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375-0006 THE EDGE RESTAURANT AND HAMILTON WINE & LIQUOR 140 BITTERROOT PLAZA DR, HAMILTON, MT.
Your Source for Sales, Repair and Friendly Service Proudly Serving the Bitterroot Valley
399 McCarthy Loop, Hamilton (1 mile south of Skalkaho Highway)
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In this issue
Western Montana and bicycle travel.................5 Bike to Barns........................................................8 Pedal to “Where Montana Began”..................10 Missoula to Lolo trail progress report..............11 Ravalli County Fairgrounds...............................12 Why cyclists love downtown Hamilton............13 What cyclists want.............................................16 Map of valley breweries.............................. 18-19 Cycling economy...............................................20 Adventure Cycling’s 40th anniversary..............23 Mountain biking trails in the Bitterroot............25 Fat bikes.............................................................29 New bicycle laws................................................31 Cycling events in the Bitterroot Valley.............32
bitterroot may 2015
in partnership with
Cycling the Bitterroot is published by the Ravalli Republic & Missoulian Newspapers, divisions of Lee Enterprises
Mark Heintzelman, Publisher • Sherry Devlin, Editor Project sales, Frannie Cummings, Kathy Kelleher, Jodi Lopez, and Justine Morris Dara Saltzman, Production & Design Community Liaison, Kris Komar Cover Photo by Perry Backus Cycling the Bitterroot is copyright 2015, Ravalli Republic.
Photos on this page by Chad Devall and the Ravalli Republic
232 W Main, Hamilton, MT 59840 • ravallirepublic.com
Cycling the Bitterroot, May 13, 2015 - Page 5
Western Montana at the Epicenter of Bicycle Travel in North America
By Michael McCoy Adventure Cycling Association
The mission of the nonprofit Adventure Cycling Association, headquartered in a former Church of Christian Science building on East Pine Street in Missoula, is to inspire and empower people to travel by bicycle. With approximately three dozen full-time employees, Adventure Cycling serves a worldwide membership of more than 48,000, making it North
Americaâ€™s premier bicycle-travel organization. Adventure Cyclingâ€™s roots date back to the early 1970s, when two couples who had moved to Missoula from Columbus, Ohio, set out on an Alaska-to-South America ride they called Hemistour. One of the couples, Dan and Lys Burden, had to leave the ride near the Mexico/Guatemala border after Dan contracted hepatitis; the other couple, Greg and June Siple, continued pedaling all the way to the southern tip of Argentina. Before splitting up, however, the group con-
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We have everything you need for the ride... Ice cold Montana brewed beer Post office Free wi-fi Organic & natural foods Bitterroot’s Bitterroot best produce Full service deli with seating area A full pharmacy to fill your prescriptions and answer your questions Quick cash from the Family of Banks ATM TM And SO much more!
2 locations to serve you!
Open 24 HOurs Stevensville • 777-7300 39 Stevensville Cutoff Road W
Hamilton • 363-6200 1131 N. 1st Street
ceived the notion of a creating a bicycle touring event across the United States to celebrate the American Bicentennial in 1976. Bikecentennial was born. As the Siples continued riding southward, the Burdens returned to Missoula to start planning for the big ride. By the autumn of 1975, more than a dozen full-time employees had been recruited to map a route across the country, set up “bike inns” approximately every 60 miles along the route (where many riders would overnight), create maps and guidebooks, and perform many other tasks, both grand and mundane. The event proved a resounding success. By the end of the summer of 1976, more than 4,000 riders from throughout the U.S. and beyond had ridden all or parts of the 4,500-mile TransAmerica Trail. Little did the founders know that after the big summer of cycling was over, the organization would carry on, for they had envisioned the Bikecentennial event simply as a huge, one-time happening. But America’s growing legion of bicycle enthusiasts wouldn’t let the idea go away. Hundreds more, inspired by articles in the press and tales brought home by those who rode in ’76, wanted their own shot at pedaling across America. Originally housed upstairs in a rickety building on North Higgins, Bikecentennial moved to a ground-level Main Street office in the early 1980s. By a decade later, in 1992, the organization had accrued the means to purchase the old church on East Pine Street that it still occupies (though it was recently renovated and added on to). In 1993, Bikecentennial changed its name to Adventure Cycling Association and has been growing in membership and impact ever since. Because of where the organization is located, Missoula and western Montana have evolved into a bicycling crossroads and a place of pilgrimage for hundreds of cyclists from throughout the world. Today, nearing its 40th anniversary (see related article on page >>>), the organization does much more than “just” run crosscountry tours. Following is a brief description of its various programs. Routes and Maps. Currently employing six cartographers and GIS specialists, the Routes and Mapping Department recently surpassed the 44,600-mile mark of mapped roads and trails making up the Adventure Cycling Route Network. These include three east-west cross-country routes, including the original TransAmerica Trail (which passes through the Bitterroot Valley, as does the Lewis & Clark Bicycle Trail); routes tracing both the East Coast and the West Coast; an off-pavement mountain-bike route paralleling the Continental Divide from Canada to Mexico (and the longest mapped mountainbike route in the world); and many others. The newest, launched in February 2015, is Bicycle Route 66, tracing
Cycling the Bitterroot, May 13, 2015 - Page 7
the historic “Mother Road” from Chicago to Southern California. Guided Tours. In 2015, the Adventure Cycling Tours Department offers more than 70 different tours in the U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico, ranging in duration from three days to three months. The level of support varies a great deal as well, from tours that are entirely self-contained—on which riders carry all their bicycle and camping gear and cook their own meals—to fully van-supported and catered. There are even relatively easy “Family Fun” offerings, designed to help nurture the next generation of bicycle travelers. Publications. Adventure Cyclist magazine, published and sent to members nine times a year, is the nation’s undisputed leading publication about bicycle travel and adventure. The magazine features firsthand accounts and stunning photographs of tours both domestic and foreign, from weekend outings to adventures of epic proportions. Gear reviews and more are also included in the magazine, regarded by the majority of members as the most rewarding and inspirational benefit of membership. For the next several months, the Publications Department will also involved with creating a coffee-table book, lavishly illustrated and full of fascinating stories, that celebrates the 40th anniversary of the TransAmerica Bicycle Trail. Memberships. Donations made and annual dues paid by Adventure Cycling members (along with one-time fees paid by life members), are key to fulfilling the organization’s mission. Funds raised go to expanding the Adventure Cycling Route Network, maintaining the organization’s online resources, pursuing educational and outreach efforts, and creating an official U.S. Bicycle Route System. Travel Initiatives. This relatively new department works to forge partnerships beyond the Adventure Cycling membership. It has a number of stated goals— most notably, that of building the U.S. Bicycle Route System. Though this system will share some routes, or route sections, with the Adventure Cycling Route Network, it has the distinct goal of linking urban, suburban, and rural areas with designated, signed facilities, including both roadways and separated pathways. To
build the system, Adventure Cycling is working handin-hand with AASHTO, the American Association of Highway and Transportation Officials (and “the voice of transportation” in America). To date, more than 8,000 miles of U.S. Bicycle Routes have been established in sixteen states: Alaska, Florida, Kentucky, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington, and the District of Columbia. Presently, more than 40 states are working to create U.S. Bicycle Routes. Sales. Through the online and hard-copy Cyclosource catalog, Adventure Cycling offers the best bicycling maps available, along with a carefully chosen inventory of gear and accessories aimed at the traveling bicyclist, such as bags, racks, and clothing. Proceeds go to further the organization’s mission of inspiring and empowering people to travel by bicycle. Online/Social Media. Bike Bits, Adventure Cycling’s free online newsletter (www.adventurecycling.org/resources/ bike-bits), goes out twice monthly to nearly 55,000 subscribers worldwide. The organization has attracted an enviable 43,000-plus friends on Facebook, and is also active on other social-media platforms, including Twitter, Flickr, Chad Devall Youtube, Instagram, Pinterest, and Tumblr. The Adventure Cycling blog (www.adventurecycling.org/resources/ blog), with new content appearing almost daily, has evolved into the go-to place for traveling cyclists, both veterans and neophytes, who want to keep up on the latest trends and news related to the activity. Visit www.adventurecycling.org to learn more about the largest nonprofit membership bicycling organization in North America. Or, better yet—since Adventure Cycling is a short drive or bike ride away from the Bitterroot—swing by their office at 150 East Pine in Missoula and meet some of the smiling staff members. Their enthusiasm for bicycle travel is contagious!
