Thirty years ago, Washington’s San Juan Islands were a bucolic paradise. Community was strong, roads lightly traveled and drivers waved to each other as they passed. Small-time farmers worked with more love and idealism and fewer machines and pesticides. Bald eagles and osprey hunted the shorelines; harbor seals sunned on warm beaches.
Offshore, tuxedoed Orca whales fished serene waters – close enough that you could hear them breathing on a moonlit night. From shore, you could see a quintet of snowcapped mountain ranges – the Olympics, Cascades, Canada’s Vancouver Island Range and Coastal Range – rising from the sea to touch the sky in almost every direction. An enchanted paradise to be sure, but, simply put – there had to be a better way for people to enjoy it than from inside an automobile. Right? After all, who wants to be crammed into a car breathing recirculated air and witnessing the outdoor splendor through tinted safety glass? (We sincerely hope you answered, “Not me!”)
Enter Bicycle Adventures. With all the joy of offering an incredible way to experience this amazing archipelago, we began offering all-inclusive bicycle tours. No longer were you required to study ferry schedules, worry over where to eat dinner or track down campsites or scarce hotel rooms. Instead, you could simply sign up for a tour and be chaperoned by fun, expert guides who took care of every detail. As a guest, you could revel – worry free – in the fantastic scenery, breathe the fresh air and exchange banter with the friendly locals along the road. The romantic ferry rides connecting the islands and the natural beauty and relaxing pace of life turned out to be just what you were looking for. The idea took off. It wasn’t long before bicycling the San Juan Islands became the bread and butter of our tiny, family-owned tour company. With this success, Bicycle Adventures began to transfer this model of deluxe, guided and fully supported bicycle travel to the many other incredible destinations we now serve.
So… you may be wondering: Why all the nostalgia for the way things used to be? Why reminisce about the proverbial ‘days gone by’? The answer is quite simple: very little has changed. The San Juan Islands still cherish the same vision of paradise they did three decades ago when we first began operating tours there. The organic farmers, friendly locals, charming ferries and relaxed pace of life; the eagles and osprey and Orcas; the fresh air, the mountains and all the rest: they are all still there waiting to greet you. Even the poor souls who happen to be cooped up in their climate-controlled automobiles – yep, they still wave to you and one another as they pass.
– Chad Maurer, Bicycle Adventures’ Equipment Operations Director