It’s a simple fact that Washington state is best seen from a bicycle saddle. You don’t have to take my word for it, though.
Bike travel guide author Ellee Thalheimer and her team of intrepid bicycling explorers have proved it in a guidebook that’s available now, “Cycling Sojourner – A Guide to the Best Multi-Day Tours in Washington.”
I’d recommend buying a copy now and planning your upcoming vacation around one of the bike tours described in the book. [See below.]
The guide offers comprehensive information on nine bike tours of two to six days that visit popular, bike-friendly tourist destinations, as well as locations far off the paths normally taken by cars or bicycles.
The book describes tours on the John Wayne Pioneer Trail, the San Juan Islands and the Olympic Peninsula. There are bicycling explorations along the North Cascades Highway and the Okanogan in the north, and the Walla Walla wine country and Palouse in the south.
Each bike tour comes with a detailed map and turn-by-turn directions for each adventure. In addition, the authors offer insights on the local characteristics and histories of the areas they visit.
Thalheimer gets bicycle touring. She previously wrote and researched “Cycling Sojourner – A Guide to the Best Multi-Day Tours in Oregon,” as well as Lonely Planet’s “Cycling Italy.” She co-wrote “Hop in the Saddle: A Guide to Portland’s Craft Beer Scene, by Bike.”
Here’s what she has to say about bicycle touring in the forward:
“Adventuring by bike can recalibrate your perspective on life and your connection to the world. After feeling the high of every endorphin-infused accomplishment and the low of every unsavory mood while pedaling mile after mile through evergreen forests or cracked deserts, in the end, you might discover a satisfied calm and find yourself closer to being the person you want to be. In those moments, a loaded bicycle is a true mechanism of freedom.”
The bike guide offers a how-to primer on bike touring basics — camping, carrying, and consuming. But there’s much more to it than that.
The most useful information comes from the exhaustive, on-the-road research by Thalheimer and her co-authors. For each day of each tour they recommend camping and lodging locations, roadside attractions, and local eating establishments that are a welcome alternative to corporate fast food.
They have found annual events where bike travelers can soak up some local color, and they clue in readers on good breweries, wineries and even yoga studios. If a one-way trip ends miles from home, there are suggestions on how to return by train, bus, or rental van.
To get travelers from Point A to Point B, there are maps. Each chapter has a map that shows the entire route, so cyclists can get the big picture. Then for each day of the tour there are more in-depth maps that show turns, camping, groceries stores, you name it. There also are elevation charts.
A lot of work goes into making such a comprehensive touring guide, which probably explains why this is the first for Washington, at least in this millennium.
We should thank Thalheimer and her co-authors — Josh Cohen, Katherine Widing, Lucy Burningham, Steve Krippner, Martina Brimmer, and Jason Goodman. Also, credit also goes to Washington Bikes (formerly Bicycle Alliance of Washington) for helping support the project.
Where to buy:
Cycling Sojourner: A Guide to the Best Multi-Day Tours in Washington is available through this link at Washington Bikes, which gets a royalty from each copy sold to promote bicycle advocacy in the state. You also can order by calling 206.224.9252 ext. 300.
It’s also available at the Cycling Sojourner book store (it says coming soon, but the book is definitely out now). If you’re in Portland, you can meet the author and pick up a copy at Velocult, 1969 NE 42nd Ave., which is hosing a book launch beginning at 5:30 on Thursday.
Also, it’s also available at Amazon (but why don’t you get it at Washington Bikes).