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Bike to Barns this Summer
Spokes & Suds 2014 bike tour fundraiser that benefits Bitterroot CASA. by
Community Food & Agriculture Coalition
The Bitterroot Valley is one of the most scenic places to bike. Cyclists are treated to views of the dramatic peaks of the Bitterroot Mountains to the West, and the
Photo Provided by Julie Crane
rolling hills of the Sapphires to the East. Breathe in the fresh smells of freshly cut hay and sample food and beverages grown directly from the communities you are riding through. With support from the Montana Office of Tourism,
Cycling the Bitterroot, May 13, 2015 - Page 9
The Community Food & Agriculture Coalition and our partner organizations have developed a Bitterroot Bike to Barns self-guided tour project of the Bitterroot Valley, as well as other areas in Western Montana. Cyclists can find the tours by going to www.missoulacfac.org to download a pdf of the map and route description. The tour in the Bitterroot begins and ends in Hamilton at Homestead Organics, an educational farm complete with numerous greenhouses, veggies, and a few small farm animals – most notably a large number of geese, chickens and turkeys. This farm is also home to one of Montana’s best caterers featuring Montana grown foods, most from just outside the door. This route begins by travelling a short distance up the Skalkaho Highway before swinging north through farms, ranches and dairies that fill the Bitterroot Valley. Many of the farms you travel past are home to multigenerations of farm families that continue to live close to the land, as their grandparents before them. Many offer tours and samples, so please call ahead and book a bit of time to spend getting to know the people who grow your food. Along the way, you can also stop in at one of the quaint towns for a bite to eat at locally owned restaurants, and breweries. These offer foods grown just
down the road or across the valley. Heading farther north, you come to the small town of Victor, where you can visit the Lifeline Creamery and Farm Store to grab a snack. The city park is right next door, so plan to stay awhile. At this point, your ride crosses over Highway 93, turns south and follows the foothills of the Bitterroot Mountains. Keep an eye out for raptors and other wildlife as you head back toward Hamilton. The entire loop is right around 60 miles, so there is plenty of time to stop and enjoy the scenery, talk with the locals and learn about local agriculture. If you are just heading through the valley as part of a longer journey, feel free to pick up the route at any point. There is a well-maintained bike path the follows Highway 93 and you can access this route from various points along the path. For more information about this specific route, or other routes in Western Montana, please contact the Community Food & Agriculture Coalition. We hope to see you out on the country roads soon! www.missoulacfac.org
Visit “Historic Stevensville”. We welcome bicyclists and are here to serve you! Located in the middle of the beautiful Bitterroot Valley. Stevensville… Where Montana Began
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“Where Montana Began”
Stevensville Bicycle Camp Committee
“Positioning the uniquely historical and small-town ambience of Stevensville, Montana, prominently on the international map of legendary destinations for touring cyclists” is the vision of a group of enthusiastic local citizens. They call themselves the Stevensville Bicycle Camp Committee (SBCC) and their mission is to establish a safe, secure, and inviting tent-camping facility that will offer hot showers and bathrooms, an indoor shelter, a covered picnic area, and handy bicycle lockers . . . all within two blocks of a welcoming and walkable downtown. Founded in 1841, as the first pioneer settlement in Montana, Stevensville lies in the middle of the scenic Bitterroot Valley and, nowadays, sits just a mile off both the famed Lewis & Clark Bicycle Trail and the coastto-coast TransAmerica Bicycle Trail, routes mapped by Adventure Cycling Association of Missoula. The off-road, paved bike path which accompanies Highway 93 from Hamilton to Lolo connects all along the way
to wilderness trailheads and river accesses, as well as to the Cut-Off Trail to Stevensville. The final section of the trail linking the Valley to Missoula is scheduled for completion in spring 2016. Downtown Stevensville boasts a wide selection of eateries, a brew pub, a renowned old-fashioned soda fountain, two Laundromats, two grocery stores, several Wi-Fi locations, a community theater, a busy library, the historic St. Mary’s Mission, and a series of summer commemorative activities. Nearby is the 2,800-acre Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge, for superb birdwatching, trail-walking, and photography. Touring pedalers will find bicycle-friendly hosts at the Stevensville Hotel, which has its own fascinating history out of the past, and at the Bitterroot River Bed and Breakfast, a few blocks from downtown (look up both on the internet). SBCC is working hard to have a location available for tent-camping — one way or another — by June, this year. For updates, check with Joan Prather, Director of Stevensville Main Street Association, 777-3773, or mainstreetstevensville.com.
Cycling the Bitterroot, May 13, 2015 - Page 11
The Missoula to Lolo Trail: A Progress Report
Courtesy photo by
President, Bike Walk Alliance Missoula
The Missoula to Lolo Trail, the north extension of the Bitterroot Trail along Highway 93, began with a ground breaking ceremony in Lolo on April 10th. The large crowd of community members included representatives from Missoula City and County; from DJ&A of Missoula, the engineering firm that designed the trail and helped write the grant that helped secure $4.5M of federal funding for the project; from the contractor, Western Excavating, also of Missoula, who will build the trail; and multiple trail supporters who helped fund the grant application including Cycle House, Farmers State Bank, Lolo Community Bank, Adventure Cycling Association, and Bike Walk Alliance Missoula. Surveying of the Missoula to Lolo Trail started the week of April 13th. Construction began the week of April 20th. The Trail will be built in three sections: Miller Creek to Blue Mountain Road, Blue Mountain Road to Lolo, and Lolo to Highway 12. The Lolo section will be finished this summer. The Miller Creek to Lolo sections will be finished by June of 2016.
