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Snooze and lose on region’s most popular 2015 cycling events

CYCLING — Bicyclists can relax until spring before planning most of their 2015 cycling season, with help from The Spokesman-Review's 2015 Northwest Bicycling Events Calendar.

But the following popular winter, spring and summer rides come and go, or in a few cases, came and went, before you knew it. They're popularity causes them to sell out so quickly you have to be planning or making your application in February.

Act now on rides that still have openings.

Chilly Hilly: Feb. 22, COMPLETED, traditionally the region’s first notable cycling events of the season. The 42nd annual event starts with an early-morning ferry ride from Seattle before unleashing cyclists on a 33-mile route around Bainbridge Island that bags 2,675 feet of cumulative elevation. Put it on your list to start the 2016 season. Organized by the Cascade Bicycle Club; cascade.org.

STOKR: Scenic Tour of the Kootenai River, May 9-10, SOLD OUT, has ride-length options ranging from 37 to 98 miles each day along the Kootenai River and Lake Koocanusa out of Libby, Mont., to benefit Habitat for Humanity. Registration open Feb. 14-28 for the lottery drawing to select 450 riders; libbymt.com/events.

Mazama Ride, June 20-21: SOLD OUT, runs 75 miles each day on North Cascades Highway from Marblemount to Mazama for the overnight and back, by Redmond Cycling Club. $145-$195; redmondcyclingclub.org.

RATPOD: Ride Around the Pioneers in One Day, June 27, STILL OPEN, the 14th annual one-day, 130-mile ride from Dillon, Mont., through the Big Hole Valley of southwestern Montana, along wilderness areas and above the Big Hole River, fundraiser to benefit Camp Mak-A-Dream. Online registration opened March 3 and will continue until cap of 650 riders is reached; ratpod.org.

STP: Seattle to Portland Bicycle Classic, July 11-12, SOLD OUT BUT OPTIONS POSSIBLE, the largest multiday bicycle event in the Northwest, has riders pedaling 200 miles from Seattle to Portland in one or two days. Registration opened in January Cascade Bicycle Club members; and in February for nonmembers. The 10,000-rider limit has been reached in February in the past, but it sold out this year on March 8. Check website on June 1 for possible reopening of registration to fill refunded spaces; cascade.org.

RAMROD: July 30, LOTTERY ENTRY CLOSES MARCH 31. Ride Around Mount Rainier in One Day, a premiere one-day ultra-marathon cycling event by the Redmond Cycling Club, 10,000 feet of climbing in 168 miles. $95; redmondcyclingclub.org.

RSVP2:  Aug. 15-16, STILL OPEN, Cascade Bicycle Club ride from Seattle to Vancouver and Party, 106 miles on day 1 and 82 miles on day 2 into Canada. Return by chartered bus. The RSVP1 leaves a day earlier, but is already sold out. $150; cascade.org.

Cycle Oregon: Sept. 12-19, STILL OPEN, billed as “the best bike ride in America,” the ultra-supported tour moves to a different route each year supported by local communities. A spin-off weekend event is set for July 10-12. The 2015 routes will be in the Hells Canyon-Wallowas area. Fills quickly; cycleoregon.com.

WaCanId Ride: Sept. 14-19, STILL OPEN, the annual international tour on paved roads encircling the Selkirk Mountains of Washington, Canada and Idaho. The six-day event covers 350 miles, North America’s longest free ferry ride and includes sag support and the services of seven Rotary Clubs. Space limited; (888) 823-2626, www.wacanid.org.

Route of the Hiawatha opens to bikes on Saturday

BICYCLING — The Route of The Hiawatha rail-trail near Lookout Pass is set to open for the 2014 summer season on Friday, May 24.

The 15-mile route for mountain biking or hiking follows a portion of the abandoned Milwaukee Railroad on a mostly downhill grade between the old town site of Taft, Mont., (off Interstate 90) and the North Fork of the St. Joe River near Avery, Idaho.

Top attractions include seven trestles towering up to 230 feet over the creeks and forest and 10 tunnels, including the 1.7-mile St. Paul Pass Tunnel  (Taft Tunnel) at the Montana-Idaho border.  

