Seattle to Portland Bicycle Classic
The Seattle to Portland Bicycle Classic, or STP, is an annual one or two-day supported bicycle ride from Seattle, Washington to Portland, Oregon in the United States. The STP "is considered one of the 10 biggest recreational bicycle rides in the country, drawing riders from across the nation and from other nations", and has been operating since 1979. The ride is organized by the Cascade Bicycle Club. It is approximately 202 miles (325 km) in length. Most riders complete the distance in two days; however, about 10% complete the ride in one day.
The ride takes place on the second or third weekend in July mostly on country roads, avoiding the direct freeway (U.S. Interstate 5) route between the cities. The Cascade Bicycle Club describes the 2006 route as "pretty flat with the “Big Hill” coming at the 45-mile mark. It’s a mile long with about a 7 percent grade. ... The majority of the ride is on beautiful, rolling rural roads". In 2005 approximately 30 miles (48 km) of the 202 miles (325 km) were considered uphill with a combined ascent of approximately 2,000 feet (600 m).
The halfway point is near the towns of Centralia and Chehalis in Washington. For two-day riders, the hotels and guesthouses in the area cannot accommodate the thousands of cyclists, so schools, churches and other charitable organizations provide indoor spaces for riders to sleep, and food for a fee. Some riders also arrange to camp in parks or fields near the halfway point.
The ride is supported, meaning that food is provided at stops approximately every 25 miles (40 km) along the route. In 2004 volunteers handed out "more than 11,000 bananas, 4 tons of watermelon, 13,000 bagels and 18,000 sandwiches". There is some mechanical support. The Cascade Bicycle Club also arranges transportation for riders to Seattle the day before as well as a return trip to Seattle after the ride.
The first STP took place in 1979 and was a race. The ride has taken place every year since except in 1980 when it was canceled because of the eruption of Mount St. Helens. An alternative ride from Seattle to Vancouver, British Columbia was arranged that year. This new ride became the annual Ride from Seattle to Vancouver, BC and Party (RSVP). The following year Cascade Bicycle Club changed the event from a race to "recreational ride". Jerry Baker from Seattle was the winner of the first STP race. Baker and Paul Wantzelius from Maple Valley, Washington are the only people who have ridden every STP. Despite being a cycling event people have taken part on unicycles, inline skates and two skateboarders have done it using a technique known as long distance skateboard pumping.
Participation reached a peak in 1991 when the limit of 10,000 riders took part. In recent years the Cascade Bicycle Club has imposed a limit on the number of participants. The limit was 9,000 in 2007.
The 2010 event sold out 10,000 slots on April 26, 2010. The 32nd annual Group Health Seattle to Portland Bicycle Classic was held on July 9 and July 10, 2011 and sold out the 10,000 spots in advance.
- Johnston, Greg (1999-02-18). "Miles to go before they sleep: Bikers pick a ride and go". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved 2006-05-21.
- Horowitz, Joanna (2004-07-16). "Bike event rides into 25th year". The Seattle Times. Retrieved 2006-05-21.
- "Group Health Seattle to Portland Bicycle Classic: Frequently Asked Question". Cascade Bicycle Club. Retrieved 2006-05-21.
- "Group Health Seattle to Portland Bicycle Classic: Ride Information & Description". Cascade Bicycle Club. Retrieved 2006-05-21.
- Bain, Lara (2005-07-09). "Fueling up for Seattle-to-Portland bicycle classic". The Seattle Times. Retrieved 2006-05-21.
- "About the Ride From Seattle To Vancouver, BC & Party: History". Cascade Bicycle Club. Retrieved 2006-05-21.
- Mike Lewis; Kristen Millares Bolt (2007-07-15). "Suspect arrested in STP biking marathon collision". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved 2007-07-16.
- Nokkentved, N.S. (2002-07-09). "Teen will ride unicycle in STP". The Olympian.
- Group Health Seattle to Portland Bicycle Classic Official site