It was around this time last year when we first started biking the Cedar River trail.
Last year I was training for STP and was determined to stick to the Cascade Bicycle Club training schedule. The schedule got a little brutal after a while, demanding two 70 mile rides in one weekend and a few other, shorter ones, during the week. But I was very new to biking and knew that if I didn’t stick to the schedule I wouldn’t be able to bike the 200 + miles from Seattle to Portland.
Although I suffered from insomnia right before the big ride and felt just awful the morning of, somehow I made it! I biked from Seattle to Portland and felt very accomplished afterward, but decided not to do it again. Yeah, that’s right, STP-repeaters, you may enjoy the Nuun flavored water and Clif Bars and all those turkey wraps and the long lines at the port-a-potties, but I decided that once was enough.
But even though I am not planning on doing STP ever again, I really miss STP training! The training rides were always about socializing, discovering new bike routes, and going out for burgers and beer afterwards.
So today Megan, Keenan and I went back on the Cedar River trail and it was just like the old (last year’s) days! It was nippy, but no rain, and we biked the entire trail from Renton to Maple Valley. We mostly talked about mushroom picking and hardly saw any other cyclists or walkers or runners. Not bad for a Sunday ride.
If you’re a casual biker, I highly recommend Cedar River trail. Mind you, if you’re a hard core speed fiend, stay away. The speed limit on the trail is 10 mph and I actually talked to one woman once who got a speeding ticket on it. But I think she said she was going 18. I’m happy when I average 11 or 12, so even if I push it, I doubt a cop would be interested in giving me a ticket.
In the winter this trail is prime, but even in the summer it remains a good choice. Only the areas right near the start of the trail, in Renton, and at the end, in Maple Valley, get a little crowded. The rest of the ride remains blissfully empty.
To get to the trail, park right underneath 405. I’d give better directions, but these days your phone is smarter than my convoluted “take a right and a quick left”. The most convenient beginning of the trail in Renton is right next to the Cedar River Dog Park.
From there to the end of the paved trail in Maple Valley (there is also a gravel portion, which I haven’t explored yet, after the paved trail ends) is 11.1 miles. So you get a nice 20 + mile ride.
- My YTD Hiking Miles: 9.2
- My YTD Biking Miles: 42.5