Pedal the route down and back on your own for a 30-miler or ride the downhill route and board a shuttle bus for a lift back to the start.

Trail passes ($6-$10), shuttle bus tickets ($6-$9) and mountain bike rentals ($20-$30) are available at Lookout Pass Ski Area 12 miles east of Wallace.

  • By the way, the bike rentals they provide are GREAT smooth-riding fat-tire bikes, complete with helmets and EXTRA-BRIGHT headlights.  You will be very glad you had the sense to have a VERY BRIGHT headlight for going through the St. Paul Pass Tunnel.  Trust me.

The trail will be open daily, 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m., through Sept. 28.

KPBX leader can toot his horn in Bike to Work Week

BICYCLING — As a boy, KPBX program director Verne Windham may have had longings to play tuba, but he instinctively knew a French horn would be a more toteable package during Spokane's annual Bike to Work Week.

Good choice, Verne!

The annual event to promote non-polluter two-wheel commuter transportation kicked off this morning with a free pancake breakfast in Riverfront Park provided by Mountain Gear

How many miles will you rack up on a bike instead of a car this week?

  • By the way, the background music for the breakfast provided by Madeline McNeill and her guitar was sensational. If you're looking for an entertainer for a gathering from the South Hill to the concert hall, check this lady out. 

 

Spokane Bike Swap offers prizes, helmets for kids

BICYCLING — The Spokane Bike Swap isn't just the region's best place to buy or sell a bicycle.

The April 12-13 event at Spokane County Fair and Expo center  also offers free helmets to kids who get bike,free prizes to the fist 2,500 people through the door, and more.

  • Bike Consignment Check-In: Friday, April 11, 3-8 p.m.
  • Donate, sell, shop on April 12-13, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
From kids bikes and road bikes to tandems and tri-bikes, great deals await and more than 600 used bikes are expected in the Bike Corral.  
 
Bikes for sale can be registered early online. Details: www.SpokaneBikeSwap.com.
 
Kids bikes are in special demand. Registration fees will be waived on kid’s bikes with 20” rims or smaller and priced $50 or less.
 
The event benefits the non-profit Friends of the Centennial Trail.
In addition to bikes, the event will include more than 50 exhibitors and 10 local bike shops. 

Cyclists rule, briefly, on 49 miles of Yellowstone roads

BICYCLING — This is a premier annual opportunity for cyclists to savor Yellowstone National Park before the RVs hit the road.

Yellowstone Park opens 49 miles of road to bicycles today
Bicyclists can enter Yellowstone National Park's West Entrance and ride 49 miles of highway to Mammoth Hot Springs as road crews continue clearing other park roads for the general opening in late April.

Cyclists can call (307) 344-2107 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on weekdays for updated road access information.

Weather info: (307) 344-2113.

Get more details on spring biking in the park here

Jederman Gran Fondo debuts Saturday on open rural roads

CYCLING — Local cycling guru  Michael Emde has an enticing tidbit for participants in Saturday's Jederman Gran Fondo:

There are no traffic lights and there are only 20 over the length of the 112 mile course… The forecast is for 84F and very little wind!

The Jedermann Gran Fondo is a timed 112 mile cycling ride and cycling festival that will start and finish in Cheney, says Emde, event organizer.

The course in this inaugural event will visit the back roads and farming communities of Sprague, Tokio, Harrington, Edwall and back to Cheney.

In Europe, timed recreational events have been around for decades and each country has a different name for them. In Germany they’re called “Jedermann Rennen's” which translates to “Everyone’s Race". In Italy they call it a “Gran Fondo” which translates to “Great Ride”. Combine the two and “Jedermann Gran Fondo”  translates to “Everyone’s Great Ride.”

Custom medals will be awarded Saturday for times under 6 hours, under 8 hours and under 10 hours.

Cyclists can enter as an individual OR as a 2-person relay team.

This ride includes mechanical support, food stops, a post race meal, dessert, libations, music, raffles and more.

Register here.