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APRIL 2014

ravalli republic


Your Source for Sales, Repair and Friendly Service Proudly Serving the Bitterroot Valley

399 McCarthy Loop, Hamilton (1 mile south of Skalkaho Highway)


Page 4 - Cycling the Bitterroot, April 2014

In this issue Darby bike builders....................................... 5 Femme/Velo cycling event........................... 8 Women in cycling........................................ 10 Cycling events in the Bitterroot Valley....... 12 What cyclists want....................................... 16 Bitterroot Valley map................................... 18 Popular road rides....................................... 20 Western Montana cycling........................... 24 Economic impact of cycling........................ 27 Bitter Root Brewing..................................... 29 Biking to work.............................................. 31 Montana cycling laws.................................. 33

april 2014

ravalli republic

in partnership with

Cycling the Bitterroot is published by the Ravalli Republic & Missoulian Newspapers, divisions of Lee Enterprises Jim McGowan, Publisher • Sherry Devlin, Editor Jim Coulter, General Manager Project sales, Frannie Cummings, Kathy Kelleher, Jodi Lopez, and Justine Morris Dara Saltzman, Production & Design Community Liaison, Kris Komar Cycling the Bitterroot is copyright 2014, Ravalli Republic.

Photos on this page by Laura Lundquist, Russ Lawrence, Sara Ashline, Zeno Wicks

232 W Main, Hamilton, MT 59840 •

Cycling the Bitterroot, April 2014 - Page 5

Darby bike builders

reconnecting riders with the pleasure of cycling Russ Lawrence


DARBY - At a recent Montana conference on active transportation, the moderator asked everyone to recall their earliest, fondest memory of being physically active. Not surprisingly, the word “bicycle” came up often. The sense of pleasure and freedom that comes with bicycling needn’t be a distant memory, nor should it be limited to the fully-abled, though, according to the philosophy of Lightfoot Cycles, manufacturing a line of unique cycles in a Darby factory. “We believe the reason that many people don’t cycle after age 30 is that they find it to be inconvenient, uncomfortable, and unsafe; our goal is to stand the paradigm on its head, and to find ways to help people reconnect with the pleasure of cycling,” said Rod Miner, Lightfoot’s president, co-founder and lead designer. “We’re building the most highly useful vehicles we can,” he added. Not many bicycles are manufactured in the U.S., but at the Lightfoot plant in Darby, tubing is bent and

welded every day to create specialty cycles for a growing market that includes commuters, industrial users, and cyclists with special needs. Lightfoot Cycles builds high-quality recumbent and utility cycles, studiously avoiding the use of the word “bicycles,” because many of their models have more than two wheels. Recumbent cycles place the rider in a reclined, sitting position, providing a more comfortable ride and putting much less stress on the backs, wrists and elbows of riders. Their line includes two-wheeled bikes for commuting, mountain biking, and sport use, and trikes and quads that are adaptable for many uses and users. Their recreational bikes can be quite speedy, as the recumbent position is aerodynamically efficient and stable. Their utility machines, on the other hand – trikes and quads – are built to encourage cyclists to use them instead of a car, for running errands, hauling groceries, even ferrying industrial loads or other passengers. Their products were once more numerous in Australia than in the U.S., Miner laughs, but now they’re seen on Bitterroot backroads, Missoula streets, and throughout the country. They even built a fleet of cargo

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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 best produce Bitterroot’s Full service deli with seating area A full pharmacy to fill your prescriptions and answer your questions Quick cash from the TM Family of Banks ATM And SO much more!

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trikes for an immense eastern Washington manufacturing plant, enabling machinists to move parts and tools easily from place to place. That said, they continue to ship bikes to worldwide customers. The company’s name represents not only “fleetfooted and quick,” Miner notes, but also “treading lightly,” as they strive for “green” manufacturing processes. Lightfoot has its roots in the production of adaptive vehicles, specifically hand-cranked cycles to aid those who’d lost the use of their legs. The reputation they developed for innovative designs and production capability continues to serve them, as Miner is frequently asked to contribute his expertise for special projects, including pedicab designs for domestic and international use. Their focus, however, is on providing cycles that people will get on and use as a dependable form of personal transportation. Though he delights in seeing Lightfoot cycles in use on bikeways, both for recreation and for long-distance touring, Miner views those as secondary uses, with practical, day-to-day use as their primary aim. Miner touts the health benefits of Lightfoot machines, citing research that finds “incidental exercise,” that which is built into one’s daily routine, to be one of the best ways to improve overall health. “We firmly agree,” he said. “When cycling is available as an effective option, it just happens, and people delight in jumping on a bike for errands.” Their strategy is to assess the reasons why people don’t cycle, and then to take away those barriers. The company’s team includes Miner’s spouse and Lightfoot co-founder Marty Stomberg, and Production Manager David Norton, a United Bicycle Institute graduate who brought with him experience producing high-end bicycle frames at Team-USA, as well as a crew of experienced technicians. At its seasonal peak, Lightfoot has employed the equivalent of 8-10 full-time workers, producing about 200 cycles in the course of a year. Projects now in development could increase that number, but their current business plan calls for a focus on their core products to produce a 50% increase in those numbers, and Miner said recently that they’re on track to meet that goal. Lightfoot’s designs promise safety, comfort, and reliability, and most have some built-in cargo-hauling capacity. They’re also designed for rugged use, in all weather conditions.

Cycling the Bitterroot, April 2014 - Page 7

Eventually, though, Miner comes back to the simple joy of cycling. “Cycling is the great equalizer between humans and cheetahs,” he mused. “You’re operating under your own power, but going four times as fast, swooping along -- people love that!” It’s the stuff of dreams and daydreams, he said, and the Lightfoot factory in Darby is working to keep those dreams a part of everyday life. To learn more about the company and its products, you can visit their facility in Darby from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, or weekends by arrangement. They’ll gladly put you on one of their bicycles or trikes for a test drive or a joyride. Or you may visit them online at www.lightfootcycles. com. Russ Lawrence is a freelance writer for the Ravalli Republic. Russ Lawrence

Lightfoot Cycles founder Rod Miner pilots one of their trikes, outside their Darby manufacturing facility.

