Cascade Staffers Get Creative with their Virtual STP Ride Plans
From food bank deliveries to cake and ice cream stops and more, the Kaiser Permanente Seattle to Portland Virtual Challenge--which begins on Saturday--is a great excuse to create some fun themed rides to new destinations.

Ice cream shops. Microbreweries. Farmers’ markets and food banks. These are just a few of the destinations that Cascade staff and board members plan to ride while participating in the first-ever Kaiser Permanente Seattle to Portland Virtual Challenge, which begins on Saturday.

While participants in the “VSTP” can ride the 200 miles in the usual one or two days, most staff members plan to take advantage of the opportunity to complete the challenge in 20 days--and use it as an excuse to get out and ride more during the pandemic.

If you haven’t signed up yet, there is still time. Meantime, here are some of the creative ways that staff members plan to knock out their 200 miles while remaining socially distant:

Jos Johnson, Events and Communications Coordinator, plans to do a mix of solo rides and small group rides with teammates on the Seattle Flying Dragon Boat Club. “I ride on a mid-1990s Schwinn Clear Creek mountain bike that I use as a commuter,” says Johnson, who also plans to join a Peace Peloton ride and do some food bank bike deliveries with Seattle Pedaling Relief. A teammate of Johnson’s in the Dragon Boat club wants to ride the Green River Trail, “so I might throw that in there as well.”

Michelle Johnson, Director of Development, has created the Bike 4 Snacks team that will do the VSTP in 30- to 60-mile chunks on multiple weekends. “Of course, we will make snacks a part of our destination. We'll do a ride to Georgetown to eat some cake at Deep Sea Salt & Sugar, ride a loop around lake Washington and catch some of the breweries at the end.” 

As the person who oversees the planning and execution of STP, Rebecca Sorensen, Events and Rides Community Director, has never been able to actually ride it. “This will be the first STP I will ride in my six years as the Director,” she says. Sorensen and her partner, Joel, have done fewer rides since the onset of the pandemic, so “we are really happy to have a good reason to get out and ride every day during Virtual STP.” 

That said, Sorensen would much rather be dealing with the stress and exhilaration of managing the traveling circus that is STP, “putting out small fires, having my team members around me, making last-minute Costco food runs, checking in on rest stops, and cheering the Major Taylor Project students to the Finish Line.” Next year, Rebecca!

Claire Martini, Leafline Trails Coalition Manager, plans to mix in some bikepacking trips, among other rides, with friends from Seattle, Olympia and Portland. “We’re all first-time STP riders and welcome the excuse to get off the couch, spam the group chat, and bike more.”

Digital Communications Manager Wendy Clark expects to ride 10 miles per day over 20 days. “I am using Virtual STP to help make a habit of using my bike for transportation and errands rather than recreation only. Trips I plan to replace my car with my bike include volunteering at the community garden for the food bank, quick trips to the grocery store, the Wednesday evening Farmers Market, and biking to rowing practice,” she says. “Knowing there will be a few thousand people riding with me on the virtual route will be motivating! 

David Urbina, Rides Program Manager, has created a team, CTS Reunion Party, for previous Cascade Training Series participants who were unable to participate in this year’s training series, which was cancelled due to COVID-19. He is inviting all CTS fans who are “looking for a fun team to join.” Sign up for his team by registering at, then look for the CTS REUNION PARTY and click the JOIN button.

Richard Wolf, Board Vice President, has ridden many alternative routes between Seattle and Portland over the years, including through the mountains via Baby Shoes Pass and White Salmon. This year his plan is to “ride the STP with friends via a series of ‘S’ to ‘P’ rides, seeking out destinations that begin with the letter ‘P.’ For example, Seattle to Poulsbo, Seattle to Port Townsend (or Port Gamble, Port Ludlow, Port Angeles), Seattle to the Pass, or perhaps Seattle to Pizza or Seattle to Pistachio ice cream.”

Before you ride, make sure to abide by these COVID-19 guidelines:

  • Know the phase of reopening in your locale. This challenge will be taking place all over the world and everyone's restrictions will be different.

  • Plan your route well in advance and know what's open or closed along your route.

  • Consider doing loops from your home so that your "pit stops" are always back home.

    • Avoid multiple stops at locations to refuel, rehydrate.

    • Don't take unnecessary risks like attempting a solo, unsupported, 100-mile ride. 3 x 33-mile loops from your home is much safer!

  • Wear a mask if riding with others and follow your local COVID-19 restrictions and guidelines.

  • Remember to Recreate Responsibly.

Paul Tolmé's picture
Paul Tolmé