Our scenic surroundings attract thousands of visitors every year. Unfortunately, our roads were not designed for this increased traffic and the safety of bicyclists has become a major concern in San Juan County. As beautiful and inviting as our roads are for bicycling, they are also: narrow, winding, hilly, without shoulders, and often not paved.
Bicycle Awareness & Safety
Riding a bicycle here requires constant attention to the condition of the roadway and traffic. Whether you are negotiating a stretch of broken pavement with a vehicle overtaking you, or anticipating traffic at a blind curve, you must ride defensively. Be aware of motorists' difficulties maneuvering along these roads with vulnerable bicyclists making their way, also.
For the most part, island roads are best suited for experienced cyclists. We recommend certain routes, but sections of these can be difficult, especially if you have a child in a carrier or trailer or are loaded down with more weight than you are used to carrying.
Plan Your Route
It's important to plan your route. Facilities and terrain vary quite a bit from island to island. Orcas Island has the narrowest roads with frequent steep grades, and although there are stores and restaurants at several locations, there are few public restrooms, and almost no potable water available on the island. San Juan has good cycling for most abilities and has few amenities for bicyclists outside the Town of Friday Harbor. Lopez is less hilly, but by no means flat, and has few services outside of the village. Consider the many Bed and Breakfast or local motor inns in addition to designated camping areas. If you decide to camp, plan ahead to ensure an enjoyable visit. It can be a long way to a campground if your bike's overloaded and you're not familiar with the route.
Please respect the rights of property owners. Most land and many local roads are privately owned.