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Opening Day for Trails a good start

TRAILS — The outdoor and indoor activities planned for the Opening Day for Trails celebration Saturday in the Spokane area connected a lot of people with outdoor groups and trails in the region.

Participation in the 3 bike tours and 8 guided hikes was good and Greenstone office at Kendall Yards was very busy with hikers learning about all sorts of undertakings, from improving the Centennial Trail and Washington Trails Association trail maintenance projects to the fabulous open spaces being protected by the Spokane County Conservation Futures Program.

The event was organized by the Inland Northwest Trails Coalition.

Hike or bike with a group in Saturday’s trail day events

TRAILS — Three bike rides and eight hikes coordinated by the Inland Northwest Trails Coalition are being led on Saturday in the Spokane area — one near Reardan — by local trails-related groups and they're inviting you to join them.

Check out details about the Opening Day for Trails celebration:

RSVP for a bike ride or hike below. Share the Facebook event with friends.
You're not required to attend an organized hike to attend the celebration (bottom)! 

BIKE RIDES

Tandem Bike Ride @ 10am
Spokane City Parks
RSVP

Mountain Bike Ride: 7 Mile Trailhead (7903 W Missoula Rd) @ 10am
Riverside State Park Foundation
RSVP

Ben Burr Park @ 10am
Southgate Neighborhood Council
RSVP

HIKES

Glenrose Conservation Area (Ferris HS parking lot at 37th & Ray) @ 10 am
Dishman Hills Conservancy
RSVP

Dishman Hills Natural Area (625 S Sargent Rd) @ 12pm
Dishman Hills Conservancy
RSVP

Fish Lake Trail Trailhead @ 10am
Hobnailers Hiking Club
RSVP

Location TBA @ 10am
Spokane Mountaineers
RSVP

Deep Creek (Meet at Riverside State Park’s Ranger Station) @ 10am
Riverside State Park Foundation
RSVP

Audubon Lake Wildlife Area @ 10am
RSVP

McKenzie Conservation Area @ 10am
Ms Adventures - Women Only
RSVP

18 Downtown Bridges: (Leaving from Kendall Yards) @ 4 p.m.
Rich Landers, guidebook author
RSVP

Opening Day Celebration at Kendall Yards (1335 W Summit Pkwy) @ 2pm

Meet for snacks, trail talk and celebration!

NW left out of Outside’s ‘Most Incredible Trips’ list

OUTDOOR TRAVEL —

Two spots in Montana have made Outside magazine's list of "The 30 Most Incredible Trips to Take in 2015."

Otherwise, the Northwest was virtually left out in favor of river trips in Fiji, islands in Bermuda, adventuring in Chile, road biking in California and food in Texas.

The exception is a Redmond-based bicycle travel company named "Best for outfitted trips for families." The write-up says:

Roughly 10 percent of Bicycle Adventures’ trips are now geared specifically toward families with preteens in tow. This year the Washington-based company launched three multi-day rides in Oregon, Idaho, and South Dakota that follow car-free bike paths and pass through kid-captivating areas like Mount Rushmore … with stops for ice cream, rafting, and swimming holes. Have younger kids? They’ll pedal tag-alongs hitched to adult bikes, and toddlers and infants can ride in provided trailers. From $2,295.

The Route of the Hiawatha on the Montana-Idaho border got residual praise by being one of the trips Bicycle Adventures features.

Meanwhile, Montana continued to get more attention than any single state with two mentions in the Top 30 list.

  • American Prairie Reserve in northcentral Montana is featured as "Best of the Wild West."
  • Mary May’s on 100 acres along Cottonwood Creek near Bozeman is ranked "Best Airbnb Property."

Outside's list was composed by its two veteran travel writers, Tim Neville and Stephanie Pearson, who scoured "the globe to uncover surprising new ideas."

The story recommends a range of activities at the American Prairie, from camping to mountain biking, wildlife watching and canoeing the nearby Missouri River.

“We’re glad to have Outside’s spotlight shine on all that we’ve accomplished so far," said Sean Gerrity, president of American Prairie Reserve, in a statement. "We hope it will result in more supporters for our ambitious project.”

Mary May's is touted by the Outside writers for the variety of options available from the door of the small studio that rents for $125 a night, such as skiing, a trip to Yellowstone National Park or hiking.

Birding, fly fishing programs presented this week

 OUTGROUPS – Inland Northwest outdoors groups have drummed up some good stuff for their monthly free programs. Among this week’s offerings are:

• Trans-America touring and local bicycling programs will be discussed by three speakers, 6:30 p.m., Monday, Nov. 10, at Riverview Retirement Center, 2117 E. North Crescent Ave., for Spokane Bicycle Club.

