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Thousands of cyclists visit Arlington
ARLINGTON — The city of Arlington served as a resting point for thousands of cyclists who were participating in the RSVP Ride, a long-distance cycling trip held Aug. 17-19.
RSVP stands for “Ride from Seattle to Vancouver and Party!” and takes two days to travel from the University of Washington campus in Seattle to downtown Vancouver, B.C. The first RSVP ride was scheduled from Aug. 17 to Aug. 18, while a second ride, RSVP2, spanned from Aug. 18 to Aug. 19. Both rides had a 1,400-rider limit and the first was completely sold out within 24 hours of open registration.
“The RSVP riders came through Arlington today,” said Arlington Recreation Manager Sarah Lopez on Aug. 17. “Arlington is a good stopping point because we have the new restrooms downtown, where they are filling up their water bottles and they are using the gazebo for shade.”
This year marked the 31st RSVP ride, which is hosted by the Seattle-based Cascade Bicycle Club. The ride is considered a classic among cyclists and the Cascade Bicycle Club created the RSVP2 as the ride gained in popularity.
The Seattle to Vancouver route consists of 188 miles, much of it on back roads and trails, starting with the Burke-Gilman Trail from Seattle to Bothell. Participants rode 106 miles the first day, passing through Bothell, Woodinville, Clearview, Snohomish, Lake Stevens, Arlington, Mount Vernon, Bow and Bellingham. The Centennial Trail served as the route from Snohomish to Arlington, where many riders took advantage of the adjacent Arlington Visitor Information Center.
It is considered a challenging route, but riders look forward to the finish line festival — complete with a no-host bar, barbecue and music — at the Coast Plaza Suite Hotel in downtown Vancouver.
But for the city of Arlington, the presence of the cyclists represents a boost in the local economy, as many of the riders spent their leisure time taking in the sights of downtown and visiting local eateries.
“It’s really nice to have them here,” said Lopez. “They stopped and filled up their water jugs and spent time eating lunch at downtown restaurants, so that’s great.”
For more information on bicycle rides traveling through Arlington, contact Lopez at 360-403-3421 or the Cascade Bicycle Club at its website www.cascade.org.