Annual Lewis County Historic Bike Ride Returns

Options Available for All Riders, From Beginners to Experts

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Chehalis-Centralia Optimist Club will be hosting the Lewis County Historic Bike Ride on May 7.

According to Mazie Schlickeiser, of the Optimist Club, the ride was originally started by a bicycle company named Broken Spokes for Cycling Folks many years ago. The company later disbanded and the county’s recreation department took it over in the early 1990s and operated the ride for two or three years. The county decided to make it a historical ride, as opposed to just a generic bicycle ride as it had been before.

After a couple of years of county operation, the Optimist Club took over the ride. One of the club’s members knew someone in the recreation department and the county had been unable to operate the ride on its own.

“The club was able to cooperate with the county and went in and kind of took it over for two or three years before the county said they had to get rid of it. Several groups wanted it but because the optimists had already been helping, the county passed it off to the club,” Schlickeiser said.

The Optimist Club raises funds for many different causes, including many benefiting children, and the Lewis County Historic Bike Ride serves as a fundraiser for the group.

The  Lewis County Historic Bike Ride consists of four different rides of varying lengths, each of which starts at Jackson Prairie Church near Mary’s Corner.

This year’s bike ride will consist of a 12 and a half mile family ride, a 50-mile ride, a 70-mile ride and a 100-mile ride.

All rides, except for the family ride, come through Adna and go through Centralia before heading by Stan Hedwall Park in Chehalis toward the historic Newaukum Valley Schoolhouse. Riders then take Labree Road to head back toward Jackson Prairie.

According to Emma Ball, also of the Optimist Club, many riders use the event to get ready for the Seattle to Portland (STP) Classic because of the many hills and valleys involved. She also said the ride attracts riders from around the world, including places such as Spain and England. There are also different bicycle teams that have come in the past that use it as a fundraiser separate from the Optimist Club.

The family ride costs $35 for the whole family as long as one parent is participating. The ride goes by the historic Saint Urban Catholic Church and is considered to be fairly easy. There will be a barbecue that follows free for those participating. There will also be a breakfast for $5 the church will be putting on as a fundraiser.

The 50-mile ride goes by Claquato Cemetery, among other historic places, and will cost $35 per adult. The ride is considered moderate in difficulty and an ideal ride for those who haven’t ridden for a while.

The 70-mile ride goes to Vader and Evaline before heading north to the Claquato area. The fee is $45 per adult. The ride is considered a little more strenuous than the 50-mile ride and is a good choice for those testing their abilities.

The 100-mile ride goes through Salkum before heading toward Vader and is considered an excellent ride for those preparing for the STP and other long-range or challenging rides. The fee is $45 per adult.

For those riding tandem bicycles, the second rider rides for free.

All children under 18 ride free with paying adults.

There are three pit stops for the 50, 70 and 100 mile stops, each of which will provide food and water to riders. The family ride will include one pit stop at the end of the ride.

The rides are open to all age groups. According to Ball, in the past, riders in their 90s have participated in some of the longer rides and last year the oldest rider was 82.

The ride begins at Jackson Prairie Church, located at 4224 Jackson Highway, Chehalis.

Payment can be sent to Registrar LCHBR, P.O. Box 183 Chehalis.

For more information, call Ball at 360-669-3386 or Schlickeiser at 360-262-9647

Registration starts at 7 a.m. and all four rides begin at 8.