Darby, montana 406-821-3405


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Femme/Velo -

2nd annual women’s cycling event rolls into town Courtesy of Jenn Turner, Femme/Velo 2013


Female road cyclists will briefly dominate 100 kilometers of Bitterroot byways on Sunday, June 22, when Femme/Velo rolls into its second year. The unique, women-only event has its roots in a promotion by the Rapha brand of road-biking apparel and accessories, encouraging women to ride 100 kilometers – what’s known as a “metric century” – in coordination with a stage of the Tour de France. That idea caught the imagination of Nicole Adamson, a Hamilton cyclist, who was looking for a way to challenge herself. When she couldn’t find any female riding partners, she recognized an opportunity, and organized a small group for an event that she dubbed Femme/Velo. “Initially I just wanted to ride it by myself, and then

I thought, ‘Why not invite other women to ride with me?’ I thought it would be a good way to get to know some of the other women cyclists in the area.” She and a group of friends quickly put the event together last summer, with the help of Red Barn Bicycles in Hamilton. The small group of riders, most of them unknown to Adamson, departed Red Barn Bikes in the morning as strangers. “I think we each had in our heads that it was going to be a race, but about by mile five we decided we were going to ride the whole thing together,” she said. “It was all about women connecting with one another. It was a great event.”

Cycling the Bitterroot, April 2014 - Page 9

This year, she’s hoping to greatly expand the number of riders for Femme/Velo Deux, which remains the only all-female organized ride in Montana. What started out as a fun way to meet other women cyclists soon became a mission on Adamson’s part to promote women’s cycling in general, and to encourage women to use cycling as a way to stay fit and get outdoors. “I used to love riding as a kid,” she explained. “It was a way of expanding my range, my whole world just expanded with a 10-speed bike.” After setting that aside for years, she recently decided to get back on the bike. Now, she’s recapturing some of that youthful joy, and sharing it with others – but she still appreciates a solo ride, too. “I love getting out on my bike and disappearing; it’s a great escape.” She believes that there’s a huge potential for women’s cycling, but women are still underrepresented in terms of events, gear, support, and leadership. “That is starting to change, and I hope that events like Femme/ Velo will be a part of that change, to help grow the sport.” The event will begin and end at the Bitter Root Brewery, and participants will be feted at ride’s end with food and beverages. As an incentive for early registration, the first 25 riders to sign up will receive a free, vintage-style, pink wool jersey commemorating the event. All other entrants can purchase the jersey at additional cost when they register. Non-riders can join the post-ride party for $10. Adamson said the Brewery was enthusiastic about supporting the ride from the start. Riders will be supported along the route by three aid stations – staffed entirely by men, according to Adamson’s plan, giving everyone a chance to support the ride’s goals. The event website is currently accepting registrations, at At this time, the route hasn’t been finalized, but last year her criteria were “challenging” and “scenic.” Registration is $75. Check the website, too, for information on group training rides, that Adamson is hoping to organize. Event co-founder Jim Wood recalled that last year’s ride was thrown together with little time and less budget, but for Femme/Velo Deux they’re ahead on both accounts. “This year we’re starting earlier so we can attract riders from throughout the state, and the region,” Wood said. “We’re also hoping to find dedicated sponsors of the event who recognize a good opportunity when they see one,” he hinted.

In a novel approach, they’ve turned to Indie-Go-Go, a crowd-funding website, for support, and have garnered $300 so far. “It’s encouraging, and shows that women’s cycling is a big deal and will continue to be a big deal as more women get involved,” Adamson said. That campaign is ongoing, and anyone wishing to support it may do so at Adamson sees Femme/Velo as something more than just a single event in the Bitterroot, and is working to convert it into an organized voice for women’s cycling. A freelance writer, she plans to make the website into a resource not only for women cyclists in the Bitterroot Valley, but nationally by providing women with cycling news, product reviews, and hosting other events throughout the year. She was also recently named a contributing writer for the Rapha brand, and will write about women’s cycling on their behalf. While her primary goal is to promote women’s cycling, she’s also out to promote the Bitterroot Valley as a cycling destination. Roch Turner helped organize last year’s ride, and he thinks that road cycling in the Bitterroot is an easy sell. “Our riders from Missoula last year were blown away by how easy it was to access great routes without heavy traffic concerns, and how hospitable people were in Hamilton,” he said. Femme/Velo riders from outside the area will quickly see that from Hamilton you can head out in any direction to find beautiful scenic rides, on relatively low-traffic roads, according to Adamson. Wherever they choose to ride, though, she hopes that they’ll turn to Femme/Velo for support. “Our goal is to get more women out on the road to ride, train, and stay connected with other women cyclists by creating opportunities to ride.” For more information, visit the website, www., email Adamson at, or call her at (406) 381-7962.

Carl Miles

BIG HOLE RIVER RV PARK 211 N. Park St. Wisdom, MT 59761 406-689-3102 email:

Cyclist Always Welcome!

Page 10 - Cycling the Bitterroot, April 2014


and cycling


I’ve always equated the bicycle with freedom. As a child, my doting parents did an efficient and precise job of clearly demarcating where in the neighborhood I could and couldn’t travel, a system that seemed arbitrary and senseless to my curious self. My first ten-speed, purchased reluctantly by my parents, obliterated those neatly outlined boundaries, expanding my physical landscape, and more importantly, the landscape of my imagination. I’m not alone in seeing the bicycle as more than a machine for transportation or sport. During the latter part of the 19th century, when cycling was hitting its stride in terms of popularity, women were at that same time coming into their own by challenging the roles they’d been assigned and defining new roles for themselves. The bicycle was the physical manifestation of the freedom women coveted, and it was the means to obtaining that freedom. Susan B. Anthony said that bicycling “had done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world.” But it is this quote, from an 1896 article, in Munsey’s Magazine that best summarizes the significance of the bicycle for women, a significance that still resonates today: “To men, the bicycle in the beginning was merely a new toy, another machine added to the

Courtesy of Jenn Turner, Femme/Velo 2013

long list of devices they knew in their work and play. To women, it was a steed upon which they rode into a new world.” Ride into a new world they did. The popularity of cycling among women during the late 19th and early 20th century grew at an extraordinary rate: Bicycling afforded women the means to simply get up and go. What an intoxicating feeling it was for those women to tear off their corsets, pin up their skirts, and for some brave women to don their husband’s trousers, all while challenging the social norms of the day, and more importantly, discovering in themselves their potential. Annie Londonberry, was a woman greatly affected by the bicycle. If not for the bicycle, she might never have found her inner passion. Annie was a 22-year-old mother of three who had ridden a bicycle only a few times before announcing to the American public that she would circumvent the world on her bike. In doing so, she became an international symbol of the “new woman,” eschewing the traditional role assigned to her, and proving that women could be independent, athletic and strong. There is a long list of female cyclists who have furthered the sport, women who have challenged the roles assigned to them.

