Family bike camping 2015

It’s that time of year again–annual group family bike camping trip! Saturday, August 15-Sunday, August 16, 2015 (or longer).
We had a test run of sorts thanks to the Swift Campout over solstice. See my 187 photos on Flickr.

If you’re on Facebook, RSVP here and use the comments of the event page to do any coordinating (borrowing gear, riding to the start together, etc).


Ride with us to the ferry from Fremont at 9:00 a.m.
– or –
Meet at the ferry at 10:15 a.m.

Group ride to ferry details:
9:00 a.m. Saturday, August 15th in front of Fremont KeyBank (601 N 34th St, the NW side of Fremont Bridge).
PCC Natural Market is a block away if you need to time your arrival early for groceries and/or potties.
*** We will leave very soon after 9:00 a.m. If you are running late, please text and catch us en route! ***

Saturday, August 15, 2015 – 10:35 a.m. ferry (ARRIVE AT LEAST 20 MINUTES EARLY)

Ferry information:
From the Bicycles on Washington State Ferries webpage:
“Bicyclists should arrive 20 minutes prior to departure time to be loaded at the beginning of loading process. If a bicyclist arrives after vehicle loading has begun, they will be loaded at the end of the load.”

So arrive by 10:15am. BUT if you’re late, they’ll still put you on–just after the cars load. I love how versatile they are with bikes! But it’s so super fun to roll onto the empty ferry so be early if you’re meeting us there. Plus we can socialize in the bike lane before loading.

If you have an Orca card, there is an automated tollbooth at the far right–no waiting behind the cars! Swipe your card and the attendent will collect additional fare for any kids six and over. Otherwise you need to wait in the rightmost car lane to pay.

To beat the heat, I recommend we eat snacks (BYO or purchase in the cafeteria) aboard the ferry and head straight for the campground. However, we’ll see what the collective mood dictates. After we ride off the ferry, we’ll ride a very short distance and regroup outside the Bike Barn to give the car traffic a chance to clear out, folks who boarded after the cars to meet up with us, and figure out if anyone needs to hit the grocery store in Winslow.

Our campground is in Fay Bainbridge Park which features a great playground (!!) and BEACH. There are outlets in the bathrooms and picnic shelter (which might be reserved) for those who need to charge e-bike batteries or other things.

Here’s a recap of last year’s summer family bike camping trip. And this year’s FLATTER route I found on my scouting trip.

Note: We’ve been doing group summer camping trips to Fay for several years now and haven’t had many kids riding their own bikes. This isn’t to say it’s not allowed, of course, but both the quiet scenic route of years past with its lack of shoulders or bike lanes and the highway we’ll take this year with its very wide shoulders but spots of 50mph traffic are not what I would consider exceptionally kid friendly. Bainbridge Island is very bikey with drivers used to seeing bikes on the roads, but it’s definitely busier (even the quiet, scenic route) and hillier (even the flat highway route) than my Seattle kids are used to.

The return trip
So…uh…I vehemently promised that this year’s bike camping wouldn’t coincide with Hempfest, but I lied. It’s my birthday so we’re going on August 15th! The Elliott Bay Trail through Myrtle Edwards Park is closed to through traffic August 14, 15, and 16. However, unlike last year, we’ve now got the protected bike lanes on 2nd Avenue so my route back will utilize that. After the solstice trip, many of us pit stopped at Peddler Brewing‘s beer garden on the way home and it was really fun. But since Hempfest will make it impossible to ride along the waterfront, I’ve routed us to Fremont Brewing for a similar experience.

My family will probably camp for two nights (or maybe even three!), though we’ll still have to deal with Hempfest cleanup and signs that require us to walk the bike if we want to use the waterfront route home. We generally have early and late Sunday departures, but stay longer, too, if you can!

Other stuff

  • There’s currently a burn ban so no camp fires, but s’mores by camp stove might work, right?!
  • Wanna join us by car? That’s OK, too! You can even reserve your car site ahead of time: “Sites can be reserved ten days or more in advance of arrival date by calling 206-842-2306 x118 Monday-Friday between 8:30am-5:00pm.” – Bainbridge Island Metro Park & Recreation District
  • We took a bonus camping trip last month (oh, notice my new tandem? I’ll blog about that soon!) and discovered campsite food delivery! We ordered a pizza from Westside Pizza and Tracey got Thai food. So that’s a nice option, burn ban or no :)
  • Did I miss anything? Comment below!

One thought on “Family bike camping 2015

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