Resolve to Try a New Trail
This year, aim your handlebars toward a new trail, for an off-street ride where relaxation and enjoyment are the goals.
You’ve ridden the Burke, that urban, crowded, east-west ribbon that splits Seattle’s north and south. And probably the Sammamish River between Woodinville and Redmond, with its mix of trekking techies and toddlers on first bikes.
But how about the Cushman, Centennial, Foothills or Chehalis Western? They’re a bit farther afield, but therein lies the appeal: fewer people, more open space, family-friendly, uncharted adventures.
Any tourist knows the best way to see a new place is to be led around. When your cousin drives you through San Francisco, you get to just sit and gawk. Well, the bike equivalent is to try a group ride or an event. With the route prescribed and marked, or a leader out front who knows the turns, you can just sit back and take in the scenery.
So here’s a resolution for 2015: try a new trail by joining up with a group or an event ride.
Cascade Bicycle Club holds free rides daily. On some days you can find rides going simultaneously to all points on the compass – both cardinal and ordinal.
Other, smaller clubs around the region hold regular weekend outings. Mostly these are also free and can be joined by anyone who shows up.
Some bike shops, in areas where there isn’t a big club presence, host their own rides. Those “shop rides” typically leave on a Saturday or Sunday morning.
Here are a few of the clubs to check for rides:
- B.I.K.E.S Club of Snohomish County
- Capital Bicycling Club, Thurston County
- Port Townsend Bicycle Association
- Skagit Bicycle Club
- Tacoma Wheelmen’s Bicycle Club
- West Sound Cycling Club, Kitsap County
See my Resources page for many other club links.
Organized event rides are not only great ways to see the trails and best routes of a new area, but they are also essential fundraisers and community-builders for the clubs. Often they fund a charity as well as the club.
Try a new event this year and you’ll not only help out those worthy efforts, but you’ll hang out with a lot more local cyclists, which can be great fun.
Here are some of the ride that use regional trails:
- McClinchy Mile – Presented by B.I.K.E.S., uses the Centennial Trail in Snohomish County.
- Daffodil Classic – Presented by Tacoma Wheelmen, uses the Foothills Trail in Pierce County.
- Rhody Tour – Presented by the Port Townsend club, uses the Olympic Discovery Trail.
- STP – Seattle to Portland – Presented by Cascade, uses the Yelm-Tenino Trail in Thurston County.
- RSVP – Ride from Seattle to Vancouver and Party – Also presented by Cascade, uses the Centennial Trail.
- Ride Around Puget Sound – Presented by the advocacy group Washington Bikes in association with regional clubs, uses the Cushman Trail.
There are many other events presented by these clubs and others. For the most comprehensive event list, see the Bicycle Paper’s online guides.
Discover a new trail this year. It’s an easy resolution to keep, and rewarding in so many ways.