A fun bike ride that ends at a BBQ festival? What could be more iconic for a Saturday in the summer?
The Tour de Lacey Fun Ride will take place on Saturday July 9, the last day of Lacey Days. The ride will begin and end in Huntamer Park, the same location as the South South BBQ Festival. The initial funding was provided by the Gateway Rotary Club.
The event is a fundraiser for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Thurston County, as well as a great way for cyclists to experience Lacey’s parks and trails.
Kim Bauman, founder of Tour de Lacey, said “I have three loves: real estate, cycling and children. I read a book about a year and a half ago that said if you want to do something special tie all of your passions together.”
She said the plan for the event just came to her; “Wow I could do a fundraiser for the Boys & Girls Clubs that’s a cycling event. And, if I held it in Lacey, I could show off Lacey.”
The rationale to make the event a fundraiser for the Boys & Girls Clubs was simple for Bauman, “Because I think they have an excellent program. They’re not just glorified babysitters. They’re actually teaching our children leadership skills and it’s disguised as play. They are just wonderful mentors for our children.”
“If you can change the children, it’s a better tomorrow,” she said.
Registration starts at 7:00 a.m. and riders will leave in intervals starting at 8:00 a.m. Experienced cyclists will leave for the 44-mile ride at 8:00 a.m., intermediate cyclists will leave at 8:30 a.m. for the 14-mile ride, and beginner cyclists will leave for the 7- and 3-mile rides at 9:00 a.m.
The rides will follow the Chehalis-Western, Woodland, and I-5 trails throughout Lacey and Thurston County.
There will also be a free area for children on tricycles, balance bikes, and training wheels called Safety Town. This is an enclosed area for children to practice and show off their skills from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Intercity Transit will monitor the area and teach the kids about road and cycling safety, and provide free helmet fitting. The Boys & Girls Clubs will make cardboard cars and decorations for the area.
Bauman said she is definitely looking for more sponsors and that sponsorship “supports the children, and it says we want a better community.”
The major stops on the rides include the roundabout at the Chehalis-Western Trail and Woodland Trail, the Woodland Creek Community Center, Rainer Vista Park, and the Woodard Bay trailhead. The Woodland Trail Greenway Association will hand out water at the trail roundabout and South Bay 8 Fire Department will have water and treats at the Woodard Bay trail.
All of this will be going on simultaneously with the South Sound BBQ Festival that runs from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Riders can come back to food and games after their tour of Lacey and families at Safety Town will have food and entertainment after their event closes at 2:00 p.m.
The goal is to make the event a success, have money to donate and pull it off bigger and better next year, said Bauman noting that this is the first year for the Tour de Lacey.
Bauman said as a real estate agent she’s heard people say that they don’t want to live in Lacey. One of her motivations is to erase the stigma of crime in Lacey. Lacey actually has a lower crime rate than the rest of Thurston County, she added.
Next year she said she hopes to include more parks, more businesses and an even longer route. One idea she has is a route through Rainier, Tenino, and Yelm to support local businesses there.
“I still would want it to start and end in Lacey,” she added, “That’s real to me, that’s home to me. And I want people to experience that.”