They’re back in the saddle again, and gearing up for Kitsap.
Every September, hundreds of two-wheeled enthusiasts descend upon Kingston to embark upon one of the last organized rides of the cycling season.
The 20th annual Kitsap Color Classic is Sept. 29 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
“It’s beautiful scenery, a beautiful place to ride,” said Dave Douglas, an event producer with the Cascade Bicycle Club. “The leaves are starting to change and a lot of the rides go along the waterways.”
Riders start in Kingston, though many arrive from across the Puget Sound on the Edmonds ferry.
“We come over on three different ferries,” Douglas said. “A majority, about 80 percent, of people come over on the ferry.”
Riders are expected to ride onto the 8:50 a.m., 9:40 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. sailings from Edmonds. From there, cyclists have three options: a 25-mile northern ride through Hansville, a 39-mile ride looping through Port Gamble and Poulsbo, or combining both to cover 57 miles across the region.
“Some people do both loops,” Douglas said. “It’s a fun, recreational ride.”
The rides have proven to popular each year, though certain factors play into how many bikes hit the road.
“This ride is 100 percent weather dependent,” Douglas said.
Weather reports state that rain is expected on Sept. 29. Some riders may find that discouraging, Douglas said.
“It was raining sideways one year and we had 350 (riders), that was three years ago.”
Last year, however, with less rain the ride attracted approximately 1,100 cyclists to the area.
The Color Classic is the final organized ride of the year for the Cascade Bicycle Club, founded in 1970. The first ride is the well-known Chilly Hilly on Bainbridge Island in February.
The final ride is a bit different from the Chilly Hilly, however.
“It’s not as difficult as Chilly Hilly, there’s not as many hills,” Douglas said. “It’s the end of the season so most people have been riding all summer and are in shape.”
Douglas noted that the ride is medium difficulty and generally attracts teenagers up to people in their 70s.
Two rest stations will be set up on the routes: one in Kingston and another at the gazebo on the Poulsbo waterfront. Water and snacks will be provided.
The Edmonds Bicycle Advocacy Group is sponsoring its own all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast at the Masonic Lodge start line in Edmonds on the morning of the ride.
Bike mechanics, safety and medical crews will also be present at the event.
Riders can register on the day of the ride in Edmonds at the Masonic Lodge, 515 Dayton Street, from 7:30-10 a.m. Cyclists can also register at the Kingston start line in the Kitsap Bank parking lot at the corner of Highway 104 and Hansville Road from 9-11 a.m.
All rides are counter clockwise. Maps can be found on the club’s website, www.cascade.org.