The Cascade Rail Trail on Thrift Store Bikes

Today we drove to the town of Sedro Wooley, Washington and rode part of the Cascade Trail to the tiny town of Hamilton. We used our thrift store fat tire bikes to manage the flat gravel trail.

In the last couple weeks I found Trek Navigator 50 and Specialized Hardrock bikes, both have step-through frames and were under $40 each. I did some brake repairs on the Trek, upgraded the seat and added some Blackburn Click LED lights. My previous post is on the Hardrock and the upgrades I made on it, with a new seat, rack and lights.

These are not performance bikes by any means, but they are fine for riding like this. Rail trails are usually very flat and could be easily ridden on a single speed bike. The fat tires on these comfort-oriented hybrid bikes add traction and stability on the loose gravel surface and cut down the vibration and smooth out the bumps. I worry much less about having them stolen from the car rack while traveling— yes I do lock them to the rack.

The packs and panniers are all thrift store finds as well: TransIt panniers, a Nashbar trunk bag and a Roswheel handlebar bag.

Thrift store Specialized Hardrock

Thrift store Trek Navigator 50

We had lunch at a viewpoint on the Skagit River with a great view of the valley, surrounded by the peaks of the North Cascades. We parked our bikes and walked up to the riverbank when a great blue heron rose from the water just below and flapped off like a pterodactyl, landing on a far off sandbar.

Views of the Skagit river and the North Cascades
Views of the Skagit river and the North Cascades. The Cascade Trail continues to the east.

We continued to the village of Lyman, Washington with a fantastic old town hall.

Lyman town hall

We made it to Hamilton, Washington, about 12 miles from our starting point, took a quick tour of the town center and head for home.


The trail is a 12; wide flat gravel path reclaimed from the old railway bed. It passes houses, farms and wetlands along the way. Much of it is shaded and a great place to bike on a warm summer afternoon.

Cascade Trail

We saw very few people on the trail— fewer than a dozen over 4 hours. It is a wonderful resource and seemed underutilized on a sunny August Sunday afternoon.



3 thoughts on “The Cascade Rail Trail on Thrift Store Bikes

  1. willemleduc August 25, 2014 / 4:58 am

    Looks great. I spent 2 days riding the Katy Trail in Missouri on my last bicycle tour. Rail trails are nice!

  2. mdilthey September 3, 2014 / 3:10 pm

    You’re gonna get me to move to Washington, Dale…

    • dalesjournal September 3, 2014 / 9:10 pm

      Max, you would love it here, but we do have bigger hills 🙂 Check this week’s blog on the Iron Horse Trail.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s