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Chad’s Second Annual ‘Seattle Through The Back Door’ Bicycle Tour

10-10-2014 | By Jeff Day |

Last week was my second annual 'Seattle Through the Back Door' bicycle tour with my buddy Chad (below), so I thought I'd share a few of the highlights with you.

Chad 2014 Seattle B&B Tour 2

In case you're wondering about the title, it's a tip of the hat to one of my favorite Europe tour providers, Rick Steves, who's based in Edmonds, Washington, a little bit North of Seattle.

Rick's travel philosophy is "Travel is freedom ... one of the last great sources of legal adventure. Travel is intensified living, with maximum thrills per minute. It's recess, and we need it. Experiencing the real Europe requires catching it by surprise, going casual ... Through the Back Door."

Chad grew up in Seattle, and after retiring, he moved back to get reacquainted with his favorite city in the USA. Chad has been exploring Seattle in depth by bicycle over the last few years, so he's the perfect guy for a 'back door' bicycle tour of Seattle.

You could rightly call the tour we do a B&B tour, however it's not a 'Bed & Breakfast' tour as the B&B might imply, but rather a Bicycle & Beer tour of the Seattle area's awesome craft brewery scene. In the Freemont and Ballard areas alone (see map below) there's probably 15 craft breweries making incredible beer!

Google Seattle Map

We based our adventures from two points: First, Chad & Chung Wa's apartment in the Seattle's historic Chinatown-International District (below).

Google Seattle Map of International District

Below is the night view out of Chad's & Chung Wa's apartment - beautiful!

Chad 2014 Seattle B&B Tour - Chad's apartment view

Parking is hard to come by in the Chinatown District, so Chad's friend Mackenzie let me park my car at her place in the Magnolia area, a short 20-30 minute bike ride away, which became our 2nd base or operations for the B&B tour.

Thanks Mackenzie! 🙂

Google Seattle Map of International District to Magnolia

Below are some typical Magnolia neighborhood views - nice digs!

Chad 2014 Seattle B&B- Magnolia district

Magnolia neighborhood view

Magnolia neighborhood view 2

After I arrived in Seattle, unloaded luggage from my Toyota 4Runner, stashed it in Chad & CW's apartment, I parked at Mackenzie's, and we rode off for our first craft brewery experience, Naked City Brewery & Taphouse.

Google Seattle Map of Naked City Brewery

We were there on a Wednesday around 3:30P, so we had the place to ourselves.

Naked City Brewery

Jeff at Naked City Brewery

Naked City Brewery had friendly staff, a nice outdoor area where we sat and ate half a Rueben sandwich & Caesar salad each, and imbibed a fine glass of craft brew.

In case you're wondering, everyone had clothes on at Naked City Brewery. The brewery's name comes from the owners' view of life stripped down to its most basic delights, which they consider to be great living & great beer: "In THE NAKED CITY, it doesn't matter where you're going or where you've been, all that matters is great living and great beer. In THE NAKED CITY, the only problem is what great craft beer to try next."

For music lovers Naked City hosts The Naked Sessions, an acoustic concert series for those who want to stop in for a nip & sip, and a little music listening.

North Beach

Golden Gardens (1)

Revived and ready to continue our cycling adventure after our stop at Naked City, we cycled off to Golden Gardens Park on the beach (above), and then made a stop at Stoup's for a brew ...


There's a symbiotic relationship between the food trucks and craft breweries in the Seattle area that makes for some fun combinations!

Stoup 2

Stoup 3

After a beer at Stoup's we then looped back to the Chittenden Locks and the amazing Charles English Gardens (below).

Chittenden Locks & Charles English Gardens

Chittenden Locks & Charles English Gardens 2

The Charles English Gardens are really spectacular!

Chittenden Locks & Charles English Gardens 3

Chittenden Locks & Charles English Gardens 4

Charles English Gardens

Charles English Gardens 2

After some riding around and exploring we headed back into the city as the light began to disappear ...

Heading back into Seattle as its getting dark

Heading back into Seattle as its getting dark 2

We made it back to Chad's place safe & sound, listened to some music for a while on Chad's apartment system (Omega speakers, Almarro EL84 integrated amp, Fi phono stage, and vintage vinyl front end - a great sounding hi-fi rig!), then headed out for some Korean food before calling it a night.

Chad's apartment system

Night scene outside Chad's apartment

After a refreshing night's sleep, we headed out for a long ride around Lake Washington.

Chad 2014 Seattle B&B- Seattle Google Map

We started out in the morning for our Lake Washington loop ride by heading out on 5th and Dearborn (below) ...

Heading out from downtown Seattle 5th and Dearborne

... and out towards Leschi beach park ...

to leschi park

On the way to Leschi Park we rode past the Murrow floating bridge ...

Murrow floating bridge

Murrow floating bridge 2

... which is a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark.