• Climate change impacts on Palouse Praire ecosystems, by Sanford Eigenbrode, professor in the University of Idaho's Plant, Soil and Entomological Sciences program, 7 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 11, at Lutheran Church of the Master, 4800 N. Ramsey Road in Coeur d’Alene, for Coeur d’Alene Audubon.

• Fly Auction, anglers donate hand-tied fly patterns for auction to benefit local fishing education and fisheries conservation programs, 7 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 12, at St. Francis School, 1104 W. Heroy, for Spokane Fly Fishers.

• "Exploring South America — The Bird Continent", by Lucila Castro and Peter Morrison of the Pacific Biodiversity Institute, 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 12, at Riverview Retirement Center, for Spokane Audubon.

Video: mountain biker rocks on this ride

MOUNTAIN BIKING — A new flick, The Ridge, by mountain-biking trick rider Danny Macaskill is one of the most beautifully filmed to date.

Macaskill climbs aboard a mountain bike and returns to his native home of the Isle of Skye in Scotland to take on a death-defying ride along the notorious Cuillin Ridgeline.

The film defines Macaskill's bike as the ultimate all-terrain vehicle.
  

Centennial Trail temporarily rerouted around Sullivan Bridge

TRAILS — The Spokane River Centennial Trail at Sullivan Bridge is being closed during the daytime hours this week because of construction.

The closures started today,  7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and will continue through Friday, Spokane Valley engineers say.

Workers are building a protective trail covering beneath the northbound bridge. 

Signs are redirecting trail users via Indiana Avenue between the old Mission Avenue trailhead and the ramp located west of the bridge.

Bicycle needs a kickstand in the rear

CYCLING — So, why did the bicycle fall over?

Answer: Because it wast two-tired.

Mountain biking skills classes set at Sekani

CYCLING — A basic mountain biking skills class, taught by Evergreen East, is set for 10 a.m. Sept. 27 at Camp Sekani.

An intermediate skills class will follow on Oct. 25.

Details:  Evergreen East.

Outdoor groups revive monthly programs

OUTTEACH  – After a summer hiatus, Inland Northwest outdoors groups are reviving monthly free programs. Among this week’s offerings are:

  • Bicycling Trans-Washington, 6:30 p.m., Monday, at Riverview Retirement Center, 2117 E. North Crescent Ave., for Spokane Bicycle Club.
  • Audubon Adventures, birding and nature activities for kids grades 3-5, by Eula Hickam, 7 p.m., Tuesday, (Sept. 9) at Lutheran Church of the Master, 4800 N. Ramsey Road in Coeur d’Alene, for Coeur d’Alene Audubon.
  • Fishing Local Lakes, by Jeff Voigt, 7 p.m., Wednesday, at St. Francis School, 1104 W. Heroy, for Spokane Fly Fishers.
  • Washington Loons, by Ginger Gumm, 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, at Riverview Retirement Center, for Spokane Audubon.

See map and directions to Riverview Retirement Center auditorium, which is  used by several groups for free monthly programs.

Sunny outlook for Bare As You Dare bike rides

BICYCLING — We're happy to report that none of the hundred or so participants in Missoula's recent Bare As You Dare bike ride was arrested, although some riders may have suffered sunburn — and severe chaffing.

See the Missoulian story and check out the photo gallery — if you dare.

  • Would any group, other than baristas, dare to be bare riding bikes in downtown Spokane?

SpokeFest among bounty of September cycling events

CYCLING — SpokeFest, one of the region's premier bicycling events with courses for every ability level based out of Spokane, is coming up Sept. 7

Register before Sept. 1 to avoid late fees and enter a drawing for a free bike from REI or a night at the Red Lion Inn at the Park..

But SpokeFest is just one of 18 bicycling events scheduled in the region during September, close to home as well as across nearby borders.

Here's a mere sampling:

  • Kootenai River Ride, Sept. 13: Ride 16, 60 or 100 kilometers near Kootenai River out of Bonners Ferry fairgrounds supported by Rotarians, followed by baked potato feed. $20.

    Blazing Saddles Bike Ride, Sept. 20: Combines 20, 40, 62 and 100-mile cycling routes out of Colville, Wash., with the Northwest International Chili Cook-Off and beer garden. Sponsored by Rotary Club. $60 (kids under 10 free), includes t-shirt and entry to chili festival.

