For a ride through beautiful scenery, rolling hills, and quiet roads, load up your bike on the ferry that crosses Elliott Bay to Seattle’s neighbor, Bainbridge Island. Cyclists looking for a modete challenge will find it by taking the loop around the island’s perimeter. About 35 miles long and, with 2700 feet of elevation change, the route has plenty of hills to keep you entertained. For those hoping for a more relaxing excursion, not to worry: there are also plenty of options for shorter rides.
What Makes It Great
Named after the U.S. Navy Commodore William Bainbridge – commander of the U.S.S. Constitution in the War of 1812 – the island was once a center of Puget Sounds logging and shipbuilding industries, known for its humongous cedars (which were sought for ships’ masts). Today, Bainbridge Island is better known as being an increasingly affluent Seattle commuter town, just a 35-minute ride away from downtown on a Washington State ferry. Bainbridge is also a popular spot for Seattleites looking for a pleasant weekend daytrip, be it for cycling, hiking, visiting the art gallery, or exploring the local restaurants and shops.
The last Sunday of February each year, you can join over 5,000 other cyclists on the famous Chilly Hilly ride, which circles the island and is known as one of the country's classics. Check out the route here.
Riding the ferry is a quintessential Seattle experience, and the trip to Bainbridge is most convenient one to take. Plus taking your bike on the ferry, rather than a car, can mean less time waiting in line and a cheaper ticket, but still gives you an easy to explore the island.
Who is Going to Love It
Cyclists looking to get in a moderate workout that has with an extra flair of adventure. And the shorter rides and bicycle tours are perfect for anyone that wants a pretty place to cruise around on a warm summer’s day.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
In the summer the line to get your car on the ferry can be long, so we suggest leaving the car in Seattle. Check out the ferry schedule here. If you do want to bring the car, there is plenty of street, lot, and garage parking on Bainbridge. You can also see how many vehicle spaces are still left on the ferry here.
If you don’t have a bike of your own, there are places that will rent one to you near the ferry terminals in both Seattle and in Bainbridge. On the Seattle side, try the Bicycle Repair Shop. Over on Bainbridge, head to Classic Cycle or Bike Barn. Seattle Cycling Tours also offers a fully guided bike tour that start and end in Seattle.