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Ride a bike over the viaduct before it’s gone forever

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Cascade Bicycle Club’s Emerald City Ride lets you experience the viaduct’s views from above two wheels

The Alaskan Way Viaduct.
TS Photographer/Shutterstock

The Alaskan Way Viaduct is coming down soon, with its demise likely starting later this year. Despite the structure being so decrepit and earthquake-damaged that it requires semiannual safety inspections, there’s no denying that driving over the thing reveals a stunning view of the waterfront and the Puget Sound—one that’ll be missed by many.

One special opportunity to say goodbye to the viaduct is coming up in just a few weeks: Cascade Bicycle Club, which runs other popular rides like the Seattle-to-Portland, is putting on the Emerald City Ride on Sunday, April 8. The event closes off a couple of freeways to vehicle traffic to let cyclists experience them on two wheels, kicking off with a tour down the viaduct and through another structure that might not be available for much longer: the Battery Street Tunnel.

If your motivation to go on the ride is just to cruise down the viaduct, you have that option. Riders can choose either a three-mile “viaduct experience” that runs up and back down State Route 99 from Sodo, or a full 12-mile ride that heads up to Fremont before heading back downtown on the Interstate 5 express lanes, which don’t have too shabby of a view themselves—especially going over the Ship Canal.

Regardless, it’s a chance to experience some traditionally car-only infrastructure as a cyclist. The route is designed for all ability levels, and mechanics will be stationed along the route for minor maintenance difficulties.

Registration for non-Cascade Bicycle Club members is $40 for the 12-mile route or $25 for the three-mile viaduct ride.

This isn’t the first time bikes have ridden on the viaduct; back in 2016, a band of 75 used an inspection closure as an excuse for a nighttime ride, riding all the way from West Seattle to the Battery Street Tunnel. While that use wasn’t as authorized as the ride coming up, the most trouble anyone got into was a ticket for not wearing a helmet.

Alaskan Way Viaduct

Alaskan Way Viaduct, , WA