When I moved to Seattle from the east coast about 25 years ago, I started to explore the city and the surrounding area by bike; first, commuting to work and then adding fitness rides to my commuting trips. What I found were challenging routes that gave me a great workout but also some beautiful scenery, great parks, spectacular views plus interesting restaurants, cafes, bistros and bakeries along the way to stop for a snack or a cold drink. I think that by traveling by bike, at my own pace on quite streets and trails, through neighborhoods and parks, I have seen the Seattle area in a way I would not have experienced otherwise. I want to share with you the rides that have given me such a unique insight into our city and surrounding area. Whether you are new to town or a native, I hope you’ll find something to enjoy in these rides that have become my favorites.

This blog describes several loop bicycle rides in and around the Seattle metropolitan area with rides for every level of cyclist. Many of the loop rides can be combined or can be done as a shorter “out and back ride”. Each loop described on this blog includes a convenient start/end point that offers ample parking for those transporting their bicycle. Any loop can be done in either direction.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Bainbridge Island Loop

33 mile ride on the rural roads of Bainbridge Island

This ride makes a counterclockwise loop around the scenic byways of Bainbridge Island and follows the traditional Chilly Hilly bike ride sponsored by the Cascade Bicycle Club of Seattle to kick off the Bicycle season each February.

The ride really begins at the Washington State Ferry Terminal, 801 Alaskan Way Pier 52, in Seattle. The ferry crossing takes approximately 35 minutes. Bikes load from the vehicle loading area and pay a $1 surcharge in addition to the normal passenger fare that is collected  only on the Seattle terminal. Stop at the vehicle toll booths to pay your fare.

The ferry trip offers some of the best views of downtown Seattle as the ferry leaves the dock and of Mount Rainier to the south, Mount Baker to the North and the Olympics Mountains to the west as the ferry makes its way to Bainbridge Island.

After exiting the ferry ascend the first short grade to the first and only stop light. The town of Winslow is to the left at this traffic light if you want to get a coffee or snacks for the ride; otherwise, take a left and start the counterclockwise route.

Battle Point Park on the west side of the island offers a convenient rest stop after the first half of the “ups and downs” of the island roads. Save some energy for the climb up Baker Hill Road (about 5 miles after Battle Point Park) but enjoy the rapid descent which ends at scenic Port Orchard Bay with a sharp left turn. The ride continues around the south end of the island along Port Orchard Bay then east and north along Puget Sound before returning to the town of Winslow.

For more details on this ride visit RIDEWithGPS for a map, ride stats, full directions and elevation profile:
Bainbridge Island Loop Information

Ferry ride from Seattle to Bainbridge Island, Chilly Hilly Bike Ride