The eight-mile shared use path will be ten-feet wide. It will include a separated crossing on the north side of the Buckhouse Bridge. The path will begin on the north side of Highway 93 and go to Blue Mountain Road. It will then cross at the existing light and run between the railroad tracks and Highway 93. Detailed design drawings, as well as other information about the trail can be viewed on the Missoula to Lolo Trail website: missoula2lolotrail.org. When the Missoula to Lolo Trail is finished, it will complete a fifty-four mile shared use path from downtown Missoula to Hamilton. The trail opening celebration will be July 14th through 16th of 2016 beginning in Missoula and Hamilton and including all of the communities along the Bitterroot Trail. The Missoula2Lolo Tail Alliance and Bike Walk Alliance Missoula would like to thank all of the individuals, groups, and businesses that supported the project over the last ten years. We would also like to thank our congressional delegation: Senators Jon Tester, Max Baucus, and Steve Daines and their staffs who were our advocates for this project in Washington, D.C.
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at the Ravalli County Fairgrounds by
Director, Ravalli County Fairgrounds
The expected completion date for a shade pavilion complete with unisex bathroom, bicycle parking, and horseshoe pits at the Ravalli County Fairgrounds is August 30th of this year. In the works for some time now, construction will this spring. Upon completion, this facility will serve the Bitterroot community and our two-wheeled visitors, offering a wonderful shady respite for bicyclists traveling through as well as a convenient site for picnicking and recreating on a summer’s eve in the Bitterroot. For the traveling bicyclist, the Fairgrounds will also offer camping in our grass area north of the historic grandstands. Fees will be by donation, with access to
water and bathroom facilities. Other amenities available to campers will include picnic tables, a bicycle storage area, and information on where to go for bicycle repairs, groceries, restaurants, brews, booze, entertainment, and shopping. The Fairgrounds does not offer shower or laundry faciliites at this time, but are lucky to have partners nearby that have both shower and laundry facilities. Nearby Black Rabbit RV Park has showers and laundry for cyclist while the Bitterroot Aquatic Center has showers, all for a small fee. Watch our progress this summer of construction and look for the latest Fairgrounds community development project to deliver more ‘life’ to the Bitterroot!
Cycling the Bitterroot, May 13, 2015 - Page 13
love downtown Hamilton
There is a special chemistry that draws cyclists to downtown Hamilton. That chemistry affects the brain, in a way that only someone who has spent – or is about to spend – hours on a bike saddle can truly appreciate. The chemistry has little to do with the pleasurerelated endorphins released during a day of pedaling, and everything to do with meeting a cyclist’s most basic needs, including such chemicals as coffee, beer, and protein. Whether you’re a touring cyclist, a recreational rider, or a commuter, downtown Hamilton seems like was designed to accommodate your specific needs. For starters, ample bike racks distributed throughout downtown, mean you never have to park your bike far from your destination, or lock it to a tree.
Most importantly, though, Hamilton’s downtown area is a compact district where nearly all your daily needs can be met. It offers: • • • • • • • • • • • • •
Lodging Groceries Coffee shops Brewery Clothing Art Books and gifts Restaurants Medical care Barbers and salons Banks and financial services Post Office . . . and much more!
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Russ Lawrence is the Coordinator for the Hamilton Downtown Association, and an enthusiastic mountain biker, road rider, and cycle commuter.
Higherground Brewery y SERVINg CRAfT BEER AND NEAPOlITAN STYlE PIZZA EVERY DAY!
163 south 2nd street, hamilton Lunch M-F 11-2 • Dinner W-Sat 5-9
518 N. 1st Street, Hamilton 375-5204
VOTED BITTERROOT’S BEST MICROBREWERY AND PIZZA
• Pasta • Steak • Seafood • Beer & Wine
dates for the Daly Days celebration downtown, with sidewalk sales, street vendors, a Friday-night Street Dance and, on Saturday, the Bitterroot Brew Fest. If you’re not lucky enough to land in Hamilton for such an event, self-directed activities can still provide some diversion. Local businesses offer copies of a historic walking tour, and brochures directing visitors to all their local needs, including parks, the Bitterroot Public Library, and the Ravalli County Museum, among other amenities. In sum, the chemistry between cyclists and downtown Hamilton sets off a warm reaction, engendering a strong bond. Pedal on down, some time, and feel it for yourself!
By the way, it also offers real estate offices – Hamilton’s “hip-storical” allure has snared more than one cyclist into staying! Riders often meet at local coffee shops before a ride, to put some high-octane fuel in their tanks, and bikers just as often congregate at the brewery for a post-ride round. Bakeries and other eateries abound within the downtown district, with dining options ranging from cheap and hearty, to the more upscale. While wearing cycling gear might be a stretch at a fine dining establishment, it won’t cause a second thought anywhere else; Hamilton businesses are accustomed, now, to the stream of cycle tourists and enthusiasts who choose to spend time browsing for their daily needs, or simply checking out the local offerings. Especially lucky are those cyclists who make it downtown for special events. Each First Friday offers extended shopping hours and special activities, including live music. In particular, on the First Friday in June we’ll celebrate Outdoor Recreation, with an evening of activities that include the informal, “Out on the Townie” bike parade. Saturdays from May through early October offer the Farmer’s Market just two blocks south of Main Street, and July 24-25 this year are the
Cycling the Bitterroot, May 13, 2015 - Page 15
ieS r e S t r e C n o C
Join us at Sapphire Lutheran Homes 501 n. tenth Street, Hamilton
for a series of free events
Bring your lawn chair or blanket Family Friendly refreshments Available Call 406-363-2800 for more info www.SapphireLutheran.org
Tuesday, June 16, 7 PM • Gospel Guitarist Josh Snodgrass at The Remington
Josh started to really take the guitar seriously in his early teen years. He continued to pursue music by playing guitar in several bands before moving to Washington to attend the Art Institute of Seattle where he received a degree in audio production. He returned to Montana to attend Bible College and to be closer to his parents. He began playing guitar in a gospel bluegrass group with his father and brother. The group saw amazing regional success winning awards, getting much press coverage and even local radio play. In the summer of 2012 God opened the door for Josh to pursue a full time career as a solo guitarist. Josh’s playing and style are still developing as he seeks out who God has made him to be and how he can use his gifts to serve God and people. We hope that you enjoy his music!
Friday, June 26, 7 PM • FREE Outdoor Concert • Featuring John Floridis
John Floridis is a Missoula, Montana-based guitarist, singer-songwriter and composer. He has released seven recordings mixing bluesy, folk-rock vocal tunes with adventurous solo acoustic guitar compositions. John Floridis performs with guitar, vocals and sometimes manipulated, sampled and looped sounds.
