May is Bike Month with its many Bike Challenges, Bike to Work Week and Bike to Work Day events. Take a peek at our calendar and you’ll find plenty of bike activities happening all across the Evergreen State.
Clearly there are plenty of reasons to ride your bike. If you’re looking for some encouragement and social companionship on your bike rides, then check into riding with a bike club. We have almost 60 riding groups–sprinkled across Washington state–listed on our Bike Clubs page.
Cycling clubs vary in size from a few dozen to hundreds of members. Cascade Bicycle Club boasts over 16,000 members, making them what they say is the largest bike club in the nation. The club is an active one and offers daily rides, socials, classes, events, and more.
The typical bike club offers multiple rides each week during peak cycling season and host one or more event rides. Club rides vary in length, difficulty and speed. Preview Vancouver Bicycle Club’s ride calendar for examples.
Some clubs also organize over overnight and multi-day bike tours for members. Spokane Bicycle Club, Cyclists of Greater Seattle (COGS), and Tacoma Wheelmen Bicycle Club are a few clubs who put tours together for their members.
Some cycling groups cater to a particular type of rider. Belles and Baskets of Spokane and Velofemmes of Tacoma are groups organized by women who want to inspire other women to ride bikes. The Rainier Riders are a multi-cultural group of Seattle area cyclists who encourage bike riding in the African American community and beyond. The Evergreen Tandem Club are a group of tandem enthusiasts who sponsor and support tandem cycling events in the Pacific Northwest.
Do you want to spend some time biking with your kids? Then Kidical Mass is the group for you! Launched in Eugene, OR in 2008, the Kidical Mass movement is spreading across North America. Kidical Mass is a family friendly bike ride through the community and usually includes a fun destination (think playgrounds and ice cream shops). KM rides are currently organized in Seattle, Spokane and Tacoma. Contact your local bike club and ask if they offer family friendly rides. Some of them do.
If you are interested in riding competitively, then check out a racing group like Chinook Cycling Club in Yakima. Chinook is a member of the US Cycling Federation and they organize club rides and races, as well as a USCF sanctioned event. If you’ve ridden a few centuries and enjoy long distances, then consider getting involved with Seattle International Randonneurs. Rando events are not races, but there are time limits for completion which make them challenging.
Do you prefer riding singletrack dirt trails over pavement? Some recreational bike clubs also organize mountain bike rides. But if you’re serious about dirt trails, you need to look into a group like Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance. Evergreen is our state’s largest mountain bike advocacy and trail building group, and they also organize rides.
Be sure to look at the Bike Clubs page on our website to find a club (or clubs) near you. If you don’t see one that meets your style of riding, contact your local club anyway and ask if they’d be willing to offer your style of ride. Most bike clubs are eager to grow bicycling in their communities and, if you offer to help organize the ride, they may be willing to list it as their ride.
Now go for a ride!
Bike buses and trains in urban areas as well as bike clubs (primarily in suburban areas) are among the very best ways to make and sustain a commitment to bicycling for a lifetime.