Skagit Bridge to Bridge Loop

Thursday, August 18

Who’s ever been on the South Skagit Highway? It runs from Marblemount to Sedro-Woolley. For our 42 mile loop, we’ll begin our ride in Concrete on the SSH and roll down to Sedro, then take farm roads and Cascade Trail back to Birdsview Brewery. We’ll leave a shuttle car at Birdsview. When done, we can share a beer or burger at the brewery while the drivers retrieve the cars 7 miles away. Those are the last 7 miles of the loop and we won’t have to pedal them. Meet at Annie’s Pizza Station in Concrete 9 a.m., it’s in that shopping area right next to Hwy 20 coming into Concrete, on your right and before the two elevators. BYOL or wait for burgers.

Trip Report

Yesterday, the 18th, was a fantastic ride for our group of 10.  Definitely a keeper for future August bike rides.  Turns out, MBC riders enjoy group eating and pedaling.   Our drop cars in Sedro worked out great for shuttling drivers back to our starting point in Concrete at the end of our ride.  Everyone else went directly to Concrete’s 5 B’s Bakery & Cafe early to enjoy quiche, fresh baked goods and Moka Joe’s coffee.  What a terrific place!  5B’s is definitely a much enjoy place for MBC anytime you head up or down hwy 20.

It was a wicked hot day, but we stayed in deep shade almost every mile.  We rolled along down river, with many pleasing views of water and mountains, including Baker and the Sisters.  Janet scouted out some old boat launching spots for future potential rest spots – only 1 required a Discovery Pass.  Such pauses allowed us to sip water regularly and catch up with each other.
We finished our 29 miles at Joy’s Bakery & Cafe in downtown Sedro – and the Woolley Market next door.  Both have fabulous food.  Refreshed and refilled, our shuttle took off and everyone else poked around the shops while waiting.
Note: primarily a quiet road, there is more traffic near the 2 bridges.  Vehicles were considerate but it’s always good to use flicker lights to improve our own visibility. Remember that bicyclists are not very visible in shady areas, particularly on bright sunny days when car drivers’ eyes are constantly adjusting to the strong changes from bright light to dark shade.  That little flicker is eye-catching with your bike’s movement.
Jim Rhodes knew he would finish the full 50 mile loop after lunch.  Here’s his report:
Nice day!  The distance is roughly the same on both sides of the river.  The ride goes from low and slow traffic Sedro city streets quickly to quiet roads with dairy farms still working. As the road moves up river and the valley becomes tighter, the fields turn into grass, beef, and 5-20 acre house plots.  There is about a half mile on Hwy 20 with a very nice shoulder approaching Lyman.  You could jump on the rail trail and pedal into Lyman on it, getting off onto road near the city park.  Lyman city park has a shelter, horseshoe pits, and bathrooms.  Lyman and Hamilton are very different.  History has passed Hamilton by.  Past Hamilton the road moves over against the river, passing single wides and other low income housing between the road and the river with fields on the other side of the road.  In a few places, the road hugs the water for nice views.  IF you want to visit Birdsview Brewery, take Lutz road over to Hwy 20.  Brewery is in sight just east of the intersection. The road hugs the edge of Rasar State Park (didn’t visit) and finally tees at Hwy 20.  You walk across the highway on a short path to the Cascade Trail rail trail or a few feet more to Challenger Rd and continue eastward.  The roughly last mile of Challenger that is useable is a big grunt up over a hill, but it can be skipped using either the rail trail or hwy 20 (all close together).  If you “do the hill”, you are left with only about a mile on 20 (or rail trail).  As usual, there was a west wind blowing up the valley, providing a tail wind much of the way to Concrete. Combination of shade and hot patches, with actually more tree shade than I’d remembered, making for a reasonable trip on a very hot afternoon. Other than the 1 1/2 miles on 20, vehicle traffic was close to non-existent.  While the S side of the river has more river views and more shade, the N side has more variety of terrain and much, much less traffic.  Both offer nice bike riding.