Thursday, July 2, 7 PM • FREE Outdoor Concert “Red, White & Bluegrass” • Featuring tincup
Tincup, a Bitterroot band, was born from the friendship of three local musicians, John Mann, Timothy Ezzell and Jacqueline Brazil, and grew from a common love for older, simpler music--- timeless gospel or bluegrass pieces, folk tunes from the 1960’s, country songs from the 1970’s, and now and again, Irish tunes from the 1800’s. You’ll know tincup by their range of instruments, and you’ll be certain it’s tincup when you hear their simple vocal harmonies and see how much fun they’re having.
Friday, July 24, 7 PM • FREE Outdoor Concert • Featuring Big Sky Mudflaps
The Big Sky Mudflaps are celebrating 30 years of performing together. Their unique sound-- a blend of jjazz, swing and rhythm & blues with a healthy dose of Latin percussion -- has won them national acclaim.
Friday, August 7, 7 PM • FREE Outdoor Concert • Jenn Adams
Twisting the corners of folk, blues and jazz into immediately personal songs, Jenn Adams is internationally recognized for her distinctive sound and well-crafted songwriting. With an extensive wealth of experience and craft, her songs scale a diverse foundation that refuse to blend into the ordinary. Sparsely decorated, bluesy ballads are her trademark but by no means a limitation. Known for her warm and inclusive live performances, she is widely regarded as one of the most genuine artist on the acoustic circuit.
Monday, August 17th, 6pm • FREE PERFORMANCE Shakespeare In The Parks Taming Of The Shrew
Montana Shakespeare in the Parks (MSIP) is the only fully professional touring theatre program in the state currently producing Shakespeare’s plays, the only Shakespeare company in the country to reach as extensively into rural areas and the only company in the state that offers its performances free to the public, guaranteeing accessibility to all.
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What cyclists want Courtesy photo
BREWERIES • Bitterroot Brewery 101 Marcus Street, Hamilton • 406 363-7468 www.bitterrootbrewing.com • Blacksmith Brewing Company 114 Main Street, Stevensville • 406 777-0680 www.blacksmithbrewing.com • Higher Ground Brewery 518 North First, Hamilton • 406 375-5204 www.higherground.com • Wildwood Brewing 4018 US Hwy 93, North Stevensville • 406 777-2855 www.wildwoodbrewing.com • Lolo Peak Brewing Company 6201 Brewery Way, Lolo • www.lolopeakbrewery.com ESPRESSO Lolo • Florence Coffee Company 11880 Hwy 93, Lolo • Hunter Bay Coffee 11300 Hwy 93 South, Lolo 406 273-5490 Florence • Café Firenze 281 Rodeo Drive, Florence • 406 273-2923 • Florence Coffee Company 5495 Hwy 93, Florence Stevensville • Big Dog Coffee 3946 Hwy 93, Stevensville • 406 239-3304 • Bitterroot Star 215 Main Street, Stevensville • 406 777-3928 • Morningstar Caffeine & Cuisine 308 Main Street, Stevensville • 406 777-2939
Victor • Bitterroot Beanery Highway 93 Hamilton • Big Creek Coffee 301 West Main Street, Hamilton 406 375-7508 • www.bigcreekcoffeeroasters.com • Bitterroot Beanery Hamilton (1002 North Hwy 93 & 600 South Hwy 93), • Clatters Coffee House 170 South 2nd Street, Hamilton • 406 546-9661 • The MineShaft Pasty Co. 111 North 2nd, Hamilton • (406) 361-8170 • River Rising 337 West Main, Hamilton • 406 363-4552 • Taste of Paris 109 North 4th Street, Hamilton • 406 369-5875 • Cherry Street Cafe 140 Cherry Street, Hamilton • 406) 210-0868 Darby • Darby Espresso 801 North Main Street, Darby • 406 821-3351 EMERGENCY MEDICAL • MDMH Convenience Care 1200 Westwood Drive, Hamilton • 406 363-0597 HOTELS & LODGING There are close to 100 hotels, B&Bs, cabins, and other lodging in the Bitterroot Valley. They are all listed conveniently at www.visitbitterrootvalley.com
Cycling the Bitterroot, May 13, 2015 - Page 17
LAUNDROMATS • Fast & Fluffy, 115 Pine St., Hamilton • 406 363-6556 • Mini Market & Laundry Center 108 Main Street, Stevensville • 406 777-3606 MASSAGE PRACTITIONERS Stevensville • Shi’atsu Bodywork Stevensville, 406 777-3226 Hamilton • Mary Lakes Asian Massage 111 South 4th Street, Hamilton, 406 363-6213 • TLC Bodyworks & Therapy 217 North Third Street, #B2, Hamilton, 406 363-1729 • Body Mechanics Massage Therapy 107 Bedford Street, Hamilton, 406 546-8736 • Massage by Marianne 99 Marcus Street, 3rd Floor, Hamilton, 406 381-0763 • A Beautiful You Salon 1115 West Main Street, Hamilton, 406 363-3335 • Perfect Touch Massage 336 Fairgrounds Road, Hamilton, 406 239-1576 SHIPPING • Boxxe Shoppe Hwy 93, Hamilton 406 363-4440 • UPS Store 610 N1st Street, Hamilton 406 363-2187
PHYSICAL THERAPY Stevensville • Valley Physical Therapy 3802 Eastside Highway, Stevensville, 406 777-3523 • Eastside Physical Therapy & Body 504 Main Street, Stevensville, 406 777-2679 Corvallis • Corvallis Physical Therapy and Orthopedic Physical Therapy, 406 961-3914 Hamilton • Hamilton Physical Therapy and Sports Rehabilitation Center 336 Fairgrounds Road, Hamilton, 406 375-0980 • Cataylst Physical Therapy 117 North 4th Street #A2, Hamilton, 406 363-2494 • New Horizon Physical Therapy 120 South 5th Street #102, Hamilton, 406 363-2570 • Linda Looser, PT 164 South 3rd Street #B, Hamilton 406 363-2570 • Rebekah J. Stamp, MSPT 400 West Main Street #202, Hamilton, 406 363-7469 Darby • Darby Physical Therapy 406 821-2021
Town House Inn of Hamilton
406-821-3405 ......along the transamerica bicycle Path on US Hwy 93. Stay with us!
