Sierra CascadesAdventure Cycling Association’s new Sierra Cascades route.
By Erik Neumann
Yes. It’s finally here. The warm weather we Seattle cyclists wait for, seven months out of the year. The period of May through September is something friends of mine have taken to calling “Seattle Summer.” More than a pleasantly warm weather pattern, it feels like a tangible thing, different from the rest of the world. And what better way to kick off the season than a bike-tour themed Seattle Section?
This past April, Adventure Cycling Association – the United States’ premier bike route mapping organization – released their newest set of maps under the name of the Sierra Cascades Bicycle Route. The route runs from Canada to Mexico, essentially parallel to the Pacific Crest hiking trail. Offering a mountainous alternative to the coastal Highway 101 route, Sierra Cascades intersects many national parks, such as Mt. Rainier, Crater Lake, Kings Canyon, Sequoia, Yosemite and Lassen Volcanic National Park. Its highest point is approximately 10,000 feet above ground and it spans a beautiful 2,500 miles.
Here in Seattle, Google unveiled Google Maps ‘Bike There’ in March. An extension of their current mapping website, ‘Bike There’ shows cyclists how to get from point A to point B, taking into account area bike trails, elevation gain and low traffic streets. They’re still working some bugs out of the system, but the mapping tool is currently operational in over 100 cities, with more planned for 2010.
Another local cycling moment was the Seattle Bike Expo held on March 13 and 14, 2010. If there was ever any doubt about bike culture in Seattle, the Bike Expo put it to rest. The Cascade Bicycle Club put the whole shebang together with help from Bike Works, which provided rows of bike parking. Frame-builders were on site – from seasoned old-timers like Bill Davidson of Davidson Bicycles – to young start-ups, including Geoff Casey from Baron Bicycles, and the friendly guys at Donkelope Bikes in Bellingham, WA. It’s not an easy task for a bicycle expo to be different from any other kind of tradeshow – basically an excuse to get consumers drooling over new products, but the Bike Expo was noticeably more like a room full of friends you’d like to go riding with, minus the advertising and posturing.
In this Seattle section, Anne Mathews takes a look at the Olympic Discovery Trail, a rail-trail that runs along the northern Olympic Peninsula, through some of Washington’s last logging communities, boat building towns and rocky ocean beaches. Bryan Buckalew digs into the often perplexing physics of gear ratios. And the nice folks from the Committee in Support of the People of El Salvador (CISPES) talk about their own brand of bicycle-powered fundraising.