Smart Tripping

Self-guided solace, on wheels

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

The conundrum of having a bicycle that needs some major work, but not having a vehicle big enough to ferry it to the fix-it place, has been weighing on me lately.

I gaze longingly at my sky-blue Trek cruiser and ponder how easy it would be to just walk the hobbled conveyance to a nearby bike shop—the Hub Community Bike Shop, Kona Bike Shop, Fanatik Bike Co., Trek Bicycle Bellingham, and Jack’s Bicycle Center are all within strolling distance of my house, and as essential businesses are open to the public—but quickly get distracted by the woeful state of the world and my inability to get the wheels turning.

But after getting an email from Whatcom Smart Trips recently, I believe I may have the gumption to get rolling once again.

As part of a series of self-guided outings designed to keep riders moving and motivated even during the threat of a global pandemic, the missive from the organization focused on sustainable locomotion featured a bicycle route they’ve developed from Marine Park to Connelly Creek (pictured). Not only do they point out the particulars of distance, steepness and estimated riding time, but also provide step-by-step directions with photos to ensure cyclists will be off main thoroughfares and out of the flow of traffic as much as possible.

“More people are riding a lot more,” Smart Trips organizers say, pointing to a recent article in Outside magazine focused on the upsurge of bicyclists around the United States since COVID-19 restrictions have limited people’s ability to recreate in typical ways. “The air is clear, roads are quiet, bike shops are selling and fixing bikes,” they add. “Biking in an inexpensive, meditative way to get around for both essential trips and exercise.”

Much like the aforementioned excursion, the Barkley Village to Cornwall Park self-guided ride also includes many particulars—including the fact that the loop highlights sections of various trails including Squalicum Creek Trail, a newer path that travels under the freeway and is a safe and easy way to get to the west side of I-5.

And much like the rest of the routes Whatcom Smart Trips is currently in the midst of putting together in Bellingham, Ferndale, Lynden, and beyond, they’ll still be applicable even when life returns to some semblance of normality.

Organizers add that one of the first steps to riding your bike for more of your trips is to explore different routes, not just the ones they’re focused on.

“You’ll soon realize how quickly and easily you can get around town using quiet neighborhood streets and trails,” they say. “These routes are a much more pleasant place to ride than the busy arterials.”

I’m looking forward to finding self-guided solace in the form of two wheels and peaceful bike routes, but first I need to follow another one of the organization’s directives by making sure my cruiser is in good working order using the ABC Quick Check—which focuses on air, brakes and chains.

To get to that juncture, I’ll be taking my sweet ride to a local bike shop in the near future—as soon as I figure out which venue can make my fixes in a reasonable amount of time.

For more information about Whatcom Smart Trips’ self-guided rides, go to http://www.whatcomsmarttrips.org

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