Two Wheels, Four Bikes and Big Smiles

A couple of weeks ago I was in downtown La Conner on an absolutely gorgeous summer day, running some errands and doing a little people-watching. When you’re getting to know your community better … like I am … it’s fun to just hang out in town and watch what goes on. It’s also great fun to stop and meet people who are clearly visiting from somewhere other than around the corner or down the street.

Which brings me to the Bennett family. When I met them, they were getting ready to get back on their bikes after spending an afternoon in town. I think they were a bit surprised that I would just casually walk up to them, introduce myself, and start asking them lots of questions – but they were gracious enough to visit for a few minutes.

Clayton, Steve, Karen and Kate Bennett

Not only did they look like visitors (it was pretty obvious by the bikes and the shopping bag), but they looked like serious bicyclists! Helmets? Check. Cool shirts with groovy graphics? Check. Bike shorts? Got ‘em. Oh, and the sunglasses. Awesome. The Bennett family looks the part.

And it turns out they should, because they are the real deal. They’re from Coquitlam, B.C. and come down every year for a biking vacation. This year they were staying at Bay View State Park and had ridden into town to do a little shopping. This is what Karen Bennett says about their annual bike trip:

“Our 17 mile cycle trip from Bay View State Park to La Conner has become an annual family tradition for the past 4 years and we are getting faster now that the kids are 10 and 12. We ride along the path at Padilla Bay, enjoying the birds and the scenery. We then ride along the bike path of the La Conner Whitney Road into La Conner, saying hello to the cows and horses along the way. Lunch is our first stop on the patio overlooking the Swinomish Channel. This year it was fun to watch the canoe races. We always browse the shops, making a stop at the Olive Shoppe for specialty mustard and the kids like checking out what is new at Bears ‘n Friends. After a visit to the candy shop, we start our cycle trip back. We stop at the berry farm barn near Route 20 for ice cream and get back to Bay View for cocktail hour! We love the friendliness of La Conner, the interesting shops and the family fun we have with our little adventure every year! Looking forward to next year.”

Curious to find out more about biking in and around La Conner, I found all sorts of resources for those of us who would like to do a bit more biking/exploring.

For a quick reference, here are some great rides and some cool resources to get you out on your bike.

Rides:

  • La Conner to the Rexville Grocery for breakfast. (Did you know that Rexville Grocery has a breakfast worthy of a Sunset magazine write-up? How cool is that!)
  • La Conner to Padilla Bay and Bay View State Park (the Bennett’s trip).
  • La Conner to Anacortes, via Reservation Road, Marches Point Road and the Tommy Thompson Trail.
  • La Conner to Christianson’s Nursery (take a picnic and stretch out on the School House lawn – it’s particularly lovely this time of year).

Resources:

  • On the right sidebar of this blog – in the Everything You Want To Know About La Conner section, is a link to very detailed information on biking in Skagit County.
  • Skagit Tourism has a terrific website with all sorts of information – including a dedicated bicycling page.
  • Skagit Bicycle Club also has a really nice website which includes monthly calendars of hosted rides for beginner, intermediate and advanced riders.
  • Download the Skagit County Bicycle Tour Routes map – which has lots of information on great rides in and around Skagit County.

Take it from the Bennett family, and all of the other riders you see out and about enjoying our gorgeous valley. Biking in and around La Conner is a whole lot of fun.

Let’s go for a ride (eat fish and chips), bike some more (eat fresh berries), bike some more (eat ice cream) and then bike some more to work off all of the extra calories we’ve eaten.

I think that sounds like a fabulous plan.

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