Cycling the Bitterroot, April 2014 - Page 11

Women’s cycling, and women’s athletics in general, still comes in second to their male counterparts in terms of the number of organized events, media coverage, salary, and recognition for achievement. The Danish cyclist Marianne Vos, who has been compared to the great Eddy Merckx for the way she rides, her intensity, and her domination of bike racing, is one of those women who typify all that is great about the sport. She is also a champion for furthering women’s cycling. Vos and other professional female cyclists are working to change the current landscape of women’s cycling. In March of this year, they reached an agreement with the governing body of the Tour de France that will allow professional women cyclists, for the first time in history, to ride part of this year’s Tour. Kathryn Bertine, a professional cyclist who has recently won accolades and awards for her documentary, Half the Road, about the challenges facing professional female cyclists, was one of the women instrumental in the ruling. Kathryn calls this ruling, “an important intermediate step towards a Tour de France for women.” Closer to home, our community reveals a vibrant group of female amateur and professional cyclists and

triathletes, as well as student athletes who are just now seeing the possibilities for their future. Our young female athletes are dominating the local sports scene with their feats in cross country, track, tennis, and basketball. As an amateur cyclist, I’m encouraged by the both the growth of the sport and where it is headed. The ruling to allow women to showcase their talents at the Tour this year is an important step, and it will hopefully encourage more young women to look at cycling as a professional sport and not just something their crazed moms do on the weekends - to paraphrase my daughters, both of whom are runners for their school’s cross country teams. I see around me a community of women athletes challenging themselves to be stronger and healthier, pushing the boundaries of their sport, and questioning what it means to be a woman. I look at our community, and see strong, sexy, beautiful women who will not be bound by any tautology that claims we must be one thing or another, but who are defining for ourselves what it means to be a woman. Nicole Adamson is a Bitterroot Valley cycling enthusiast and freelance writer.

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Page 12 - Cycling the Bitterroot, April 2014

Cycling events

in the Bitterroot valley By RUSS LAWRENCE

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.

Ravalli Republic

Fortunately, the riding calendar in the Bitterroot offers a variety of events for riders of all interests, nicely spaced throughout the summer. June 7 – 8: The first Bitterroot-based cycling event of the season is the van-supported “Pedal to Paradise,” organized by Darby’s Lightfoot Cycles.

Cycling the Bitterroot, April 2014 - Page 13

on their website when that capacity is approached. Call Miner at (406) 821-4750 for more information or to sign on; browse to for full information. June 22: The Femme/Velo Deux (see related story) ride for women takes off from the Bitter Root Brewery, loops through the valley on paved roads for 100 km. (approx. 62.5 miles), and returns to the brewery for a post-ride party. Organizer Nicole Adamson is in the process of finalizing the route, but scenic, paved roads with low traffic counts are among the criteria that won it rave reviews from last year’s participants. The event started small last year, with only six riders, and Adamson’s goal for this year remains modest, though to build interest the first 25 registrants will get a free jersey. Sign-up opened April 15, at the event website, The $75 registration also includes pre-ride refreshments and a post-ride bash with beer and food. Non-riders may also attend the party for $10. Riders will find two aid stations along their route, serving fruit, water, and encouragement. Register online, or contact organizer Adamson via phone at (406) 381-7962, or email

fresh d

ic el







Participants will ride from Darby, up the West Fork, and over Nez Perce Pass to the Paradise guard station and campground, on Selway River, a total of 65 miles. “This is a dirt road ride into the isolated heart of the biggest wilderness area in the 48 states,” writes Lightfoot owner Rod Miner in his blog. “Bikes can be mountain bikes or touring bikes, upright or recumbent, as long as they are outfitted with sturdy traction tires.” Riders have the option of starting at the Lightfoot Cycles facility in Darby or, by starting at the Conner camping area, to shave off eight miles. Less committed riders may start at Fales Flat, saving a further 21 miles. From Fales Flat campground, the remaining distance is 20 percent paved and 80 percent dirt or gravel road. Miner compares the effort of riding the full 65 miles to riding a century on pavement. The Lightfoot Cycles van will “sag” the riders, carrying their camping gear and potluck contributions for dinner and breakfast. Participants should carry their own rain gear, snacks, water, and lunch, and the van will carry the rest. This is an informal ride, not an organized “event,” and while there’s no formal registration, Lightfoot’s Rod Miner notes that the campground can only accommodate 70 persons, and asks that interested riders contact Lightfoot to signal their intent. Miner will post a notice

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July 12: The Ride De Root is a full, 100-mile century ride (with shorter options), benefitting the Darby Booster Club, starting and ending in Darby. The $50 entry fee nets you a commemorative t-shirt, four aid stations with food and water, and a beer-andbarbecue post-ride party. The route departs The Right To Bare Arms gym in Darby and heads toward Stevensville on the east side of the valley, then crosses to the west side, returning to Darby via Victor’s back roads, Hamilton’s Westside highway, and U.S. 93. The route climbs (and descends) a total of 2,785 feet. Those who don’t want to bite off a full century have both a 60-mile option that breaks off at Corvallis, and a 42-miler that loops to Hamilton and back. Both shorter options offer two refreshment stops. All riders will have access to a sag van if needed. Visit for more information, or to register.

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

July 20: The Tour of the Bitterroot, a benefit for the Bitter Root Land Trust, offers options for riders of all ages and abilities. 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

July 26: 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 $65 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

David Erickson

Cycling the Bitterroot, April 2014 - Page 15

swag bag. Visit for more information, or to register. August 9: 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 fivekilometer 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 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. September 5-7: The first Lost Trail Bike Fest & Shuttle Extravaganza was deemed a great success by everyone who participated, so organizers are giving it another shot in 2014. 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 mixed in to ensure that no calorie goes unburned. 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. 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! Russ Lawrence is a freelance writer for the Ravalli Republic.

