Exciting changes coming to Ride Around Washington (RAW)
In 2020, we are reducing campsites to two locations and allowing more time for riders to explore local communities, offering hotel options for non-campers, and including a car park at the final Chewelah stop.
Washington state is home to some of the most diverse landscapes in the country—from rainforest to desert, from flat lands to rocky mountains, and from ocean shores to the Puget Sound, we've got a little bit of everything.
That's why Ride Around Washington (RAW) was started in 1999 by Marshall Brown as an opportunity for a fun challenge where riders can see this great state on a week-long bike tour.
Since then, it has evolved into a volunteer-driven experience that builds community and celebrates the great diversity of this state, said Rebecca Sorensen, Events and Community Director at Cascade.
But in 2020, thanks to feedback from riders, Cascade is mixing things up for the Aug.1 - Aug. 8 Ride Around Washington and designing the tour a little differently.
- For starters, we are dropping the number of campsites to two so riders do not have to pack up and move multiple times, and we are offering a hotel option for those who no longer find it comfortable to sleep on the ground.
- We are also offering a place to leave your car in the final tour town of Chewelah, Washington and grab a bus to the start town of Cheney. This allows riders from Montana, Idaho, and other southeastern Pacific Northwest cities to join, as they will not have to drive to Seattle to take a bus out to Eastern Washington. (We will continue to offer the bus from Seattle for Puget Sound area riders).
By reducing the number of campsites, riders can have a deeper economic impact on the communities they visit, allowing riders to visit local breweries, take hikes, or otherwise explore areas of the state they are unfamiliar with.
“We used to fly through towns, not stopping to eat at the restaurants or anywhere else,” said Sorensen. “But we realized 250+ people on bikes can make a huge difference for a small town.”
Plus, by not requiring folks to pack up camp every day, riders who prefer an 80-mile day can come out to the tour with their friend who prefers a 30-mile day and both will be satisfied.
"Cascade is in the midst of planning social events for the tour campsites so folks can get to know one another and deepen the connections to community and people. Unlike most other bike tours, we keep the number of participants under 250 for RAW because it helps create a tight-knit, intimate experience for riders," said Sorensen.
Beyond the friendships, riders who participate in RAW will see some of the most beautiful landscapes Washington has to offer. This year, the ride will offer views of Palouse, the Channeled Scablands (named one of the seven wonders of Washington), and will take you near the Okanogan region.
“There are so many towns with beautiful views of Mt. Adams and Mt. Rainier that I would never see if it hadn’t been for RAW,” said Sorenson. “It offers some truly unique routes that even longtime Washington residents may not have explored.”