The second annual, self-proclaimed Will Bike for Wine ride. That is bicycling approximately 50 miles roundtrip from Seattle to Woodinville (with a lengthy stop for wine and food) and then back to Seattle again. My friend, Tatiana, introduced me to the concept last year and it sounded like something I could get behind - the outdoors, a physical challenge, wine, and food! This year we recruited another friend, Juliano, and the three of us made the trip again on Saturday, July 24th. I guess two years in a row makes it an annual event, right?
The Seattle metro area is constantly ranked as one of the most bike-able cities in the US. I suspect this has to do with the amount of greenspace or recreational use trails that closely surround the city and are designated for walkers, runners, cyclists, and skaters. My go to bicycling trails are the Cheshiahud Lake Union Trail, which circles around Lake Union, and the Burke-Gilman Trail which runs for 19 miles from the Puget Sound to Lake Union, through The University of Washington, and up to the north end of of Lake Washington. The Burke-Gillman Trail connects to the Sammamish River Trail and the Sammamish River Trail connects on to other trails. You can literally travel on the various connecting greenspace trails for miles and miles and miles!
Woodinville is a small town suburb of the Seattle metro area. It is known as the nearby to Seattle wine country. However, I would describe it more accurately as the town where all the eastern Washington wineries have established tasting rooms near Seattle. If you did not know, Washington ranks second in the US in production of wine behind California. Also, 75% of the US beer hops are grown and harvested in Washington. Most of the agriculture in the state (vineyards, orchards, and farms) lies east of the Cascade Range where the climate is drier and there are more dramatic hot/cold temperatures than on the west side which is subject to the Pacific Ocean coastal weather. Woodinville wine country serves as a central location to bring the eastern Washington wines to Seattle and the population center west of the Cascade Range.
To bike from Seattle to Woodinville follow the trails previously mentioned above. Connect the Cheshiahud Lake Union Trail to the Burke-Gilman Trail to the Sammamish River Trail to downtown Woodinville. Once in Woodinville we enjoyed lunch and two different vineyard wine tastings before jumping on the bicycles back to Seattle. Fortunately, the trails to Woodinville are relatively flat, which is not necessarily a given in the hilly Seattle area. But, at approximately 50 miles round trip, this is a solid day's effort. Or let's say - it is as much as this casual bicyclist's legs (and backside) can handle in a day.
When I am outdoors in the Pacific Northwest I often have moments of awe for the beautiful landscape around me. This day was no different and I caught myself smiling several times on the ride as we passed by a lake or through a river valley. But, this day outdoors was also greatly enriched by the company of friends talking, laughing, and reflecting on life (like we did over wine, of course). I am constantly grateful for these unique experiences and the personal connections that I'm afforded in Seattle, which otherwise would not have been possible. Enjoy a snapshot of our Woodinville bicycling adventure below!