St. Mary’s Mission &M Museum Chief Victor’s Cabin Salish Encampment Fr. Ravalli’s Cabin & Pharmacy Chapel

OPEN 4/15 - 10/15 Tue - Fri, 10AM-4PM Sat - 11AM-3PM

West End of 4th Street, Stevensville, Where Montana Began

Cycle up spectacular HWY 473 past Darby, along the scenic West Fork of the Bitterroot River, past unspoiled forests, around undiscovered Painted Rocks Lake and to the Alta Ranger Station, the first to be built in the U.S. The air is refreshing at 5,000 feet elevation. Camp at Painted Rocks or the Alta campgrounds or spoil yourself in a deluxe cabin at the Alta Ranch. (406) 349-2142

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What cyclists want BREWERIES • Bitterroot Brewery 101 Marcus Street, Hamilton • 406 363-7468 • Blacksmith Brewing Company 114 Main Street, Stevensville • 406 777-0680 • Higher Ground Brewery 518 North First, Hamilton • 406 375-5204 • Wildwood Brewing 4018 US Hwy 93, North Stevensville • 406 777-2855 • Lolo Peak Brewing Company 6201 Brewery Way, Lolo • 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

Sara Ashline

Victor • Bitterroot Beanery Highway 93 Hamilton • Big Creek Coffee 301 West Main Street, Hamilton 406 375-7508 • • Bitterroot Beanery Hamilton (1002 North Hwy 93 & 600 South Hwy 93), • Clatters Coffee House 170 South 2nd Street, Hamilton • 406 546-9661 • Liaisons Coffee House 111 North 2nd, Hamilton • • River Rising 337 West Main, Hamilton • 406 363-4552 • Sam’s Spade Garden Tools & Wares 111 South 4th Street, Hamilton • Taste of Paris 109 North 4th Street, Hamilton • 406 369-5875 • Zaxan Coffee Roasters 140 Cherry Street, Hamilton 406 363-4006 • Darby • Darby Espresso 801 North Main Street, Darby • 406 821-3351 EMERGENCY MEDICAL • MDMH Convenience Care 1200 Westwood Drive, Hamilton • 406 363-0597 • First Choice Medical Walk-in Clinic 186 South 3rd, Hamilton • 406 375-9555 HOTELS & LODGING There are close to 100 hotels, B&Bs, cabins, and other lodging in the Bitterroot Valley. They are all listed conveniently at

Cycling the Bitterroot, April 2014 - Page 17

LAUNDROMATS • Fast & Fluffy, 115 Pine St., Hamilton • 406 363-6556 • Mini Market & Laundry Center 108 Main Street, Stevensville • 406 777-3606 • 2nd & State Street, Hamilton 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

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 SHIPPING • Boxxe Shoppe Hwy 93, Hamilton 406 363-4440 • UPS Store 610 N1st Street, Hamilton 406 363-2187

Higherground Brewery y serVing craft Beer and neapolitan style pizza eVery day!


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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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Open 7 days ~ 109 West Main Hamilton ~363-6969


Outdoor Patio Check out our Weekly calendar

Live Music Regularly

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Highway 93 bike path mileage • Hamilton to Lolo :: 32 miles (one way) • Hamilton to Florence :: 26 miles (one way) • Hamilton to Stevensville :: 17 miles (one way) • Hamilton to Victor :: 9 miles (one way)

Ride 1 :: West Side Loop Ride 2 :: Sleeping Child Out and Back Ride 3 :: Skalkaho Highway Out and Back Ride 4 :: Victor Loop Ride 5 :: Stevi Figure 8 Ride 6 :: Corvallis Loop Ride 7 :: Hamilton-Corvallis Loop


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Page 18 - Cycling the Bitterroot, April 2014

175 S. 2nd St Downtown Hamilton 363-9708

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Cycling the Bitterroot, April 2014 - Page 19

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Popular road rides

for Bitterroot Valley cyclists By TONY NEAVES



Ride 1 :: West Side Loop ✔ Intermediate (Caution: not recommend for children.) ✔ Directions for start and end in Hamilton ✔ 12 miles This loop is very popular due to its proximity to Hamilton and for its quick, easy route. Good for introducing riders to what the Bitterroot Valley has to offer. • Park in Hamilton. • Take Main Street west across the bridge and up the hill. • Turn left onto Westside Road. • Travel to Roaring Lion Road, turn left. • Travel to Hwy 93. Use extreme caution on this section as you will be entering Hwy with high speed traffic. Be very careful crossing the bridge just south of Angler’s Roost. Ride on the correct side of the road (right side) with traffic, single file. • Be even more careful after the bridge where the Hwy 93 Path begins on the west side of the Highway. Cross over only where there is no traffic in either lane. Once on the Hwy 93 Path, you are safe. • Follow the Hwy 93 Path back to Hamilton. • Turn left on Nichol Lane before Murdoch’s. • Turn left onto South 2nd Street and travel north back to your car. Ride 2 :: Sleeping Child Out and Back ✔ Beginner -Intermediate ✔ 15 miles (one way) ✔ Start at the “Y” dirt parking area located at Hwy 93 and Skalkaho Highway. (One mile south of Hamilton on the west side of the Hwy.) This route takes you through a beautiful, rural area with a gentle incline at first. You will then enter

the canyon section where it will begin to climb steeper along Sleeping Child Creek over the last five miles. Absolutely beautiful! Nice option as you can ride as far as you have time for. • Turn right out of parking area onto Sleeping Child Road. • Turn right onto Sleeping Child Road. • Follow Sleeping Child Road to the end at Private Property. • Return the same way back to your car.

Ride 3 :: Skalkaho Highway Out and Back ✔ Intermediate ✔ 15 miles to Forest Service gate (Closed until Memorial Day.); ~18 miles to end of pavement ✔ Directions for start and end in Hamilton. ✔ Start at the “Y” dirt parking area located at Hwy 93 and Skalkaho Highway. (One mile south of Hamilton on the west side of the Hwy.) Another nice out and back that you can start from the same parking area as Ride 2. The last four miles of pavement climb steep and the canyon narrows. You ride right alongside Daly Creek here and the road is twisty. Beautiful. Be very careful as there is traffic along this route so continue to abide by the rules of the road and stay far right and ride single file. There are many blind corners along this section of the route. • Turn right out of the parking area onto Skalkaho Highway and stay on this route until the pavement ends. As you ride further along this route, the traffic drops way off as you pass the last houses and enter the National Forest. Ride 4 :: Victor Loop ✔ Intermediate-Advanced ✔ 27 miles ✔ These directions start and end in Hamilton.

