Cycling with friends is fun and motivating. Grabbing your friends to cycle with crowds of strangers who become roadie compadres is even more fun! Organized road touring rides are a great for lots of reasons:
– new riders benefit from encouragement, motivation, and ride support with hydration, fuel, & route planning, and sometimes even help with training from the ride organizer, without the added stress of training for a competition.
– seasoned riders benefit from the same, and also enjoy a renewed appreciation and excitement for their sport. Many seasoned riders choose the same rides each year to self-measure how their performance has gained from year to year, in addition to adding on new challenges of new rides.
– no matter your type of riding, having a ride on your calendar keeps you on track with your fitness and training goals.
– not all rides are about you. Some on this list require fundraising in a addition to the entry fee. Choosing to do a benefit ride elevates your group ride to a higher purpose. No better motivator to get to the finish than to remind yourself you’re doing it for someone else who needs your help (and so you can answer “great!” when all your donors ask you how your ride went).
Here are some rides to put on your calendar, at least one a month from now through October:
Sunday, February 24, 2013: Chilly Hilly! For many Northwesterners, this is the ride that kicks our butts into action for the riding season ahead.
Route: 33 miles up and down and around Bainbridge Island. Starts with a ferry ride from downtown Seattle, ends with a chili feed!
Saturday, March 16, 2013: The McClinchy Mile, sponsored by B.I.K.E.S. of Snohomish County
Routes: 34, 48, 52, & 100 miles, from Arlington. ALSO: 8 mile escorted family ride! Very pretty ride through river valleys. Short loop is mostly reasonably flat and mostly low-traffic and takes you from Arlington to Stanwood & back. Combine the more challenging 48 mile Granite Falls loop with the 52 mile Stanwood loop for an even 100 miles.
Sunday, April 14, 2013: The Daffodil Classic, with yummy Strawberry Shortcake at the finish!
Routes: 40, 60, and 100 mile loops through the pretty and rural Orting valley and surrounding rolling hills. ALSO: a paved-trail, very family friendly out-and-back of 1- 30 miles.
Saturday, April 20, 2013: The Tulip Pedal by Group Health/Skagit County Medic One for Safe Kids of Skagit County
Routes: The 20, 40, and 60 mile routes begin and end in charming LaConnor, near Washington’s famous and oh-so-pretty tulip fields. Tip: much of the route is pretty flat, but the country roads can be “sticky” and sometimes the wind off the bays across the valley can be fierce, so be sure to add some hills or leg strength training to your preparation.
Sunday, April 21, 2013: Cherry of a Ride, for a view of the Columbia River Gorge not seen from the freeway.
Routes: 30, 48, 60, 80, and 100 miles from The Dalles, then meander through blossoming cherry orchards and wheat fields of rural Wasco county. Choose the 60, 80, or 100 mile routes for that special view of the gorge.
Sunday, April 28, 2013: Lilac Century and Family Fun Ride from Spokane
Routes: 15 and 25 mile family-friendly routes primarily on the Spokane Centennial trail, as well as 50, 66, and 100 mile lengths. ALSO: for triathletes-in-training, a “brick” bike/run race-pace transition from a secure bike corral into a short 5K loop.
http://clubrunner.ca/portal/Home.aspx?accountid=1832 (Scroll down through Rotary blog)
Saturday, May 4, 2013: Streets & Beets, benefiting Alley Cat Acres Urban Farming Collective
Routes: 40-60 miles highlighting farming collectives in the greater Seattle area. This is a small fundraising ride – only 150 riders! Take advantage of free training rides to help you get ready. Rest stops with nibbles every 10-12 miles, but pack your own lunch then enjoy the end-of-ride party.
Saturday, May 4, 2013: RACC (Ride Around Clark County), from Vancouver, WA
Routes: 18, 34, 65, and 100 mile loops. Rolling hills and lovely, springtime countryside.
Sunday, May 5, 2013: May Day Metric, around the South Sound region from Federal Way. Pie at the finish!
Routes: 50, 72, & 104 (un-metric) miles. Check out the FAQ page of this ride: hills are characterized as “rolling, small, moderate, and ‘character building.'” Mentally prep for “Phil’s Hill” near the end!
