The open road is yours for the taking – at least two and a half miles of it – because Bicycle Sunday is back! For 12 Sundays in 2019, Lake Washington Boulevard will be closed to vehicle traffic from Mount Baker Beach to Seward Park, and this super Seattle tradition is worth checking out.
I was a little skeptical at first. After all, we live a block from the Burke-Gilman trail; why would we want to drive to ride our bikes when we can cycle out our front door to a perfectly paved path? But I was willing to give it a try, so we loaded up our bikes, took a short drive east and found easy street parking near Seward Park.
After a quick unload and a few safety instructions for the kids (ride on the right side of the street and do not swerve into oncoming bikes) we started off. It was awesome! Easily three times as wide as the Burke-Gilman trail, Lake Washington Boulevard affords you plenty of space to ride or run or glide. Whereas we often have to ride single file on the Burke-Gilman, we were able to ride side by side without fear of interfering with bicycle training teams or leashed dogs and their owners. My 4-year-old, who is mastering the balance bike, felt much more comfortable wobbling with the extra wiggle room, and my 6-year-old was able to speed ahead and circle back with the extra room to turn around.
The views are gorgeous because Lake Washington Boulevard runs right along – yes, you guessed it – Lake Washington. There is plenty of shade (for those sunny days, which I have heard occur in Seattle on occasion) and the terrain is fairly flat.
We saw runners and walkers, in-line skaters and roller skiers. There were balance bikes, tandem bikes, recumbent bikes and trikes. We even saw a crazy machine that was a cross between an elliptical and a bicycle. Basically, if you can power it on your own, it's welcome on Bicycle Sunday.
Dust off the seats, oil the gears and take over that open road.
IF YOU GO
Where: Lake Washington Boulevard between Seward Park and Mount Baker Beach.
When: Select Sundays, May through September; check the website for specific dates. Open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Cost: Free. [LimeBikes
Contact: 206-684-4075; parkways.seattle.gov/tag/bicycle-sundays/.
Erika Lee Bigelow has 3 kids and writes the weekly "Erika's Picks."
This article has been updated. It was originally published in June 2011 so Jack is well past the balance bike stage now.