Inland Northwest flush with organized bicycling events
The number of organized regional bicycling events continues to grow into a packed schedule of rolling social events. Never has there been so much incentive to get out and enjoy the open road or trail.
In some cases, it pays to plan far ahead.
Spokefest in Spokane isn’t until September, but bikers who preregister by June 30 are entered in drawings for two iPod Nanos and a Novara Corsa comfort bike.
Some summer rides are so popular they sell out during winter. The July 14-15 Seattle to Portland Bicycle Classic, the most popular multiday cycling event in the Northwest, reached its quota of 10,000 riders on Feb. 21 – a month earlier than last year.
STOKR – the Scenic Tour of the Kootenai River held May 12-13 – creates so much demand for the 400 slots, organizers in Libby have gone to a lottery drawing with applications due at the end of February.
But riders who missed those deadlines still have several options on virtually every weekend into October.
New this year are several Gran Fondo events, timeed recreational rides that use chip timing similar to Bloomsday to encourage cyclists to race against themselves if not the rest of the field.
The new Jedermann Gran Fondo (translation: Everyone’s Great Race), is a timed recreational ride sponsored by Emde Sports of Spokane. It will run 112 miles out of Cheney on July 21, fully supported with a festival at the end. Riders get different medals depending on whether they complete the tour in less than 6, 8 or 10 hours.
The next day, a mountain biking Gran Fondo is scheduled at Fourth of July Pass.
Some rides are very laid-back, including the upcoming Lilac Century, April 20, with several rides from 15-100 miles starting at Spokane Falls Community College. The volunteers from Aurora Northwest Rotary are so easygoing, they’ll even allow some procrastinators to enter same day and still enjoy the post-ride baked potato feed.
Cyclists who thrive on racing can get a weekly fix in the Cooper Jones Twighlight series of road and criterium races running every Tuesday night starting April 10 through August, organized by the Baddlands Cycling Club.
Perhaps the biggest party atmosphere is generated by the annual 24-Hours Round-the-Clock mountain bike race, which packs a few hundred riders and thousands of friends and spectators into a tent-camp city in Riverside State Park on Memorial Day weekend.
Some events change from year to year, including the oldest of the major cycling events. TOSRV – 42nd annual Tour of the Swan River Valley based in Missoula – is reviving its classic route founded in 1976. Gone is the out-and-back ride of recent years as organizers return to the original two-day, 226-mile loop ride from Missoula to Bigfork, returning along Flathead Lake to Missoula.
The Pedal Around A Glacier, eh! two-day ride out of Nelson, British Columbia has moved from September to June this year.
Most of the one-day tours are fundraisers that feature great food, with cyclists happily donating to charitable causes in return for the pampering of a well-oiled event.
Top cycling events in the greater Spokane area are listed below.
A more comprehensive list – The Spokesma-Review 2012 Bicycling Events: Expanded List – with hot links to each organization, is posted online.
Lilac Century and Family Fun Ride
( www.sanwrc.org/cpage.php?pt=21 ), April 29: Ride 15, 25, 50, 66 or 100 miles. Starts at Spokane Falls Community College, with food stops; baked potato feed at finish by Aurora Northwest Rotary. Register in advance for discounts, but event accepts same-day entries. Email: email@example.com. $30-$40.
Inland Empire Century
( www.inlandempirecentury.com ) May 12: 25-, 50-, 75- or 100-mile routes through orchards, vineyards and farm fields in the lower Yakima-Columbia river valleys, sponsored by Kiwanis and Group Health. $35.
Ride of Silence
( www.rideofsilence.org/main.php ) in Spokane Valley, May 16: One of more than 300 rides around the nation to commemorate cyclists killed in traffic. Loosely organized, it starts at 7 p.m. and runs 3 miles. Starting location not determined. Go to website for details.
( www.missoulabike.org ), the 42nd annual Tour of the Swan River Valley based in Missoula – May 19-20: The classic route founded in 1976 is back. Gone is the out-and-back ride of recent years as organizers return to the original two-day, 226-mile loop ride from Missoula to Bigfork, returning along Flathead Lake to Missoula; maximum 300 riders. Cost: $105 plus Missoula Bicycle Club membership.
