Thursday, September 1, 2016

Snoqualmie Valley Trail on a General-Purpose Touring Bike (2016-08-27)

My custom Davidson does gravel even better than my Surly Troll!

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More after the break…

Part 1: To Bus

I started at about 05:30 this time, as the bus I was taking east first leaves at 06:26. I didn't need the time, but I'd rather be safe than late.

Going through downtown, it felt like I hit every red light. In fact, that's my experience even on my commute.

The bus was pretty quiet, so I used the time to rest my eyes.

Part 2: To Rattlesnake Lake

Part 2: To Rattlesnake Lake

Once in Issaquah, I headed to the Panera for coffee and a little breakfast.


To leave Issaquah, I took the Issaquah–Preston Trail and Preston–Snoqualmie Trail. The unpaved section of the former was rather comfortable and easier to ride than I'd ever experienced. It took no work to get the bike to track straight, which was pretty new to me.

Davidson (Name TBD) on Issaquah–Preston Trail
Davidson (Name TBD) on Issaquah–Preston Trail

I then climbed my way up the back road up to the Snoqualmie Valley Trail and proceeded southeast along it.

Davidson (Name TBD) on Tokul Creek Trestle
Neil and Davidson (Name TBD) on Tokul Creek Trestle

By the time I'd gotten to North Bend, my knees were starting to tell me that the saddle needed to go further back. While I'd not been experiencing much pain on the bike with all my riding, I was usually in much lower gears than desirable all the time, even though this one's lighter than my other bikes. I've been lowering the saddle bit by bit with it all the way back on the rails to reduce that—I knew it was too high all that time—but I was hitting the wall with how far forward it could be.

Despite that, I continued on my way, talking to other cyclists I saw here and there.

The kid was riding along with both of his hands off the bars and on his phone and ran into a kerb. He was unscathed by the fall, though.

After a hard time of trying to not injure my knees, I got to the top of the climb to Rattlesnake Lake.

Neil and Davidson (Name TBD) at Cedar River Watershed Education Center

Part 3: Return Home

I descended from Rattlesnake Lake at speed, not having much trouble keeping the bike on track.

However, my knees weren't too happy, so I stopped by Singletrack Cycles in North Bend, remembering how they'd helped me before. They had a number of seatposts, but the only 27.2mm (road standard) seatposts they had were either a pricey Specialized unit in black, or a cheap Origin8 unit in purple. I took the cheaper one knowing that I had proper silver posts at home.

Despite remembering a very rocky trail between North Bend and the former railroad bridge across the Snoqualmie River, I took that direct route to the bridge. Thankfully, all the gravel there was pretty fresh.

And then I took the road to where I'd rejoin the Snoqualmie Valley Trail at the underpass.

From there, it was just a fast, easy downhill ride all the way to Carnation, where I met a friend who lives there.


To complete the route, I continued all the way to Duvall. The gravel there was pretty soft as I got close to the town, and I had to slow down a touch.

While I dreaded the valley portion of Woodinville–Duvall Road as it lacks a shoulder, I still took it. Thankfully, the climb over to Woodinville wasn't too difficult despite my knees being pretty beat up from the abuse earlier.


The ride from Woodinville to Seattle was pretty uneventful. Heck, it was downright silent once I'd gotten far enough away from the busy roads.

I got home at about 22:00, not worse for wear.

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