Bicycle Quarterly Un-Meeting Routes

Bicycle Quarterly Un-Meeting Routes

After last weekend’s ‘pre-ride,’ we’ve finalized the routes for the Bicycle Quarterly Un-Meeting. What is the Un-Meeting?
It’s simply a great weekend of riding off the beaten path: Everybody is welcome to join us. We publish a time and a destination. Beyond that, there are no services provided. No registration, no entry fee, no sag wagon, no rest stops. Just a ride with old and new friends. Click here for more about the 2018 BQ Un-Meeting.
We’ll meet in Bremerton, across the Puget Sound from Seattle, Washington. Most of us will take the 7:35 ferry from Seattle. Make sure you board the boat to Bremerton; not the ferry to Bainbridge that leaves from the same terminal.
When: Sept. 8-9, 2018 (Sat. & Sun.)
Meeting point: Bremerton, Washington, Ferry Terminal exit (Starbucks Coffee shop)
Meeting time: 9:30 a.m.
Ride distance: Day 1: 100 km (62 miles), Day 2: 35 km (22 miles) with options to go further.

From Bremerton, we’ll ride around the Hood Canal to Seabeck, where most of us will camp at Scenic Beach State Park. We have campsites reserved for about 24 people, but if you prefer, you can use other accommodations. Above is the suggested course. Click on the image to get the RideWithGPS page, where you can zoom in and check the course in detail. (A route sheet is at the bottom of this post.)
It’s a beautiful route with quiet roads along the waters of the Hood Canal, a fjord carved by the glaciers of the last ice age. We’ll enjoy great views of the Olympic Mountains. It’s a truly magic place.

Then we reach the Tahuya Hills, where we have three alternative routes.  To put them all on the same map, I pretended to go back and forth across the Tahuya Hills three times. That is why the distances seem odd… All three routes gain a similar amount of elevation, and yet they feel very different.

The easternmost route (right red line on the map) is the paved ‘River Route.’ It’s a great choice if you prefer to get into a rhythm on longer climbs.

The ‘Hill Route’ is in the center. The total elevation gain is similar, but it’s a different riding experience. The first climb is very steep, but from there, you have a wonderful rollercoaster. If you like to carry speed across rolling terrain, choose this route. The two routes converge at Mile 3.6, so you’ll enjoy the same ride back to the coast.
The western ‘Gravel Route’ is very different in feel. It’s longer, so in theory, it has less climbing per mile. In reality, it’s the hardest of the three. The climbs are short and steep, and there are many of them.

And most of it is on gravel. At the end of the summer, the gravel tends to be hard-packed, with loose aggregate on top. Even if you are a good bike handler, use caution, because the surface is tricky. And there is one steep descent where you need to watch your speed to make the turn at the bottom.
Which one to pick? They are all nice – you can’t go wrong!
After camping in Seabeck, there are many options on Sunday. The route on the main route sheet (top photo) is the shortest way back to Bremerton, and you could be in Seattle by lunchtime.

Many of us will extend the ride and go to Poulsbo and then take backroads to Bainbridge Island, and take the ferry back to Seattle from there. The above route is just a rough draft – I haven’t ridden all of it, and we may have to alter it as we go.
Some riders probably will use the Un-Meeting as a jumping-off point to explore further. There is great riding toward Port Townsend on the Quimper Peninsula. And the vast Olympic Peninsula invites exploring places like Bon Jon Pass…
We’re looking forward to riding with many of you in less than two weeks!
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Comments (11)

  • toddjeffries496362674

    Wish I could join you! Looks like a great ride. This would be a good excuse for another trip to Seattle- maybe next year. Be safe and enjoy!

    August 29, 2018 at 4:35 pm
  • Andrew Squirrel

    Can you really ride through the Bangor military base there?

    August 29, 2018 at 4:59 pm
  • BSi

    I’m going to come out from Montana for this. Should I assume that there will be adequate camping space? Looks like the camp site is otherwise filled, so want to be safe here.

    August 30, 2018 at 12:02 pm
    • Jan Heine, Editor, Bicycle Quarterly

      We look forward to riding with you! There will be space.
      Also, state parks have a policy that non-motorized visitors will not be turned away. That is a good thing to know. So if you travel by bike, on foot or horseback (and haven’t parked your car just down the road), even at 10 p.m. on July 4 in a park that has been booked for weeks, the park will find something for you. It may be behind the bathroom, but you’ll have a place to pitch your tent.

      August 30, 2018 at 12:06 pm
      • Andrew Squirrel

        Jan, If the camp host has actually read that WA State Parks policy (Procedure 65-8) closely it says in section 1.5 “may” not “must” allow the hiker/biker to stay in an emergency overflow area. So technically we can’t be grouped with the many states that force State Park employees to accommodate non-motorized guests. I’m betting if they aren’t familiar with the official policy hat you could convince them otherwise by casually flying past the may/must wording while reading the document to them. We ran into this problem last summer while trying to stay at Palouse Falls campground while on a long bike tour to Montana, we were able to find a different loophole to grab a camping spot. Gene Bisbee was kind enough to publish a blog entry about our experience. Check it out here if you are interested, there is also a link to the official Procedure PDF:

        August 30, 2018 at 3:09 pm
        • Jan Heine, Editor, Bicycle Quarterly

          Thank you for clarifying. The policy was stated to me by a park ranger when I once expressed relief that I had been able to get the last free campspot… In any case, we’ll be able to squeeze in whomever needs to squeeze in, as several others have reserved spots.

          August 30, 2018 at 3:23 pm
    • sofauxboho

      And if you’d like be extra-sure, spot #37 at Scenic Beach just opened up!

      August 30, 2018 at 3:05 pm
  • Andrew Black

    I’m planning on camping at Scenic Beach State Park on Friday night too (and leaving my tent there while we ride on Saturday). I’ve reserved site 9 — which is one of the sites that Jan has reserved for Saturday — for 6 people. If others would like to join me there, you will be welcome.

    August 30, 2018 at 10:39 pm

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