After suffering through an incredibly wet winter and spring, what an inspiring weekend for a bike ride!
Bonus: The cycling options were almost overwhelming. As of Saturday evening I’d seen ride reports from ranging from the Seattle International Randonneurs’ 400K, tours of the North Cascades Hwy (u-g-l-y chipseal) and Snoqualmie Pass, the Skagit Spring Classic, and the Ravensdale Road Race.
I joined an off-the-radar group organized by Tom Shafer that took a scenic spin around the south end of Puget Sound, complete with a Southworth to Fauntleroy ferry ride to finish things off. I hadn’t ridden down that way since 2008 or so, and the proposed route covered some ground that was entirely new to me.
Although it is impossible to avoid industrial ugliness in the proximity of Tacoma, our route made up for it by taking us through gorgeous sections near Redondo Beach (with a difficult wooded climb out of there), and Point Defiance Park. Gig Harbor local Rick Raymond joined the crew and he strategically detoured us at key points along the originally proposed route, which added miles, scenery and a bit of climbing.
We crossed the Tacoma Narrows Bridge (new and improved, now with a generous multi-use path), took a lunch break in Gig Harbor, and finished with challenging rolling terrain in the final miles to the Southworth ferry. We left West Seattle at 7AM and were staggering off the ferry at 3:10. If we hadn’t stopped for lunch it would have been easy to catch a ferry that would have had us back at Fauntleroy at about 2PM.
If you examine the details of the route you can see that it is slightly contrived in sections, but those sections also included some of the most enjoyable cycling. I had the (proposed) route loaded into my Garmin 500 as a *course* (only the second time I’ve used the *courses* feature), and it was surprisingly on the mark. Although you could definitely do the route purely off of a gps device or a cue sheet, Rick’s local knowledge gave us a routefinding advantage.
However you do it, this splendid ride is a *must do* adventure and I strongly recommend adding it to your hit list.