I hadn't been cycling at all for the entire summer, so with the crisp fall feel in the air, I decided to bike from Ash Way P-R in Lynnwood (where I keep my bike, 2 miles from my apartment) to Bothell, do the Lake Washington Loop trail, and then head back to the P-R. What better way to make up for a summer devoid of balls-numbing fun?
To stick to my own sort of tradition, I headed out from the P-R at noon. After hooking up with the Bothell-Everett highway, I rode into Bothell. After realizing that the bathrooms along the Burke-Gilman were closed for renovations, I made a timely descent into the U-district and porcelain salvation.
I then continued south through the Arboretum, and along Lake Washington Blvd to Seward Park. Here is where I saw the first inklings of other loop trail riders - organized packs of lycra clad warriors in aerodynamic tucks on their $3000+ road bikes. I couldn't help but take pride in my unassuming appearance - backpack on my back, wearing swim-shorts and sneakers (not a speck of lycra anywhere on me) - and my relatively unweildy bicycle - 25lb Diamondback with front suspension, kickstand, and loosely attached fenders. This helped give me excuse when I was passed, and made me feel all the better when I managed to pass others.
From Seward park, the route signs ask you to jay walk across a 4-lane highway into Boeing field (am I the only one surprised by this?). Without a crosswalk in sight, I searched for police cars, and dashed across. The Boeing field leg of the trail has to be my favorite, where you are quite literally bicycling through an airport. You even come across a sign asking you to yield to jets.
After Boeing field, the route becomes quite ambiguous, where one is expected to know that they should head down a series of dead end roads to continue along the trail (no sign in sight).
The trail then follows I-405 along eastern Lake Washington through some beautiful rural roads until you pop out into downtown Bellevue. Here, I detoured into the heart of the city, and took in the view of beautiful skyscrapers all around.
From here I headed into Kirkland, and again detoured off of the boring main drag, favoring the residential streets instead. I've also never been able to find any Lake Washington Loop trail signs between Kirkland and Bothell, so I've found no point in sticking to the traditional route.
Once out of the nightmare of Kirkland, I headed up 100th Ave straight to Bothell (the traditional route is to take Juanita Drive, but I find 100th Ave to be a lot safer).
Once in Bothell, I booked it back to Mill Creek so I wouldn't have to ride in the dark. Over-all, the route was 71 miles, and was done at a leisurely average speed of 15 MPH. I find it a lot more fun to just go with the pace the road sets, then to push myself to the limit on these longer runs.
I rode my little 1987 Honda Elite CH80 scooter to Ash Way P-R to head out on an adventure.
A mile into my trek, the mountains come into view, but I have a more local endeavor planned for this weekend.
Beautiful Fall colors along the Burke Gilman in Lake City.
The airport at the north end of Lake Washington.
Looking up towards Bothell from a dock on Lake Washington Blvd.
Looking over towards Bellevue
Looking south towards Seward Park and Renton.
Seward Park in Fall foliage
You know your bicycle path literally goes through an airport when you see a sign asking cyclists to yeild to jets.
The sign in context.
A quaint lumber yard along one of the more rural stretches of the trail (Mercer Island is in the background).
Coming up on Bellevue
One of many signs that guide the way (sort of).
Back at Ash Way P-R, 71 miles and 7 hours later.
A route track of the trip: 71.09 miles, 3,174' gain in elevation, 14.9 MPH average speed (excluding groin breaks), 47 MPH top speed (there's a steep hill right by where I live).