Bright and early Friday morning a group of nearly 30 cyclists were pumping up their tires and readying their gear to head back out on the road – their route, the Selkirk Loop.
The cyclists in Nelson last week were Rotary members from across the United States, some from as far as New Jersey. Ranging in age from 14 to 70-yeards-old, most were from nearby states like Oregon, Washington, Colorado and Montana.
Their journey around the Selkirk Loop started in Sandpoint on Monday and finished up back in Nelson’s sister city on Saturday. Seven Rotary clubs along the loop played host to the cycling crew.
Nelson Rotary member Mike McIndoe was happy to welcome fellow club members to his community. Local Rotary dined with their guests at a no-host dinner on Wednesday evening and provided support for the riders.
Monday morning, bike pump in hand, McIndoe checked tires and bid farewell to new and old friends. Many had made the trip around the loop before. The Selkirk Loop is a scenic 450-kilometre journey through the Selkirk Mountains in eastern Washington, northern Idaho and southeastern BC.
“In addition to promoting our area, this builds camaraderie as a club,” he said. “It’s a chance to work together on a common project.”
The Rotarians had one full day off on the tour and that was spent in Nelson. The Selkirk Loop helps communities along its route by attracting tourists and tours. This group was through the Heritage City at a time when summer travelling season has all but wrapped up as students head back to school. That was intentional. This group of cyclists filled 25 hotel rooms for two nights and enjoyed the restaurants and shops along with everything else Nelson has to offer.
“They’re just an amazing group, positive and fit, and boy, does Nelson ever get some rave reviews,” said McIndoe.
Rider Mel Dick is from Sandpoint and was making his second trip around the loop this week. While on a well-deserved day off from riding he hiked up to Pulpit Rock with several other riders.
“It’s beautiful. Nelson’s got all this charm,” he said.
As the riders compared where they’d dined the night before, Dick said “all I did was eat yesterday.” He raved about the bakeries and restaurants serving up good eats in the city.
Julie Hoffman, from Seattle, enjoyed some shopping, good food and had “a really relaxing day.” She described the people of Nelson as “friendly and helpful” just as she pedaled off to catch the Kootenay Lake ferry at Balfour.
“The whole area is just gorgeous,” she said.
The entry fee for the ride goes to support Rotary fundraisers promoting peace, preventing diseases, providing access to clean water and sanitation, enhancing maternal and child health, improving basic education and literacy, and helping communities develop.
Ken Schueman from Newport offered support for the riders and was on his fifth tour of the Selkirk Loop. The exercise, outdoors, travel and working toward a common good is what this trip and Rotary is all about.
“I just love the camaraderie. We really have a good time,” he said.