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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sports >  Outdoors

Bike season gets rolling early

A mountain biker gets pointers from an Evergreen East instructor.
A mountain biker gets pointers from an Evergreen East instructor.

The 2015 bicycling season is on a roll.

The lack of winter snow allowed cyclists to get an early start to hardening their legs and bums for a regional slate of organized recreational rides and races that continues to grow.

The Double Down Hoe Down freeride mountain biking event delivered the usual thrills and a little blood last weakened at Beacon Hill-Camp Sekani Trails and local clubs have started weekly evening rides after the boost afforded by Daylight Savings Time.

The Spokane Bike Swap is set for April 11-12 at Spokane County Fair and Expo Center to help cyclists buy or sell bikes on consignment as needed to upgrade or keep the right wheels underneath them.

The Bike Swap is especially fitting for families trying to keep fast-growing kids in the saddle. Kids who buy used bikes get free helmets while supplies last.

The swap also features free clinics on bicycle commuting, cycling laws, mountain biking basics and bike maintenance.

The Bike Swap is a money-saver for cyclists and a fundraiser for the Spokane River Centennial Trail. Find info at spokanebikeswap.com.

Cycling-related clinics are regularly offered by stores, such as REI, but the most comprehensive instructional offerings this year are the mountain biking skills classes offered at Camp Sekani.

Evergreen East mountain biking classes include sessions on fundamentals, intermediate riding and freeriding skills. Some of the classes are for women only.

Registration for the classes is through Spokane Parks and Recreation. Info: evergreeneast.org.

Organized bicycle riding events start to fill the calendar throughout the Northwest starting this month.

The Lilac Century and Family Bike Ride set for April 26 is the first big organized ride of the season in the Spokane area. Hundreds of riders will chose from routes of 15, 25, 50, 66 or 100 miles starting at Spokane Falls Community College.

The Lilac Century is sponsored by Aurora Northwest Rotary.

During many of the organized rides that will follow through summer and into fall, service groups or charities will offer ride support, which includes food stops and post-ride meals and activities in exchange for rider fees used for good causes ranging from housing the homeless to finding cures for diseases.

A cyclist rarely has a week go by without an organized riding opportunity within a few hours from Spokane.

More than 100 organized riding events have been compiled in the 2015 Northwest Bicycling Events Calendar at spokesman.com/outdoors. The listings have convenient hot links to more information and event registration.

Bicyclists can take their time planning most of their 2015 cycling season, with help from The Spokesman-Review’s calendar.

But some events are so notoriously popular, they have lotteries or meet quotas months in advance for limited numbers of slots.

STOKR , the Scenic Tour of the Kootenai River on May 9-10 out of Libby, Montana, sold out its 450 openings in a lottery held at the first of March.

STP , the Seattle to Portland Bicycle Classic on July 11-12, sold out the 10,000-rider limit by March 8. However, organizers will post information about possible openings from refunded entries starting June 1.

RATPOD , the Ride Around the Pioneers in One Day on June 27 near Dillon, Montana, is a popular 130-mile fundraising ride that still had openings in its 650-rider quota this week.

Cycle Oregon , a popular and lavishly supported camping ride, Sept. 12-19, in the Hells Canyon region of northeastern Oregon this year, still has openings.

WaCanId Ride , Sept. 14-19, also has openings for the six-day, 350-mile international on paved roads encircling the Selkirk Mountains of Washington, Canada and Idaho, sponsored seven Rotary Clubs on both sides of the U.S.-Canada border.

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