Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Cycling in Seattle

We came to Seattle to do a tour of the Boeing Aircraft factory. We don't usually do tours.

Being herded around like kindergarten children is not our idea of fun. Many years ago we got trapped inside Mont Saint Michel for an hour and half when we foolishly joined a French speaking tour. We don't speak French. Once the tour started we couldn't leave and we had no idea when the ordeal would end. Each new room took us down an ever increasing spiral of desperation. We have had a serious allergy to tours ever since.



I don't know why we thought the Boeing tour would be different. It wasn't. After all, the Boeing Factory is really just a very big building, the biggest in the world by volume apparently, with a lot of half finished aeroplanes inside. I have to admit that the aeroplanes were a bit interesting and also a little bit disconcerting to see them before all the parts are put together. I would definitely not recommend this tour for anyone with a fear of  flying.

A Boeing plane engine - the spiral is meant to make it look like a huge bird thus scaring other smaller birds from flying toward it.


The Burke-Gilman Trail 
Seattle was saved for us though by it's cycling paths. The Burke-Gilman Trail is one of the best. It follows an old rail corridor from Puget Sound to Lake Washington and then joins the Sammamish Trial. Much of the trail runs beside Lake Washington and the Sammamish River. Although we couldn't cover the whole 27 mile length of the route we did cycle about 20 miles (32 km) in all.

Just after we turned around we discovered that David had a slow leak in his back tire. He had a spare inner tube but we needed a spanner to get the wheel off and the spanner was in the car 10 miles away - ooppps! We pumped up the tire and sprinted for the car, stopping to top up the air each time it got too low and trying to cover as much distance as we could between stops. Inevitably David rode much of the distance back on an under-inflated tire. He was utterly exhausted by the end of the ride.

The Sammamish River


Bainbridge Island
Being in the front line of bicycles on the Bainbridge Island Car Ferry is like waiting for the starters gun at the Tour de France. The ferry docks, the barricade is lowered, the deck-hand shouts - "bicycles" - and we're off, with spirits flying and the wind in our hair, racing each other in a mad dash to out-pace the cars about to be unleashed behind us. And the best part is that you get to do it twice, once on the way over and once on the way back. It is worth the price of the ferry ticket on its own. Add to that the quiet tranquility of the bays and inlets on Bainbridge Island's coastal path and and it would be hard to find a happier way to spend an afternoon.
Seattle from the Bainbridge Island Ferry.

Bainbridge Island




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For the next post in this series click - here

For all my posts on this road trip click - here

7 July 2013

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