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Inland Northwest teeming with bicycling events

Sun., March 31, 2013

The appetite for organized bicycling events continues to grow throughout the Inland Northwest, with a feast of offerings that starts in April and keeps cyclists stuffed with options well into October.

Hundreds of cyclists already are gearing up to complete the annual Lilac Century and Family Fun Ride set for April 28. With five route lengths ranging from 15 to 100 miles, it’s the first local event of the season that appeals to a full range of riders. The event is sponsored by the Aurora Northwest Rotary Club.

Despite the crowded calendar, a new event in North Idaho last year was an instant success.

The Coeur d’Fondo attracted about 800 riders in its inaugural ride out of Coeur d’Alene on Sept. 29, including 250 who rode the longest of four options – the 108-mile thigh-buster circumnavigating Lake Coeur d’Alene.

Other riders opted for shorter routes of 15, 37 or 85 miles, some of which included a return voyage across the lake by party boat.

A fifth ride will be added to the Coeur d’Fondo this year: a 47-mile route that requires cyclists to board a boat to start at Harrison.

“It’s a charity ride with the clock running,” explained Charlie Miller, North Idaho Centennial Trail Foundation manager, noting that riders can challenge themselves against the clock in the Gran Fondo format, “or just come and ride.”

The event exceeded all expectations and will continue as an annual event that teams post-ride with the Oktoberfest celebration in Coeur d’Alene

Every ride in the region has its own flavor.

The I Made the Grade ride out of Lewiston, set for June 15, is an 18-mile all-uphill climb from the Snake River to the top of the old Lewiston Spiral Highway. It’s a benefit for the Clarkston High School band, and they might even sound the trumpets if you make it.

The ChaFE 150 out of Sandpoint, set for July 20, gives cyclists the option to expand their fitness desires. The ride is the first leg of the TriSandpoint, a three-event package that includes the annual Long Bridge Swim in Lake Pend Oreille in August and the Scenic Half Marathon in September.

SpokeFest, set for Sept. 8, has been a hit since it debuted in five years ago, attracting more than 2,000 riders for courses out of the heart of Spokane and into Riverside State Park. A separate event just for kids stays away from traffic in Riverfront Park.

Events come and go depending on the whims of riders and the resources and enthusiasm of sponsoring groups.

Debuting this year is the Spokane Valley Cycle Celebration, July 28, with a 10-, 25- or 50-mile route. The ride is sprouting from the energy of Spokane Valley councilman Bill Gothmann, who trimmed up significantly after taking up cycling last year and he wants to share the good feeling.

The hottest new addition to the very busy list of September cycling events is the Blazing Saddles Bike Ride, Sept. 21, teaming with the Northwest International Chili Cook-Off in Colville.

Rides that are disappearing this year include the Centennial Trail-based Spoke-d’Alene Purple Ride, a benefit for pancreatic cancer awareness, has been canceled this year as organizers try to build a better volunteer base for next year.

One summer ride hangs on the edge this week as sponsors from the First Baptist Church of Nelson, British Columbia, wait for a show of interest.

“We are hoping to host another Pedal Around a Glacier, Eh! ride on June 1-2,” said Lorne Westnedge, church spokesman. “However, we need a minimum number of 20 riders to sign up by April 1 in order for us to continue, and we are not there yet.”

PAGE starts in Nelson for a two-day, 140-mile ride along Kooteney and Slocan Lakes and twice across the spine of the Selkirk Mountains to loop around Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park. Riders camp or find accommodations for the overnight in New Denver along Slocan Lake.

2013 bicycling events

Following is a local version of The Spokesman-Review’s 2013 Bicycling Calendar into summer. The EXPANDED LIST for events within a 300-some-mile range of Spokane and through October, PLUS a list of area cycling groups, is online at

Some of these tours are club events while many are fundraisers that feature great food, with cyclists happily donating to charitable causes in return for the pampering of a well-oiled event.

Plan ahead. Quotas for some popular events are reached months in advance. The STOKR ride out of Libby, RATPOD out of Dillon, Mont., at Seattle-to-Portland ride are examples of summer events that have already filled.

Other events offer discounts for early registration.


