolt MacDonald Campground (45 miles), offers another wonderful introduction to bicycle-overnights. One can head northeast out of Seattle on the Burke Gilman Trail which connects to the Sammamish River Trail, for nearly two thirds of the way on designated walking and cycling paths. Book yurts in advance and enjoy amenities right in the town of Carnation, WA. Pack your fly fishing gear because you’ll be right at the confluence of the Tolt and Snoqualmie Rivers. You can return by looping south through the Snoqualmie Valley and back to Seattle via Issaquah.
Fort Flagler State Park (60 miles), looks out over the Puget Sound and Port Townsend. The Olympic Mountain Range seems to rise from the water. Pedal into Port Townsend on a Sunday morning to enjoy a thriving farmer’s market, or a cheese tasting at Mt. Townsend Creamery. The Victorian port town also offers B&B’s galore if you’d like to treat yourself for the weekend.
Choice websites to discover:
For more overnighters peruse the postings on Adventure Cycling Association’s Bike Overnights Site: http://www.bikeovernights.org/
Warm Showers bicycle touring hospitality: http://www.warmshowers.org/
Path Less Pedaled: http://pathlesspedaled.com/what-is-bicycle-travel/
Martina Brimmer is the owner of Swift Industries, a Seattle-based pannier and bicycle bag company and Seattle Bike Blog sponsor (though this is not a sponsored post). On August 17th, Swift Industries and Roving Studios will be hosting Post Car Travel Agency, a ten day bicycle travel pop-up shop in San Francisco, CA. For more information about workshops, route planning, and presentations at the event check out http://postcartravelagency.tumblr.com/.