Tour de Whatcom this Saturday, July 27

Published on Wed, Jul 24, 2013 by Ian Ferguson

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It’s not too late to register for the 8th annual Tour de Whatcom, in which hundreds of cyclists tour the rural roads of Whatcom County for charity.

Last year, 980 riders participated and more than $20,000 was raised for various organizations, including local schools and The Bike Shop, a nonprofit project helping kids from low-income families learn to ride and maintain bicycles. This year, the Whatcom Mountain Bike Coalition (WMBC) will be the primary recipient of funds from Tour de Whatcom. The WMBC promotes trail access and leads trail builds and maintenance parties on more than 50 miles of mountain biking trails throughout the county.

Tour de Whatcom takes place Saturday, July 27. Participants can choose one of three courses of varying lengths. The 25-mile route takes riders from Fairhaven to Ferndale and back. The 50-mile route runs from Fairhaven to Birch Bay and back, and the 105-mile route makes a loop south of Lake Samish, east to Wickersham, north through Deming, Nooksack and Lynden, west to Blaine, then south through Birch Bay and Ferndale before arriving back in Fairhaven. All three routes are relatively flat.

Bands from local high schools will perform at rest stops spaced evenly throughout the courses. Volunteers at these stops will hand out water to thirsty riders.

Tour de Whatcom is managed by local nonprofit Whatcom Events, the same people who put on the Ski to Sea race every year. Director Mel Monkelis said the tour is a feel-good charity fundraiser that not only raises money for local causes, but also gets hundreds of people out on their bikes, enjoying the fresh air on some of Whatcom County’s most scenic roads.

“You get mountain vistas of Mount Baker and the Twin Sisters, but you also get the bays, the rivers, the farmhouses, the pastures, the rolling hills and the forest. It’s a wonderful ride,” he said.

The finish line is on the village green in Fairhaven, where live music will welcome returning riders, and dozens of area restaurants are within walking distance.

The registration fee after expenses goes to charities and local schools, and Monkelis said many participants raise money on their own, gathering pledges before the race for a charity of their choice.

Online registration closes on Thursday, July 25 at 5 p.m. Participants can register on paper forms up to and including the day of the ride. For more information, and to register online, visit