Something about cycling makes a visit seem so much more intimate than just breezing through in a car. If you’re willing to make the effort, Washington offers almost limitless rewards for the two-wheeled. Whidbey Island , for example, offers miles of under-traveled roads, sunnier weather than Seattle , and great state parks where you can rest. Many of the other Puget Sound islands, such as the San Juans, Vashon, Bainbridge, Mercer, and Camano Islands , are also easy to get to, are as challenging a ride as you choose to tackle, and have little automobile traffic.
Even the more populated city centers strive for bike friendliness, perhaps best embodied by Seattle’s Burke-Gilman Trail. The 14-mile paved path runs from the scenic industrial ruins at Gasworks Park  all the way to Kenmore at the north end of Lake Washington. There, it hooks up with the Sammamish River Trail, which goes right past Woodinville’s Chateau Ste. Michelle and Columbia wineries—great places to stop for lunch with a bottle of wine.
In West Seattle, the road and bike path from Alki Beach  to Lincoln Park  is a popular 12-mile loop. Five Mile Drive in Tacoma’s  Point Defiance Park  is open to cars as well, but cyclists are given a wide berth; the road passes through an impressive old-growth forest.
The Washington State Department of Transportation (360/705-7000, www.ci.seattle.wa.us ) publishes bicycle maps and guidelines, including a very helpful statewide map showing traffic data and road widths to help determine which roads are the safest.