Saturday, May 11, 2013: Oregon Cycling Challenge, something for everyone! Part of the RAMM Challenge.
Routes: 30 and 60 mile rides, a 120 mile Gran Fondo, PLUS 200 and 400 mile endurance races. Rides showcase the beautiful Willamette Valley and the Coast Range (endurance racers will also ride the Oregon coast from Newport to Tillamook).
Saturday, May 11, 2013: Skagit Spring Classic, from Burlington, a.k.a. “The Cookie Ride”
Routes: 25, 45, 65, and 100 miles. “Splendid rural forest and marine views” in Skagit and Whatcom counties. Homemade cookies at well-stocked rest stops, all-you-can-eat pasta at finish. Longer-distance riders enjoy Chuckanut Drive.
Saturday, May 11, 2013: Group Health Inland Empire Century
Routes: 25, 50, 75, and 100 miles. Skirt the Yakima and Columbia rivers, past vineyards, fields, and orchards, and ride the Horse Heaven Hills.
Saturday, May 11, 2013: Seattle Tour de Cure, benefiting the American Diabetes Association
Routes: a family-friendly 15 miles, and more hilly 25, 45, 70, and 100 miles. Starts at Marymoor Park and heads up to Lake Stevens/Monroe area.
Saturday, May 18, 2013: Reach the Beach, benefiting the American Lung Association in Oregon
Routes: 25 (from Grand Ronde), 55 (from Amity), 80 (from Newberg), and 100 miles (from Portland/Beaverton). All routes end in Pacific City with a hearty beachside feast. This beautiful, well-supported fundraising ride is one of my favorites!
Sunday, June 2, 2013: Peninsula Metric, enjoying the challenges of the Kitsap Peninsula
Routes: 50K (31 miles), 70K (44 miles), 100K (62 miles), or 100 miles. Enjoy panoramic water views, rural countryside, and lots of rolling hills. Choose starts from either picturesque Gig Harbor or the Southworth Ferry Terminal.
Saturday, June 8, 2013: Flying Wheels Summer Century, Washington state’s largest century ride
Routes: starting at Redmond’s Marymoor Park for 25, 45, 65, & 100 miles through lovely rural areas. You can break for an ice cream cone in charming Snohomish! The 25 mile route goes around Lake Sammamish and into Bellevue neighborhoods and is great for families.
Saturday, June 29, 2013: World Bicycle Relief Red-Bell 100, from Redmond to Bellingham benefiting World Bicycle Relief in Africa & local kids programs
Route: 100 miles. Includes a big climb in Woodinville and riding up Chuckanut Drive. This is a fairly new fundraising event with great support every 20 miles, and a big BBQ at the Bellingham finish.
Saturday and Sunday, July 13 – 14, 2013: Group Health Seattle to Portland Bicycle Classic, a.k.a. STP, a Northwest rite of passage
Route: 200+ miles, over two 100-mile days or in one 200-mile day. Big, festive half-way and finish area. Very well supported, LOTS of riders (caps out at 10,000 by around late February).
Saturday and Sunday, August 10 – 11, 2013: Obliteride! Ride to End Cancer benefiting Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Routes: starting at Seattle’s Magnuson park, one-day 20, 50, 100 miles, & two-day 180 miles in the greater Seattle/Tacoma area. This is a brand new fundraising event with a kick-off party the night before.
Saturday, June 29, 2013: Mt. Adams Country Bicycle Tour, from Trout Lake
Routes: 11.5 mile Family ride, 51 mile valley loop, 54 mile forest loop, and combining the valley and the forest gets you a 105 mile “infinity” loop. The Family ride is on super low-traffic roads, and for all lengths the scenery in the area is at times overwhelmingly beautiful. TIP: For the 50+ lengths be prepared for long climbs.
Friday and Saturday, August 16 – 17, 2013: RSVP 1 (sold out)
– OR –
Saturday and Sunday, August 17 – 18, 2013: RSVP 2
RSVP: Ride from Seattle to Vancouver (BC) then Party!