Bike to Work Week
( www.spokanebikes.net/wordpressM ), May 20-26: About 1,500 cyclists participate in Spokane’s bike commuting event, which kicks off with a free bike commuter breakfast and other activities.
Century Ride of the Centuries
( www.cyclependleton.com/events ), May 26-28: Three days of supported riding and meals with new route options each day through Eastern Oregon farmlands near Pendleton and Blue Mountains. Limited to 250 riders. Cost: $195.
( www.applebikeride.com ), June 2: Ride the new 25-mile route or the traditional 50 or 100 miles in the 25th annual event starting from Walla Walla Point Park in Wenatchee. By Wenatchee Sunrise Rotary; about 900 riders. Cost: $65.
CHaFE 150 Bike Ride
( www.chafe150.org ), June 2: a 150-mile loop, timed Grand Fondo style this year, with five food stops from Sandpoint, through Troy and Bonners Ferry and back ( or choose the shorter 80-miler ), benefits Panhandle Alliance for Education. Limited to 350 riders. Team options. Cost: $120, includes cool jersey.
Pedal Around a Glacier, eh!
( http://fbcnelson.ca/?page_id=11 ), June 2-3: PAGE starts in Nelson, British Columbia, for a two-day, 140-mile ride along Kokanee and Slocan Lakes and twice across the spine of the Selkirk Mountains to loop around Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park. Overnight in New Denver along Slocan Lake. Cost: $95.
Spokane Summer Parkways
( summerparkways.com ), June 3 at Chief Garry-Logan Neighborhood, noon.-3 p.m. Event is designed for families to ride streets free of motor vehicles in two locations. Another Summer Parkways event is set for June 20 on the South Hill at Comstock-Manito Neighborhood, 6 p.m.-9 p.m. Free.
Ann Weatherill Cycling Classic
( www.wheatlandwheelers.com ), June 16: Ride 30-, 60- or 100-mile routes from Walla Walla’s Pioneer Park, includes food stop and post-ride wine and buffet. Organized by Wheatland Wheelers. Benefits cycling safety. Cost: $45.
I Made the Grade
( www.cancerpatientcare.org ), June 16: choose from 12-, 25-, 50- or 100-mile courses based out of Mt. Spokane High School. Post-ride music and food. Fundraiser for cancer patient care.
Ride the Wall
( www.hfhidaho.org/bike_event.htm#bike ) June 21: About 150 riders of all ages celebrate the summer equinox in this 13-mile evening ride along the Coeur d’Alene River from Enaville Resort, followed by a barbecue. Benefits Habitat for Humanity.
( redmondcyclingclub.org ), June 23: A one-day ultra endurance ride totaling 276 miles mostly on I-90. It’s considered an easier version of the July 7 S2S ride between Seattle and Spokane via U.S. 2. Entrants must join the Redmond Cycling Club. Cost: $20.
( redmondcyclingclub.org ), June 23-24: Runs 75 miles each day on the North Cascades Highway from Marblemount to Mazama for the overnight and back. Cost: $140-$190.
Chelan Century Challenge
( www.centuryride.com ), June 23: Join 500 riders through Lake Chelan vineyards on up to three loops ranging from 30-40 miles each. Do the entire century ride and bag 8,606 vertical feet of elevation gain. Cost: $55.
Spokane Summer Parkways
( summerparkways.com ), June 20 on South Hill at Comstock-Manito Neighborhood, 6 p.m.-9 p.m. Event designed for families to ride streets free of motor vehicles. Free.
Bite the Bullet Tour
( www.twinriverscyclists.org ), July 1: From Lapwai, Idaho, near Lewiston, a loosely organized tour by Twin Rivers Cyclists; semi-supported 68-mile ride with challenging climbs – 4,000 feet total – on the Winchester Grade. Starts 9 a.m. at Lapwai Grocery parking lot. Cost: $10.