    Valleyfest Trail Ride, Sept. 21: Family bike tour on the Centennial Trail starting at noon with other festivities at Mirabeau Point Park. Choice of 6.8-, 8.8- and 15.6-mile routes. $10 or $5 for kids under 11.

    Coeur d’Fondo, Sept. 27: The 3rd annual Gran Fondo style timed event begins and ens in Coeur d’Alene with competitive and non-competitive options. Choice of five distances: 15, 37, 47, 85 or 108 miles.

Check out the details in The Spokesman-Review's 2014 Northwest Bicycling Events Calendar for rides within 300 miles of Spokane.

Lentil Festival runs out of gas

BICYCLING — I'm getting this second hand, but some Spokane bicyclists who traveled to Pullman for the organized bike tour associated with the annual Lentil Festival came home, shall we say, deflated.

They said they were all geared up for a lentil burger to restore their energy after the ride, but there wasn't a lentil burger available from any of the vendors… just lentil ice cream.

Can that be true?

Does a cyclist have to pedal away from the lentil fields all the way to Boulder, Colo., Eugene, Oreg. — or Costco — to get a good lentil burger fix?

Adventure Cycling releases list of bike tours, learning experiences

CYCLING — If you're dreaming up a plan for a bicycle tour in 2015, check out the recently released list of 2015 early, epic, and educational tours from Adventure Cycling.

The Missoula-based bike touring association has a delicious schedule of group tours you can join as well — as well as educational sessions that teach riding/touring/camping skills for cyclists.

When I enrolled to be a leader for Bikecentennial TransAmerica bicycle tours in 1976, I took the group's leadership training course. (Bikecentennial later became Adventure Cycling).  That four-day course saved me months of trial and error learning and gave me skill set and confidence to make that summer a success that goes down as one of my most memorable adventures.

When my oldest daughter started planning a major bike tour, I suggested she enroll in one of the Adventure Cycling courses. She traveled to Denver for the course and she'd agree that the sessions such as on-the-road bike repair, camp cooking and logistics plus social and riding skills are worth the investment. 

Here's what Adventure Cycling is offering in 2015:

Educational Courses

If you're interested in joining a group for a bicycling trip, consider this wide range of options:

Epic Tours

Early Self Contained and Inn to Inn Tours

Early Fully Supported and Van Supported Tours

Whitefish mountain bike route a ‘model’ flow trail

CYCLING — A year after its completion, Whitefish Mountain Resort’s Kashmir Trail has been named a model “Flow Trail” by the International Mountain Biking Association.  The route is among 30 miles of downhill and cross-country trails at the Whitefish Bike Park.

Once a year, IMBA recognizes outstanding mountain bike trails and locations with the IMBA Model Trail awards which encompass Epics, Ride Centers, Flow Trails and Community Bike Parks.

Kashmir is one of four Flow Trails recognized this year. Others included trails in Karnten, Austria, Sun Valley, Idaho and the Czech Republic.

The winners were announced last week and will be recognized at the 2014 IMBA World Summit Aug. 20-21 in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Whitefish Mountain Resort’s Events and Recreation Manager, Josh Knight will attend and accept the award.

“It’s an honor to see Kashmir be recognized by IMBA," said Josh Knight, the resort’s events and recreation manager. "As one of the first resorts in the west to provide lift-served mountain biking starting with the Summit Trail in 1996, it speaks volumes about the direction of the sport and the industry and what riders want.

“Kashmir has received many compliments over the past year from both experienced and intermediate riders progressing to the next level. Everyone involved in building the trail from our trail crew to Terraflow Trails was very proud of its creation. This award will help Whitefish continue to build on its reputation as a bicycling destination.” 

An IMBA media release said, “These are the trails worth traveling to; the best places to introduce someone to the sport we all love and are the facilities builders and advocates should look to for inspiration.”

Riders will have the opportunity to compete on Kashmir in two events set for September:

  • The Double Dip Downhill, Sept. 6-7 and will feature a course on Kashmir for Saturday’s race day.
  • Ender Enduro, Sept. 13, Whitefish Bike Park’s second enduro race of the season.

The Whitefish Bike Park lift-served downhill and cross-country trails are open daily mid-June to Labor Day and Friday-Sunday in September.

Kashmir Trail info:

  • Level - Black Diamond
  • Length - 2.54 Miles
  • Elevation Loss – 1,684 Vertical Feet
  • Description - The area's backbone flow trail running along the west ridge of the mountain toward the lower pod of downhill trails. It intersects with the Summit Trail six times so you can start small and work your way up to more advanced sections of trail.