Route: 188 miles over two days, exactly the same whether you’re signed up for the Friday or Saturday start. Ride great back roads with a few long climbs and end up in downtown Vancouver to enjoy a BBQ, no-host bar, and music. This one usually sells out. Riders joke that this one is more challenging than STP since you’re heading “up” the map (to the north.)
Saturday and Sunday, August 24 – 24, 2013: RAPSody, Ride Around Puget Sound – Sold out for this year, put it on your radar for 2014!
Route: two-day 170 mile somewhat challenging loop around the sound includes a ride across the Tacoma Narrows bridge. Known for good food, good views, and good logistics.
Sunday, August 25, 2013: Bainbridge Island Kiwanis Summer Challenge – almost twice the hills as the Chilly Hilly!
Routes: 16 mile Family Challenge, 34 mile Summer Challenge (about the same as February’s Chilly Hilly), and 62 mile Climber’s Challenge. The “Not So Chilly but Just As Hilly” ride!
Sunday, September 1, 2013: Great Northwest Fall Tour
Routes: 15, 30, 50, and 85 miles. From Newport, WA, on the Washington/Idaho border, enjoy the scenic roads of Pend Oreille county.
Saturday and Sunday, September 7 – 8, 2013: Bike MS, benefiting the Multiple Sclerosis Society Greater Northwest Chapter
Routes: 22-97 mile loops, up to about 150 miles over one day or two, from Mt. Vernon. No matter the length, you will love this ride. Super well supported with so much love from the MS Society. Very festive and fun, includes a great ride across Deception Pass, around Fidalgo Bay, and more. Rider village with campground. Join my team, Happy GO Lucky, when you sign up!
Saturday, September 14, 2013: Ride Around The Sound, benefiting the American Lung Association (ALA) in Washington
Routes: 45, 75, 88, and 100 miles, PLUS a 12 mile Family Ride. Over half the route boasts views of Puget Sound, and a ferry ride brings you back to the finish line party. Being an asthmatic myself, I have a soft spot for ALA rides.
Sunday, September 15, 2013: Chuckanut Century
Routes: 25, 38, 50, 62, 100, and double metric of 124 miles. Northwest cyclists can’t seem to get enough of Chuckanut drive! Enjoy views of Bellingham, Samish, and Padilla bays.
Saturday, September 21, 2013: Ride the ROC: Ride Okanogan County/Riverside-Omak-Conconully
Routes: choose from two different 50 mile loops, or combine loops for 100 miles. Omak is home of the world famous Omak Stampede Rodeo, and as you ride through this rugged country you can just imagine the cowboys patrolling on their horses.
Saturday, September 21, 2013: Bridges to Breakers, from Vancouver, WA to Gearhart at the coast
Routes: at this time only the 100 mile route was listed (check their website for updates). If you loved Reach the Beach in the spring, you’ll probably love the similar challenge of this autumn ride.
Saturday, September 21, 2013: Ride the Rogue, from the town of Rogue River, Oregon
Routes: 25, 45, 65 (metric century), and 100 miles. Gorgeous southern Oregon views, from Table Rocks, to vineyards, rivers, and valleys.
Sunday, September 22, 2013: Tour de Victoria, because, honestly, we love an excuse to have a weekend in Victoria, B.C.
Routes: 50 km (31 miles), 100 km (62 miles), and 140 km (86 miles). Organized by Canada’s Giro de Italia winner, Ryder Hesjedal, showcasing some of his favorite training routes around greater Victoria.
Sunday, September 29, 2013: Kitsap Color Classic
Routes: 25, 36, 55, and 64 mile loops. Starts either in Kingston or in Edmonds, includes ferry ride. Prepare for rolling and bigger hills as you ride around the peninsula.
Saturday, October 5, 2013: Ellensburg Manastash Metric Drier Ride
Routes: 50 km (31 miles) and 100 km (61 miles). Well supported ride, rest stops at historic sites, and very high chance of SUN! Plus, delicious BBQ at the end of the ride.
NOTE: This list is by no means exhaustive. Check out some of the resources below for even more non-competitive road touring rides, multi-day tours, randonneur (timed) events, road racing events, mountain bike rides and races, and cyclocross events.