August 20, 2007

RSVP report

I am just back from another new bike ride – well new to me. I rode the RSVP this weekend with a couple of friends. RSVP stands for Ride from Seattle to Vancouver and Party. The ride has been around for about 26 years and is similar to the STP (Seattle to Portland). Both are organized rides held by Cascade Bicycle Club. The RSVP was actually started the year after the STP. In 1980 the eruption of Mount St. Helens prevented bicyclists from heading south, so the trip to Vancouver Canada was launched.

The RSVP is similar in length to the STP (183 miles vs. 206), but it feels more challenging. It is a much more scenic ride than the STP. You travel through lots of farm country and pass through several small towns with a Main St USA feel. Chuckanut Drive in Bellingham was the highlight of the first day. It is a twisty uphill climb into Bellingham, but it heavily wooded and overlooks the ocean most of the way. The second day into Canada was also beautiful except for a 6 mile stretch on hwy 7.

I would have to say what really drew me to this ride was that there are about 1,300 riders vs. 9,000 in the STP. 9,000 riders are just too many to have on the roads (and to support). The experience level of the RSVP riders seemed better as well. The STP draws many first timers, and lots of mistakes are made. Of course there are plenty of experienced riders who are oblivious or arrogant that make things difficult for others as well.

The one glaring disadvantage to the RSVP is the finish area. There was no real finish line, and the finish area was an underground parking garage at a hotel. There was no parking anywhere nearby, a very frustrating experience for my wife as she was trying to meet us there. The STP finishes in a park in downtown Portland where the riders and their families can meet and relax.

This weekend was another great experience. I rode with a couple of good friends, and also saw friends from my two Big Ride’s on the road. We stayed at a friend’s mother’s house in Bellingham both nights, and her hospitality of three stinky bikers was fantastic. My wife also brought the pooch along this time, and she was well behaved and a hit with all. We ate like kings, drank wine by a lake, and I made another “drunken promise” for a more challenging ride next year.


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

You go girl!! Really cool. The photo is brillant ( Snausage!! ), can't wait to hear about the new promise, and envy the the Casa-de Bellingham, knowing who's involved in lovely and wonderful. Ride on!!! -Holly