This week I have been out in the Seattle area. By any measure, Seattle is one of the most bike friendly cities in the United States. Everywhere you turn there are bike trails and bike lanes. Bike commuting is huge out here. However, Seattle cycling is not for the faint-hearted, this place is hilly! Being out of shape I was looking for some opportunities to ride that would be relatively flat.I have no problem riding on roads but in a strange location, I am always leery about traffic conditions so I prefer segregated bike trails.
I was staying in Redmond (home to Microsoft) and after searching the Internet decided I would check out the Sammamish River Trail. This a Rails-to-Trails project along the Sammamish River. Monday was the perfect night to be on the trail, 71 degrees on an early Spring evening with a few puffy clouds in a blue sky! The trail system was accessible only a few blocks from my hotel. I was told that it was unseasonably warm so the trail was crowded with bikers, runners and walkers. For the most part people were courteous and careful in the way they shared the trail. Several people had bells and used them to signal when passing. The trail connects to a couple other notable trails and if you were feeling ambitious you could ride 27 miles one-way to downtown Seattle.
This was one of the smoothest trails I have ever ridden. It is exceptionally flat even for Rails-to-Trails. Following the river, the trail passes several parks and ball fields. There are congestion warning signs where the trail approaches some parks — a good idea, because there were kids on scooters and other youngsters about near the playgrounds. There are several places to stop and rest including restrooms and water fountains. As the trail moves out of Redmond, it enters wine country and you can see vineyards planted in the river valley. i especially enjoyed the Cypress trees lining portions of the trail. The trail reminded my of Provence.
When I started my ride I had an long-sleeved under armour shirt under my jersey. I quickly decided it was too warm an put it in a jersey pocket. he downside to riding after work is that it gets dark quickly. By the time the ride was over, I was cold even with the under armour. It was also getting dark, I wear mirrored Oakley sunglasses when I ride, so I took them off. As the sun went down along the river the bugs were so bad they sounded like hail on my helmet! I put the sunglasses back on even though it was hard to see.
One other thing I noticed. Nearly everybody on the trail had a tail light and many had two headlights. I have a high output headlight on my bike as well, unfortunately when I packed my bike I must have turned the headlight on in the case because my battery was completely dead! Next time I will know better! I felt really good on the bike, I would love to come back and explore the rest of the trail system.
See this ride on Strava.com.