Friday, August 26, 2011

The Cure for Bike Hate

Mt Baker is the big snowcone on the right
Lately, the anti-bike sentiment has been growing in Seattle. I think the argument is that cyclists don't pay for roads, yet they get road facilities and take away the space that a car could take up. While I have thoughts regarding these arguments (and will voice them when my life is threatened by a motorist), I tend more toward the "flight" option in terms of a response. So I packed my car with bike and gear and headed north to Skagit County.

Lovely Mt Vernon is where I headed to, home of a really awesome transit center that revolves around Amtrak and free SKAT busses, plus restrooms and lots of free parking. From there, I headed out on a bike trail that I'd never heard of before, the Kulshan Trail, that led me east and out of town. I did a loop around Big Lake, partly on busy SR-9, partly on a quiet back road. On the highway, where it is often tranquil, it was a little busier since it was a week-day. Each time I heard a car behind me, where there wasn't much shoulder, I mentally braced myself for a horn or a yell, though one never came. The vehicle slowed, waited, then passed when it was clear.
along the S. Skagit River Rd

I then climbed up to a ridge where there were farms and ranches and barely any cars (now that's more like it!) and had great views to the mountains with Mt Baker showing its snow dome. I headed for the Skagit River where it runs along the North Cascades Hwy, but I stayed on a road to the south of the river. The sun had been heating up, but I was riding in the coolness of the trees and enjoying the breezes from the big green river below. There were more cars there than I remembered on any weekend day, and I sometimes wondered if I should turn on my rear light, but I think my pink jersey made me quite visible, contrasted against the green of the tree canopy.
the lovely Skagit River

Heading back into town, I saw a dog meandering in the road ahead and I thought that maybe I wouldn't be able to escape the ride without at least one type of confrontation. As she came towards me, I slowed and saw her tail wagging. I stopped and she came over to give me a good sniff; then she posed for a photo. Not long after, I saw a couple of cyclists and we waved and smiled to each other. What a great day to be on the bike; and no hate in sight or sound.
the locals were friendly

farmland and foothills

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