San Juan Islands

Discussion in 'rec.bicycles.rides archive' started by Sam Huffman, May 13, 2003.

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  1. Sam Huffman

    Sam Huffman Guest

    My wife and I are planning on spending 3-5 days in the San Juan islands this September, and I am
    looking for input as to which islands offer the best cycling experience. We're planning on a short
    ride (around 20-30 miles each day) each morning, and I may go for a couple longer rides. We're both
    recreational riders.

    I'd appreciate any insights from people who have done a similar trip; particularly any pointers to
    guidebooks with a good cycling emphasis. Also suggestions as to whether it's better to bring a
    vehicle along.

    Thanks, Sam
     
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  2. Tom Kunich

    Tom Kunich Guest

    San Juan is a flat ride. The facilities here are better than Orcas. Orcas is a big hill. There are
    some rides that are flat but there is also Mt. Constitution which is a bitch of a climb. It's the
    kind of descent where you get tired of holding the brakes on. You can camp on both islands which
    works out well since it is pretty expensive moteling.

    Be ready for ANY kind of weather because it can change rapidly. Though September is usually as good
    as any time.

    "Sam Huffman" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:p[email protected]...
    >
    > My wife and I are planning on spending 3-5 days in the San Juan
    islands this
    > September, and I am looking for input as to which islands offer the
    best
    > cycling experience. We're planning on a short ride (around 20-30
    miles each
    > day) each morning, and I may go for a couple longer rides. We're
    both
    > recreational riders.
    >
    > I'd appreciate any insights from people who have done a similar
    trip;
    > particularly any pointers to guidebooks with a good cycling
    emphasis. Also
    > suggestions as to whether it's better to bring a vehicle along.
    >
    > Thanks, Sam
     
  3. Fred Roses

    Fred Roses Guest

    Sam Huffman <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...
    > My wife and I are planning on spending 3-5 days in the San Juan islands this September, and I am
    > looking for input as to which islands offer the best cycling experience. We're planning on a short
    > ride (around 20-30 miles each day) each morning, and I may go for a couple longer rides. We're
    > both recreational riders.
    >
    > I'd appreciate any insights from people who have done a similar trip; particularly any pointers to
    > guidebooks with a good cycling emphasis. Also suggestions as to whether it's better to bring a
    > vehicle along.
    >
    > Thanks, Sam

    Both Backroads and Bicycle Adventures run very popular cycling tours of the islands - why not
    contact them for their itineraries and consider shadowing their routes?
     
  4. In article <[email protected]>, [email protected] says...
    >
    > My wife and I are planning on spending 3-5 days in the San Juan islands this September, and I am
    > looking for input as to which islands offer the best cycling experience.

    Personally, I enjoy hills, so my favorite is Orcas Island, a good mix of rolling hills and real
    hills. If you aren't wild about rides with essentially no flat spots, I'd suggest San Juan
    Island instead.

    Either island has excellent camping. San Juan Island has more stores, restaurants, etc.

    Bringing a vehicle is not necessary if you like camping or plan to use a hotel or B&B. The wait for
    the ferry can get quite long on summer weekends if you bring your car.

    --
    Joshua Putnam, Agent Putnam Financial Services, A FARMERS Agency Voice: 206/992-2296 Fax:
    425/793-3623 Auto ~ Home ~ Life ~ Business ~ Motorcycles ~ Boats ~ RVs
     
  5. Sam Huffman

    Sam Huffman Guest

    Joshua Putnam <[email protected]> writes:

    > In article <[email protected]>, [email protected] says...
    > >
    > > My wife and I are planning on spending 3-5 days in the San Juan islands this September, and I am
    > > looking for input as to which islands offer the best cycling experience.
    >
    > Personally, I enjoy hills, so my favorite is Orcas Island, a good mix of rolling hills and real
    > hills. If you aren't wild about rides with essentially no flat spots, I'd suggest San Juan Island
    > instead.
    >
    > Either island has excellent camping. San Juan Island has more stores, restaurants, etc.
    >
    > Bringing a vehicle is not necessary if you like camping or plan to use a hotel or B&B. The wait
    > for the ferry can get quite long on summer weekends if you bring your car.

    Thanks all for the ideas. I'll check out Orcas and San Juan, and try to get maps from the bicycle
    tour companies.

    Thanks, Sam
     
  6. Matt O'Toole

    Matt O'Toole Guest

    "Steve" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...

    > Are you camping?
    >
    > Lopez has a great state park and a county park with some
    nice hiker/biker
    > camp sites. I also think Lopez is the most bicycle
    oriented ( i.e. flater,
    > less traffic).
    >
    > Also Shaw Island has a small camp ground. Nuns run the
    ferry terminal and
    > small store.

    That's a good point about the traffic. Either of these would have a lot less traffic than San Juan
    or Orcas, though I wouldn't consider the traffic on either to be a problem. There's a mad dash right
    before/after each ferry, but in between it's usually calm.

    If I was doing a 3-5 day tour, I'd probably hit San Juan, Lopez, and Orcas. I don't think there's
    enough road on the others. I would make all camping/lodging reservations ahead of time. I also would
    not bother with a car. Save the extra ferry fare for some of the great food that's around.

    I spent the last 4-5 summers cruising this area on a sailboat. I'm heading up at the end of June
    this year, until the end of August at least. I haven't done much riding up there, but I've explored
    everything pretty well. One of these days I'll find a way to smuggle the bike aboard. :)

    Some neat stuff not to miss:

    Roche Harbor Resort has terrific showers. They also have a cute flag ceremony at sunset, a dual
    American/Canadian thing. They're required to perform it -- it's in the deed for the property. Don't
    miss the cool Masonic temple in the woods nearby.

