As fall rolls along, I feel an obligation to go out for a bicycle ride on every sunny day because I’m afraid it might be the last time I’ll see my shadow until next summer.
I wasn’t disappointed on Sunday as I joined more than a thousand other Seattle-area cyclists for a ferry ride to Kingston for the 19th annual Kitsap Color Classic presented by Cascade Bicycle Club.
This is the club’s last big ride of the year, and on Sunday the scene at the ferry dock in Edmonds resembled the club’s first ride of the year — the Chilly Hilly. The only difference was that the sun shone brilliantly and the sky was a deep blue.
With the ride scheduled at the end of September or the first of October every year, it’s a little early for deep fall colors in the Puget Sound region. The most colorful part of my bike route on Sunday had to be the entrance to Port Gamble at the northern tip of the Kitsap Peninsula.
After 8 to 10 miles of rural riding on winding country roads, the Kitsap cyclists poured into Poulsbo and stopped at the Kvelstad Pavilion at the waterfront Liberty Bay Park, above. The inviting maritime scenery and warm sun made it difficult to pull myself away. When I did, I had difficult making any time as I followed the route along picturesque Liberty Bay with views of marinas and the tops of the Olympic Mountains peeking above the forest on the opposite shore.
Something else that caught my eye leaving town was this very stylish bicycle rack at Oyster Plant Park. If occurred to me that these communities have their own bicycling populations too, and the communities must be trying to serve them as well as draw cyclists from the other side of the Sound. Even on Sunday with free food available in the park, there were cyclists in every coffee shop and bakery that I passed.
One of the things that prevents the Kitsap Color Classic bike ride from becoming overcrowded is that it’s made up of three very different loops. One heads south to Indianola (14 miles), another heads north to Hanesville (25 miles) while the third make a loop to Port Gamble and Poulsbo. They all meet in the middle for cyclists who want to extend their riding with additional loops. So instead of all 1,000-plus cyclists riding the same route, they’re spread all over the upper Kitsap peninsula heading in difference directions.
With all my dawdling around, I just missed a ferry back to Edmonds, so I had time to kill in Kingston. That wasn’t a problem on a sunny fall day. While some fellow cyclists headed for the multiple ice cream shops, I ducked into Majestic Mountain Coffee Roasters for a caffe mocha.
Riding a later ferry across to Edmonds, I had time to contemplate some other bike rides I’ll be taking while the sun shines. Still, I have my fenders close at hand for the expected turn in the weather.
By the way, if you want to learn more about the Kitsap Peninsula, check out the Kitsap Peninsula Visitor and Convention Bureau website.