 

Huge variety of bicycling events coming up

CYCLING — Whether you want to stay close to Spokane or travel across borders to new terrain, August and September offer a huge assortment of organized bicycling events to pique your interest in pedaling.

Of note coming up:

  • Tour de Lentil metric century, Aug. 23: has 50K and 100K courses with pit stops through rolling Palouse hills based out of Pullman. Post ride BBQ. Email: cycling@wsu.edu. About $35.
  • Great Northwest Fall Tour , Aug. 31: Ride 15, 30, 50 or 85-mile routes beginning at Newport City Park. Benefits Newport/Priest River Rotary Club. $30 ($75 per family).

Check out the details in my 2014 Northwest Bicycling Events Calendar for rides within 300 miles of Spokane.

Centennial Trail moves towards completion

Good news from the City: A new section of the Centennial Trail has been completed along Summit Boulevard. I can't think of a better way to celebrate the 25th birthday of this local treasure than closing the gap at Mile 25 which extends from Bridge Avenue and Summit Boulevard to the intersection of Boone Avenue and Summit Boulevard. This will provide much better connectivity as it continues west from the new section installed by Kendall Yards last year.

The multi-use, 12 ft.-wide asphalt section features a new lookout offering views of the Spokane River below. Work on the .6 mile section began March 31 and is part of the federally funded Centennial Trail Gap Project. The project aims to complete gaps in the trail which inhibit the cohesiveness of travel for the Centennial Trail’s 2.4 million users each year.

(Note: This image was taken in November 2013 when the City Council voted to approve construction.)

SRTC’s bike map goes interactive

The Spokane Regional Transportation Council (SRTC) just upped the bike map game for us. Instead of printing hardcopy maps, they created an interactive online map, which can be taken anywhere, as long as you have a mobile device.

 ​

The 2014 Spokane Regional Bike Map will help cyclists navigate Spokane's biking network, made up of bike lanes, pathways, recreational trails, and roadways. You can get the 2014 bike map on HERE. The map will let users zoom in to a neighborhood to find the best bicycling options in that area to get to work or just to ride for fun. You can even look for bike routes with the least amount of traffic and our local landmark trails are also included. As new segments are completed, they will be added to the SRTC bike map. Enjoy!

 

Sign-up for SpokeFest now for chance to win bike

BICYCLING — The annual SpokeFest event, with bike rides and activities for the whole family based out of Spokane's Riverfront Park and into Riverside State Park, isn't until Sept. 7.

But if you register before Monday, June 30, your name will be entered in drawing for an adult bicycle from REI.

  • SpokeFest is well represented on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for fun facts, community stories and tips on improving your ride!   

Mountain biking skills classes offered at Beacon Hill

CYCLING — 

Mountain bike skills taught

CYCLING – Mountain bike skills classes with certified coaches are being offered this summer at Camp Sekani by Evergreeneast.org.

Classes cover the fundamentals of balance, body positions, cornering, switch backs, obstacles and more.

  • The first class is for Intermediates, 5 p.m. Wednesday.
  • The Women’s Basic class is 6 p.m. July 9
  • A freeride class, July 21, covers advance wheel lifts, drops and more.

Pre-register: http://www.evergreeneast.org/skillsclasses/

Questions? kyle@evergreeneast.org.

Centennial Trail nets $30,000 from Spokane Bike Swap

TRAILS — The numbers are in for the third annual Spokane Bike Swap and the checks are written — including a $30,000 boost for the Friends of the Centennial Trail.

“Spokane Bike Swap has become the largest supporter of our Trail Builder’s Fund,” said Loreen McFaul, the friends group's executive director. Proceeds from the April 12-13 Bike Swap are designated for expansion of the popular trail along the Spokane River, completion and maintenance, she said.
 
"Our funding priorities include advocating for funding and construction plans for the Mission Street gap, supporting the construction of two Trail extensions – from Bridge to Boone Avenue and from Sontag Park to the Nine Mile Recreation Area at Lake Spokane, finalizing a gap completion plan for Argonne Road, improving directional and safety signs on the Trail and keeping printed maps, our Google map and Trail posters updated as gaps are completed.”
 
More than 3,000 people attended the 2014 Spokane Bike Swap on at the Spokane County Fair & Expo Center, which featured 53 exhibitors and nearly 750 used bikes registered to sell.
 
“We tripled the amount of used bikes sold from our first year in the bike corral, selling 549 bikes,” said LeAnn Yamamoto, swap event director. To boost cycling safety, 173 children age 14 and younger who bought a bike in the bike corral received a free Bell helmet and helmet fitting, she said.

