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Posted by on Jul 31, 2014 in Blog, Cycling Routes, Events, King County, Kitsap County, Pierce County | 0 comments

Exercise Your Lungs in Ride Around the Sound

What’s your most important tool for an enjoyable bike ride? You might say an oiled bike chain, strong legs, or even the air pump. But how about your personal air pump: your lungs? Surely you couldn’t get very far on a bike without the ability to breathe freely, especially climbing the hills of Puget Sound.RATS logo

That’s what makes this charity ride so vital. Ride Around the Sound (RATS), being held on Sept. 13, raises money for the American Lung Association. Those are the folks that help keep the air clean and the doctors supplied with the latest studies on all matters relating to your lungs.

Note: This ride’s title is a tad confusing. it’s not Ride Around Puget Sound (known as RAPSody), another south Puget Sound ride that is a great fundraiser for another worthy organization, Washington Bikes. That ride was cancelled for this year.

Scenic Summer Outing

This website has a special affinity for Puget Sound, so I love this ride’s focus: loop the shores of the Sound. Now in its third year, the RATS ride starts on the Seattle waterfront and heads to Tacoma, then comes up the west side of southern Puget Sound to Bremerton, where it ends with a finish-line festival at Harborside Fountain Park.

Sweeping views await, from the briny deep to the lofty peaks. Cyclists also pedal through a number of communities large and small.


The “Finding Pneumo” team from 2013 looks like a fun bunch. Photo courtesy American Lung Association.

Here’s the organizers’ description of the route:

“Over half of the ride boasts views of Puget Sound, and the route is lined with lighthouses, marinas and wildlife. You will ride through beautiful forests, around coves and inlets, past picturesque hamlets and across the soaring Tacoma Narrows Bridge. After traversing the Kitsap Peninsula, views of Mt. Rainier loom over the Sound as you head to the finish line party.”

You may see the “Cycle Lung,” a pedalable sculpture touring around the Sound, promoting the event and lung health in general. The sculpture is visiting bike shops, festivals and markets along the route. Visualize this as you’re huffing up the next big hill:

There are three routes, of 92, 73 and 38 miles. The 92 covers more than 5,500 feet of elevation gain from Seattle’s Alaskan Way start to the Bremerton ferry dock. Riders doing the 73 join the Seattle riders in Normandy Park, and will see 3,700 feet of elevation gain, while 38-mile riders will pick up the route in Tacoma and cover 1,700 feet of gain.

There’s a shuttle from the Seattle start to Normandy Park, making it easier to do the middle-length ride and still start in Seattle, since you’ll be riding the Bremerton ferry back to the city.


Sign Up Already

Register at the early bird rate of $35 until Aug. 1. It goes up to $40 until Aug. 31, then $50 until the day of the ride.

Riders must raise $100 in donations minimum, and there are prizes for raising more. Big fundraisers will be entered in a drawing for two Alaska Airlines tickets.


Not Big Enough?

Want to go bigger? You might also know about the American Lung Association’s Big Ride Across America.

Here’s something to do that would make a statement: bike 3,300 miles in 7 weeks across 12 states. Average 83 miles a day, pitch your tent most nights. Equipment truck, sag wagon and mechanic available. There’s a big entrance fee and lots of fundraising.

Only 40 riders leave from Redmond in mid-June and aim their handlebars toward the Other Washington. This year they roll into the nation’s capital city on Aug. 2 – this Sunday! Let me be the first to issue congratulations!

Start thinking about it now and you’d be ready by next summer to tackle this once-in-a-lifetime challenge.


Other Great Upcoming Events and Benefit Rides

So many great rides with which to finish out your summer. Check out this list!

Aug. 2 – Tour de Lavender, Sequim

Aug. 3 – Ride the Hurricane (Ridge), Port Angeles

Aug. 9-10 – Obliteride, Seattle

Aug. 10 – Glenn Erickson Pedaling for Parkinson’s Benefit Ride, Redmond

Aug. 16 – Around the Sound for Ultrasound, Lakewood

Aug. 23-24 – Gigantic Bicycle Festival, Snoqualmie

Sept. 6-7 – Bike MS Ride, Mt. Vernon

Sept. 7 – Ride the South Sound, Olympia

Sept. 13 – Tour de Blast, Toutle

Sept. 14 – Bainbridge Island Summer Challenge, Winslow

Sept. 14 – Cycle the Wave, Bellevue

Sept. 14 – Chuckanut Century, Bellingham

Sept. 20 – Tour de Whidbey, Whidbey Island

…and that’s just rides near Puget Sound. Visit the Bicycle Paper’s NW Tour Guide for many more rides around the Northwest.

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