The Chuckanut Century: Celebrating Cycling for 36 Years

It was raining on October 13, 1979 in northwest Washington. Dave Fayram remembers it well. Fayram is one of the founders of The Mount Baker Bike Club (MBBC) and its signature event, The Chuckanut Century, a road bike ride that grew from that first rainy ride to  become a beloved annual local event.

“There were about 20 people,” Fayram says. “People weren’t into cycling so much then.”

Thirty six years later, the wheels will spin again when the Chuckanut Century happens on September 20 – although expect lots more people now. Beginning and ending – as is custom in these parts – at Boundary Bay Brewery, The Century offers routes for all comers – 25, 38, 50, 62, 100, or the double-metric century of 124 miles. There are options for everyone from the casual weekend cyclist to true long-distance aficionados, each of them highlighting the scenic glories of Whatcom (and a slice of Skagit) County.

2009_1The Chuckanut Century is not competitive – far from it. This ride, which has become a favorite of cyclists both local and far-flung is all about the gentle pleasures of being out in the open, feeling the wind in your hair and watching the sunlight play on the luscious landscapes of Cascadia, gliding along at a healthy 16 miles-per-hour. No mass start. Most emphatically not a race.

The MBBC’s Doug Schoonover has organized the Chuckanut Century for the past ten years, handling logistics, permits, advertising, you name it. It’s a labor of love.

Proceeds benefit Our TreeHouse, a small local non-profit that is quietly doing exceedingly good work in the community, helping children and teens heal after the death of a parent, sibling or primary care giver. Seventy-five percent of profits – and all sponsorship donations – go directly to support the non-profit’s work.

Schoonover is quick to point out that the MBBC’s 270 some-odd members enjoy cycling camaraderie all year long, sharing regular cycling excursions around the region with an emphasis on the simple joys of casual group rides in beautiful country.

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