A few weekends ago, Rob and I thought we’d ride our bikes to Bremerton. You know, just a little weekend jaunt around Puget Sound.
I’d done a little research beforehand, and I was a little worried about the amount of highway riding we’d be doing, as well as crossing the Agate Pass Bridge, which people kept calling out as scary (it’s actually not at all). Overall, though, drivers were really courteous and even the highway riding was on wide-shouldered roads that I thought were plenty safe.
It was an overcast day, but the ride was really lovely. It turned out to be about 30 miles from Bainbridge to Bremerton, with another 5 miles added on each way from our house to the ferry. It’s definitely one of my favorite local rides now.
View Seattle-Bainbridge-Bremerton Loop in a larger map
Have you ever ridden your bike on the ferry? Isn’t it awesome? Not only do you get to go up to the front of the line, but your bikes get the best view of all the vehicles in the hold.
We got off the ferry in Bainbridge, then took some roads that paralleled the highway. The Chilly Hilly, if you don’t know, is a ride that the Cascade Bicycle Club puts on every February on Bainbridge. (This year it’s coming up on the 24th.) Because of that, I was expecting to be really laid out by some gnarly hills.
The hilliness wasn’t actually that bad, even for this flatland Georgetowner. You’ll barely notice the hills anyway, because the scenery is SO BEAUTIFUL.
As I mentioned, I was a bit worried about the highway riding and the Agate Pass Bridge. Once we’d left Fay Bainbridge State Park and joined the 305, however, it wasn’t that bad. The shoulder was decently wide, the drivers gave you plenty of space, and there were 100% fewer semis than I normally have to share a roadway with, so I was happy.
Agate Pass Bridge doesn’t have a bike lane, only a narrow sidewalk. You’re best off just riding in the roadway here–it’s a pretty short bridge and cars are used to dealing with cyclists. Because it’s a bit of a bottleneck they’re all going slower, too.
My advice is that if you’re not comfortable with cars passing you within a couple feet, just take the lane going over the bridge. You’ll hold somebody up by a few seconds at best.
I wanted to stop and go take some photos from the bridge. It’s pretty obvious why it’s called Agate Pass–check out how green this water is!
We stopped in Poulsbo for lunch at Hare and Hounds Public House, where we got to overhear a local kid bragging to his girlfriend about shooting kittens with a 7mm handgun and how he got a DUI after drinking cognac. The beer was good (I had local Sound Brewery’s Reluctant IPA), the food was mediocre, but the local color was, um, priceless.
But seriously, though. Isn’t Poulsbo adorable? We stopped at Sluys Poulsbo Bakery and got danishes to snack on later. Rob had to stop me from buying dozens and dozens to devour in the bakery lobby.
The ride from Poulsbo to Bremerton was equally lovely–and almost all on back roads. The only thing I can complain about is the ABSOLUTE monster of a neverending hill that we found on Illahee Rd NE. Whenever I’m climbing a long hill, I try to distract myself by thinking about something else. Normally, I parse out dialog or plot details of whatever fiction I’m working on–you know, really try to get engrossed in something other than the fact that I’m climbing a hill.
This hill, however, was brutal. Every time you’d see what looked like a crest, you’d turn the corner and realize that it actually went on for twice as far as you’d already come. Eventually the only thing left in my brain was: “hill–oh god–hill–pedal–breathe–hill–oh god…”
In Bremerton, we stopped at Der Blokken Brewery for a well-deserved beer. I just checked out their website and saw that they’re women-owned with women brewers, which makes me really happy. I had (surprise!) the Sacred Hop Double IPA.
The beer and wings were damn good. You definitely need to stop here if you’re in Bremerton. No one talked about shooting kittens. It’s a classy place.
Der Blokken is also a 10-minute ride to the ferry, so we left there about 15 minutes before the ferry was schedule. We got there in the perfect amount of time–no cold waiting in the drizzle.
Have any of you taken that route? Any suggestions or favorite stops you’d like to add? I’d love to hear about it for the next time we do it!