• Free Hot Breakfast • Free High Speed Internet • Microwaves & Refrigerators • Fitness Room & Sauna
1113 N. 1st Street Hamilton, MT
Your Key to Comfort! 800-442-4667
6201 Brewery Way Lolo, MT 59847 (406) 493-6231
114 Main St, Stevensville, MT 59870 (406) 777-0680
4018 US Hwy 93 N Stevensville, MT 406-777-2855
2 WILD WOOD
1 LOLO PEAK
BREWERIES OF THE BITTERROOT VALLEY
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101 Marcus St, Hamilton, MT 59840 (406) 363-7468
308 E Tanner Ave, Darby, MT 59829 (406) 646-6003
Map provided by the Bitterroot Valley Chamber of Commerce
518 N 1st St, Hamilton, MT 59840 (406) 375-5204
5 BITTER ROOT
Cycling the Bitterroot, May 13, 2015 - Page 19
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Chad Devall. by
The Missoula to Lolo trail, a planned bike path that will connect Missoula to a longer existing path that travels along U.S. Highway 93 in the scenic Bitterroot Valley, will become a statewide – and perhaps even a national – destination for cycling tourists when it is completed at the end of next year. That’s according to Melinda Barnes, executive director of Bike Walk Montana, a statewide advocacy organization aimed at making bicycling and walking safe and accessible for all. Barnes spoke to a group of business leaders recently, as part of a gathering to explore the potential benefits and challenges of attracting bicycle tourists to Montana. She was joined by several other speakers, including Norma Nickerson, director of the Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research at the University of Montana, and Jenny Mish, executive director of the Sustainable Business Council.
“You have an amazing opportunity here with the Missoula to Lolo trail,” Barnes said. “That trail will be a destination spot. If you’ve ever gone to do the Hiawatha Trail or the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes, people from Montana travel all the time to do those rides. They travel all the time to the Mickelson Trail in South Dakota. This Highway 93 route will be one of those destination routes.” Nickerson spoke about a couple of studies her institute has conducted on tourism related to bicycling. It used an email database from the Missoula-based Adventure Cycling Association and surveyed people about their trips through Montana. The institute received 700 responses to the surveys, and used the data for several studies. “The data showed that these folks are coming from all over the place,” Nickerson explained. “We just had two states that weren’t represented in the past three years. And we have people coming from the
Cycling the Bitterroot, May 13, 2015 - Page 21
Netherlands, New Zealand and Switzerland and on and on and on. These people are biking in Montana and they love it.” Most cycling tourists are male, Nickerson explained. “Everything else out there that I’m reading is that the guys are the ones that are doing a lot of this longdistance bicycling, more so than the women, and that their average income is over $75,000 a year,” she said. A whopping 92 percent of long-distance cyclists plan take a multiday bike trip in the next three years, and 73 percent have taken one to five trips in the past three years. “It’s not something they do once and they never do it again,” Nickerson said. “They’re always looking for another place in which to travel.” More than half of long-distance cyclists that responded to the survey prefer trips lasting five to 14 days, and 28 percent prefer trips lasting longer than 30 days. “These people have time and they also have
6th Annual Bitterroot Celtic Games & Gathering A u g u s t 15 - 16 Saturday 9am-10pm Sunday 9am-4pm
see Come EW N what’s ar! this ye
EntertNew a featurinment ing: Ce Emily ltic Martins Ann Th ompso n
Tickets available online
Free Ceilidh Party Saturday at 7pm
• Featuring • Highland & Irish Dancing • Adult & Kids Highland Athletic Competitions • International Pipe & Drum Bands • Mead, Scotch & Irish Whiskey Tastings • Gathering of the Clans • Vendors • Live Music! • Brother is returning!
Daly Mansion Grounds
251 Eastside Hwy, Hamilton, MT
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money,” Nickerson said. “Where are they staying and are they staying in Montana when they’re on their trip? What’s interesting is that 33 percent are spending 10 or more nights when they’re on their trip in the state. We’re a big state and you don’t go as fast when you’re on a bicycle, so when you think about it, these people are going to spend a lot more money here just because they’re here a little bit longer. And 39 percent of them are staying a night in a motel. Twenty-two percent are camping.” When people spend a night while bicycling, they stay in many places across the state, but Missoula is a top destination. “These people are going around doing a lot of different types of things and going to a lot of smaller communities, but I’m not surprised that a lot of them came to Missoula,” Nickerson said. “They want to stop at Adventure Cycling and say hi. That’s what they’re doing.” Nickerson cited a wide variety of studies and news articles that have pointed to “cycling being the new golf.” That is, people are increasingly choosing cycling as their activity of choice instead of going to the golf course. “It’s happening more and more,” Nickerson said.
SERVING THE BITTERROOT VALLEY FOR 30 YEARS
Barnes said that communities can make small investments to provide services to cycling tourists that will have a big financial return. She pointed to the small towns of Twin Bridges and Ovando as examples of communities that have built bike parks and camping spots where bicyclists can park, shower, store their food and belongings, and walk to town to do laundry and get a local craft beer or a healthy food option. “They want to eat, sleep and do laundry because they can’t carry much with them,” she said. “A lot of them can’t afford expensive lodging every night. And they want to stay close to town.” Barnes said that many cyclists complain about the lack of healthy food at gas stations along highways. In Twin Bridges, the community invested $9,000 for a bike camp. A donation box was set up, and last year’s 300 visitors gave enough to pay off the camp in the first year. “Ovando has something similar and 1,000 cyclists a year come through,” she said. The lesson, she said, was that small towns can become attractions for tourists and their money by making small investments in things that bicyclists want.
Ending up in downtown Hamilton--isn’t that the whole point of a ride? Downtown --
Where cyclists go to • Refuel (restaurants) • Recharge (coffee shops, brewery) • Recreate (river access, shopping) • Relax (lodging, library)
Sales - Parts - Tune Ups & Repairs Accessories & Rentals Trail Information 219 South FirSt, hamilton
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Downtown--where Hamilton Happens!
Cycling the Bitterroot, May 13, 2015 - Page 23
Celebrates 40th Anniversary in 2016
A group of bicyclists take a break along the TransAmerica trail in 2013. by
Adventure Cycling Association will celebrate its 40th anniversary in 2016 with a number of celebratory events, special tours, reunions, ’76 throwback merchandise and archival projects. Adventure Cycling was founded as Bikecentennial and started as a 4,250-mile TransAmerican bicycle ride in the summer of 1976 with over 4,100 participants. Today, Adventure Cycling is the premier bicycletravel organization in North America with more than 40 years of experience and over 48,000 members. Adventure Cycling’s mission is to inspire and empower people to travel by bicycle. “Bikecentennial started with a vision to encourage more people to experience bike travel and was fueled by the passion of a small group of dedicated staff and volunteers,” says Bikecentennial Co-Founder Greg Siple. “Bikecentennial 76 continues to inspire bike trav-
elers of all ages and backgrounds 40 years later.” The 40th anniversary celebration will honor the work of the founders of Bikecentennial 76 while looking to the future of bicycle travel, with several events. The Montana Bicycle Celebration, July 15 – 17, 2016 in Missoula, Montana—home of Adventure Cycling’s headquarters—will bring together Bikecentennial riders, Adventure Cycling members and other bike travelers from all over the world for celebratory Bikecentennial reunions and parties with inspirational speakers, and lively music, art and film. Organized day rides throughout the weekend will showcase Missoula’s trail system, including the completed 50-mile Bitterroot Trail. On the same weekend, Tour of Montana will host professional bike races, an expo, and a Gran Fondo. Two new annual events, set to kick off in 2016, will provide opportunities for existing cyclists while encouraging a new generation to travel by bicycle. National Bike Travel Weekend, June 3 – 5, 2016, will inspire
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bike travelers from all 50 states to go on bike overnights through a festive online community. Adventure Cycling will provide do-it-yourself resources and an interactive map that will connect and motivate bike travelers during what will be the most prolific weekend of bike travel in North America. Bike to Your National Park Day on September 24, 2016 will celebrate the National Park Service’s centennial, National Public Lands Day and Adventure Cycling’s 40th anniversary by promoting bike travel to and within national and state parks and other recreational areas. “Bikecentennial 76 was a formative experience for more than 4,100 participants,” says Adventure Cycling Association Executive Director Jim Sayer. “We want to honor this pivotal part of their lives and celebrate the current boom and future direction of bike travel with Adventure Cycling’s 40th anniversary celebration.”
