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Cycling the San Juans
Old 05-03-2009, 12:08 PM   #1
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Cycling the San Juans

I just got back from 9 days in Washington. After spending a few days in Vancouver with friends, they all went home (someone has to work) and I Amtrak'ed / local bused it over to Anacortes, then ferried over to San Juan Island. The weather was perfect and I got in 3 days of excellent cycling (since it is off-season the bike shop does not open on Monday / Tuesday). I stayed at the Orca Inn (cheapest motel near town) and got the bike at Island Bicycles. The ferry costs about $10 from Anacortes and the return and all intra-island ferrying is free (for pedestrians and cyclists).

Wednesday I rode Orcas Island. This is probably the toughest island hillwise. Not too much traffic except on the main road connecting the ferry landing and Eastsound, the biggest town on the island.

Thursday I rode Shaw Island, the smallest and least populated of the 4 ferry-served islands. I think I hit all of the paved roads and some of the gravel. I was only passed by 3 cars the whole time. Very scenic. This is a great island for less experienced cyclists.

Friday I rode around San Juan Island, The main road up to Roche Harbor has a shoulder the whole way, and the other roads had little traffic. Great scenery. There were two little parks and a historic park on the west side. Overall very relaxed riding.

I highly recommend the shoulder season here - very uncrowded. Only about 5 people in the whole motel, no lines anywhere, only about 20 people on ferries built for 500. I was told that in the summer that the ferries can be packed.
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Old 05-03-2009, 01:47 PM   #2
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I used to live on San Juan. I also recommend the shoulder season for cycling there -- from the residents' point of view. In the summer, the hordes of cyclists riding in thick packs on the curvy roads makes it impossible to pass them for miles, and the locals really resent it.
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Old 05-03-2009, 06:50 PM   #3
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I was there once at the start of summer. It's sounds like a much better time to cycle around there.

I'm getting ready for an around the U.S. loop ride in 7 days. It's one of the reasons I E.R. from mega corp. Hard to take 6 months off work without someone pitching a fit.

The blog will be at www dot crazyguyonabike dot com /doc/fruitloop

Happy riding..
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