Cycling Around the Islands
Cycling the rolling bucolic hills is an ideal way to explore Whidbey and Camano islands. Start planning your visit now.
by Sherry Mays
For cyclists who enjoy the wind in their hair, cycling Island County’s farmland flats, hair-raising downhills and technical mountain biking trails is sure to please.
Just a short hop off of I-5, Camano Island is known for its 45-mile loop that can begin and end at Camano Commons, the preferred pre-ride fuel spot or post-ride hangout. Along the ride, cyclists can stop at Camano Island State Park for a snack break and enjoy the killer hill just past the park gates. Because food stops are few on Camano’s rural roads, extra water is recommended.
Download Cycling Maps
The beauty of Whidbey Island is the exploration of each unique community. The designation of State Route 525 and Highway 20 as a Scenic Byway keeps many drivers on the main roads, leaving cyclists to enjoy the views along waterside roads less traveled. Views of lakes, Puget Sound, farmland and wildlife, combined with great eats and places to stay, make biking Whidbey a cinch. Complete with free transit buses Monday-Saturday, Whidbey is a bikers’ haven.
On South Whidbey, bike shop owner Melinda Gardiner recommends the scenic 25-mile loop from Langley, out Maxwelton Road to the beach and back through the farmlands along Ewing Road and then through Bayview back to Langley.
“It offers a little of everything one can find here,” she said. “Without having to endure any huge hills, you can see the farms, stop at the beach and grab coffee on your way back to town.”
Darcy Patterson, owner of Bicycles Northwest in Oak Harbor, said heading to Polnell Point or out along Jones Road is a great way to see what the north end of Whidbey has to offer. The ride out Jones Road offers both 20- and 40-mile rides out of downtown Oak Harbor.
- Road Cyclists: The annual Tour de Whidbey is held each September to benefit the Whidbey General Hospital Foundation. Riders can choose among 10, 28, 40, 50, 60 or 100-mile routes on rural roads with beautiful territorial and water views, great rest stops, pre-ride pancake breakfast and post-ride chili feed. Courses all begin and end at historic Greenbank Farm. Learn more…
- Mountain Bikers: Each spring, enter the Mussels in the Kettles – a perfect early season mountain bike race held just outside of Coupeville, Whidbey Island. Held in conjunction with the Penn Cove Mussel Festival, it makes for a fun weekend for the whole family. Learn more…
Mountain and Trail Biking
For those cyclists seeking the dirt, mountain biking on Whidbey Island is just as exciting as road riding. Mountain bikers ride through unique glacial depressions called kettles, while charging through the Kettle Trails singletrack outside of Coupeville near Fort Ebey. Another great riding spot is Putney and Saratoga woods outside of Langley.
With almost 1,000 acres of rideable terrain, there’s singletrack for the adventurous, plus miles of rocky roads for family adventures.
“This is our secret treasure here on South Whidbey,” said David Gardiner of Half Link Bicycles at Bayview Corner. “I’m surprised more people don’t know about the great trails in Putney Woods. You can easily spend hours out there.”
Cyclists are encouraged to head into one of the local bike shops – Half Link Bicycles at historic Bayview Corner, or Bicycles Northwest in Oak Harbor – for the rundown of the best cycling routes. There are cycling maps available at each shop.