Cycling Advocates Ride to Pro Walk Pro Bike 2006

Daily Trip Log

from Vancouver B.C. to Madison, Wisconsin

Picture of Vancouver BCGrouse Mountain Vancouver B.C.
From Monroe to Skykomish, WA
Day Trip Map
Date: 2006-07-28
Distance: 56 Kilometres
Cycling Time: 3.10 Hours
Average Speed: 18.15 kph
  Trip Distance since Leaving Vancouver 280 Kilometres  
Thoughts for the Day  


A short trip was done today to the foot of Stevens Pass. A bit of climbing from just above sea level to about 300 metres elevation, well 287 metres to be exact. Tomorrow the first mountain pass to be crossed and about 1,000 metres elevation to be gained in about 16 kilometres followed by a ridge ride before a descend that will land us into a motel about 100 kilometres after the Pass.
    Today, an easy ride under morning clouds with occasional precipitation coming from the high humidity. No real rain though however the road ahead did indicate that some rain did fall.
    By the time we reached Skykomish the clouds were burned off and the sun made its appearance and so did the warmth.
    So far in this trip it was strange not to see any other touring cyclists. During a climb, one did descend onto us. He was dressed in flashy cycling spandex with panniers for and aft on the bike with a number in his handlebar bag. We wondered if he was racing, although we did not see any others afterwards.
    We left Monroe this morning and without thought undertook our short ride. Later on we wondered why we did not take some time to look at the town of Monroe. Al it is to us is an urban highway developed with box stores, motels, etc. We did not see any essence of a town but a developed highway for cars and shoppers.
    On the way we stopped at a little espresso bar on the side of the road where a film about a Sasquatch was shot back a few years. John seemed to know the film.
  A tunnel was encountered. While I was half way though a motorcycle passed and gunned the engine just beside me. Guess the idiot driver wanted to impress me or make me pee in my cycling shorts. He did nearly succeed in blowing out my ear drums as the noise exploded within the tunnel.
  At another bridge, John tells me that the high powered pick-up truck coming up behind me realized that he and I were not going to be able to use the same lane over the bridge. So, kindly the idiot hit his break to bring his excessive speed under control. Now to me, I saw a driver who crept by me, not seeing what had happened behind me.
    The landscape changed today as we entered a mountain valley with a river flowing beside the road. For the morning the tops were covered by clouds. In the afternoon the treed peaks were visible.
    Tonight we are staying in a small village of who knows maybe 25 houses, two motels, one place to eat, a deli and so on that has been made a historic site. It was a railroad town at one time. Now it has some skiing close by and some tourists like us stopping by.
    In Skykomish we wandered into the local municipal hall and visitor information centre. It was quite a bleak hall with little information to be had. We did find out that there is a paved ole Cascade highway paralleling Highway #2 used by cyclists. Unfortunately it sort of ends a few kilometres up the road. Had we known we could have used that road, a much quieter road to cycle on. Also we became aware of a converted rail-trail that we could have used for a few kilometres back in the valley. Guess, if we wish top look at cycling facilities along the way, we are going to have to become more diligent and look for information.
  For dinner there was no choice except the local hotel lounge for a local food dinner of spaghetti. While dinner was underway some musicians came in 5 guitarists, a violinist from Vancouver, and a flutiest that treated us to an enjoyable evening of blue grass music.



Cycling Facilities  


We did observe a regional bus system, like TransLink, serving Everett to far out communities such as Monroe and farther east, with bike racks on front of the buses. Coming out of Monroe easterly to a small village and at a local bus stop, a transit rider was waiting with his bicycle. Nothing like cycling to the bus stop and continuing the journey by bus.



Intersections on Roads with Paved Wide Shoulders for Cycling


Too frequently on wide paved shouldered roads, a curb is place at the intersections in the paved shoulder. Sometimes it is a short section of a sidewalk. The design forces cyclists to negotiate through the intersection in a narrow lane that sometimes squeezes the cyclist with fast speed traffic.
  Highway #2

While significant sections of this highway have wide paved shoulder making cycling relaxed, there are stretches where the shoulder becomes bike lane width and sometimes 1 metre or half a metre wide. For 110 kilometre posted speed, wider paved shoulder should be a must.



Today a short tunnel was encountered without any shoulder for cyclists. The tunnel was on a bend. There as not cyclist push button with flashing lights. There were no warning signs that cyclists may be in the tunnel. The traffic speed was fast. The lanes were not too wide. Even for the short section, it would be unnerving for cyclists.


  Bridges Some of the bridges encountered today were on significant slopes and long where at least 2 to 3 minutes were spent descending the bridge. There were no shoulders on the two-lane bridges. The cyclist had to merge on to the traffic lane with extremely speeding cars and trucks. The sidewalks on the bridges had ramps which would indicate that cyclists should continue on the sidewalks. The sidewalks were too narrow even for a pedestrian walking with trucks passing by.
Just not a comfortable situation. There were no warning signs that cyclists and motorized vehicles were to share the lane and speed should be reduced.