Harvest Ride is this weekend

In a unique combination of sporting event and agri-tourism, the fifth-annual Hood River Harvest Ride is set for this Saturday, rain or shine. Organized by the Hood River Valley Residents Committee, the Harvest Ride is a non-competitive cycling event in which participants choose from five different loops around the valley, stopping at points of interest like scenic vistas, farm stands and orchards, wineries, breweries and museums along the way.

Each of the pre-designated routes has its own appeal, ranging from a 6.6-mile kid-friendly course in Odell to the more scenic, and grueling, 30.5-mile Lost Lake Loop. Each loop is supported by event staff, and riders can choose all or any combination of loops throughout the day. Several designated pick-up stations allow participants to purchase fruit and other products and have them delivered to the Hood River County Fairgrounds, where they can be picked up at the end of the ride.

Although much of the draw is directed toward out-of-towners who don’t normally get a chance to ride the county’s many scenic and relatively low-traffic back roads, the ride is also a great opportunity for locals to hit the road together, take-in the season’s bounty and enjoy, at a bike’s pace, some of the many finer points that make the valley such a desirable place to live.

It’s also an opportunity to support the HRVRC, founded in 1977, whose mission statement is to “protect Hood River Valley’s farm and forest land and the livability of its cities and rural communities through advocacy, education and monitoring land use processes and decisions.”

For the second year in a row, several prizes will be an added bonus for certain participants, including the “Speed and Stamina” prize (shoe card worth up to $160 at KEEN Footwear) for the first three riders who return to the fairgrounds having visited each of the four rest stops, which means 92 miles and 8,200 feet of climbing.

Pre-registration for the ride runs through Sept. 20, with day-of registration available up to the 450-rider event capacity.

For registration, course maps and more specific event details, see www.hrharvestride.com.

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