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    Ride Idaho

    By Angela Watcher

    For those longing to experience Idaho’s scenic highways and byways from the saddle of a road bike, Ride Idaho is the place to be. This seven-day, fully supported bicycle tour features different regions of the Gem State each August, with this year’s region being the Panhandle.

    On January 16 this year’s ride was revealed at a kickoff party hosted by a local pub in downtown Boise. With only 350 spots available to cyclists, the online registration filled up quickly and the waiting list began. Many riders mark their calendar for this annual event and return year after year to enjoy Idaho’s nostalgic history, natural beauty and local hospitality.

    “Each year, as we move our route around the state, we try to showcase the history and culture of the region,” says Ride Idaho director, Earl Grief. “We include special attractions that may only be found in rural areas. Some of this year’s highlights include, The Bird Aviation and Invention Museum in Sagle, The Hiawatha Trail at
    Lookout Pass, the Cataldo Mission, and the infamous Trails of the Coeur d’Alene.”
    “For many of us, we keep coming back because of the amazing people, the experience itself and, of course, the beauty that each ride offers,” commented one rider at the event’s launch party.

    And what an experience it will be. With daily rides ranging from 61 – 87 miles the ride will loop Coeur d’Alene, Sandpoint, Thompson Falls, Wallace, Chatcolet and back to Coeur d’Alene for a total of 425 miles ridden and an elevation gain of
    15,570 feet.

    Thankfully, the ride is fully supported by a volunteer staff and offers road support, luggage transportation, bike mechanics and generously stocked rest stops, making each day an epic adventure rather than a grueling chore.

    In addition to the road support offered by the event, Ride Idaho is also a fully supported camping adventure as well. Riders can supply their own gear or have it provided by the event, and camping locations are outfitted with full catering, shower trucks and restrooms, and even an onsite massage service. While some riders opt to arrange their own accommodations in nearby motels, the real heart of the event is found in the campgrounds at the end of each day’s ride.

    Whether you’re a first time rider or a seasoned veteran, this year’s ride promises to be an event to remember. To learn more about the event, its route, rider services and rules of the road, visit the Ride Idaho website at http://www.rideidaho.org. And, while this year’s ride is full, there are plenty of volunteer opportunities still available for those wanting to participate in the fun.

    “If you enjoy riding a bike and making new friends, put Ride Idaho on your to-do list!” says Grief. And be sure to check back early in 2014 to see where the next year’s ride will take Idaho cyclists.

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