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Wheeling Through the Weekend

By Josh Cohen July 23, 2010

After a brief (and chilly) hiatus, summer has decided to once again grace us with its presence. The timing couldn't be better for Seattle-area bicyclists: This weekend is packed full of excellent bike events to ride in, race in, and watch. I'm going to be out of town and I'm pretty bummed that I'm going to miss all of it (but, I'm heading up to Skagit Valley to participate in another bike ride, the ALS Double Day Ride, so I can't complain too much).

FRIDAY

FSA Grand Prix - Marymoor Velodrome, races starting at 1:00, 4:30, and 7:00 p.m., $5 for spectators (free for Cascade Bike Club members who present their card)---today marks the start of the two-day FSA Grand Prix, one of the biggest track racing events in the Pacific Northwest. Track racing is done on brakeless, fixed-gear bikes on short, banked-corner tracks. The racing is fast, exciting, and makes for great spectating. As a big-time event, FSA Grand Prix promises to bring some of the fastest racers in the Northwest. The full race schedule can be seen here.

SATURDAY

FSA Grand Prix - Marymoor Velodrome, races starting at 9:30 a.m. and continuing through the day, $5 for spectators (free for Cascade Bike Club members who present their card)---day two of the FSA Grand Prix with races happening almost the entire day. The Men's, Women's, and Master's Sprint and Keirin Finals (the premier races of the event) begin at 7:00 p.m.

Tour de Water Tower Deux - Cascade Bicycle Studio (115 N. 36th Street, Fremont), Registration at Noon, $5 -- Have you have been inspired by the grueling, mountaintop battles between Andy Schleck and Alberto Contador at this year's Tour de France? Dying to test the mettle of your own climbing legs? Go Means Go's Tour de Water Tower time trial should do the trick. Leaving in three-minute intervals, riders will race as fast as they can to the city's seven highest water towers. It promises to be hilly, exhausting, and, given the past quality of Go Means Go events, a ton of fun.

SUNDAY

Sunday appears to be the calm after the storm of bike events. Since there aren't any big events listed and somebody almost always complains that "I'm neglecting the segment of bicyclists that doesn't want to go on long rides or race" whenever I do a post about weekend events (I'd argue that you shouldn't need the catering of event organizers to just get out and go for a short ride), I'm going to suggest an excellent Sunday ride for folks to consider.

Ride to Golden Gardens. For the sake of convenience, I've plotted the route from downtown. If you're coming from the north, you just have to get on the Burke-Gilman and head west until you hit the beach.

Though it requires a short jaunt to reach the Elliott Bay Trail, once you're there you can get to Golden Gardens almost entirely on bike paths (with another short ride on relatively low-traffic roads in Magnolia). The ride on the Elliott Bay Trail begins with beautiful views on the Sound and usually some decent people-watching (who doesn't find entertainment in a rollerblader wearing cut-off-jean short shorts?). The trail gets uncomfortably narrow in spots, but I really like the ride past the train yard. Riding through Magnolia isn't particularly scenic, but it leads you to the Ballard Locks (again, always fun and interesting).

Then it's just a short, easy ride on the Burke-Gilman trail and you're at the beach! After you're done, it's an easy ride on the trail back over to Ballard, where you can cap off the afternoon with a beer and a snack. With temps predicted to be in the mid-80s, I can think of few better ways to spend Sunday afternoon than riding a bike, playing at the beach, and eating dinner in Ballard.
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