Cycling the Bitterroot, April 2014 - Page 21

Perry Backus

This route utilizes a series of back roads between Hamilton and Victor to the west of Hwy 93 and returns along the Hwy 93 Path. • Park in Hamilton. • Follow Main Street west to Ricketts Road. • Turn right on Ricketts. • Turn left onto Bowman Road. Follow Bowman as it weaves left and right along the hilly rural 2-lane and ultimately through the Town of Pinesdale. • After a good descent, turn right onto Sheafman Creek Road. Descend all the way as the road bends left. Stay on it until you reach Bourne Lane. • Turn left onto Bourne Lane and follow it west until turning right onto Red Crow Road. Stay on Red Crow as it weaves its way north and turns into Pleasant View Drive. Ride along Pleasant View and drop down a steep hill with a sharp left hand corner. • Turn right onto 5th Street. Follow 5th east into Victor. • Enter the Hwy93 Path on South end of town near the grocery store and return to Hamlton.

Ride 5 :: Stevi Figure 8 ✔ Intermediate-Advanced ✔ 55 miles ✔ These directions start and end in Hamilton. This route does a huge figure eight loop through the Valley on the west and east benchlands, linking Hamilton and Stevensville. The route is difficult at the beginning with ups and downs but the return is easy along the Hwy93 Path. • Park in Hamilton • Ride up West Main Street to Ricketts Road. • Turn right on Ricketts Road and travel to Bowman. • Turn right on Bowman and travel to Orchard Drive. • Turn left onto Orchard and travel to Dutch Hill Road. • Turn left onto Dutch Hill and travel to Lower Mill Creek Road. • Turn right onto Lower Mill Creek and travel to Sheafman Creek Road. • Turn right onto Sheafman Creek and travel to Bourne Lane. • Turn left onto Bourne and travel to Red Crow Road.

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• Turn right onto Red Crow and follow all the way to Pleasant View Drive. • After dropping down a steep hill with a sharp left hand corner, turn right onto 5th Street and follow it to Victor’s Main Street. • Enter Hwy93 Path going north (left) from Main. • Turn right at Bell Crossing Road. • Cross the Eastside Hwy and onto Willoughby Road. • Turn left onto South Sunset Bench Road and climb up onto this beautiful bench to the southeast of Stevensville. • Turn left onto Pine Hollow Road and fol low it across the bench. • After a wonderful flowing descent, turn right onto Logan Lane. • Turn left onto Middle Burnt Fork Road. • Turn right onto Park Street and travel along it as it turns into East 3rd Street and bends to the left and travels into downtown Stevensville. • Enter the Path on the north end of town at the intersection of Main Street and Eastside Hwy. • Follow the Path west to Hwy 93 and enter the Hwy93 Path. • Follow the Hwy93 Path south to Victor. • At Victor you have options! If you are tired, follow the Hwy93 Path to Hamilton. If you want more climbing, retrace the first section of the rider on the west side roads back to Hamilton.

Ride 6 :: Corvallis Loop ✔ Beginner-Intermediate ✔ 13.5 miles ✔ These directions start and end in Corvallis. This route is a nice introduction to the network of back roads along the scenic bench lands west and north of Corvallis. Although this is a short ride, there are a number of hills to climb and descend! It is fund and scenic. • Park in Corvallis. • Go east from 4-way stop at the intersection of the Eastside Highway and Woodside Cutoff Road. Woodside turns into Willow Creek Road east of the Highway. • Turn right onto Honey House Lane. • Turn right onto Warbler Lane. • Turn left onto Bass Lane. • Turn left onto Willow Creek Cross Lane. • Turn left at the “T” onto Willow Creek Cross Road. • Turn right onto Willow Creek Road • Turn left onto Summerdale Road. • After a short steep descent, turn left onto Popham Lane. • Turn left onto the Eastside Hwy and return to Corvallis. • Option at Eastside Highway: If you have a hybrid or cross-bike, you can cross Eastside Hwy onto the dirt road. At the “T”

Russ Lawrence

Cycling the Bitterroot, April 2014 - Page 23

Ride 7 :: Hamilton-Corvallis Loop ✔ Beginner-Intermediate ✔ 15 miles ✔ These directions start in Hamilton but just turn them around and your start will be in Corvallis. This route is a fun way to see a little of the west side and east side roads available to ride between Hamilton and Corvallis. This route is hilly until you reach Bourne Lane then becomes easy on flat roads into Corvallis and on the return to Hamilton. There are many options for starting and ending this ride either in Hamilton or Corvallis. • Park in Hamilton. • Begin by riding west on Main Street to Ricketts Road. • Turn right on Ricketts. • Turn left onto Bowman Road. Follow Bowman as it weaves its way through the Town of Pinesdale. • After a good descent, turn right onto Sheafman Creek Road. Descend all the way as the road bends left. Stay on it until you reach Bourne Lane. • Turn right on Bourne Lane and go down a very steep hill.

• • • • • • • • •

Just before you reach Hwy93, turn right onto Meridian Road. Travel Meridian until you take a left turn onto the Hwy93 Path to Woodside Cutoff. Carefully cross Dutch Hill Road to get into the eastbound lane to cross East toward Corvallis >>> OR hit the crossing button, dis mount bike, and walk across Hwy93. Enter the Path which parallels Woodside Cutoff Road into Corvallis. Check out Corvallis, then return west on Path. Turn left onto Old Corvallis Road and follow all the way back to Hamilton. Turn right onto Fairgrounds Road. Cross Hwy93 at the traffic signal. Turn left onto North 4th Street and return to downtown Hamilton.

Highway 93 bike path mileage • Hamilton to Lolo: 32 miles (one way) • Hamilton to Florence: 26 miles (one way) • Hamilton to Stevensville: 17 miles (one way) • Hamilton to Victor: 9 miles (one way)

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Page 24 - Cycling the Bitterroot, April 2014

Western Montana

at the epicenter of bicycle travel in North America


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

Russ Lawrence

by bicycle. With approximately three dozen full-time employees, Adventure Cycling serves a worldwide membership of nearly 47,000 members, making it North America’s premier bicycle-travel organization.

