Biking in Seattle

Biking outdoors and cycling in doors is a method of exercise used by many, especially in the greater Seattle area. Seattle has great trails that are used by bikers daily. One well known trail is the Burke-Gilman Trail, which begins in Ballard and ends in Kenmore. This is about a 14 mile ride with two paved trails that take you along some gorgeous views. The second commonly used trail is the Arboretum, which leads through the Arboretum down to Seward Park or up toward the Burke-Gilman trail. It can be heavily populated with traffic, but has wonderful scenery and plenty of shade. If you are new to the Seattle area or want to try something different, Seattle Heritage Bicycle Tours offer half-day or full day tours on many different routes around Seattle.

Biking Rules in Seattle:

  • Always wear a helmet, it’s the Law.
  • Remember to use your hand signals.

Right Turn Signal

Left Turn Signal

Stop Signal

  • If your riding on the street, you must follow all the rules of a car
  • Ride in bike lanes when available to you
  • Bicycles operating at night must have a white light in front and a red reflector in back

Bike Stores in the Seattle area:
Gregg’s Cycle (Green Lake)
Montlake Bike Shop (Seattle)
Velo Bike Shop (Seattle)

Bicycle Comparisons:

Road Bike: Suitable for triathlon participants and club cycling members. Best for- Pavement.
Generally a lighter weight than mountain bikes and is good for fitness, commuting long distances, events, and races. Some types are built specially for speed and racing with an aerodynamic riding position and others are made in an upright riding position.

Cruiser: Suitable for long leisurely rides. Best for- Flat roads, fun and comfort. Designed for flatter roads because these bicycles are designed with single speed. These bikes have balloon tires and are in an upright position. They are also known as beach cruisers because they are mostly used along the beach in nice weather.

Mountain Bike: Suitable for trail riding through dirt or rocky roads. Best for – Dirt, rocky trails, and gravel roads. Designed with shock absorbing features so that they can withstand dirt, rocks, sticks, roots, and bumps. Lower gears than road bikes so that they can handle steeper terrain. Mountain bikes tend to be less efficient on pavement because of their smaller diameter wheels.

Bike Tips:
Pedaling – It is normal to hop on a bike and want to only push down while you are pedaling. To be able to make you’re pedaling more efficient, you need to be pulling up as well. When your pedal gets to about 3 o’ clock on the pedal stroke, you want to pull back like you are wiping dirt off the bottom of your shoe.

Seat Position – Your seat should be positioned so that your leg is in proper line with the pedal, or in other words; KOPS/TTOPA. These abbreviations stand for Knee Over Pedal Spinal or Tibial Tuberosity (the bump right below the patella) Over Pedal Axle.

Handle Bars – The positioning of your handle bars should be between 180 degrees and 175 degrees. This is parallel with the ground below or slightly titled upward.

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