Cascade Bicycle Club’s first ever Emerald City Bike Ride takes to area freeways Sunday.
The ride sold out all 7,000 spots, and I’m not surprised. People have wanted to bike across the 520 Bridge since it opened half a century ago.
And while Bicycle Sunday was held on the I-5 Express Lanes decades ago, biking on them (legally) is a rare opportunity. Hey, maybe once people get a taste they’ll want to support my I-5 Express Trail idea. A blogger can dream…
Unfortunately, there will be no registrations at the start. Only the 7,000 people registered can go. But anyone can attend a free public party on the 520 Bridge 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday if you want a taste. Apparently they built a new bridge or something? All I know is that the 520 Trial won’t connect to Seattle until 2017, so I’m not celebrating until then.
If you did register for Emerald City Ride, congratulations! Note that there has been a route change from the map you got in the mail. Here’s the new map (PDF):
Some people are upset that the ride charged $30 for entry and limited registrations. Some members of the Tacoma Wheelmen’s Bicycle Club have even told the Herald they will ride without paying out of protest. The Club’s Darrell Eslinger even went a step further, puffing out his chest and saying, “Will we be arrested for going across? I wonder who’s going to stop us?”
Chill out, wheelman.
While I totally agree that a free and public version would be amazing, if Cascade didn’t take on the extensive (and expensive) organizing, planning and support work to make the ride happen, it wouldn’t have happened at all. Cascade’s longtime funding model is to put on bike events that fund their programming.
“Your registration fee helps Cascade provide bicycle education programs for children, families, school groups and everyone else who wants to ride a bike,” the event webpage says. “It also helps us advocate for safer, more connected bicycle infrastructure throughout the state and region.”
And all their rides take place on public roads. You can even ride along with the Seattle To Portland if you want. They can’t really stop you, but it’s kind of a dick move.
It’s as though the Tacoma Wheelmen have never heard of charging entry for a bike event before. Are they going to crash the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon next?
That said, there’s clearly strong public demand for a free and open public event like this in the future. Maybe WSDOT can put some funding into it next time to cover Cascade’s costs and open it to the public. But as it is, I’m excited that Cascade took this initiative and took a chance on a new event that will open up a bike route Seattle has never experienced before. Definitely worth $50.
Here’s the schedule for the day:
- 6 to 1 p.m. UW Start Line/Finish Line with info booth, exhibitors and t-shirt giveaways open (please note there will be no day of event registration)
- 7 to 8 a.m. Course open for full 21-mile loop riders
- 7:45 to 8:10 a.m. Course open for 8-mile 520 Experience riders
- 8:15 a.m. Access to SR 520 closed to riders
- 9:30 a.m. All riders must be off SR 520 bridge
- 9:45 a.m. Access to I-5 Express Lanes closed to riders
- 10:15 a.m. All riders must be off the I-5 Express Lanes
- 12:30 p.m. End of ride and all route support ends
- 1 p.m. Finish Line closes