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Winter Ride Idea: Mercer Island

Not a winter goes by that we don’t get a slight break in the weather. For a few days when it’s normally in the 30s or 40s, the temps warm to the 50s and 60s and the urge for a ride sneaks in.

But it’s hard to go too far when you know that there’s plenty of snow and colder temps in the passes and gravel and salt have been sprayed all over the place in prior weeks. What you need is a low elevation ride.

Mercer Island may just be it.

If you're a local, you know that Mercer Island is a great place to take a ride on a weekday in the early afternoon. We typically grab a bite to eat at the Roanoke Inn and then make a blast in each direction, essentially circling the island twice. The best corners lie on the southeast side of the island. During weekends and early evenings the roads are teaming with bicyclists and traffic gets up there by late afternoon on weekdays, so plan your time wisely.

The primary roads you’re going to enjoy are known as North, East and West Mercer Way. Pretty hard to get lost in this area.

The north side is a little trickier, the goal being to stay close to the water on through roads.

There are a number of parks along the route you can pull into for a snack and a break. Along the way you’ll enjoy views of Seattle, Lake Washington (you’re smack dab in the middle of it), Bellevue, Mt. Rainier and more. If it’s a clear day, make your way up to the park over I-90.

While we like the Roanoke Inn because of its location and cool factor, there are over a dozen places to dine in the heart of town.

Speaking of the heart of town, if you haven’t been to these parts in a decade or more, you’re in for a shock. Mercer Island has gone through a gentrification transformation in the last decade that rivals that of its neighbor cities like Seattle and Bellevue.

It’s a well-funded city with some revenue being generated now and then by speed tax collectors who have their favorite hiding spots. But the beauty of the east and south ends is that the corners are so tight, it’s next to impossible to hit the suggested speed limit going through them.

So go ahead, clip on the battery charger, break out your air gauge and have your bike ready for the next break in the weather.

SR!/December 18

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