It’s National Bike Month!
Whether your children are avid cyclers, still wobbly on training wheels, or somewhere in between, National Bike Month in May is the perfect time to enjoy riding together.
Check out these family-friendly biking events this month.
Bike to School Day: Wednesday, May 8
Jump on the Bike to School bandwagon with the Cascade Bicycle Club and several local schools. By participating, you can make a difference for the environment and for your health. Check out Cascade Bicycle Club’s website for a ton of great cycling resources for families. www.cbcef.org/bts.
Bike Works Kids’ Bike Rodeo: Saturday, May 11, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Join CleanScapes, Bike Works and Compass Outdoor Adventures at the CleanScapes store in Gillman Village for helmet fitting, bike safety and handling, a fix-a-flat workshop, and a geocache ride to follow. Bring your used bikes for donation and earn a chance to win a variety of prizes. www.bikeworks.org/events.php.
Puget Sound Tour de Cure: Saturday, May 11, various start times
Kicking off at Redmond's Marymoor Park, this ride raises money for the American Diabetes Association and includes a flat, kid-friendly 15-mile course, a 25-mile scenic route around Lake Sammamish, and more challenging rides. www.diabetes.org/tour.
Bicycle Sundays: Sundays, May 12 and 19, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
This popular event kicks off in May and continues on select Sundays through the end of September. The open road is yours for the taking – at least two and a half miles of it – when Lake Washington Boulevard is closed to vehicle traffic from Mt. Baker Beach to Seward Park. The views are gorgeous, you don’t have to worry about cars … all you have to do is hope for sun. www.seattle.gov/parks/bicyclesunday.
Madrona Mayfair: Saturday, May 18, 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
This fun event kicks off with a bicycle parade at 9:30 a.m. at Alvin Larkins park, then bouncy houses, pony rides, an obstacle course, The Reptile Man, Charles the Clown, food and more in the Madrona Playground (34th and Spring). Recess Monkey performs at noon in the Madrona Playfield. www.madronaseattle.com.
Gig Harbor Street Scramble: Saturday, May 18, 8:30 a.m.
On either bike or foot, scramblers can choose 90 minutes or three hours to find as many checkpoints as possible on a map of this beautiful seaside community. Points are scored by answering a simple question to prove you were there. These races are fun for families, runners, cyclists and anyone who likes to explore (check out our Seattle's Child review). www.streetscramble.com.
Ballard Summer Streets: Friday, May 31, 4 to 7 p.m.
For three hours, Ballard streets are bike (and foot) only. Come celebrate with Cascade Bicycle Club by making bike art, dancing to some KEXP tunes, enjoying free bites and giveaways and perusing the local bike-friendly vendors. www.seattle.gov/transportation/summer_ballard.htm.
Let’s Ride! The Best Places to Bike with Your Family
M.J. Kelly, director of communications and marketing for the Cascade Bicycle Club, knows firsthand the challenge of finding great and safe places to ride with kids. Her two boys have been riding with her since before they could ride on two wheels.
Kelly says that getting a chance to ride alongside other bike riders at Bicycle Sundays has helped her kids feel a part of a larger community. In addition to these events, she offers the following suggestions for recreational riding.
Find good riding in Seattle at Seward Park, Magnuson Park and on the Burke-Gilman Trail from the Ballard Locks to Golden Gardens. The loop at Green Lake can be difficult, since it gets crowded on sunny days. The Elliott Bay Trail on the Seattle waterfront is a gem, with outstanding views and great places for kids to take breaks. On one end, there is tiny Smith Cove Park and at the other end is the majestic sculpture park.
For kids who are capable of riding longer distances, the Burke-Gilman trail is one option, though it can be highly congested (particularly between Ballard and the University of Washington) when the sun is out. Kelly recommends beating the rush by riding early. For less traveled paths, check out the regional trail system map on King County's website. In particular, Kelly recommends the Snoqualmie Valley Trail, with 31.5 miles of soft surface (crushed rock) riding. If families aren’t comfortable with the small on-road section through Snoqualmie, they can start at the south end of town and head to Rattlesnake Lake for a picnic. In the south end, Kelly suggests riding the Cedar River Trail, which extends 17 miles from Renton to Maple Valley. She also praises Snohomish County’s Centennial Trail, with a lunch stop at Lake Cassidy.