National Historic Engineering Landmark - Murrow Bridge

Leschi beach park is a nice stop ...

Leschi Park

Jeff at Leschi Park

bike at leschi park

Chad at Leschi Park

From Leschi Park we peddled on along Lake Washington Blvd to the Madison Park Starbucks, where we stopped so I could get my morning caffeine.

Madison Park Google map

I totally neglected to get a photo at the Madison Park Starbucks, so I subbed in the Starbucks across the street from Chad's place!


We continued our loop around Lake Washington by riding from the Madison Park Starbucks, through the arboretum, across the 520 bridge into the University District, where we got on the Burke Gilman Trail ...

Burke Gilman Trail

... where we rode out to Matthews Beach Park ...

Matthews Beach Park et al


... then to Kenmore Pier Park ...

Kenmore Pier Park

Kenmore Pier Park 2

We pedaled out along Sammamish Slew on our way to Woodinville ...

Sammamish Trail


Sammamish Trail 2

... and on to the Red Hook Brewery outside of Woodinville!

Red Hook 3

Red Hook

... where we stopped in for a nip & sip!

Red Hook 2

Red Hook 4

Red Hook 5

After our stop at Red Hook, we got back on the bikes and headed towards Marymore Park.

Towards Marymoore Park

Pedaled through Willowmoor Farm ...

Willowmoor Farm

Willowmoor Farm 2

Willowmoor Farm 3

Then we rode up the 520 trail past Microsoft and stopped for a quick photo of the front gate.


Then we zig-zagged through the Eastern suburbs of Bellevue, jumped on the Sound to Summit Trail for a ride along Highway 90 into downtown Seattle.

90 to downtown


90 to downtown 2

We were both saddle sore and starving at this point in the ride, so we stopped in at World Pizza for pizza and beer to carb up. Great pizza!

World Pizza

World Pizza 2

After some great pizza and beer we spent the rest of the night listening to music and discussing the plan for tomorrow.

I started my morning with some coffee at coffee central in downtown Seattle, with Starbucks, Peets, and Tully's all located within a stone's throw of each other.


Starbucks and Peets

After a leisurely cup of coffee, Chad and I rode our bikes over to McKinnon Furniture so I could order a new equipment rack for the big system in my living room.

McKinnon's makes all their furniture from scratch out of select hardwoods (I chose walnut) much in the same tradition as American icon, Stickley, does. Shaun (left below) at McKinnon helped me design a custom equipment rack to fit on the back wall between my Westminster Royals.

Shaun and Jeff at McKinnon

McKinnon had lots of fantastic looking furniture on display in their main showroom.


McKinnon 2

McKinnon 3

McKinnon 4

After getting my order in, we rode up the bike path along the water towards Magnolia.

towards Magnolia

towards Magnolia 2

There were nice views on both sides of the bike path.

towards Magnolia - space needle

We pedaled up out of the city into Magnolia ... that's looking back into Seattle from the road up into Magnolia.

into Magnolia

We stopped at the house Chad grew up in as a kid living in Magnolia (below). Chad's Mom told me they bought the house for $18,000 in the early 1960s, but the last time it sold it went for around $1.2M. The Seattle housing scene is red-hot!

Chad's childhood house

Chad's childhood house - Jeff

We continued pedaling up Magnolia, with Seattle in the distance ...

Magnolia with Seattle in the distance

Lots of picturesque houses along the way ...

Magnolia houses

Magnolia houses 2

Magnolia houses 3

Magnolia houses 4

We then rode down the other side of Magnolia into the University District and out to Greenlake area to say "Hi!" to Chad's friend, Jeff, a long time musician in the Seattle area.

Then it was back on the bikes for a ride through the Ballard Locks.

Ballard Locks

Ballard Locks 2

Ballard Locks 3

Ballard Locks 4

Looking down the canal ...

Ballard Locks 5

Looking up the canal ...

Ballard Locks 6

Next stop was Reuben's Brews for a thirst quenching beer!

Reuben's 2

Now that's good!


Next stop was Peddler Brewery!

Peddler Brewery

That's yours truly below in my new Peddler bicycle jersey!

Peddler Brewery Jeff

Washington State is the Holland of the USA, and has recently legalized the recreational use of marijuana. While seated in Peddler's having a beer we could smell the marijuana smoke drifting in from the open doorway. Not unlike you might experience in Harlem outside Amsterdam!

We made a final stop at Freemont Brewing on the ride back towards Chad's place. Freemont was definitely one of the most popular stop for cyclists, being just off the bike path, and there were probably 300 or so fellow cyclist stopped having a beer - it was like the Octoberfest of Freemont!

Freemont Brews

With our stop at Freemont we called it a night, headed back to Chad's place for dinner at the Korean restaurant around the corner. In the morning I drove back home from Seattle. What a great B&B trip - many thanks to Chad for being such a great friend and tour guide!

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