The Seattle to Portland (STP) bike ride is always a shining moment for the Twin Cities.
Held every year on the second or third weekend in July, the event at its peak has had 10,000 riders. The Cascade Bicycle Club, which organizes the STP, hires the Centralia-Chehalis Chamber of Commerce to host the official midway stop event at Centralia College with food, activities and a beer garden. The chamber also organizes local hosts for riders who need a place to stay the night.
But for this year and last, that major boost to the economy and the spirits of many locals was canceled due to COVID-19.
In its place this year, the club will host a virtual STP.
“So I contacted Cascade Bicycle Club, and just said ‘Hey we want to do something here. It feels like an empty space. Our community needs something as far as wellness and events. Do you mind if we do our own virtual STP?’ And they were just gung-ho for us to do it,” said Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Alicia Bull.
And what could be a better partner for a wellness event than Thorbeckes Wellness Center? With stationary bikes and a big projector screen outside on the turf at the Chehalis Thorbeckes, riders will come in two-hour stints from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday, July 17. From 4 to 7 p.m., a local band titled “The Six” will be playing. Throughout the day, a beer garden, activities and vendors will be available to riders before and after their ride times. Bikes will be sanitized between riders.
The $30 cost to participate covers a shirt, water bottle and free ticket to the beer garden. Admission to the concert is also included in registration, but anyone who wishes to see the band without being a part of the virtual STP can do so for $15. Proceeds from the beer garden will go toward the chamber’s Rob Fuller Scholarship.
The last time Thorbeckes was able to host a community event on this scale was Thanksgiving 2019 for the “Turkey Trot” 5k race. For Thorbeckes’ organizers of the virtual STP, Sami Lord and Cassidy Best, the long hiatus from hosting events has motivated them to go above and beyond for this one.
“Thorbeckes, we love being a part of the chamber. When we talked to Alicia and she had noted that the (cancelation of the) STP was kind of a big hit to them, we immediately wanted to come up with a plan. So Thorbeckes is really anxious and excited to have this event,” Best said.
Register for the virtual STP at chamberway.com or call the chamber at 360-748-8885. This event is separate from the Cascade Bicycle Club’s virtual STP event, so registration is not available through their website.