March 13, 2015
The groundhog may have seen his shadow, and it may technically still be winter for another week, but from where I sit, spring is in the air. That has me thinking ahead to enjoying the outdoors and getting to see more of this wonderful state — from the seat of a bicycle.
Biking has always been something that my family has enjoyed. It offers a rewarding fitness challenge, whether trying to make it up a challenging hill or riding for a full day in the summer heat. It’s also a great way to spend time with your thoughts, and to take in the scenery at a pace slow enough to really absorb the beauty around you.
Mary Beth and I have found Idaho the perfect place to get out on a bike. In Moscow we’ve taken advantage of the Bill Chipman Palouse Trail, uniting Moscow and Pullman. We’ve also explored the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes, a short trek north of Moscow. And last summer we were thrilled to be joined by many Vandals in volunteering at Ironman Coeur d’Alene, which the university helped sponsor (and will sponsor again in 2015).
Last summer I also had the opportunity to participate in the Ride Idaho
bike tour. Starting in Twin Falls, the tour went to the City of Rocks, to Sun Valley and back to Twin Falls. I rode the first three days, and was accompanied by Guillermo Odorica, head of the Mexican Consulate in Boise, and other UI leaders and alumni. We enjoyed the natural splendor of southern Idaho. Mile after mile, community after community, the Vandal impact was everywhere — in facilities, projects and people. The state of Idaho truly is our campus.
So for this year’s Ride Idaho event, what better way to see our campus — our state — than by bicycle, among fellow Vandals? This year’s route starts in Coeur d’Alene, home to one of UI’s statewide centers
. A quick boat cruise on Lake Coeur d’Alene will have us start our journey by bike on the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes. We’ll ride east in the ensuing days, including a segment on the Hiawatha Trail. After a jaunt through western Montana, in North Idaho we’ll pass Moyie Springs, where UI partnered on the Kootenai Tribe’s new burbot aquaculture program
, before heading south through Bonner’s Ferry and Sandpoint to close the loop at Coeur d’Alene.
This year, I’m hoping many of our University of Idaho alumni and friends can join us for Ride Idaho. Bike trips like this are opportunities for camaraderie. I have many fond memories of last year’s event, meeting new people and renewing friendships both on and off the bike seat. Last year our rendition of the Vandal Fight Song won “Dead Last” in the Ride Idaho talent contest, and the trophy sits on my shelf. This year I’m hoping that we get a few more folks together and make a better showing!
Registration is now open, and if you’re able to make the trip, the university will provide free University of Idaho riding jerseys and hats to UI-affiliated participants. This is a fun way to make a strong statement that North Idaho is truly Vandal country. Check out the Ride Idaho website, and contact our Office of Alumni Relations
for more details about the jersey and UI participation. I look forward to exploring Vandal country together.