Bike advocates in the Wenatchee Valley have been doing phenomenal work the past few years. Ever since we held a Complete Streets workshop there a few years ago we have watched great progress, from successful fundraising for trails to the launch of the Pybus Kids Century by long-time Washington Bikes member Deb Miller to Bicycle Friendly Community recognition in 2014 for the entire valley, including two counties and three towns.
Members of Wenatchee Valley Velo have helped grow Wenatchee bicycling on a number of fronts. This coming Sunday April 26 at the Apple Blossom Festival Youth Day they’re giving away 500 helmets to kids, with the sponsorship of Confluence Health.
Tour de Bloom
The following weekend the Tour de Bloom Omnium gets rolling as the first race event in Washington state to donate some of the proceeds of the race to statewide bicycle advocacy.
Tour de Bloom race director Ace Bollinger described the club’s goals:
“Wenatchee Valley Velo Club is a cycling group that welcomes both road cyclists and mountain bikers. Our goal is to promote the sport through advocacy, including educating the community about safe cycling, and by holding events and social rides. We are active year-round to help those who wish to stay fit for cycling during the off-season. Our events and activities include Saturday club group rides, the Tour de Bloom Omnium, the Ride of Silence, the Dark Side Festival, the Fall Classic Ride, and the Yeti Ride. We’re also a member of Washington Bikes.
“We do all this because we care about our community and we care about the sport of cycling.”
The Tour de Bloom Omnium held May 2-3 includes the Hill Climb Race Saturday morning, taking riders from Squilchuck State Park to Mission Ridge Ski & Board Resort. The Downtown Criterium follows later that afternoon and evening in a closed four-square-block area in downtown. The Road Race is held the next day, May 3, amid the rolling wheat fields in neighboring Waterville.
This year, the Wenatchee Valley Velo Club is giving away a record $15,000 in cash and prizes to riders at Tour de Bloom. Want to race and benefit bicycle advocacy? It’s not too late to register.
Tour de Beer
Not a racer? That’s all right — you can stop by the new Tour de Beer, a series of four outdoor beer gardens along the Criterium course in downtown featuring local and regional craft beers. Locations: McGlinn’s Public House on Orondo Avenue, at the corner of Wenatchee Avenue and Orondo Avenue, on Wenatchee Avenue between Palouse and First streets, and at Memorial Park.
Coupled with the Apple Blossom Festival’s Food Fair and the thrill of watching the downtown criterium, Bollinger says, “We see it as an outstanding way to cap the two-week run of the Apple Blossom Festival and to bring more people downtown.” Last year’s Tour de Bloom pumped an estimated $190,000 into the local economy. Of the 270 riders a year ago, about 90 percent came from outside the region, including 20 percent from British Columbia. Spending by racers and their families is part of the $3.1 billion annual direct economic impact bicycling makes to the Washington state economy.
In addition to the beer gardens, AdventureWenatchee will be putting on the first-ever Wenatchee Urban Mile Run during a break in action Saturday evening during the Criterium.
Washington Bikes executive director Barb Chamberlain will be on hand to cheer on the bike racers and meet local advocates in the WA Bikes booth.
UPDATE: Join Barb for an informal bike ride Friday, May 1. Meet at Pybus Market at 5pm; roll out for a visit to the Rocky Reach Trail, then gather afterwards for a no-host good time.