STP Reflection

The 2022 Seattle to Portland Bicycle Classic is in the books! About 5,500 riders signed up (read “paid $”) to ride the event this year. An estimated 1,200 riders chose to ride the 200+ miles in one day. Whether in one day or two, completing the ride is an achievement in endurance and fortitude.

Our club worked seamlessly with Cascade Bicycle Club (the STP organizers in Seattle) to coordinate the Finish Line at Holladay Park. Our members handled a myriad of vital jobs including Friday Seattle bus transportation, finish line announcements, route security, the bike corral in the park, information booth, PBC volunteer check-in, rider baggage, and the all-important return transportation. All these parts needed to work in concert to make the ride a success. 

A hearty thank-you to all PBC club members who donated their time and labor to make the Finish Line work. Many riders, seeing my volunteer T-shirt, offered their thanks for our efforts. I know our members heard the same comments I did. Tired and happy riders is the mark of a successful event!

Every STP has its challenges. Cascade staff commented that the STP mechanism might have a little rust after a two-year absence. This year the rust struck the return transportation piece. Tired riders who purchased a ticket back to Seattle expected to have a seat on a bus. Unfortunately, that didn’t work well. Only eight buses showed up on Saturday instead of the promised nine. About 35 riders were left without a return ride. Cascade Director Lee Lambert stepped up and delivered the bad news to the group. Most were able to arrange other transportation back to Seattle that evening. Lee arranged overnight lodging to 13 riders so they could take the first Monday return bus.

Unbelievably, lightning did strike twice with the Monday Seattle buses. Two buses showed instead of the promised three. Fortunately, we were able to board the unlucky 13 riders from Sunday on the first bus. With every seat filled on the first two buses, we were again left with about 35 riders on the sidewalk in front of the hotel. As it turned out, their bus had broken down just north of Vancouver. Not wishing to wait for the promised mechanic, Cascade ordered a bus from a Portland company. A short two hours later the third coach pulled into the DoubleTree. This bus was genuinely nice, with monitors for each seat. We commented that this group certainly deserved first-class luxury back to Seattle.

Thanks to Alan, Cindy, Arden, Cackie, Dennis, and the others who worked Return Transportation. With every seat needing to be filled, they oversaw boarding tired riders with aplomb! Lastly, Cascade hopes to return to their regular bus company next year which was booked and not available for STP this year.

Before I go, I enjoyed the STP Finish Line coordinator’s job. It was busy, but the reward came from seeing our members work and tired riders offering their thanks. In 2019, I took over the permitting job for the use of Holladay Park from Alison Nelson. I don’t plan to do both jobs next year. We’ll need one organized person to step up to do this. The job can be done entirely by email and telephone. As Alison did with me, I’ll provide detailed instructions.

Eric Hendricks, 2022 STP Finish Line Coordinator, [email protected]