STP: Why 200-mile solo routes are discouraged at this time
To our riders,
Spring weather is here. The sun's out and the road is calling. Lots of folks are staying active, riding their bicycles and continuing to train to reach personal goals.
While we absolutely encourage people to ride their bikes alone or with their household for their physical and mental health, we do want to take some time to do the following:
* Remind you to recreate responsibly
* Outline impacts of bicycling long distances at this time
* Put rides like STP into some context, as some of our riders have been seeking ways to ride the route solo and we strongly discourage this
Cascade encourages you to recreate responsibly: https://cascade.org/explore/covid-19-resources/recreate-responsibly
Roll Solo: Ride alone or with members of your household.
Stay Flexible: Avoid busy trails, adjust your route, seek empty streets.
Plan Ahead: Carry your own food and water and avoid bathroom stops.
Ride Clean: Wear a mask. Don’t spit or blow “snot rockets.” Wash your mask, gloves, and handkerchief immediately.
Leave Space: Keep 6 feet or more from others - if riding behind someone, leave more space.
Be Cautious: If you choose to ride, behave as if you are carrying the virus.
Stay Close To Home: For now, opt for neighborhood and local rides so that you can be more self-reliant.
In the context of a 200-mile solo ride, we strongly discourage riding the route solo because we feel it's the responsibility of our community to reference and follow the phased approach outlined in the Washington state Safe Start document. A solo STP ride would not be allowed until Phase 3, and would require that all counties passed through would be in that phase. The Seattle to Portland route stretches 200 miles, across seven counties and two states. Riders pass through numerous small, rural communities, which have limited resources for dealing with a sudden influx of COVID-19 cases.
Additionally, Oregon currently has no counties that are in Phase 1, a phase which requires a duration of at least 21 days. Details on Phase 2 and Phase 3 are currently forthcoming.
STP is a challenge, even as a supported, two-day ride. Cascade rides, and especially STP, offer multiple avenues for support: First Aid stations, trained Cascade Outriders along the route, SAG vehicles, partnerships with dozens of community groups along the midpoints, and transportation from Portland back to Seattle, not to mention the social net of having 8,000 other riders on the road at the same time.
These resources are there, because they are used every year, by veterans and new riders alike, especially when hot summer weather strikes. Solo riders would be without this support, which would put them or their SAG teams into direct contact with communities along the route. Unexpected injury, heat exhaustion, dehydration, and other events are possible and need to be taken into account.
We encourage bicyclists to stay informed, make healthy decisions for themselves and their wider communities, and follow guidelines set forth by governing bodies. As a community, we all have this responsibility to each other. We hope to see each and every one of you in the saddle and on the road by next year.