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AnnetteĀ  Bagley | 08/11/2012 | Bicycling, Insider Blogs |   

I Bike for Chocolate

 Yep. That's my motivation level! Bellingham and Whatcom County are filled with amazing biking opportunities, even for those of us who are not triathletes or Tour de France hopefuls. Today I finally participated in Bellingham's weekly "Everybody Bike" summer rides program. The poster reads: "These are easy, social outings on two wheels. Roll with us and discover Bellingham's best backroads and hidden bikeways. Each Summer Ride has a different theme with goodies provided along the way, and covers a fun route of around seven miles." The tour schedule runs from May through August, on Friday and Sunday afternoons. I picked up the list of themes at the Bellingham Farmer's Market in the spring. They look like so much fun, with titles including: Public Art Tour, Bakeries of Bellingham, Bike to Bocce Ball, Beach Pedal (Birch Bay), Mallard Ice Cream Cycle, Dutch Treat Ride (Lynden), and many more. I've been trying to work it into our family schedule since the rides began on May 6. Finally, today was the day!  The ride started at 4 p.m. at Chocolate Necessities (one of my favorite places) on Cornwall Avenue in downtown Bellingham. I would estimate about 50 people showed up, of all ages. We signed in and were each given a cute bike pin to identify us as part of the group. From there we rode a quick couple blocks to Sweet Art Candy on Railroad Avenue for a tasting. Then it was off to Fairhaven, utilizing the bike lane on State Street, which becomes 12th Street in the Fairhaven Historic District.  By the time we reached the corner of 12th Street and Harris Avenue, the group was ready for a rest. Since it was Friday afternoon, we were able to take a fun tour of the Fairhaven Pharmacy Museum, operated in the store's basement by local historian and former Pharmacist, Gordon Tweit. His hidden collection is amazing, including medical equipment, salmon labels and photographs from the early 1900s.  The bike ride then continued down the hill to the Bellingham Cruise Terminal, back up the hill to 10th Street, and onto the South Bay Trail headed back to downtown. The trail, the water and the park are gorgeous on any day, but especially so in the summer. I noticed wild flowers and new restaurants I usually miss when zooming past in my car.   After 6 p.m., the four-wheel traffic in downtown Bellingham diminishes significantly and casual two-wheelers feel as though they have the run of the road. The ride ended back at Chocolate Necessities and Pure Bliss Desserts (next door to each other) on Cornwall Avenue, where we enjoyed tastes of truffles and purchased scoops of delicious gelato to cool off. I love casual biking, but I love serious chocolate even more. This ride inspired us to try the route again on our own, with a few more stops in Fairhaven next time, including: Papa's Sweet's on Harris Avenue, fudge at Paper Dreams on 11th Street, and either ice cream at the Colophon Cafe, or gelato at Serena Gelato. After all, we need something to work off on the second half of the ride! On the way back I would even consider a detour to the Mount Bakery on W. Champion Street to pick up one of their famous chocolate croissants for breakfast the next day. Whatever your ability level, check out the Bicycling page on the Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism website for much more about biking in Bellingham including trails, maps, mountain biking, road biking, organized distance rides and bike rentals.  

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