Remember the beginning of summer when it seemed like we had forever just to do whatever we wanted to do? It seems so far away now that school is on the horizon in Seattle and the sky gets just a little darker earlier and eating ice cream cones in the evening means putting on a sweater to stay warm. But way back when we started this summer, the kids and I made a bucket list of activities we wanted to do together and there was one activity they vehemently wanted to try that made me totally terrified.
This activity was biking to Bainbridge Island, riding our bikes ONTO the ferry and hanging out on the island without a car and then coming ALL the way home. I don’t know where they got this idea, but I’ve never done it in all my years in Seattle even before we had kids.
So I put biking from Seattle to Bainbridge last on the list thinking that maybe they would forget.
But they didn’t.
So this is how we biked to Bainbridge Island with two 7-year olds. Our trek was about 12 miles round-trip.
We first had to get to the Bainbridge Island Ferry and to do this we rode near Myrtle Edwards Park and the Sculpture Park and that’s a lovely ride with kids as it is. There is also parking near pier 86 if you want to just make this your ride or make it where your ride begins.
The scariest part was the one mile section where we needed to bike from the Sculpture Park to the Ferry Terminal on the road-especially because it is cruise-ship season. There are taxis and vans and BIG vehicles with people coming and going EVERYWHERE and it’s a lot more chaotic on the waterfront than it is during usual weekends. But the kids know to stay to the right side of the road and watch for cars and we ride with a grown up in the front and back and kids in the middle and I
scream and yell at everyone calmly instruct everyone to be safe the whole time and this time it worked so I was pretty relieved.
When we arrived at the terminal we found out there is a designated lane for bikes and there were about 10 of us riding onto the ferry. There were about 10 people riding back when we left Bainbridge Island too.
I thought this would be terrifying, but riding onto the ferry when it is completely empty is a totally exhilarating experience. It kind of felt like we were at the beginning of an exciting parade with all the motors revving up behind us and the view of the open ocean ahead.
And when we got off the ferry there was a little bit of a steep ride up a hill to get into downtown Bainbridge Island but the kids had re-energized on the ferry and were excited to bike to lunch.
On Bainbridge Island we like to eat at the Fork and Spoon Cafe and get ice cream at Mora. If you are a fan of bananas like I am, Mora has an amazing Banana Split ice cream and the sandwiches and salads at Fork and Spoon are pretty delicious too. (Fork and Spoon has kid’s sandwiches-my guys like the peanut butter and honey.)
We needed to stop at a park for our 50 parks of summer list and found a couple. We rode to a tot lot and played on the structure for a little bit than decided to bike along the Waterfront Park where we found a giant blue boat and a great beach to skip rocks.
And after we ate and played and rode around enough, we headed back to the ferry to Seattle. It was neat getting a totally different perspective on the ferry than we’ve had before as car passengers.
And though the ride home was a little exhausting and we all went to sleep pretty early that night, we all felt completely proud that we survived this adventure and we had a really great time together.
Now the kids want to pack a bag and STAY overnight on Bainbridge Island the next time we bike there and I’m a little more excited to put that request on next year’s bucket list knowing how much fun we had biking together this year.
(PS. do you bike with kids in Seattle or in your city? Where do you like to ride? And do you have any tips for biking with young children?)