A Bikecentennial 76 group approaches the end of the TransAmerica trail.
WESTERN STATES ASSOCIATES REAl ESTATE
SERvINg ThE BITTERROOT
vAllEy fOR OvER
located in Downtown hamilton 115 West Main Street Hamilton – (406) 363-1250 c o l d w el l b ank er w sa.c o m
For more information about Adventure Cycling’s 40th anniversary visit http://www. adventurecycling.org/40th
Did you participate in Bikecentennial 76 or ride the TransAmerica Trail between 1976 and now? Are you interested in participating or volunteering in Adventure Cycling’s 40th anniversary? Fill out an online form to help Adventure Cycling complete its directory at https://www.adventurecycling.org/about-us/40th-anniversary/ interest-form/ Adventure Cycling invites the public to share photos, stories and words of wisdom from Bikecentennial 76, now, and any time in between at http:// adventurecycling.tumblr.com
Cycling the Bitterroot, May 13, 2015 - Page 25
Get Off the Road! Trails in the Bitterroot
Sage at sunset. By Lance Pysher & Kristine Komar For
Lake Como South Intermediate/Difficult, 3.8 Miles, Singletrack, 3% Ave Grade, 12% Max Grade, 282’ Ascent, -238’ Descent, 4,333’ High, 4,258 Low The more technical of the trails that loop around Lake Como. The closer you get to Rock Creek the more challenging in becomes with a short steep climb and descent just south of the Rock Creek Bridge. Usually combined with Lake Como North for a complete loop around the lake. Can be connected with Shannon Ridge or Jenny Ridge for longer rides. This is a very popular trail in the summer and bikes should avoid the trail during peak times, especially weekends. Coyote Coulee Intermediate, 8.9 miles, 95% Singletrack, 7% Ave Grade, 19% Max Grade, 1,550 Ascent, -1,551 Descent, 4,742 High, 3,999 Low
Overview: Some days you need a ride where you aren’t redlining or white knuckled, a ride to relax and get in the flow, or a place to bring your friends when they are just starting out. Coyote Coulee is one of those rides and is probably why it is one of the most popular rides in the Bitterroot Valley. There are two main loops, Hayes Creek closer in and Brown Jug farther out. Hayes Creek is about 4 miles around and Brown Jug is three. There is a mile long segment connecting the two loops. The loops are equally enjoyable in both directions. Along the way there will be smooth flow through glades, creek crossings, some respectable climbs, fast descents, glimpses of the valley, and usually the only crowd will be a few startled whitetails. Middle Calf Creek Easy/Intermediate, 2.5 miles, Singletrack, 6% Ave Grade, 16% Max Grade, 756’ Ascent, -36’ Descent, 4,928’ High, 4,196’ Low Mellow non technical singletrack through the Calf
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Ignoring the view on the Sapphire Crest Trail.
Creek Sage. Straight route to the top of the meadow. Can connect with North Calf Creek, South Calf Creek and Butterfly Extension for more loop options. Calf Creek is the probably the least technical singletrack around the Bitterroot Valley. Can get dry and sandy if it hasnâ€™t rained in awhile. Also popular with equestrians. Great views of the Bitterroot Mountains and valley. Closed December 15-April 15. Warm Springs Ridge Intermediate/Difficult, 20 miles, 90% Singletrack, 6% Ave Grade, 24% Max Grade, 1,869 Ascent, 14,595 Descent, 7,966 High, 4,355 Low This is one of those rides that seems to have a little of everything to love about mountain biking. -Views? You bet. The Bitterroot and Beaverhead mountains and the Salmon, Big Hole, and Bitterroot valleys. -Singletrack? Open meadow ridges and forested descents. Enough rocks and roots to keep your attention without becoming overwhelming. Plenty of switchbacks to practice on. -Climbs? While there is a lot more fast
downhill than there is climbing, there is at least one climb to make you feel like you have earned the right to your gravity enhanced fun. -Crowds? Forget about it. There are so many options for riding on Warm Springs Ridge, picking the one classic route is a challenge. Taking Shields Creek or Colter Creek out to Overwhich Falls adds an extra sense of remoteness and more technical riding. Fire Creek Trail #404 is an amazing descent. Porcupine Creek Trail #205 has switchbacks galore and a visit to Two Good Cabin, along with the creekside fun of Warm Springs Creek #103. Still, by staying on Warm Springs Ridge Trail #177 the whole way you get the highest proportion of singletrack, the best views and a fantastic finish.
Sapphire Crest Difficult, 20.5 miles, 85% Singletrack, 7% Ave Grade, 39% Max Grade, 2,965 Ascent, -5,129 Descent, 8,646 High, 4,788 Low Every so often, you ride a trail and are reminded of why you fell in love with mountain bikes. A trail where
Taking a break from climbing.
