Feb. 23, 2012 — “Chilly Hilly should live up to its reputation on Sunday”
This Sunday's Chilly Hilly marks the traditional launch of the recreational bike ride season in the Pacific Northwest.
Presented by the Cascade Bicycle Club, the 33-mile bike loop around Bainbridge Island isn't that long compared to most organized bike rides.
It becomes more of a challenge, however, when you factor in the 2,875 feet of elevation gain over a dozen steep climbs, the possibility of cold and wet weather and the fact that this is the first time some riders have had their bicycles out of the garage in several months.
This Sunday's weather on Bainbridge Island certainly aims to damage Chilly Hilly's reputation as an ordeal to be survived. Weather Underground calls for partly cloudy weather with highs of 54, and Accuweather forecasts partly sunny with highs of 55.
Of course, that forecast could change for the worst in 5 days so the 3,000-some bicyclists will have an epically wet or cold bike ride that's worth bragging about.
[Seattle Times quotes Cascade events coordinator David Douglas saying that he expects 5,000 riders to show up.]
Today, Wednesday, is the final day for Chilly Hilly pre-registration. If you really want to wait, the day-of-ride registration is available across from the Colman Ferry Terminal on Alaskan Way or the Bainbridge Island Bike Shop in Winslow.
Good luck to everyone on the ride and stay safe.
To reduce bike congestion on Bainbridge Island roads, Cascade will endeavor to release cyclists from the ferries in waves — fastest first (18 mph and above), then medium ( 13-17 mph), then the slowest groups.
They're also recommending singe-file riding and to never use the oncoming lane.
Remember that steep climbs also mean steep downhills; tighten up those brakes if they're loose or replace badly worn brakes pads.
Course marshals are usually out to warn about particularly gnarly turns at the bottom of downhills. And please pass to the left of slower bike riders.
Check out the Washington Bicycle Ride Calendar for more recreational rides in 2010.
Price is $5 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and free from 1 – 3 p.m.; that's because all the good stuff is gone by 1.