Cycling the Bitterroot, April 2014 - Page 25

Adventure Cycling’s roots date back to the mid1970s, 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 conceived the notion of a creating a bicycle touring event across the United States to celebrate the 1976 American Bicentennial. Hence, 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, the organization does so

much more than “just” run cross-country tours that it is challenging to know where to begin describing its many services. Probably the best way is to go program by program. Routes and Maps. Currently employing five cartographers and GIS specialists, the Routes and Mapping Department recently surpassed the 42,000 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 many others. The newest, launched in February 2014, is the Idaho Hot Springs Mountain Bike Route, a glorious loop of 518 miles circling through the heart of central Idaho. On the drawing board and scheduled for completion in 2015: Bicycle Route 66, tracing the historic “Mother Road” from Chicago to Southern California. Guided Tours. In 2014, the Adventure Cycling Tours Department offers more than 60 different tours in the U.S. and Canada (and more than 80 dates), ranging in duration from three days to three months. The level of support varies a great deal as well, from tours that are totally 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 most members as the most rewarding and inspirational reason for joining Adventure Cycling. Memberships. Donations made and annual dues paid by Adventure Cycling members (along with onetime fees paid by life members), are key to fulfilling the

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organization’s mission. Funds raised go to expanding the Adventure Cycling Route Network, maintaining the organization’s online resources (which include a very active blog), 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, nearly 6,000 miles of U.S. Bicycle Routes have been established in twelve states, which include Alaska, Kentucky, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia.

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. Visit 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! Michael McCoy is a media specialist with Adventure Cycling Association in Missoula.

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Cycling the Bitterroot, April 2014 - Page 27

Cycling means

income for valley businesses By RUSS LAWRENCE

Pedaling through the Bitterroot Valley doesn’t just put a smile on the faces of cyclists, it leaves many local businesses smiling as well. Biking can be big business, and not just for the obvious reasons. The potential market is substantial. More than a quarter of all Americans ride a bike -- more than golf, ski, or play tennis, combined. Local cyclists support valley bicycle shops, but they’re just one segment of a much larger market. That market includes touring cyclists pedaling through, and cyclists who come to the valley as a destination, to ride local roads and trails. The Adventure Cycling Association has more than 46,000 members worldwide, and the Bitterroot is just an easy day’s pedal from their Missoula headquarters, considered Mecca for touring cyclists. The ACA has designated thousands of miles of bike trails that crisscross the U.S., several of which pass through Ravalli County. The Trans-America is the grand-daddy of them all, providing a cyclist-friendly touring route that crosses the country. The ACA doesn’t keep track of how many cyclists ride it each year, but based on map sales and visits to their Missoula office, they estimate the number at between 1,000 – 1,500 individual cyclists annually. Those are the touring bikes you see on valley roads

and bike paths, laden with panniers, many of them carrying all their needs with them on the bike, including camping and cooking gear. Even though they’re “selfcontained,” they still need groceries and other dayto-day supplies. Others, however, may be “credit-card tourists,” carrying only daily essentials, and sleeping most nights in local lodgings, eating in local restaurants. Some cyclists travel here specifically to ride, and may stay in a hotel or bed & breakfast, spending several days to ride the local routes, or to head up into the mountains for a day of single-track riding, returning for a massage and a local brew. In fact, data from the State of Montana suggests that cycle tourists spend an average of $75 per day in Montana, many of them spend eight or more nights in the state, and 41% stay in a hotel or B&B. The majority, 56%, have a household income between $75-150,000. The state of Oregon recently estimated the economic impact of cycle tourism at $326 million, and a Wisconsin study recently pegged the impact at $924 million in that state – more than hunting. Of course, local bike shops are happy to see cycle tourists, but data shows that spending by cyclists directly benefits many local businesses. Coffee shops and breweries are frequently singled-out, but even laundromats prove a necessity for riders. Cyclists are frequently seen taking a break on valley Main Streets,

Page 28 - Cycling the Bitterroot, April 2014

shopping for souvenirs that they’ll have shipped home, to avoid having to carry them along. It’s not unknown for those cycling “souvenirs” to include homes or property in the Bitterroot, as cyclists passing through become smitten by the valley’s offerings. The ACA’s Ginny Sullivan told a group working to promote the Bitterroot as a cycling destination, that people “spend more on their passion than on their obligations,” and Ravalli County is well-positioned to capitalize on that. Word spreads quickly among cyclists about bikefriendly towns, those with camping or lodging convenient to shopping and other amenities, and even about specific shops that welcome cyclists. The town of Twin Bridges took advantage of that in 2009, building a cyclist-specific campground within easy walking to town, offering a simple shelter with shower facilities, a sink for washing clothes or preparing meals, picnic tables, and a grill. They charge no fee, but ask for donations. In all, the city spent just $9,000 on the facility, and estimates that the entire amount was recouped in the first season, not just in donations but also in increased business in town.

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)

Downtown--where Hamilton Happens!

An Oregon study showed that the impact of bike tourists who stay overnight is 19 times the impact of a cyclist who just passes through. Adventure Cycling’s Winona Bateman said last year that “bike tourism is big business, especially for smaller communities. The old tenet ‘if you build it, they will come,’ is definitely true with bicycle tourists.” The valley is also frequently part of the itinerary for organized tours. Last year saw at least three major tours pass through, with more than 500 riders in all, but routes shift from year to year, and this summer it appears The Cycling House has the only organized tours, shepherding 30 riders from Missoula to Sula on July 15, with another group visiting on July 25. Cycling has an economic benefit for local non-profits, too, as numerous valley organizations have organized rides or triathlons as benefits. The list includes the Bitter Root Land Trust, Bitterroot CASA, the Darby Booster Club, Lost Trail Ski Patrol, the Lake Como Trails Club, Emma’s House, Trapper Creek Student Government, and others. Those spokes radiating from a cyclists hub reach out to touch many local businesses, directly and indirectly. Will yours be one of them?

