September 11, 2011 in City

SpokeFest offers array of bike routes

Family event expected to draw 2,000 cyclists
By The Spokesman-Review
Dan Pelle photoBuy this photo

SpokeFest volunteer Denise Newton, right, checks the T-shirt size for Rita Anderson on Saturday at Mountain Gear during packet pickup. She is riding with her grandson.
(Full-size photo)

If you go

What: Spokesfest 2011 is a noncompetitive group bicycle ride. SpokeFair before and after the ride will include live music, food vendors and cycling booths.

Where: Ride starts on north side of River Park Square in downtown Spokane.

When: 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. The ride begins at 9:30 a.m. The one-mile Park Loop and Bike Safety Rodeo begin at 10 a.m. at Spokane Falls Boulevard and Howard Street.

Registration: From 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. today at the ride’s start.

Cost: $20.

Helmets are required.

Both experienced and inexperienced bicyclists, young and old, will enjoy a ride around Spokane together today at SpokeFest.

The ride isn’t competitive. It’s a way to celebrate cycling and promote healthy lifestyles, said registration organizer Sally Phillips.

“It’s about encouraging people to try biking in the community,” she said. “They get to see how great urban commuting is in Spokane, as well as get out to Riverside (State) Park, which is an exceptional scenic area for people to ride.”

One goal is to instill in children a lifelong love for bicycling, she said, although veteran cyclists enjoy the event, too.

“It’s a great starter event,” she said. “You’ll see a lot of committed parents. They want their kids to learn to love it, too.”

This is SpokeFest’s fourth year. Organizers expect about 2,000 cyclists to register, 100 more than last year.

Sarah Brady, 10, was at Mountain Gear with her dad Saturday afternoon picking up her registration packet. She said she’s already excited about cycling.

“I ride my bike because I just got a new mountain bike and I love my bike,” she said.

Her father, Mark Brady, said he and his daughter have participated in the ride since its inaugural year.

“We want the kids to get involved in athletic activities,” he said. “And it’s great because it’s a family event, not a race.”

Cyclists can choose several routes: the 21-mile Classic River Loop, which goes through Riverside State Park and finishes at Spokane Falls; Park Loop, a one-mile loop in Riverfront Park with the option to extend it to a 2.5-mile loop on the Centennial Trail; the 9-mile Spokane Falls Option; and the Four Mounds Option, which adds 26 miles to the Classic River Loop, for a total of 47 miles.

“There’s a bunch of different routes and over the years we’ve added routes to meet people’s needs,” Phillips said.

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