The Cascade Bicycle Club bolsters the Puget Sound biking community through educational programs, community action, and organized events and rides. A 14,000-rider-strong nonprofit organization, the club advocates cycling as a worthy alternative for fitness routines, daily commutes, and backup power generators. Every year, volunteers lead more than 1,000 free club rides, ranging from short joyrides to multiple-day tours, in addition to their yearly schedule of special events, including the Seattle Bicycle Expo in March, the Bike Month Commute Challenge in May, and the High Pass Challenge in September.
The athletics enthusiasts at Sports Den curate an assortment of officially licensed major-league-sports memorabilia that can be toted around on people's persons or displayed in people's homes. Fans of all ages and oscillating speeds can cover their torsos in pride with a Seattle Seahawks T-shirt ($19.99) or a replica football jersey ($80). Seattle Mariners authentic on-field hats ($33.99) shield scalps and mascot faces from harmful ultraviolet rays during long days at the ballpark or inside tanning beds. Sports Den also offers a variety of sports-related knick-knacks such as official baseballs, key chains, pendants, and trading cards (prices vary). Though the majority of wares pay homage to local teams—the Mariners, Seahawks, Sonics, Huskies, and Thunderbirds—the Den's shelves are peppered with tokens, trinkets, and accouterments commemorating a slew of other professional and collegiate sports teams.
When Brian McInerney reflects on the humble beginnings of Wheel Fun Rentals, he points to his childhood passion for bikes. "As far back as I can remember, I had a real love affair with bicycles," he recalls. During a trip to Italy in 1987, Brian's affinity for cycling blossomed into a full-fledged obsession when he spotted locals' transporter of choice, the surrey. Inspired, he began importing the Italian four-wheelers to a rental business in the U.S. that eventually expanded into Wheel Fun Rentals, now a nationwide web of shops that also loans out bikes, electric cars and mopeds, and man-powered watercraft.
Atop bicycles and surreys built for solo riders or entire families, patrons embark on self-guided tours of major U.S. cities. Led by maps and lists of nearby sites of historical or cultural significance, riders zoom down bike paths and safe, lightly trafficked streets. Adventuresome athletes can also compete in activities such as surrey scavenger hunts and blindfold obstacle courses navigated via shouted instructions from a seeing teammate or exceptionally long rounds of trial and error.
Within a 2,000-square-foot shop, Backdrop Sports maintains and sells equipment that can turn the area’s roads and backcountry into outdoor playgrounds. Ready to fix up rides that tackle snow, dirt, or asphalt, the crew of experienced technicians performs tune-ups that help to renew skis and snowboards and improve gear performance. Leaving no detail untouched, they tune skis and snowboards by hand, waxing and grinding bases before giving each board a much-needed hug. Paying similar attention to bicycles, mechanics tighten, adjust, and lubricate everything bikes need to operate smoothly on challenging trails. The staff also can build custom bikes, cut new splitboards, and help customers navigate the store's stock of men’s and women’s apparel, mountain bikes, and snowboards.