Cycling the Bitterroot, April 2014 - Page 29

Bitter Root Brewing invites cyclists to Hamilton

Michelle McConnaha


Inviting cyclists and encouraging them to make Hamilton a stop along their ride will benefit both the riders and the community, said a business owner who promotes cycling in the Bitterroot. “We are spreading the word for mountain biking and road biking,” said Nicole Musburger, a partner at Bitterroot Brewing/Brew Pub. “Our goal has always been to create a community space where people stop and hang out and meet each other and shop around town. I think as long we encourage cyclists to stop here it will impact our community financially.” Musburger said she feels that Hamilton is a great place for cyclists to stop and spend time and money. “Our community has so many things to offer,” she said. “I think more people are starting to recognize this. It’s a great place to stop and it’s becoming a spot on cyclists’ radar. It’s an awesome location - the Bitterroot Valley is along the Trans America Trail and the

Lewis and Clark Trail.” Increased interest in cycling will bring more cyclists through Hamilton and the Bitterroot Valley. “There’s a push in the community right now that people are really interested in being as accommodating as possible to cyclists,” Musburger said. “There are committees to figure out how the Hamilton community can be more friendly and it’s really cool to see and be a part of.” Musburger said the brew pub has experienced increased business. “We’ve been here for – it will be 16 years in October - and we’ve always had cyclists come through here,” she said. “There is a draw between cyclists and breweries. Some rides are scheduled for riders to bike from brewery to brewery. Breweries tend to be communityoriented places: low-key, laid-back and family friendly. I think it has a community feel. It’s a place to get

Page 30 - Cycling the Bitterroot, April 2014

together and feel like you’re a part of what ever community you are cycling through.” Often, riders plan to stop at the Bitterroot Brewery as part of their route. “It is sometimes a midway stop for cyclists,” said Musburger. “We have great beer and food and live music two nights a week. The Bitterroot Brewery is an awesome way to cap off an awesome bike ride.” Musburger encourages cycling in the Bitterroot because of friendships and positive opportunities. “I’m not a cyclist, but a lot of my staff and close friends are, and I know a ton of people who love it and are avid cyclists. I want to support them,” she said. One way the Bitterroot Brewery is supporting cycling is by sponsoring a women’s cycling event this year called Femme/Velo Deux. “It is all-women’s ride which we’re excited about being involved in. We are hosting their after-party here. It’s really cool – the finest in women’s cycling.” Musburger said the community is talking about creating more of a “landing spot” for bikes in Hamilton - for larger bike tours - someplace that offers showers and toilets and a place for people to camp that is right in town – “that would be huge.”

Bitterroot Brewing is a family owned and operated business. Tim Bozik is Musburger’s father and “the brains behind the operation,” she said. “We just finished an expansion in September to include cans in our lineup, which is accessible to people who are going on a bike ride or going into the mountains. That was the catalyst - that Montana lifestyle that people love here - throw some cans in your pack and off you go. It’s a big expansion – a huge thing for us,” she said. Bitterroot Brewing is located at 101 Marcus St., Hamilton. Call them at (406) 363-7468, or visit their website .

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Cycling the Bitterroot, April 2014 - Page 31

Things to remember when biking to work

By Bike Walk Montana

May is National Bicycle Month and May 12-16 is Bike to Work Week, and more people are dusting off bicycles and not only riding to work, but also to school, the coffee shop, pub, grocery store, and many other destinations. Some people, however, haven’t been able to overcome physical and psychological barriers to moving to the bicycle as a healthy and efficient alternative mode of transportation. To help get started -- or get better -- at bicycle commuting, here are a few suggestions that might make the difference for you. Learning to like it. One of the -- if not the -- biggest barriers to more people taking up bicycle commuting is learning to enjoy it instead of feeling obligated to do it to save money on gas and parking, get it shape,

lose weight or reduce dependence on imported oil. It might take a few months to achieve a basic fitness level, adjust your daily routine and learn to feel comfortable becoming part of the normal traffic flow, so don’t hang it up after a few days. Give it enough time, and you’ll start liking it. Drive your bicycle. Bicycles are legally classified as vehicles, so in general, pretend you’re driving instead of riding your bicycle. With some exceptions, operate your non-motorized vehicle the same way you operate your motorized vehicle. For example, never ever “drive” on the wrong side of the road against traffic. Try to blend in with traffic instead of trying to separate yourself from it. Just as you do in your vehicle, drive

Page 32 - Cycling the Bitterroot, April 2014

defensively. Hold your line. Probably the best habit a bicycle commuter can have is being predictable by riding in a straight line and avoiding sudden moves. Be bright. Always wear a helmet, bicycle gloves and protective eyeglasses, and don’t be fashion conscious. Instead, wear high-visibility or reflective clothing. When riding at night or in low-light conditions, always use a flashing backlight and handlebar or headband LED front light. Where to ride. If you can’t use a street with a designated bicycle lane or wide shoulder free of parked cars and debris, ride one or two feet into the traffic lane (about where a car’s passenger tires normally go). If you’re on a residential street with on-street parking, hold your line in the traffic lane. Don’t weave in and out of the open spaces between parked cars. Don’t be afraid of thru streets. People prefer to drive on thru-streets because they provide the fastest, shortest, safest routes to their destinations. Don’t shy away from “driving” thru streets for the same reasons. Signaling. Always signal turns or lane changes -- and do it aggressively -- as long as it’s safe to take one hand off the handlebars. Both cyclists and motorists need to understand that in some cases, such as when making a high-speed turn, cyclists must keep both hands on the handlebars and brakes and can’t continue to safely signal. Watch those doors. When riding along parked cars, ride far enough away from the car to keep from being “doored” -- i.e. a motorist opening the door without looking to see a cyclist approaching from behind, which is illegal, but, sadly, happens frequently, so drive defensively Beware of the right hook. Watch carefully when vehicle comes up beside you as you approach an intersection. Although illegal, some drivers underestimate a bicyclist’s speed and refuse to wait a few seconds for them to pass before making a right turn. If the vehicle is beside you, you might not be able to see the vehicle’s turn signals. A vehicle turning and cutting off or crashing a bicyclist -- called “the right hook” -- is a common bicycle/motor vehicle accident. Again, be a defensive driver. Making a left turn. On a two-lane street, signal aggressively and move toward the center of the road, staying in your lane, a half-block or more before turning left. Don’t signal and stay on the right shoulder and then veer abruptly across traffic to make a left turn. When turning left on a multiple-lane road, aggressively signal and then carefully move into the left-turn lane just as you would do with your motor vehicle, and do

