10,000 to bicycle 200-plus miles in STP Classic this weekend

Bicyclists from the area and throughout world are riding in this weekend's 34th annual Group Health Seattle to Portland Bicycle Classic (STP).

Nationally recognized and named "one of the best cycling events in the nation" by Bicycling Magazine, Cascade Bicycle Club's STP begins Saturday and ends Sunday. The 200-mile route, designed to be completed in one or two days, takes riders from the University of Washington in Seattle to Holladay Park across the street from Lloyd Center in Portland.

The ride will draw 10,000 participants, ranging from kids with parents up to one 90-year old. The STP is Cascade Bicycle Club's largest fundraising event to benefit bicycle education, advocacy, commuting and riding programs.

The sold-out event will welcome riders from 45 states and five other countries including Canada, France, The Netherlands, the UK and Malaysia. Many are first-time riders, but one person – Jerry Baker of Seattle – has participated every single year since the ride began.

Of the 10,000 riders, nearly 2,500 make the entire 200-mile trip on Saturday in one push, arriving into Portland on Saturday evening. The remaining participants spend the night near Centralia, host of the midpoint festival.

Official rest stops, staffed by volunteer groups, are established in Kent, Spanaway, Lexington, and St. Helens, Ore., to provide riders with food, drink and a place to rest. In addition, there are many other "Mini Stops" along the route that are fundraisers for local community groups selling food and drink to riders.

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