Seattle 2 Spokane
( redmondcyclingclub.org ), July 7: S2S is a one-day ultra endurance ride totaling 284 miles and 12,000 feet of climbing, mostly on U.S. 2. It’s considered a tougher version of the June 23 CannonBall ride between Seattle and Spokane via I-90. Entrants must join the Redmond Cycling Club. $20.
( twinriverscyclists.org ), July 8: Loosely organized by Twin River Cyclists (Lewiston-Moscow area), the ride starts in Deary (Idaho) City Park at 9 a.m. and runs 54 miles to Elk River and back.
Jedermann Gran Fondo
( www.emdesports.com ), July 21: Timed recreational ride, 112 miles, based out of Cheney, organized by Emde Sports.
50 Miles at the Pass
( www.bicycleservice.com ), July 22: Second annual mountain biking event at 4th of July Pass east of Coeur d’Alene. Gran Fondo format, a timed recreational ride, includes routes of 10, 17, 35 and 50 miles. Benefit for Lake City Trailbuilder’s Association. Info: (208) 667-8969.
Ride Around Washington
( www.cascade.org ), by Cascade Bicycle Club, Aug. 4-10: RAW zeroes in on far Eastern Washington this year, starting in Chewelah, through the Colville National Forest, to Spokane and around the Palouse for a six-day, 400-mile, fully supported tour. (Sold out Friday) Cost: $930.
( rideidaho.org ), Aug. 5-11: annual seven day, fully supported, 400-mile bicycle tour that moves to different region of the state. 2012 route runs from New Meadows to Moscow, with option for whitewater rafting. Organized by a nonprofit group of cyclists. Limit: 350 riders. Cost: $735.
Eight Lakes Leg Aches
( http://www.lcsnw.org ) Aug. 4: Ride 15-, 30-, 45-, and 75-mile routes, starting from Spokane’s South Hill and out around lakes in Spokane County with about 800 riders to benefit Sexual Assault and Family Trauma Response Center. Cost: $40. Info: (509) 343-5020.
Le Tour de Koocanusa
( www.letourdekoocanusa.com ), based in Libby, Mont., Aug. 11: Ride 83 miles along the shoreline of Lake Koocanusa, the second year for this event by the David Thompson Search and Rescue. Coincides with annual Riverfront Blues Festival. Cost: $60.
Double Divide Ride
( www.helenabicycleclub.org ) Aug. 11-12: Sponsored by Helena Bicycle Club, ride goes 139 miles in two days, crossing the Continental Divide twice, (83 miles the first day, 56 miles the second) through rolling hills, tranquil valleys and challenging mountain passes in Montana.
Tour de Lentil metric century
Great Northwest Fall Tour
( gnwft.homestead.com ), Sept. 2: Ride routes of 15, 30, 50 or 85 miles beginning at the Newport City Park. Benefits Newport/Priest River Rotary Club. $25 ($50 per family).
Labor Day Tandem Rally and Bike Ride
( www.spokanebicycleclub.org/rt/ ), Sept. 3: The 60th annual ride loosely organized by the Spokane Bicycle Club (no fee); meet 8:30 a.m. at Post Falls Park, Exit 5 on I-90 and ride 30 miles round trip to Rathdrum Lion’s Club Pancake Feed ($5). Info: Don Carlton, (509) 747-5581.
Spoke-d’Alene Purple Ride and picnic
( www.pancan.org/purpleride/index.html ) not yet scheduled: Runs on the Centennial Trail with options for 4-, 14-, 36- and 56-mile rides; benefits pancreatic cancer awareness and research. Cost: $20 with $100 minimum fundraising donation.
( spokefest.org ), Sept. 9: A Spokane event for families as well as serious riders with four tour options: a 1-miler kid-ride with amusements in Riverfront Park that crosses no streets, a 9-mile loop, the classic river loop of 21 miles in Riverside State Park, and a 47-miler that extends the Classic Loop into the Four Mounds area. Music at finish. Register by June 30 for prize drawings.
Kootenai River Ride
( www.ruralnorthwest.com/rotary ), Sept. 15: Ride 16, 60 or 100 kilometers near the Kootenai River out of Bonners Ferry fairgrounds supported by Rotarians, followed by baked potato feed. Cost: $20.
