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Posted by on Feb 4, 2015 in Blog, Events | 0 comments

How Bikes and Stairways Go Together

If you’re like me, you would definitely steer clear of a stairway when riding your bike. If I didn’t veer away, a crazy, bumpy ride ending in a cartwheeling crash would surely result.

But I think there is one instance where cycling and staircases are a perfect match. And there’s a fun event this weekend where you can try out my theory.

Stairway walk

Connie and Susie pause on a walk that took us up to the top of Queen Anne from Lake Union Park.

Before I reveal the steps-and-pedals connection, let me tell you about a great little book about stairways. It’s called Seattle Stairway Walks, and it has delighted me and my gang for the last year. Disclosure: it was also produced by Mountaineers Books, who published Biking Puget Sound. I’ve slipped the slim volume in my pocket and led a number of fascinating city walks using it.

The book is a walking version of what I tried to do with Biking Puget Sound: show you places around the region that you might not have discovered. In this case, it’s all about the public stairways hidden around our hilly city.

You can trek up and around Queen Anne, from Capitol Hill down to the Arboretum, or up to the bluffs from Alki in West Seattle. Loops from 2 to 4 miles take you down side streets and up to viewpoints — and usually past an excellent coffee shop or two. The hikes take from 1 to 4 hours in length. You can fit one in between rain showers on a weekend afternoon and feel virtuous while you toddle off to an early movie.

This weekend, you can join in a citywide event celebrating the stairways of Seattle (and the book), and get a taste of this enjoyable activity. Here are details from the website of Feet First, the nonprofit that is hosting “Stairway Walks Day,” on Saturday, Feb. 7:

“This family-friendly event takes place in 14 locations across Seattle. Urban explorers are invited to join one of the guided  neighborhood walks ranging in location from Fremont to Fauntleroy, and everywhere in between. On these stairway routes you’ll discover gems you wouldn’t see otherwise. Colorful mosaics, serene pocket parks, restored creeks and gorgeous homes are quietly hidden amid these stairway passages.

Come see the sights and learn the stories that only Seattle stairways can tell… and only your feet can take you!

All proceeds for this event help support Feet First’s mission to ensure all communities across Washington are walkable.”

There’s a suggested donation of $10, but they say that no one will be turned away from joining in the fun. See a list of all the walks, and register at

And now, for my theory about how bikes and stairways go together.

It’s simple: you might just leave the bike at home during this weekend when the “atmospheric river” that ushers in the “Pineapple Express” is dumping rain measured in inches on our streets.

But you can still work your quads and keep up your fitness, under a waterproof slicker, climbing our city stairways. You’ll thank me when you pedal up that first Chilly Hilly ascent.

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