What better to do on a gray winter day, than dream about those summer days?
Here's something to daydream about... Ride Idaho 2010.
Ride Idaho is "an annual seven day all-ability cycling tour through the beautiful state of Idaho. The tour is organized and administered by the Treasure Valley Family YMCA and Ride Idaho, a non-profit organization powered by the dedication of local volunteers. We have peddled [sic] our way through the roads of Idaho since 2005."
Peddled? How about pedaled... unless part of the experience is selling brushes, pots and pans, or encyclopedias along the route? (Hahaha!)
This year the route starts and ends in Coeur d'Alene (August 8-14) and takes participants on a big loop around northern Idaho and a bit of NW Montana. I've not bicycled those roads, but I've ridden most of them by motorcycle. The scenery is spectacular; the terrain would be challenging on a bike, but not totally intimidating (unless you decide to do it on your single-speed cruiser!). Just last summer I rode on the narrow 2-lane through Murray to Thompson Falls, MT. There will be some altitude changes on Day 5!
They say it's for "all abilities," and I'm sure that's true. HOWEVER... nobody should conclude that they can be physically prepared for this ride if their "training" consists of 3-mile jaunts on the Greenbelt. I say you better be able to ride at least 30 miles. (If you can ride 30 miles, you should be able to ride 50 or 60 or 70, given the time.)
You provide bike, pedal power, camping gear, etc. They provide camping space, meals and snacks, gear transport, mobile shower service and shower facilities, mechanical support and evening entertainment. (Cost - $625)
It's limited to 300 riders. Signup started on January 1 and I suspect it won't take too much time to fill up. I'd love to do it, but for varying reasons (mostly financial), it's too early to start making plans.
I've blogged previously about other "rails to trails" bicycle vacation opportunities that await in northern Idaho.
There's also the Weiser River Trail in southwest Idaho, a rail-to-trail stretching roughly from Weiser to New Meadows. It's packed dirt in most places, and probably not suitable for a road bike. Clancy rode it last year, and says you want to do it EARLY in the year, or you'll need to stop and fill the radiator too often. There's also an annual wagon-train event sometime in May; you may want to consider that when scheduling.
I'm sure glad the days are getting longer!!