Cycling for Cystinosis
( www.24hoursforhank.org ), Sept. 8-9: A 24-hour solo or relay ride near Sandpoint to raise funds for medical research. Info: (208) 610-2131.
Bike MS 150
( bikewai.nationalmssociety.org ), Sept. 8-9: Ride 150 miles in two days on the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes to benefit Inland Northwest Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Minimum donation $250.
( www.Huckleberry100.com ), Sept. 15: Chose from a short family ride or longer courses of 25, 50 or 100 miles from downtown Kalispell through the region between Flathead Lake and Glacier National Park. Sponsored by Fresh Life Radio and local businesses. $25-$55 depending on course and date of registration.
Mica Peak Century Plus
( www.sites.google.com/site/micapeakcenturyplusbikeride2 ), Sept. 16: Ride routes of 15, 30, 70 or 100 miles starting from Coeur d’Alene, fully supported, sponsored by St. Luke’s Episcopal Church. Info: (208) 640-1099.
( www.rotaryinmotion.com/rotary ), Sept. 16: Rotary In Motion Family Fun Ride starts and finishes in Liberty Lake with rides of 5, 15, 25, 50 or 100 miles; finishes with potato feed. Costs vary, with family discounts, $5-$45.
( www.wacanid.org ), Sept. 17-22: A rare international bicycle tour on the International Selkirk Loop, the fourth annual ride includes up to 355 miles or shorter segments. Start in Sandpoint or Nelson, British Columbia. Limited to 50 riders from each start. Passport required.
Valleyfest Trail Ride
( www.valleyfest.org ), Sept. 23: A family bike tour on the Centennial Trail starting at 11 a.m. with other festivities at Mirabeau Point Park. Choice of 6.8-, 8.8- and 15.6-mile routes. Cost: $10 or $5 for kids under 11.
Swan Lake Mountain Bike Festival
( www.fs.usda.gov/colville ), Sept. 29-30: Free family event with clinics, kids’ courses, women’s ride, poker rides, Dutch oven cooking and more, south of Republic, Wash. Camping available. Co-sponsored by Spokane Parks and Recreation and Republic Ranger District. Info: ( 509 ) 775-3305.
( www.Coeur d’Fondo.com ), Sept. 29: A Gran Fondo style timed event with competitive and non-competitive options on choice of four distances, 15, 37, 85 or 108 miles, linked to the Oktoberfest out of Coeur d’Alene. The course features Lake Coeur d’Alene and Idaho’s Highway 97Scenic Byway through Harrison and St. Maries. Shorter ride participants ride a partyboat back to Coeurd’Alene from Harrison. $10 for family ride, $75 for others.
Cycle for Life
( www.cff.org/GetInvolved/CycleForLife ), Oct. 6: A cystic fibrosis fundraiser starting in Spokane’s Browne’s Addition. Ride 25 or 65 miles on the Fish Lake Trail and routes near Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge, fully supported, rest stops every 10-12 miles. Riders must be at least 18 years old and raise at least $165 in pledges.
Tour de Rock Mountain Bike Ride & Rough Ride
( www.ski49n.com ), Oct. 6: Based at 49 Degrees North Mountain Resort, choose from a fun mountain bike ride at the resort or go for the challenge of starting in Chewelah and gaining 4,000 feet of elevation on a variety of surfaces. Benefits ski patrol. Info: (509) 937-4922 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Manastash Metric Century
( www.drier-ride.org ), Oct. 6: includes 50- or 62-mile options along the Yakima River from Ellensburg to Cle Elum and back. Organizers claim 14 consecutive years of rainless riding. Cost: $30.
Chewelah Valley Lions Fall Half-Century Bike Tour
( No Web site), Oct. 7: Ride 25 or 50 miles from Chewelah to Springdale and back via a Stevens County loop around Waitts Lake. Sign-ups allowed up to the 10 a.m. start time in Chewelah City Park. Info: Becky Washington, email@example.com