About 130 cyclists from three Canadian provinces and 28 American states as well as Europe are taking part in a six-day, 635-kilometer bicycle ride along the International Selkirk Loop.
“It is beautiful this year,” said Stephanie Sims, executive director of the loop, which is providing administrative support for the ride.
“Blue skies, great temperatures, clear air. The first couple of days have gone well. Riders seem really happy. We’ve had a number of breakdowns, so that caused a little wrinkle, but we’ve got them all back on the road.”
The first leg of the WaCanId Ride (short for Washington, Canada, and Idaho) was Monday from Sandpoint to Colville, followed Tuesday by Colville to Rossland. Today riders are making their way from Rossland to Nelson. They will have a rest day Thursday and then on Friday continue from Nelson to Creston, and on Saturday back from Creston to Sandpoint.
The ride is supported by nine Rotary clubs along the route, who provide everything from snacks to spare tires to handling luggage.
Sims says this year’s riders are in their late 30s to their early 80s, although in previous years they’ve had participants as young as 14. The ride began 15 years ago, but missed a few years due to COVID as well as one year where it was cancelled due to thick forest fire smoke. That makes this year’s ride the 12th.
“The idea came about as a fundraiser for the Rotary Clubs,” Sims explains. “It also was a way to work together as an economic boost for their communities. They’re bringing travellers thru, they’re spending the night in hotels and campgrounds, eating in restaurants.”
Participating Rotary clubs are from Sandpoint, Ponderay, Bonners Ferry, Newport, Colville, Kettle Falls, Rossland, Castlegar, and Nelson.
“The clubs truly do an outstanding job and the feedback from the participants demonstrates Rotary’s ‘service above self motto’ year after year,” Sims said.