The pandemic has reinvented the wheel – the bicycle wheel, that is! The bicycle has become ever more popular, both as a means of transportation and a top choice for recreational activity since coronavirus commenced its stranglehold.
Mazama is a Mecca for cyclists with its labyrinth of trails varying from easy to extreme, as well as varied road bike routes. On any given day, the bicycle-laden vehicles are unloaded in and around Mazama Junction and a diverse group of peddlers mount up and take off.
Families have been jubilant to have an activity that didn’t get canceled with COVID-19. Tykes big enough to pedal by themselves ride in the line with the rest of the family. The littlest ones might be behind mom or dad in a bike trailer.
On the other end of the spectrum, Methow At Home offers bike rides for the older set. Ted Young will lead a bike ride (E-bikes are welcome) from Winthrop town trailhead to Twisp and back on July 12. James Rauh will ride out Lost River Road and return to Mazama Store for lunch on July 28. Check Methow At Home Events to register, as space is limited.
Long-distance cyclists are frequently seen along Highway 20 after cycling over the North Cascades, their panniers filled with the barest of necessities. It’s not often that you see these hardy cyclists walking their bikes, but recently on the Loup, I saw a “bonked” rider pushing her steed up the last incline. No shame (been there, done that).
Currently, Methow Cycle & Sport is offering their full line of bike rentals in Mazama at Goat’s Beard Mountain Supplies. Even though the COVID-wracked supply chain has caused setbacks in many purchases (e.g., new cars with computer chips!), you can still purchase that dream bike – maybe with a little patience waiting for its arrival. All the more time to savor the new wheels!
Bicycle repairs have been in big demand, keeping those with the skills to repair busy getting riders back on the road.
I’m always curious about the group riders with matching jerseys and was fortunate to happen upon a bunch enjoying Taco Bahia vittles this past weekend. Always enthusiastic about their sport, 20/20 Fuel Cycling Team members had just completed a 30-mile, 3,500-feet elevation gain ride out of Mazama. Another group opted to continue the ride for more mileage.
Some of the Seattle team members have homes in the valley, so they come here for the beauty and challenge of the trails. According to their website, the team was “born out of heart” – created by two passionate cyclocross fans.
A few reminders: Slow down and give cyclists wide berth when they are on the roadways that sometimes have narrow to non-existent shoulders. Cyclists, remember the rules of the road that include not riding two abreast, and always yield to horses and foot traffic on the trails.
There’s a reason for the admonition to Share the Road and Share the Trails: courtesy and, primarily, safety.