Lilac Century and Family Fun Ride (, April 28: Ride 15, 25, 50, 66 or 100 miles starting at Spokane Falls Community College, with food stops and baked potato at the finish. (Also note the 5K and duathlon opportunities.) Sponsored by Aurora Northwest Rotary. Email: $40-$50. Register in advance for discount, but event accepts same-day entries.


Tour de Frog (, May 4: Choose from 25-, 50-, 75- or 100-mile courses through Walla Walla Valley wheatland and wine country. Sponsored by Eastern Oregon Sports Training. $35-$50.

Ride of Silence (, May 10: Spokane Valley’s event is one of hundreds around the world held annually to remember cyclists killed in traffic. Loosely organized, it starts at 6 p.m. and runs 3-6 miles. Meet at Riverfront Park along Spokane Falls Boulevard near runner statues.

Bike to Work Week (, May 13-19: About 1,500 cyclists participate in Spokane’s bike commuting event, which kicks off with a free bike commuter breakfast and other activities.

TOSRV-West (, May 18-19: The 43rd annual Tour of the Swan River Valley follows the original two-day, 226-mile loop from Missoula to Bigfork, returning along Flathead Lake to Missoula, with great food stops. Limited to 200 riders (down from 300 in 2012). $105 plus Missoula Bicycle Club membership.


Apple Century (, June 1: Routes are 25, 50 or 100 miles in the 26th annual event starting from Walla Walla Point Park in Wenatchee. By Wenatchee Sunrise Rotary. $65.

Ann Weatherill Cycling Classic (, June 15: 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. $45.

I Made the Grade (prideofclarkston .com/), June 15: Based out of Chief Timothy Park near Clarkston, the 33rd annual 18-mile ride climbs 2,000 feet up the Lewiston Grade via the Old Spiral Highway. Organized by Clarkston High School Band. $25-35.

Loreen Miller Bike Ride (, June 15: 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. $25-$50.

Spokane Summer Parkways (, June 19 on South Hill in Comstock-Manito neighborhood, 6 p.m.-9 p.m. Event designed for families to ride streets free of motor vehicles. Free.

Lake Chelan Century Challenge (, June 22: Join 500 riders on one to three loops ranging from 30-40 miles each past Lake Chelan vineyards. Do the entire century ride and bag 8,606 vertical feet of elevation. $55.


CHaFE 150 Bike Ride (, July 20: A 150-mile loop, timed Gran Fondo, with five food stops from Sandpoint, through Troy and Bonners Ferry and back. Benefits autism programs in local school district, sponsored by Sandpoint Rotary. Limited to 500 riders. Team options. $75 (plus $50 pledge requirement).

Jedermann Gran Fondo (, July 20: Timed recreational ride with three distances for second annual event – 30, 66, 112 miles, based out of Cheney, organized by Emde Sports. Supported, cool finisher medals, post-ride BBQ and beer garden. $25-$80.

50 Miles at the Pass (, July 21: Third 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. Benefits Lake City Trailbuilder’s Association. Post-ride BBQ. Info: (208) 667-8969.

Spokane Valley Cycle Celebration (, July 28: Ride 10-, 25- or 50-mile routes based from Mirabeau Meadows Park in Spokane Valley, with food stops sponsored by ValleyFest organizers. $10, $20 for family.


Eight Lakes Leg Aches (

8LakesRide), Aug. 3: Ride 15-, 30-, 45-, and 75-mile routes, starting from Spokane’s Sunset Hill and out around lakes in Spokane County with about 800 riders to benefit Sexual Assault and Family Trauma Response Center. $45. Info: (509) 343-5020.

Le Tour de Koocanusa (, Aug. 10: From Libby, Mont., ride 83 miles along Lake Koocanusa in third annual event by David Thompson Search and Rescue. Coincides with annual Riverfront Blues Festival. $60.

Tour de Lentil metric century (, Aug. 17: Has 50K and 100K courses with pit stops through rolling Palouse hills based out of Pullman. Post-ride BBQ. Email: $35.

Nearly two dozen bicycling events scheduled in September and October will be published this summer – or see them now online at

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