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Bikers swarm around Arlington

ARLINGTON — Bikers of the nonmotorized type swarmed around Arlington March 21 when nearly 500 people joined the McClinchy Bike Ride presented by BIKES Club of Snohomish County.

"We planned for 400, but the weather was better than we'd hoped," said Kristin Kinnamon.

During the night before the ride, water poured out of the sky, possibly causing the 28 no-shows, but on Saturday morning the air was dry and the sun peaked through a light cloud cover.

"We had 469 total riders, which equals a great year for the BIKES Club," Kinnamon said.

Proceeds from the ride support local advocacy and education programs including helmet and bike rack grants, plus $1 per rider goes to the statewide advocacy organization, Bicycle Alliance of Washington," added Kinnamon who works by day for Community Transit and rides her bikes to the bus and from the bus to her office most days of the year and has coordinated CT's Bike to Work event, which is coming up in May.

The McClinchy ride is held around St. Patrick's Day each year. It was named fro the late Stuart McClinchy, a founding member of the BIKES Club.

Based in Arlington for the past five years, the ride offered three routes, an easy 20-mile route, a 34 mile route to Stanwood, and 47 miles out Jordon Road to Granite Falls and Machias returning on the Centennial Trail.

At noon many riders were returning to Haller Middle School after departing anytime after 8 a.m. The parking lot was full of cars with bike racks and cyclists came rolling in from both the 34 mile and the 47 mile routes.

I found only one, Brad Burdoch, who was heading out for another route.

He was getting some repairs done at the repair booth, while waiting for some friends before heading out again.

"I just finished the 47 mile loop and am going out on the 34 mile ride," Burdoch said he came to Arlington with several other people from Bellingham. He like the ride, so far,

"Several of the roads were a lot of fun to ride on," he said. "Some nice rolling hills. He usually rides around Bellingham and Whatcom County.

A guy named James from Marysville took the longest route on his fixed-gear bicycle.

"It's got only one gear," he said. "It's good for training for the century rides," he said. He has ridden 1,000 miles since he got the bike late last summer.

Stephanie Peterson, from Lynnwood, rode the 34 miles route to Stanwood with a girlfriend, beating her husband back by a few minutes.

"It's a great ride," Peterson said. "I guess the highlight was accomplishing the steep hill."

David Sinc and Don Mack , also from Bellingham, said they did the 47 mile loop and found more hills than they expected.

"The altitude climb was 2,100 feet instead of the 1,400 that it said on the Web site," Mack said.

They said they had a great time on their first ever McClinchy ride, which they heard about from the Northwest Bike Rides Web site.

The highlight was the weather, Sinc said.

"No rain!"

"Haller Middle School is a great venue for us," Kinnamon said.

"Everyone loves the rides out of Arlington. We go north, east and south."

Bike to Work Day set for May 15

Snohomish County's Bike to Work Day on May 15 is the kickoff for the Snohomish County Bike Commute Challenge presented by Group Health May 11 - June 12.

Bike to Work Day features Celebration Stations where riders can make a pit stop on the way to their destination and snag Bike to Work safety blinkers, snacks, free bike safety checks and local bike maps. Along with Marysville’s Comeford Park, Celebration Stations are located at Everett Station, Boeing Everett and McCollum Park as well as Edmonds and other locations.

The challenge is to continue leaving your car at home at least once a week and get in the healthy commuting habit. Co-workers or friends are encouraged to team up and earn bike socks or win a pizza party or pedal their way to the “biking-est new commuters” prize. Team captains earn a Snohomish County Bike to Work cycling cap and the satisfaction of helping people rediscover the joy of riding a bicycle.

Bike to Work events give first-time bike commuters, die-hard regulars and fair weather cyclists a chance to ride and celebrate together. Event organizers encourage creative commutes that combine biking and buses, biking to your carpool or vanpool instead of driving, or driving part way to work (up the hills) and biking the rest.

In 2008, more than 900 Snohomish County residents biked to local Celebration Stations on Bike to Work Day. Snohomish County Bike to Work events are funded by Community Transit, Everett Transit, Group Health, Snohomish County, Harvy’s Bike Shop and many other community partners.

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