Showers on part of this ride
I’ve been living in Seattle for about nine months now (and of course just across Lake Washington for 12+ years) and am going to at the end of this month set out on an extended bicycle tour. I’ve moved in at the tail end of summer and was here for all of autumn and winter and about half of this spring. During this time I’ve ridden (and walked and bussed) all over the city for recreation, for utilitarian purposes and for transportation. I broke my camera on one of these rides so a lot of them went undocumented, but I got a new (used) camera for my birthday and was back to taking photos. So this post is the first of at least a couple with rides around Seattle. These posts will mainly be in the form of photo essays with pictures of sights and scenes witnessed while out riding as opposed to routes or individual rides.
Looking toward Ballard from the Lock
This post will focus of rides taken in the winter, mostly late February and March as that is when I got my replacement camera. Some of my more regular rides took place mostly in the dark what with it being winter and all, so this is by no means total documentation of all my rides.
Prior to moving to Seattle I think I’d ridden through the Ballard Locks only once or twice, but it has since become a regular part of several rides. On a warm summer day it can be packed at the locks and walking your bicycle along the thronged walkways a real trial. But in winter, even on a clear day, it is a nice route.
Lake Union,Fremont and Aurora Bridges as seen from Capitol Hill
One of my more frequent rides was to ride up Capitol from the U-District heading toward Beacon Hill. I did this the most in the Autumn and early winter often in the dark so never got any pictures of it. Riding up to Capitol Hill during daylight hours there are many beautiful views of Downtown and Lake Union on the west and the U-District and Lake Washington on the East.
Montlake Bridge, the U-District and Lake Washington as seen from Capitol Hill
As per it’s name there is a good climb up to Capitol Hill no matter which direction you come from – it is a ridge between Lakes Union and Washington. Amusingly enough it is the heart of Seattle’s hipster culture so you often get to see those fixed gear bicycles pushed up the hills. It also has some of the worst pavement I’ve encountered in the City (which is rife with bad pavement) including on the bulk of the signed bicycle routes. Still lots of great riding, good exercise with all the hills and culture rich with parks, museums and endless amounts of restaurants, bars, coffee shops and the like.
In order to get about anywhere in the city from the U-District you either ride up into Capitol Hill or west to Fremont/Ballard and various routes to downtown. Along the Burke-Gilman Trail (a major rail-trail route) is Gasworks Park, which is built around the remains of a refinery. With it’s location, views of Seattle and Lake Union, lots of open space and of course the industrial age novelty this is always popular park.
Boats on Lake Union
Lake Union which is surrounded by Seattle and the neighborhoods of Fremont, Eastlake, U-District, Wallingford and Ballard and looked down upon from Queen Anne and Capitol Hills is clearly a central features. From water-skiers to house boats, sailors to rowers and of course the ubiquitous sea plane tours it is an active severely urban lake. It connects to Lake Washington via the Montlake Cut and to the Puget Sound via the Ballard Locks. The sequence of the Puget Sound to Lake Washington is a major water thoroughfare.
The beach at Golden Gardens Park
This whole water way is lined with parks and trails with the Burke-Gilman Trail being a corridor that stretches along it all. From it’s terminus at the northern end of Lake Washington (where it connects to the Sammamish River Trail which you can take all the way to Lake Sammamish in Redmond) it follows Lake Washington to the Fremont Cut, skirts around Lake Union to the Ballard Locks and via the infamous missing link, reaches Golden Gardens Park on the Puget Sound. (check out this map for the whole route: Burke-Gilman Trail Map).
Looking West toward the Olympic Mountains from Golden Gardens Park
From Golden Gardens Park you can climb up a winding hill to the neighborhoods of Loyal Hights and Phinney Ridge. These are more residential neighborhoods mainly smaller houses but also the infrastructure to support that. Continuing east you reach Greenlake where the lake and its parks are a major feature attracting many people. Further easy you reach I-5 which bisects Seattle, after going under it you are in Ravenna which is north of the U-District.
Ravenna Pea-Patch entrance
All these neighborhoods are more residential with their small parks, open-spaces, shops and lots of little houses and apartment buildings. A totally different character than those areas that surround the water-ways or the dense younger demographics of Capitol Hill. From Ravenna it’s a short mile or so south back to the U-District where I live and is a good place to wrap up this post. This only scratches the surface of Seattle and it’s neighborhoods, but this is just the first post in the series.
For more photographs from this series check out my associated set on Flickr:
Seattle Rides 1: Winter 2012