Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Summer Cycling in Spokane

Summer on the Palouse and in Spokane is perfect for cycling.  That is, unless the region is surrounded by forest fires as is the situation this August.  Still, even with hazy and smoky conditions, afternoon rides are pleasantly warm and the air remains breathable under exertion.  With temperatures moderating slightly into the mid 80s F, mileage has increased modestly in August.  From averaging about 150 miles weekly, miles put into the legs now exceed 200 per week and consumes about two hours daily.

Having a house on the extreme south of the city, my preferred direction is to head south out onto the Palouse and then loop back into town with a finishing climb up the South Hill (see Cycling on the Palouse) for a typical post-work ride.  Lately, the afternoon ride has been extended by about six miles to include an expanded loop onto the north side of the Spokane River before climbing up the South Hill via an alternative route.

Spokane is bifurcated by the Spokane River and a number of architecturally interesting bridges criss-cross the river.  At the time of its construction in 1911, the Monroe Street Bridge (see photos below) was the largest concrete arch bridge in the USA.  In the separating gorge are found a series of waterfalls interrupted by hydroelectric dams.

A few sights of Spokane's near north side from Tuesday's 30 mile ride:
High Bridge
Meenach Bridge from "Doomsday" Hill
Spokane River from "Doomsday" Hill
Spokane River from Centennial Trail
Spokane River from Centennial Trail
Downtown Spokane approaching from west
Monroe Street Bridge
Monroe Street Dam and Falls
Architecture of Monroe Street Bridge
Upper Falls
Upper Falls
Monroe Street Dam
 as seen from under Monroe Street Bridge
As the route profile illustrates, this is not flat country.
Route profile

19 comments:

  1. Great route. I'm afraid that my running circuit is quite a bit less picturesque than this! :D

    Cheers,
    Aaron

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    1. Do share some pictures, Aaron, and let us see for ourselves.

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  2. Hey Jon that is a lot of miles in those temperatures. Stunning countryside.
    Anyway the good news is we cyclists live ten years longer and with better health outcomes.
    Keep being good to your heart

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    1. The heat really doesn't seem to bother me much when I am moving on the bike. There have been several rides in the last month in near 100 F heat. My feet sure feel the heat from the pavement and I lose a bit of power but otherwise no long term effects.

      Good news that we tend to live longer. I would be interested in that study. Is it due to cycling or generally being in better condition?

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  3. Beautiful scenery - in tough competition with the Spanish countryside on the Vuelta ;0)

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    1. I do enjoy the varied scenery here on the Palouse. I need to make the ride over one of the major lakes in the area for more spectacular photos.

      Vuelta is probably my favorite Grand Tour having been at the finish line in Madrid a few years ago. I would like to make that trip again soon.

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    2. I have yet to make that trip to Madrid, should perhaps do like you and time it with the final stage of the Vuelta! Another priority would be Granada and Cadiz...historical landmarks in combination with the late August/early september temperatures of Spain seems quite attractive for a Scandinavian :0)

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    3. Soren, timing a trip to Spain to coincide with the Vuelta is a terrific idea. We certainly enjoyed it. My wife initially was not too excited about being in Madrid to see the Vuelta but she changed her mind once we were there to witness the event. She loved it!

      Granada is certainly not to be missed on a trip nor is Toledo. Fantastic military museum in Toledo and the city is quite stunning. Cadiz I have not visited but should.

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  4. Replies
    1. It is a beautiful spot in the Upper Left of the USA.
      Plan a visit some time, Ray!

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  5. I am envious. Down on my end of the Palouse the air quality has been awful for about two weeks. Things are bad enough today, that even sports practices are being moved indoors.

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    1. The air quality has been unhealthy here too. When the wind blows from the NW we get the smoke from the central Washington fires, When it blows from the SW we get smoke from the Oregon fires.

      There have only been two days in the last two weeks when I have opted to ride indoors. All other times, outside for me.

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  6. Looks like good country for cycling, Jonathan!

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  7. Beautiful terrain, glad to see you out in it still despite the fires!

    The health benefits of regular exercise are very, very well established - 30 to 50% reduction in heart attack, stroke, Diabetes, Depression, Alzheimer's Disease and Cancer. Not to mention just plain old death. Let's see, that's pretty much almost all of the top chronic diseases and causes of death right there!

    A great video presentation on this subject which is quite entertaining, should you need convincing is: "23 1/2 Hours" by fellow family physician Dr. Mike Evans.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aUaInS6HIGo

    It's worth 10 minutes to watch it. I recommend it to my patients all the time as a motivational aid. As I comment to them - better than my damned pills, cheaper, and much less side effects, too!

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    1. Entertaining video, Peter. If you knew how much cycling I get into my legs you would see that I require no motivation to get out and get moving. Exercise does help all of the diseases mentioned (although it did not seem to reduce my risj of heart attack) and is a good reliever of stress.

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    2. Like war, nothing in life is guaranteed; we can influence the odds mightily, but that's about it. I'll take the odds on exercise any day! And I know *you* don't need motivation.. it's the rest of us that do! :-)

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  8. Lovely looking scenery to cycle on!

    Christopher

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    Replies
    1. I do enjoy the scenery and variety in the terrain.

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