Cycling the Bitterroot, May 13, 2015 - Page 27
Open meadows on Warm Springs Ridge.
you can’t decide whether to check out the views or to watch out for the rapidly approaching obstacles in the trail. So yeah - this is one of those kind of trails! Did I mention views? Probably the best views of any ride in the area; the Bitterroots to the west, the Pintlers to the south, Rock Creek and the Flints to the east. In
one section of a recent burn the granite has been sterilized of all their moss lichen. Leaving the stark white rocks contrasting with the blackened trees. Besides one exception (a good adventure ride needs at least one section of hike-a-bike), all the climbs are manageable, but just barely and assuming your legs are fresh. Plenty of boulders and roots will let you show off your bike handling skills. The final downhill is a steep, loose test piece that will have you thanking the heavens for your dropper post. Lance Pysher Don’t be deceived by the relatively short distance, and the fact the there is more descending than climbing. Experienced riders can expect to take in the neighborhood of 6 hours. Even getting here and setting up the shuttle screams adventure. The ride starts at the top of Skalkaho Pass, the only graveled highway that I’m aware of. From the
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Page 28 - Cycling the Bitterroot, May 13, 2015
and there several steep pitches that will make most people want to walk. Several rock outcropping are present along the ridge with fantastic views of the Bitterroot Valley. Midway along the ridge there is a snowbank that persists into late July most years. Once off the ridge and onto Willow Creek trail the downhill is sustained and forearm burn is usually a given. Along the way there is a meadow to haul through, mud to avoid, steep eroded sections, rock gardens (one along the cliffs of the Palisades is steep and tight), multiple stream crossings and a high Lance Pysher speed blast back Beargrass on the descent from Palisade Mountain. to the bottom trailhead once the trail flattens out. While some people “ride” up the trail from the bottom, that way is a nearly continuous hike-a-bike.
top of the pass it is over 50 road miles and at least an hour and half to the Burnt Fork pickup. Of course this guarantees that only the most the dedicated riders will be on the trail, since there are no commercial shuttle services.
Palisades Extreme Difficulty, 17.9 miles, 50% Singletrack, 7% Ave Grade, 30%Max Grade, 3,409’ Ascent, -3,521’ Descent, 8,403’ High, 5,300 Low One of the favorite rides in the Bitterroot for downhill lovers, sustained and technical for over 3000’. It will work your whole body. Enough steep climbing on the ridge to get the legs a workout, especially if you start at the bottom and climb the road. Much of the road climb is on a closed gated road Find great that is reverting to maps and detailed doubletrack. If you descriptions for are feeling a need these trails and for more climbing, more at MTB at the top of the Project www. road you can add mtbprojects.com. a quarter mile of Lance Pysher Check out the climbing to the Switchback on the south side of Lake Como. local Bitterroot Willow Mountain Backcountry lookout and say hi Cyclists website for local flavor. www.bitterrootbackto the staffer. They get lonely up there. countrycyclists.org. The climbing isn’t over once the singletrack starts. You still need to climb to the top of Palisades Mountain
Cycling the Bitterroot, May 13, 2015 - Page 29
Fat Bikes David Erickson
By Lance Pysher For
Not too long ago, the Montana cycling season was short, and even if you could handle the wind chill and subzero temperatures, the snow came early and stuck around for the duration. The resulting frozen roads didn’t leave cyclists many options -- either a spin class at 6:00 in the morning, or stick the bike on a trainer in the living room, watch TV and worry about the sweat stains on the carpet some other time. For those less worried about heart rates and more interested in the pleasures of fresh air and getting out in the woods, options were limited: either learn how to ski, or stay inside and pack on the pounds. Then slowly, over the last several years, signs of strange new bikes started to occur. Like other elusive creatures, it’s what they left behind that hinted of their presence. In this case, tire tracks resembling those left by mountain bikes, but bigger and wider, comparable to the difference between a wolf and a dog. Eventually,
if you were lucky while out snowmobiling or skate skiing on Skalkaho, you might run into former Darby logger and current Yeti, Rick Buchanan, who would happily extoll the virtues of what are now called Fat Bikes. With each ride and each season he would convince a few more of us to climb on and pedal off – inevitably to return with smiles frozen on our faces, elated that riding season had just gotten much longer. We learned how different snow conditions could affect your ride: unpacked powder remained challenging, ice was still ice, but the roads that were being groomed for snowmobiles – heaven! While we sometimes explored up Blodgett Canyon or rode across Lake Como, Skalkaho Pass was the main ride, until two seasons ago when grooming for multiple use began on the miles of road around Chief Joseph and Gibbons Pass. That area has rapidly become ground zero for local fat bike aficionados. Much like powder skiers checking the forecast for fresh powder, these folks search for the smooth untracked corduroy
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where it’s ...
left by the snowcats after grooming. Along with dealing with snow, another winter challenge is the short days, but we soon discovered riding at night had its own advantages. One of the winter highlights was a full moon ride up to Skalkaho Falls, especially if it had just been groomed. No cars or snowmobiles to worry about. On the climb up to the falls, the headlamps are turned off, the moonlight giving just enough definition to see the slightly brighter road outlined by the darker forms of the surrounding pines. Once at the falls, you can watch the moon rise over Skalkaho Pass and watch the water cascade under the shimmering moonlit ice. Then bundle up, putting on the warmest gloves you have, turn the lights back on, and chase each other back down the pass, trying to see if you could make the bikes skid out on the corners -- usually not. Whether you love snow and want another way to play, or you are a cyclist tired of spinning pedals all winter and never getting anywhere, it’s time to get fat.
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Cycling the Bitterroot, May 13, 2015 - Page 31
How the new Bicycle Laws may impact you
By Melinda Barnes Bike Walk Montana
Bike Walk Montana works throughout the state to make bicycling and walking safer and more accessible for everyone. Through advocacy and education programs, as well as supporting sensible transportation policies and helping communities reduce barriers, we strive to increase ridership across the state. In the 2015 Legislature, Bike Walk Montana succeeded in passing HB-280, the Bicycle Clean-up bill, that makes some positive changes to the current bicycle laws.* Changes in the new laws include: • The removal of the requirement that bicyclists are to ride ‘as far to the right as practicable’. This phrase was often misinterpreted, resulting in a misunderstanding that bicyclists should ride as far to the right as possible. The new law clarifies that bicyclists may ride in the right travel lane and emphasizes the safety of the bicyclist. Note: Unless there is a wide clear shoulder or a bicycle lane, riding in the middle of the travel lane (otherwise known as controlling the lane) is actually the safest place for a bicyclist to ride because he/she is more visible to drivers and forces the driver to wait to pass until it is safe to move over and provide ample room. Riding near the white outside line encourages drivers to squeeze by, putting the bicyclist at greater risk of being clipped by the vehicle.
Chad Devall. • A driver may cross the yellow line to pass a bicyclist if it is safe to pass and the bicyclist is riding less than half the posted speed limit • When riding a bicycle at night, it will now be legal to use a front headlamp in place of one mounted on the bicycle. A rear reflector or light is still required. Lights must be visible from at least 500 feet. • The reflector requirements will be more flexible to allow for reflective clothing in place of mounted reflectors. Reflective items must be visible from all sides for a distance of up to 500 feet.
Remember, bicyclists are considered vehicles and MUST follow the same rules of the road, including stopping at stop signs and traffic signals, riding the same direction as traffic, signaling turns, and yielding to pedestrians. Bicyclists are also required to ride single file, unless on a roadway with more than one travel lane in each direction. Not following these basic rules hurts the efforts of those who are trying to improve laws and improve riding conditions for bicyclists. The safety of bicyclists is also incumbent upon drivers to know and understand the laws. Drivers should provide at least four feet when passing a bicyclist; look before turning or opening the car door; refrain from honking at bicyclists and refrain from using the cell phone while driving. Please learn, understand, and follow the rules impacting bicyclists. For more information, visit our website www.bikewalkmontana.org.
