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Summer (Bike) Fun: Bicycle Camping

Guest blog by Briana Orr, Communications Specialist for the Cascade Bicycle Club

A mustard-yellow plastic bat, a white whiffle ball and a bottle of red wine stuck straight up from the water bottle pockets from Kelli’s two bike bags.

With these vittles, entertainment, food and a nine-dollar ferry ticket in hand, eight women rolled onto the ferry with loaded bicycles. The women were a mix of different ages and experiences; one woman had never been camping before, and for others, this was their first bike camping trip.

We were headed out on the inaugural bike camping trip of She Bikes Cascade.

The stunning 30-minute ride to Bainbridge Island almost didn’t take long enough. We lingered on the ship’s rear deck, looking back at the Seattle skyline.

We couldn’t help but repeat: “Isn’t summer amazing?”, and “Ah, the sunshine!” (Yes, naysayers, the sun does shine in Seattle.)

She Bikes is a new initiative of Cascade Bicycle Club, the nation’s largest locally based bicycle organization. With its series of inclusive rides, classes, clinics and social events, She Bikes aims to encourage more women to discover the joys and benefits of biking.

Preceeding the bike camping trip was a bike camping clinic, where participants learned from expert bike camper on what to bring and how to pack it all on your bike.

A community of 23,000, Bainbridge miraculously maintains a country feel with relatively quiet roads, rolling hills and several campgrounds.

Arriving a leisurely seven miles at Fay Bainbridge State Park at 3 p.m. (after touring all of the neighboring free book libraries) we set up camp, walked by the beach, chatted endlessly, watched the sun set behind a rosy Mount Rainier. Then something amazing happened: dinner.

Yam tacos, peach salsa, guacamole emerged out of panniers, then onto plates — or Frisbees — and quickly into mouths.

In total, we probably spent less than four hours in our bike saddles. The trip was about biking, but even more, it was about connecting with one another.

One first-time bike camper, 62-year-old Joan Pringle said, “This was the best trip — great company, great riding and great food — I can’t wait to bike camp again!”

Before we parted ways, we gathered at a breakfast diner. Two women made plans to meet for rides weekly, to be one another’s motivational riding buddy.

And we all brainstormed where we should go camping next.

Briana Orr is a Communications Specialist for the Cascade Bicycle Club, a 15,000-members and 36-staff organization serving bike riders of all ages and abilities throughout the Puget Sound region of Washington state. To learn more about Cascade and She Bikes, visit

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