The RAW Cycle: a series of four great routes over the next four years!
The RAW Cycle pays homage to composer Richard Wagner’s “Der Ring des Nibelungen,” a cycle of four epic operas based on Norse sagas. Just as Wagner’s “Ring Cycle” is a monumental adventure, Cascade Bicycle Club’s Ride Around Washington (RAW) has provided monumental, week-long touring adventures to our riders since 1999. Starting in 2014, we will commence an epic, four-year cycle of routes which, taken as a whole, will circumnavigate the state counter-clockwise. Just as each opera in the Ring Cycle stands on its own, each year of the RAW Cycle also works as a magnificent stand-alone ride. But when linked together, the pieces form a magnum opus fit for Wotan, the King of the Gods. Riders do NOT have to sign up for all four rides, but can ride as many or as few legs of RAW as they wish.
Year One will take us around the Olympic Peninsula and down the coast to Ilwaco. Year Two will begin on the coast and head east, retracing Lewis & Clark’s journey along the Columbia, ending in Walla Walla, the unofficial wine capitol of Washington. Year Three takes us north through Palouse (later in the summer to minimize heat) and the forgotten northeast corner of the state to Chewalah. The final year in the RAW Cycle takes us back west along Washington’s Crown Jewel Highway (Highway 20) all the way to the Bellingham area. Riders who complete all four rides will get a free RAW Cycle jersey to wear on the last year--a badge of courage and commitment and a small token of our appreciation. Of course, each route stands alone and will offer the very best in riding opportunities, so riders can pick and choose to do as many parts as they wish.
2014's “Olympic Peninsula & Coast” ride was designed to be new-rider-friendly, featuring shorter (65-70 mile average) and less-hilly daily routes. This very special seven-day Olympic Peninsula ride will run from Sunday, August 3 through Saturday, August 9. It will feature numerous iconic Pacific Northwest locations throughout the tour.
Starting near Anacortes, riders pedal across the Skagit valley across the breathtaking Deception Pass Bridge. Traveling south on Whidbey Island, riders will trace Penn Cove before ending on Whidbey Island. Day two includes a classic Puget Sound ferry ride to Port Townsend, then on to Dungeness Spit and the beautiful Olympic Discovery Bicycle Route to Port Angeles. In Port Angeles, riders will enjoy a layover day during which they may take a self-guided, 18-mile tour up to the top Hurricane Ridge, catch a ferry to Victoria for the day, ride to Lake Crescent and back or spend the day relaxing off the bike.
From the historic lumber town of Port Angeles, we’ll head southeast at the foot of Olympic National Park to Forks, the town made famous by the Twilight series. Hopefully we’ll make it through the night without any blood-thirsty creatures visiting our camp, as riders will need their energy for a beautiful ride to the amazing Lake Quinault area the next morning. From the lake, we’ll head south to one of our favorite RAW overnight locations: Raymond. This little town always opens up the welcome wagon, and we expect nothing less this year from the friendly locals. Be sure to try their award-winning oysters at happy hour! This day’s route is the “queen stage” of the tour at 95 miles. To end the tour with a true Washington smile, we offer a sure-to-please fifty-mile flat spin down the coast from Raymond to Ilwaco. In Ilwaco, the southwest tip of the state, riders will enjoy a wonderful locally-sourced lunch before being bussed back to Seattle.
Something for everyone
Do you want or enjoy a physical challenge? RAW offers all riders the chance to do “personal bests” and attain their goals with superb support en route- including full sag support and at least three fixed location rest/water stops per day. While we don’t shy away from hills - this route will have some nice altitude options for those who like to go up (and up!) - we do pick bike friendly, low traffic routes that should be achievable for any reasonably fit cyclist.
Travelling alone or never rode on an organized ride before? This is the one for you! You’ll certainly make new friends, PLUS feel the awesome power of the amazing cycling Community that Cascade Bicycle Club offers--supportive, encouraging and quite simply… fun as heck…the shorter daily distances on this Raw Cycle Part 1 will also be a great way to start bike touring.
Logistics and amenities
Thinking of riding with your buddies/significant others or bringing your family together for a trip? We have found that RAW provides you with all the logistical help you need to pull out a safe, memorable experience for all in your group- lets us take care of the details while you enjoy a spectacular ride. We have had riders as young as 8 and over 80 years old, so it’s very much doable by anyone who is fit and energetic.
To complement the tour, numerous off-the-bike activities and entertainment will be offered daily--we know this is your vacation, and we want you to enjoy yourself. Never been on RAW before? Think of it as “Bike Camp for adults.” We carry all your camping gear, and provide tasty meals and hot showers. With a maximum of 250 riders, the group is companionable, not congested.
For complete information on routes, amenities and training for RAW, check out the 2014 RAW Guide.