More than 10,000 human-powered propulsion fanatics took off from Seattle this morning for a one- or two-day bike ride to Portland — 206 miles away.The 36th annual Seattle to Portland (STP) bicycle classic presented by the Cascade Bicycle Club is the largest bike ride in the Pacific Northwest. Last year it drew participants from 45 states, although more than 9 out of 10 were from Washington state. One in four were women.
The growing popularity of bicycling can be gauged by interest in the STP. When I moved here about 15 years ago, I waited until a month before the event to sign up. This year, reservations filled up in February.
As you can see from these photos I took this morning, the cyclists come in all shapes and sizes riding all styles of bicycles. Among them is Jerry Baker, who has ridden every STP since it began in 1979. The 73-year-old was interviewed recently on KUOW.Earlier in the week, they were concerned about the record-breaking sunny, hot weather that had scorched the region for the latter half of June. But forecasters were correct in predicting cooler weather for the weekend ride. The cyclists starting leaving the University of Washington staging area at dawn under cloudy skies and temperatures in the 60s. The highs today and Sunday will remain in the 70s, with even a chance of showers on Sunday.
Whether they ride straight through today, or spend the night in Chehalis, Centralia or other midway stops, let’s hope they all arrive safely at the Lloyd Center Mall in Portland.