Cycling For Exercise – Accessible Rides For Seattleites In Capitol Hill

Warm weather is approaching! Living in the Pacific Northwest means taking advantage of what sporadic sunny weather our city gets, and a favorite go-to exercise for many Seattleites is cycling. Biking is a great cardiovascular exercise, and an opportunity to get outside without much planning involved.

After living in Seattle for a few years, it is easy to accumulate an extensive catalog of bike rides.  Most fan favorites tend to be a little outside of the city where you can keep a consistent pace without a lot of stop and go in traffic. Most rides in Seattle tend to be much hillier than what visitors are used to; however, all of these listed can be done at any skill level.

Mercer Island — The Premier Loop

Without a doubt, this is one of the best rides in the Seattle area. There are multiple parks to leave your car at (the best being Aubrey Davis Park) if you don’t feel like riding there, but for the more adventurous, a quick jaunt over the I-90 Bridge Trail will land you in the perfect spot to begin the ride. The 16.5-mile ride offers two routes: going clockwise around the loop presents gentler ascents, but those willing to venture counter-clockwise will be rewarded with better views of Lake Washington. 

This loop doesn’t provide cycle-dedicated lanes and is open to anyone from joggers to dog-walkers. Motorists are accustomed to the high volume of people, so safety shouldn’t be a concern for those less experienced with street riding, or on a family bike ride. The loop offers many spots to pull over and several parks along the way for picnic breaks. Whether you are out for a leisurely group ride or an avid cyclist looking for some exercise, the Mercer Island loop should definitely be on your radar if it isn’t already!

Lake Washington Boulevard — Flat Can Be All That

Of the three rides this article covers, this one is by far the flattest no matter how you choose to approach it. There are many ways to cover this ride, but the meat of it takes place on Lake Washington Boulevard. Kid-friendlier rides can either start at Seward Park or in the neighborhood near Madrona park or near the Leschi marina

This route offers stunning views of Lake Washington. For almost the entirety of the ride, you’ll be at the same level as the water. It’s also important to note that the entirety of this ride shares the road with vehicles. If you’d prefer a safer ride, the road is closed to vehicles on Sundays so that people can enjoy the road more freely.

Interlaken/Arboretum Loop — Short and Sweet

This ride is the shortest and least trafficked by vehicles, making it a very safe and family-friendly ride. It can be done either starting at the top of Interlaken Boulevard, which takes you down towards the arboretum (or vice versa). The former of these two requires much less climbing, while the latter allows for easy parking options at and around the arboretum. Interlaken boulevard is almost entirely restricted to vehicles, and you will only have to cross one busy street near the arboretum. 

The arboretum is a loop of its own, and the trail is dedicated for pedestrians and wheeled sports. An extremely scenic route, this loop on its own tends to be crowded regardless of when you go, but the views make it a route you don’t want to miss! 

It’s important to note that these rides are all very close to each other, and variations can be added to extend/reduce the ride for people of different fitness levels. So the next time the sun decides to make a random appearance, grab a few friends and hop on your bike!

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About Jeremy Cotton 13 Articles
Born and raised in Southern Illinois, Jeremy was brought up an avid fan of an array of sports. Whether it be cheering on the legacy Bulls or watching Tony Hawk land the first “900”, sports have played an instrumental part in his life. He attended Southern Illinois University, where he received a degree in Marketing. After moving to the PNW nearly six years ago, he now considers Seattle home, although he hasn’t quite adopted the sports teams here yet. He can be found a majority of the time managing his coffee shop, enjoying a plethora of outdoor activities, and now possibly stuck inside attempting to write about the latter!