Seattle is a beautiful city spread across a wide and diverse land. To get from the airport to downtown Seattle you will cross rivers, pass lakes, and go up and down many hills. To get from Seattle to the Eastside you will cross giant bridges. To even get from one neighborhood in Seattle like Columbia City all the way to Ballard is a beast of a trip with freeways, highways, city driving, bridges, and traffic. Oh Seattle traffic; we spend the majority of hours in Seattle first at home, second at work, and third in traffic.
But at least Seattle is a city with many forms of transportation, always improving. We’re going to run a short series on transportation in Seattle starting with the one of the healthiest options…biking.
In 2011, the CDC ranked Seattle as the 13th most active city in the country and it is no surprise to anyone who has visited or lived here. Seattle-ites love to walk, bike, hike, run, kayak, and anything else that allows them to move from one point to another as well as burn calories and enjoy any vitamin D they can get! Biking is one of the most common ways you see people both getting around and gathering in groups to enjoy the beauty all around us.
As I’m sure we all know, biking is great for your health, the environment, and your sanity. It sure beats sitting in traffic when instead you can have the wind at your back, the lovely springtime views ahead of you, and flushed cheeks of moving yourself across the city with very little equipment.
The Seattle area is known even around the country for its love of biking. Redmond has called itself the biking capital of the Northwest and you can read more of that history here. We have amazing bike trails that go all the way from the heart of Seattle to Bothell, with the beautiful Burke Gilman Trail, an 18.8 mile ride. The SR-520 Trail is seven miles through Redmond and Bellevue and should be expanding to go across the bridge project is finished someday. Currently, the best way around Lake Washington is either all the way around north or south or cutting across I-90 towards Seattle. These routes are almost always on safe and separate bike lanes. There are many other beautifully maintained and protected trails and Seattle is often working to add more miles of bike lanes.
Seattle also boasts the Cascade Bicycle Club which advocates for better and safer options for bicyclists as well as planning rides. Their most famous yearly ride is the Group Health Seattle to Portland Bicycle Classic (STP), a 202.25 mile event that sells out every year in early winter though the ride is usually in July. The STP has 10,000 riders each year and last year had over 40 countries represented, which is an amazing event for a local bike club. My husband, Robert, has participated in the STP and says finishing is so rewarding because it is the hardest thing he has ever done. He likes it so much he has done it three times already.
The Cascade Bicycle Club also hosts the 2013 Commute Challenge which starts again in May from the 1st to the 31st. As their site says, “To participate, you need only to start or join a team, commute at least four days throughout the month, and track your trips online.” If you don’t have time to commute four days total in May, they are also running the F5 Bike to Work Day on Friday, May 17, 2013. Robert’s work team has a morale event scheduled to see a movie that day, so they will be doing a Bike to the Movies adventure.
So if this article inspires you at all, pump up your tires, dig your helmet out of the closet, and plan a ride this month. If you need advice, support, or have questions the Cascade Bicycle Club is there to help!