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in the Bitterroot valley
Spokes & Suds 2014 bike tour fundraiser that benefits Bitterroot CASA. By MICHELLE McCONNAHA Ravalli Republic
Some cyclists are internally motivated to get on the bike and start putting miles behind them, but others need a little external motivation. That’s where organized cycling events can help, providing a deadline for preparation, and sometimes even aiding cyclists in finding riding companions to keep the peer pressure applied. Fortunately, the riding calendar in the Bitterroot offers a variety of events for riders of all interests, nicely spaced throughout the summer. June 6-7: “Pedal to Paradise” is organized by Darby’s Lightfoot Cycles. This is their third annual “Pedal to Paradise” event and they recommend only the strongest riders start in Darby and ride up the West Fork and over Nez Perce Pass to the Paradise guard station and campground, for a total of 65 miles. “This is an overnight dirt road ride into the isolated heart of the biggest wilderness area in the 48 states,” writes Lightfoot Cycles owner Rod Miner in his blog. “There are two mileage distances that can be ridden (starting either at Lightfoot Cycles in Darby, or starting at the Fales Flat campground at the base of Nez Perce pass); both finish at the very end of the road– the Paradise Guard Station and campground on the Selway River. Bikes can be mountain bikes or touring bikes, upright or recumbent, as long as they are outfitted with sturdy traction tires. Lightfoot Cycles will be
Photo Provided by Julie Crane
accompanying riders with our company van.” They recommend participants carry their own rain gear, snacks, water and lunch. “We will have some musicians in attendance, and if you want to bring your own acoustic instruments for jamming, they can be carried in one of the sag vehicles,” said Miner. “We will have a volunteer “grill master” coordinating cooking for Saturday dinner and Sunday breakfast, so potluck contributions for those two meals can include stuff that needs to be grilled or sautéed. The sag vehicles will be carrying coolers with ice. Sag will start at Lightfoot in Darby; get your gear to Lightfoot or arrange to have it picked up at Fales Flat. nterested riders should contact Lightfoot to confirm their space. Call Miner at (406)821-4750 for more information and to sign in. Also visit lightfootcycles.com/ pedal-to-paradise/ for all the details. June 19-21: The Femme/Velo Deux has become part of the Tour Montana and will be held in Whitefish this year. For more information contact Nicole Adamson at email@example.com. July 16-19 Tour of Montana in Missoula - a Women’s Cycling Association branded event. For more information visit tourofmontana.org or contact Executive Director and Festival Director Nicole Adamson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cycling the Bitterroot, May 13, 2015 - Page 33
July 19: The Tour of the Bitterroot, a family friendly benefit for Bitter Root Land Trust, has options for riders of all ages and abilities. It will be held on Sunday this year. The Skalkaho Mountain Tour departs from Red Barn Bikes, on Sleeping Child Road, ascends the Skalkaho Highway before turning off on the gravel Skalkaho/ Rye road, crossing the divide back over to the Sleeping Child drainage, and rejoining the pavement to return to Red Barn Bikes, for a total of 50 miles, half of it paved and half gravel. The Family Ride leaves Red Barn Bikes and heads ten miles – or as far as you like – up paved Sleeping Child Road to the turnaround, for a maximum of 20 miles. The $35 entry fee gets you a swag bag and admission to the post-ride party at Red Barn Bikes, with live music, barbecue, and refreshments. Part of the entertainment includes the Kids Fun Ride, a short, dirt-road dash – or a simple parade, for the less-competitive, with kids encouraged to decorate their bikes. The Bitter Root Land Trust encourages riders to solicit sponsors, and riders who collect more contributions for the Land Trust are eligible for additional premiums. This year, the Land Trust plans to invite the whole
community to the post-ride party, for a small admission price, to celebrate our valley’s beauty, in one of its most scenic spots. For more information, call the Bitter Root Land Trust at (406) 375-0956, or visit the event website at www.tourofthebitterroot.org. July 25: The Lake Como Triathlon is a rugged event that includes a chilly, 1,500-yard open-water swim in Lake Como, a 12.6-mile mountain bike course on Forest Service roads and single-track trails, and a 7.7 mile trail run around the lake. Competitors may enter solo, or as part of a team. The $75 entry fee for individuals and $150 for teams benefits a number of organizations, including the Lost Trail Ski Patrol, Lake Como Trails Club, Ravalli County Search & Rescue, and Trapper Creek Job Corps Student Government. Included for your entry fee is a catered lunch and swag bag. Visit www.lakecomotri.com for more information, or to register. August 22: the Bitterroot Classic Triathlon is a “Sprint Distance” triathlon, centered on the Bitterroot Aquatic Center in Hamilton. Participants swim 750 yards, bike 20 kilometers, and finish off with a five-
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kilometer run. The event, a benefit for Emma’s House Children’s Advocacy Center, will be held two weeks earlier this year than last. Registration opens April 21, online at www.bitterrootclassictriathlon.com. Participants may register as an individual or as a team, with a “junior” division open for the youngest participants. Participants receive a swag bag, and a post-race party with music, awards, and prizes, including drawings for merchandise. August 28-30 Lost Trail Bike Fest & Shuttle Extravaganza. A unique event, it offers a day of mountain biking on four trails that start out from Lost Trail Pass ski area, then fan out, before ending up together once again at Highway 93, where a shuttle awaits to haul bike and rider back to the ski area, to do it over again. The trails offer 18 to 21 miles of serious intermediate to advanced riding, and almost 4,000 feet of vertical descent, with enough demanding climbs. With the shuttle, serious riders can make two or three runs, but even a single run on this beautiful single-track fully justifies the $75 registration fee. The shuttle will run every 30 to 60 minutes, from 10 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, and leg muscles and grin muscles will be tested in equal measure by day’s end. The registration fee also entitles riders to two nights of camping at the ski area, movie night on Friday night, and two bands on Saturday, along with a barbecue dinner and your first beer free. Breakfast and coffee (is there a difference?) are available for purchase on Saturday and Sunday mornings. For more information, visit the website at www. ltbikefest.com. These rides make it easy to get in some miles on the Bitterroot’s beautiful bikeways. Invite your friends to share in the fun, and pedal on!
Tuesday Night Rides By Quinton Apedaile & Kristine Komar For
Want to meet up for a weekly ride? Check out the Tuesday Night Rides organized by Quinton Apedaile. Meet at the Canyon Athletic Club, 472 Tammany Lane, Hamilton, at 5:30pm, for a faster paced road ride that varies based on the group’s skills and appetite. Rides generally last about two hours and all are welcome. Come for some hard working fun, share some new rides, and meet new folks to ride with.
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A guide to road and mountain biking in Montana's Bitterroot Valley!