Mountain bikers conquer 24-Hour course mostly unscathed

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BICYCLING — Riverside State Park was bustling with bicycles over the holiday weekend for the annual 24 Hours Round the Clock Mountain Bike Race. The event attracted 720 riders including 123 teams and 34 solos, plus a big crowd of supporters camped out for the Saturday-Sunday event.

Most of the more than riders survived fairly unscathed.

S-R photographer Jesse Tinsley has this nice, short video that offers a flavor of the event.

But he didn't include one key ingredient:  blood

Frank Johnson bit the dust, literally, on his first lap in the team event.   He wasn't the only one that's sporting some scabs and raspberries today. But like most of them, Johnson kept riding.

"Our six-man team took third in the 10-man team category," he said. "I got a medal, a bottle of wine and a black eye!"

He gets a big high five for courage.  

Say's his daughter, Megan, on Facebook:

"Go dad! Now when people ask how you got that black eye you can simply say 'by being a bad ass.'"

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. 

 

If you do one thing this morning, do this…

Why am I up so early? It's time to get the party started for Bike To Work Week with the traditional Breakfast Kick-Off! Head down to Riverfront Park from 7am-9am. There will be lots of pancakes, coffee, and BIKES. 

Image courtesy of Hank Greer from Cycling Spokane.

See you there!

Enjoy a cold one to boost the Centennial Trail

TRAILS — Time to drink a local brew and boost our favorite trail along the Spokane River.

The Friends of the Centennial Trail is the charity of the month of May at the No-Li Brewhouse, 1003 E. Trent Ave. in Spokane.

For every Taster Tray (six 4-oz beer samples) a No-Li guest purchases, you will receive one token. The token can be used for $2 off merchandise at the pub, or the guest can choose to put the token in the Charity of the Month box up at the bar. 

At the end of the month, $2 for every token will be donated to Friends of the Centennial Trail!

Rider takes bicycling to incredible heights

BICYCLING — So you think you know how to ride a bicycle?  Think again.

Be sure to watch this Martyn Ashton film to the end to see some of what it takes to be this good.

  • Meanwhile, you don't have to be this good to partake in Spokane's Bike to Work Week. Check out the website with details. The kickoff free breakfast is tomorrow morning, May 12, at Riverfront Park.

North Cascades Highway almost cleared, but for now it’s for bikes

BICYCLING — Bicyclsts are the first to get access to bare pavement on the North Cascades Highway west of Winthrop each spring as snow plows clear Highway 20 for the summer season.

The road crews are over Washington Pass and the road could be cleared in days. But over the weekend, cyclists were having a ball, reports the Methow Valley Sport Trails Association.

Neighbors plan South Hill Bluff cleanup Saturday

TRAILS — The Friends of the Bluff are coordinating a trash cleanup day along the popular South Hill Bluff trails below High Drive on Saturday, May 3, from 9 a.m.-noon.

Groups will stage at the dirt parking area at 57th and Hatch.

Gloves, water, wheel barrows, and dollies along with tie down ropes will be crucial items needed for the day. 

"If you have been in the down slope area recently you might have noticed growing piles of metal, tires, and assorted trash," said John Schram, a friends group board member and cleanup coordinator. He invited trail users to pick up and add trash to these piles, which will be picked up by the cleanup crews.

Info: Diana Roberts, 477-2167

Volunteers signing up to “unveil” the Centennial Trail

VOLUNTEER — More than 300 volunteers are signed up for the annual Unveil the Trail clean-up Friday, Saturday and Sunday (April 25-27)  to prepare the 37.5-mile Centennial Trail for it's busiest season

Friends of the Centennial Trail is working with 31 local businesses and non-profits to activate their ranks for picking up litter, pulling weeds, pruning shrubs and giving the Trail a clean sweep from the Washington/Idaho state line to Nine Mile Falls. 

The work is done in conjunction with Earth Day

“Spring cleaning work by Unveil the Trail volunteers gets the Centennial Trail ready for the 2.4 million users who will enjoy this incredible pathway this year," said Loreen McFaul, the friends group executive director. 

Trail rules, etiquette and safety information is posted on the 19 trailhead posters spanning the Trail, on printed maps sold by the Friends and on their website

“The four biggest areas of concern by Trail users are unleashed dogs, dog deposits left on/ near the Trail, bicyclists traveling faster than the 15 mph speed limit and parked vehicle break-ins at trailheads,” McFaul said.   

Users encountering potentially dangerous issues are encouraged to take photos, call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233 and Washington State Parks at (509) 465-5064.