    The whale museum in Friday Harbor is great.

    Rosario Resort on Orcas is neat too -- definately worth a look-through. They have an incredible pipe
    organ, of all things. Great spa and showers, though I don't know what they charge if you're not a
    guest. It's very close to Moran State Park, which is probably the nicest place to camp, hike, etc.

    Also on Orcas, Deer Harbor is a neat spot. The Deer Harbor Inn is probably the best restaurant in
    all the islands. If I were to have one nice meal on a bike tour, this would be
    it. It's low-key enough for a grungy cyclist.

    The beach on the west side of Orcas is one of the nicest places anywhere to watch the sun go down.

    For some reason, the people in Olga (a village on Orcas) don't seem to like visitors.

    One of my biggest surprises last year was exploring Lummi Island, the one right off Bellingham. It
    was incredibly beautiful, with lush forest and incredible views. It doesn't have enough road (10
    miles?) for a visiting cyclist to make a special trip, but anyone who lives in the area should
    definately check it out. It has about 600 residents, but no town or anything. It's quite hilly,
    and most, but not all, of the road is paved. I saw quite a few cyclists, probably residents out
    for a ride.

    Despite what Tom K. says, I don't think the weather is much of an issue. Really, it's more
    predictable than most of the US. It's actually much nicer (and drier!) than Seattle, etc. Evenings
    and mornings can be chilly. Rain is possible, but not necessarily likely, and light rain is more
    likely than heavy. Temps are usually in the 60s and 70s. And if you get caught out, you don't have
    far to go.

    Matt O.
     
  7. Sam Huffman

    Sam Huffman Guest

    "Matt O'Toole" <[email protected]> writes:

    > Some neat stuff not to miss:

    GREAT information. Thanks!

    Sam
     
  8. Steve

    Steve Guest

    I'll second that ... great information.

    I think the ferry to Lummi gets repaired for 2 weeks every year. We were able to take bikes on the
    temporary boat during that period. It was fun exploring with even less cars.

    About the weather ... like you said it is drier than Seattle. If you have a very flexible schedule
    you can plan your trip around the weather ... after 20 years of thinking about it, I finally camped
    on Shaw last January (still can't believe I did that) but the weather unseasonable warm over the
    Prez holiday weekend.

    - Steve

    "Matt O'Toole" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    >
    > "Steve" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:[email protected]...
    >
    > > Are you camping?
    > >
    > > Lopez has a great state park and a county park with some
    > nice hiker/biker
    > > camp sites. I also think Lopez is the most bicycle
    > oriented ( i.e. flater,
    > > less traffic).
    > >
    > > Also Shaw Island has a small camp ground. Nuns run the
    > ferry terminal and
    > > small store.
    >
    > That's a good point about the traffic. Either of these would have a lot less traffic than San Juan
    > or Orcas, though I wouldn't consider the traffic on either to be a problem. There's a mad dash
    > right before/after each ferry, but in between it's usually calm.
    >
    > If I was doing a 3-5 day tour, I'd probably hit San Juan, Lopez, and Orcas. I don't think there's
    > enough road on the others. I would make all camping/lodging reservations ahead of time. I also
    > would not bother with a car. Save the extra ferry fare for some of the great food that's around.
    >
    > I spent the last 4-5 summers cruising this area on a sailboat. I'm heading up at the end of June
    > this year, until the end of August at least. I haven't done much riding up there, but I've
    > explored everything pretty well. One of these days I'll find a way to smuggle the bike aboard. :)
    >
    > Some neat stuff not to miss:
    >
    > Roche Harbor Resort has terrific showers. They also have a cute flag ceremony at sunset, a dual
    > American/Canadian thing. They're required to perform it -- it's in the deed for the property.
    > Don't miss the cool Masonic temple in the woods nearby.
    >
    > The whale museum in Friday Harbor is great.
    >
    > Rosario Resort on Orcas is neat too -- definately worth a look-through. They have an incredible
    > pipe organ, of all things. Great spa and showers, though I don't know what they charge if you're
    > not a guest. It's very close to Moran State Park, which is probably the nicest place to camp,
    > hike, etc.
    >
    > Also on Orcas, Deer Harbor is a neat spot. The Deer Harbor Inn is probably the best restaurant in
    > all the islands. If I were to have one nice meal on a bike tour, this would be
    > it. It's low-key enough for a grungy cyclist.
    >
    > The beach on the west side of Orcas is one of the nicest places anywhere to watch the sun go down.
    >
    > For some reason, the people in Olga (a village on Orcas) don't seem to like visitors.
    >
    > One of my biggest surprises last year was exploring Lummi Island, the one right off Bellingham. It
    > was incredibly beautiful, with lush forest and incredible views. It doesn't have enough road (10
    > miles?) for a visiting cyclist to make a special trip, but anyone who lives in the area should
    > definately check it out. It has about 600 residents, but no town or anything. It's quite hilly,
    > and most, but not all, of the road is paved. I saw quite a few cyclists, probably residents out
    > for a ride.
    >
    > Despite what Tom K. says, I don't think the weather is much of an issue. Really, it's more
    > predictable than most of the US. It's actually much nicer (and drier!) than Seattle, etc. Evenings
    > and mornings can be chilly. Rain is possible, but not necessarily likely, and light rain is more
    > likely than heavy. Temps are usually in the 60s and 70s. And if you get caught out, you don't have
    > far to go.
    >
    > Matt O.
     
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