Seattle to Portland bike ride goes virtual

Although the Northwest cycling season was effectively stopped short after February’s Chilly Hilly in the wake of the ongoing health crises, the region’s largest group ride will go on — with reduced fees and expanded terrain.

Seattle to Portland, the Pacific Northwest’s largest annual group ride, and a critical fundraiser for community nonprofits between the two cities, is now free, virtual, and open to participants nationwide.

Registration for the 200-mile Kaiser Permanente “Seattle to Portland Virtual Challenge” opened this week.

“If you have ever wanted to ride STP but live too far away or couldn’t complete 200 miles in two days, now is your chance,” officials said.

“The virtual event will begin on July 18, the originally scheduled start date for the two-day ride that attracts up to 8,000 people annually.”

STP, as the ride is commonly known, travels through many small towns where community groups host food and aid stations for riders that generate more than $100,000 yearly for community food banks, college scholarships and other charitable initiatives.

This year, participants can ride the 200 miles in the usual one or two-day period, or they can take up to 20 days.

Cascade will sell STP Virtual Challenge merchandise to commemorate the event, with proceeds split between Cascade Bicycle Club and the local community groups and nonprofits along the road from Seattle to Portland.

“By opening the ride to everyone for free we hope to expand participation, create a sense of community and camaraderie, and lower the barriers to joining in this historic event for people everywhere,” said Rebecca Sorensen, Cascade’s events and rides director.

“STP is more than a ride. It is an economic engine that supports everything from community food banks to college scholarships and children’s literacy programs.”

This year marks only the second time in STP’s 41-year history that the event has been canceled, with the other occasion coming in 1980 due to the Mount St. Helens eruption.

Get more information and sign up at www.cascade.org/stp.

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