this far enough in advance of the intersection, so you aren’t making an abrupt move across traffic. If there is a left-hand turn lane, use it, just as you would with your motor vehicle. Intersection savvy. When coming up to an intersection with a stop sign or stoplight, take control. If you’re the first vehicle there, take the entire traffic lane when you stop. Don’t stop far to the right and leave room for a car to park beside you. If the road splits off into a right-hand turn lane and you plan to go straight, again, take the traffic lane instead of stopping in the turn lane, which makes the motorist behind think you’re turning right. If other vehicles are already stopped at the intersection, take your place in line behind the last vehicle instead of trying to squeeze through on the right along the curb, which is not only illegal and dangerous but also and discourteous to motorists. Stay in the driving lane until you’ve cleared the intersection and then move to the right to allow motorists to pass. Don’t cut corners. You avoid doing this with your motor vehicle; do the same on your bicycle. Bulb-outs. Many cities have installed bulb-outs, especially around schools, and they can be dangerous for bicyclists, especially when approached at high speed on a downhill grade. When approaching a bulb-out on your bicycle, aggressively signal and then carefully move into the traffic lane far in advance, even if you have to briefly inconvenience motorists, and then back onto the shoulder after the bulb-out. Do not swerve suddenly into traffic just before the bulb-out. Sidewalks. Even though it’s legal to ride on sidewalks in most places, this can be dangerous, so avoid it if possible. Storm grates. Be alert for parallel storm grates and move far enough into the traffic lane to safely miss them--and do this gradually, after signaling, far in advance of the grate. Don’t veer into traffic at the last second to miss a storm grate--or any other hazard, for that matter, such as a pothole. Watch the sun. Be extra defensive at sunrise and sundown when a motorist coming from behind might be partly blinded by direct sunlight. If you’re among those who are considering taking up bicycle commuting, these practical tips should help you do it more safely, efficiently and enjoyably. Bike Walk Montana is a statewide nonprofit advocate for bicyclists and pedestrians. Learn more about us at

Cycling the Bitterroot, April 2014 - Page 33

Cycling laws in Montana The bicycle is a legal vehicle in Montana, which means cyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as motorists. Find out more about Montana’s cycling laws and find additional contact information at the Department of Transportation’s cycling resource page. View Montana bicycle map with shoulder widths, rumble strip indicator, grades and average daily traffic. 61-8-602. Traffic laws applicable to persons operating bicycles. Every person operating a bicycle shall be granted all of the rights and shall be subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of any other vehicle by chapter 7, this chapter, and chapter 9 except as to special regulations in this part and except as to those provisions of chapter 7, this chapter, and chapter 9 which by their very nature can have no application. 61-8-605. Riding on roadways. (1) As used in this section: (a) “laned roadway” means a roadway that is divided into two or more clearly marked lanes for vehicular traffic; and (b) “roadway” means that portion of a highway improved, designed, or ordinarily used for vehicular travel, including the paved shoulder. (2) A person operating a bicycle upon a roadway at less than the normal speed of traffic at the time and place and under the conditions then existing shall ride as near to the right side of the roadway as practicable except when: (a) overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction;

(b) preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway; or (c) necessary to avoid a condition that makes it unsafe to continue along the right side of the roadway, including but not limited to a fixed or moving object, parked or moving vehicle, pedestrian, animal, surface hazard, or a lane that is too narrow for a bicycle and another vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane. (3) A person operating a bicycle upon a one-way highway with two or more marked traffic lanes may ride as close to the left side of the roadway as practicable. (4) Persons riding bicycles upon a roadway shall ride in single file except when: (a) riding on paths or parts of roadways set aside for the exclusive use of bicycles; (b) overtaking and passing another bicycle; (c) riding on a paved shoulder or in a parking lane, in which case the persons may ride two abreast; or (d) riding within a single lane on a laned roadway with at least two lanes in each direction, in which case the persons may ride two abreast if they do not impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic more than they would otherwise impede traffic by riding single file and in accordance with the provisions of this chapter. (5) A bicycle, as defined in 61-8-102(2)(b)(ii), is excluded from the provisions of subsections (2) and (3). 61-8-607. Lamps and other equipment on bicycles. (1) Every bicycle when in use at nighttime shall be equipped with a lamp on the front which shall emit a

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white light visible from a distance of at least 500 feet to the front. A lamp emitting a red light visible from a distance of 500 feet to the rear may be used in addition to rear-facing reflectors required by this section. (2) Every bicycle when in use at nighttime shall be equipped with an essentially colorless front-facing reflector, essentially colorless or amber pedal reflectors, and a red rear-facing reflector. Pedal reflectors shall be mounted on the front and back of each pedal. (3) Every bicycle when in use at nighttime shall be equipped with either tires with retroflective sidewalls or reflectors mounted on the spokes of each wheel. Spoke mounted reflectors shall be within 76 millimeters (3 inches) of the inside of the rim and shall be visible on each side of the wheel. The reflectors on the front wheel shall be essentially colorless or amber and the reflectors on the rear wheel shall be amber or red. (4) Reflectors required by this section shall be of a type approved by the department. (5) Every bicycle shall be equipped with a brake which will enable the operator to make the braked wheels skid on dry, level, clean pavement. (6) Every bicycle is encouraged to be equipped

InterpretIve Center

with a flag clearly visible from the rear and suspended not less than 6 feet above the roadway when the bicycle is standing upright. The flag shall be fluorescent orange in color. 61-8-608. Bicycles on sidewalks. (1) A person operating a bicycle upon and along a sidewalk or across a roadway upon and along a crosswalk shall yield the rightof-way to any pedestrian and shall give audible signal before overtaking and passing any pedestrian. (2) A person may not ride a bicycle upon and along a sidewalk or across a roadway upon and along a crosswalk where the use of a bicycle is prohibited by official traffic control devices. (3) Except as provided in subsections (1) and (2), a person operating a vehicle by human power upon and along a sidewalk or across a roadway upon and along a crosswalk has all the rights and duties applicable to a pedestrian under the same circumstances. Other federal, state, and local laws, regulations, and ordinances may apply.


Open MeMOrIal Day thrOugh SepteMber Mon-Sat 9aM -5pM; Sun 12:30-5pM, (208) 756-1222 Interpretive trails open year-round during daylight hours

Salmon Outdoor School June thru august Primitive Skills Classes and Demonstrations

thursdays, hursdays, Fridays, Saturdays

agai’dika heritage Days August 15-16th native american Dancing | Spiritual Walk/Run Dutch oven Gathering Heritage Craft Demonstrations Visit or more information or call (208) 756-1188 fo

Sales - Parts - Tune Ups & Repairs Accessories & Rentals Trail Information 219 South FirSt, hamilton


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Cycling the Bitterroot 2014  

A great guide to cycling in the Bitterroot Valley, Montana