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Bike on I-5, the Aurora Bridge and the soon-to-be-closed waterfront Viaduct April 8

Cascade Bicycle Club’s Emerald City Ride 2018 won’t ever be repeated because part of the route will be on the slated-for-demolishion Alaskan Way Viaduct.

The third annual Emerald City Ride sticks with the theme: Bike on freeways typically off-limits to biking. And 2018 is shaping up to be one of the best routes yet. Rather than crossing the 520 Bridge as in the two previous years, the April 8 ride will start with a ride across the Alaskan Way Viaduct downtown, then continue on Aurora all the way to Fremont before taking city streets past Gas Works Park and onto the I-5 Express Lanes back to Sodo. The I-5 Express Lanes alone are reason enough to register.

Speaking of registration, the 12-mile full ride is $40 for adults with discounts for youth and Cascade members. You have until April 4 to register online. Day-of registration may be available for an extra $10, but only if they don’t sell out online. So since this is probably your last chance ever to bike on the Viaduct, I wouldn’t wait.

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If you just want to bike on the Viaduct, you can register for a shorter 3-mile “Viaduct Experience” ride for $25 (again, discounts for youth and members).

Check out our post from last year’s ride for an idea of what you’re signing up for. It’s worth the cash.

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15 responses to “Bike on I-5, the Aurora Bridge and the soon-to-be-closed waterfront Viaduct April 8”

  1. Sal Ponce

    I saw complaints that it is shorter and more expensive which I feel like it is. Still, I’m really excited to bike the Viaduct and Battery Street Tunnel before they.

    1. Kirk

      Shorter, yes, but I rode four laps on the course, so it worked out just fine. And then I hung out on the viaduct until they closed it. A lot of fun and I’m looking forward to next year’s edition. Maybe they can get the ride through the new tunnel! Maybe over the new I90 transit lanes, or the express lanes from Cherry all the way to Northgate and back down 99 through the new tunnel.

  2. Matthew Snyder

    I wish they’d put the route on Rainier and/or MLK through the Rainier Valley, crossing over to the other side of Beacon Hill, then back on Marginal or Airport Way. Maybe throw in the Spokane St Viaduct if you feel like the ride needs a bit more “wow” factor. Sure, it’s fun to ride on roads that are typically “off limits” (like I-5, or the Viaduct), but this would be a great way to open people’s eyes to the reality of biking just about anywhere south of downtown, by showcasing how many potentially great cycling routes are already effectively “off limits” to most cyclists.

  3. Ja

    If registered can you join in the route mid way and just do a loop from there? For example, join at the entrance to the Express lanes and then finish there?

    1. Law Abider

      As long as you get you registered early enough to get your packet and number mailed to you, I doubt anyone would care where you start or end. The routes aren’t physically blocked off, so if you can safely access the route at the midpoint, go for it.

    2. RuleFollower

      I plan to do that regardless of whether may packet gets mailed to me or not. To be clear, I did pay the $40.

      Has Cascade actually rented the viaduct and I5 ? Is there any strict legal reason that they can refuse to allow a person on a bike to use the route if they have not paid for registration ? They are public roads after all. (And yes, I know it costs money to plan the route and Cascade is a non profit…. As I said I just paid the $40)

      1. asdf2

        “Has Cascade actually rented the viaduct and I5 ?”

        I would assume the answer is “yes”. Closing roads like that to cars requires hiring extra police officers, and that money has to come from somewhere. The source of that money is your registration fees.

        If you ride without paying, you are freeloading.

    3. keith

      Just pay attention to the times when certain parts of the routes close!

  4. Pablo96

    It is expensive, I disagree with Tom’s assertion “It’s worth the cash”. Not to mention where the start/finish is located is probably one of the worst locations to arrive/depart in the city of Seattle.

    A family of 4 that are non-members have to fork over $130, that’s a weeks worth of food. Maybe the author has a lot of dough (pun intended)?

  5. Tom P.

    I have to agree with the commentators that are concerned about the cost. As a college student who loves to bike, I constantly feel excluded from Cascade events. If we want biking in this city to be for everyone, we need to address this. I would love to participate, but there’s just no way for me right now and I know I’m not alone.

    1. Steve

      If you are a student, they offer scholarships to offset the cost of the ride. I don’t know all the details on how many they award per ride.

      Additionally, if you volunteer, you can gain entry into events and no cost.

  6. khg

    Though likely too late for this event, you can ride Cascade events for free by volunteering: https://www.cascade.org/get-involved-volunteer/volunteer-benefits

    And there’s also the extensive free ride calendar: https://www.cascade.org/rides/free-group-rides

    I know that the Emerald City Ride and others aren’t cheap, but given the expense incurred by Cascade to access roads otherwise closed to bicycles (in the case of the Emerald ride), hire police, provide support, etc, the fact that the ride costs money shouldn’t be surprising. Nor do I think the costs are out of line.

    They’re doing a lot to make biking in this city be for everyone by hosting free rides every day at all different ride levels, as well as making it possible to ride their big fundraising events for free in exchange for volunteering. It’s a tough balance to be a non-profit organization trying to serve as many people as possible, regardless of ability to pay, while also keeping your organization financially viable. If you lose track of the financial viability side of things, you are on a quick path to serving no one at all.

    1. Pablo96

      I genuinely believe if Cascade Bike Club was concerned about keeping costs down they wouldn’t have set up shop in Magnuson Park, or Seattle for that matter. If they are serving others beyond Seattle proper, what is to stop them from “being financially viable” in Shoreline? Bothell? Lynnwood? Did Cascade Bike Club even bother to look into other municipalities?

  7. TheDude

    I get the price complaints, but if you have ever done an organized ride on closed roads in the U.S. this is downright cheap. I did a couple of supported century rides in San Diego that were more than $100. It was the only way I was ever going to get to ride certain highways without traffic. I only did them once. A lot of cost goes into traffic control and insurance.

    1. Pablo96

      Dollars per ride TheDude, dollars per ride. A supported century is different from an advertised “family” ride that is cost prohibitive for most “family” riders of normal means. But again, this isn’t targeting people of normal means, just those with a lot of cash to blow.

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