30th Year Of RAMROD Ride Will Bring 800 Cyclists To Mount Rainier National Park

A "recreational" biking event will bring 800 cyclists to Mount Rainier National Park this week for the 30th Annual RAMROD, or Ride Around Mount Rainier In One Day.

With the ride set for Thursday, park officials are warning other visitors what to expect and what to watch out for.

"Due to safety concerns and to minimize impact to other park visitors, the number of riders participating in this non-competitive recreational ride has been limited to 800 pre-registered riders—all rider slots have been assigned and registration for the 2013 RAMROD has been closed," Mount Rainier officials said in a release. "Motorists coming to the park that day should expect some traffic delays, congestion around designated checkpoints and support areas, long lines of bicyclists sharing the roadway and extra emphasis by law enforcement of speeding and other traffic violations that could pose a risk to riders."

Park officials also stressed that "(D)rivers and pedestrians are cautioned that bicyclists in large numbers will be sharing park roadways, including the road east from Nisqually Entrance, Stevens Canyon Road, State Route 123 and State Route 410 throughout the day."

More so, "(S)low traffic along the riding route should be expected, as road shoulders are narrow or non-existent along many sections. Drivers may encounter bicyclists walking their bikes up the long grade or riding slowly to maintain control over sections of the roadway. Motorists are requested to use extra care when passing bicyclists, and to do so only when there is sufficient road clearance and an unimpeded line of sight to do so safely."

Comments

Where is the outrage? Same impacts that the Pro Challange would have in Colorado National Monument or The Tour of Utah at Cedars and Bryce. Oh thats right, it isn't really about the impact to the parks. This one is OK because nobody is making that "evil" money.

The park is still open to visitors, there are no chase cars, hellcopters, tv cameras, and all the additional hoopla that comes along with a professional bike race.

Rick

Those dang TV cameras. They are so destructive. And lord knows we can't allow "hoopla". Not to mention, the 800 RAMROD riders are likely to create more "hoopla" than the 128 in the Pro Challange.

So, if I understand Rick correctly, it's okay to have 800 amateurs impede park visitation for a whole day, but not okay to have 100 pros impact it for a few hours...

Just want to make sure I get the logic right. :)

You know, if I was a visitor from a long ways away who bought my plane tickets months ago and who didn't know this was going to be happening (I'm a local, and this is the first I've heard of it), and Thursday was the only day I had for visiting the park, I'd be incredibly ticked off. And I'd be fully justified in being so.

Also, how are TPTB going to deal with the bicyclists vs. the construction still going on at Stevens Canyon?

Megaera:
You know, if I was a visitor from a long ways away who bought my plane tickets months ago and who didn't know this was going to be happening (I'm a local, and this is the first I've heard of it), and Thursday was the only day I had for visiting the park, I'd be incredibly ticked off. And I'd be fully justified in being so.

Also, how are TPTB going to deal with the bicyclists vs. the construction still going on at Stevens Canyon?

A lot of things cause delays.

I've been slowed by construction at Mt Rainier, Hurricane Ridge, and Generals Highway. I've also been stuck for an hour when an RV overturned on Tioga Road. I've even been stuck in normal traffic for an hour or so. Things happen and we learn to live with them.

Magaera - Your scenerio can easily be addressed if two things happen. 1) The park places alerts on its NPS website. 2) The visitor plans ahead by visiting the site.

Unfortunately, the NPS has totally failed in item one. No alerts. In fact, from what I could see, no mention of the event at all. But that isn't the fault of the bike racers.

ec, I know this may sound a little extreme, but I am opposed to these events, profit, no profit, not because they are inherently bad, but because I truly believe the National Parks (so designated) should primarily be "nature centers" not simply available for all forms of recreational experiences. Our parks are pushing the limits of daily visitation as it is (during peak seasons), we must either continue to build more facilities or enact more restrictions on uses if they are to be managed as the national natural treasurers they are. Much contentious debate on this issue, but these large organized events need to be held where they do not intrude on the "nature center" experience. The Yosemite Valley experience is a classic case in point. As Barbara Moritsch points out in her excellent book, "The Soul of Yosemite", the crux issue is visitor use. I am sure we will never solve the issue to everyones satisfaction, but encouraging events the size of the "bike around Mt. Raineer, is not helping the situation no matter how worthy the event, at least in my own humble opinion.

rmackie

I understand your aversion to such events. I don't agree but I respect your view. What I was trying to point out, however, was the hypocracy. There was no outcry against this event yet it has as much if not a greater impact than the "professional" events proposed elsewhere. It just showed that many here don't base thier opinions on what is good for the parks but what is anti-money.

Anti-money, that poor suffering profit motive. Smith's Invisible Hand and all that. Or, in the words of Gordon Gecko, greed. Recent years have shown us that trusting the profit motive couldn't possibly go wrong. Sorry I don't have 30 years on Wall Street to better appreciate it.

I prefer the parks a different kind of green. Your Gecko imitation is getting sort of pale and whiny in this forum.

Thanks for proving my point Rick. The RAMROD has as much if not more impact on the park than either the Pro Challange or Utah Race would. Opposition to the pro races has nothing to do with parks.

I will take Adam Smiths invisible hand over government any day. The invisible hand isn't perfect but it far surpasses a managed economy. The former made this the greatest nation ever, the latter is pouring it all down the drain. Oh, and BTW the issues of the "recent years" you referrenced where caused by the Government not greed. Do a little research on the CRA.

I'm with ebuck on this one.

another right wing flack here... I'm with EC too.

I'd love to be a silent passenger in the back seat when one of the folks who think events of this kind are great things actually got caught in the mess one creates.

Bet there'd be a whole lot of fussing and cussing going on.

Trouble is, there's usually no way someone who has had their plans destroyed can find any way to complain and have the complaints heard at a high enough level to make a difference.

Good point about the lack of website publicity, Megaera. Typical of our out-of-touch Rainier management. They announced last winter's weekday closures of Paradise with almost an afterthought on Twitter, then had a couple public meetings weeks later. Probably the project managers told the Stevens Canyon contractors to have an all day safety meeting Thursday. I can't imagine they will continue the current thirty-minute construction delays.

The permitted RAMROD event appears to me to have greater impacts on park visitors than the Tour of Utah or the proposed Colorado NM race. And yes, there will be TV cameras, probably from all the local stations, maybe even helicopters, Rick!

The number of cyclists circling Rainier is much larger and they are much more stretched out than a pro race. The rear is probably twenty of thirty miles behind the front by afternoon. The distances within the park are much larger and include two climbs of thousands of vertical feet. At least it no longer goes directly through Paradise.

It's not just delays for motorists along the narrow winding roads; businesses, turnouts, and the few restrooms are mobbed. There are extra demands on park staff as well. Last year's event included a fatality:

http://www.thenewstribune.com/2012/07/28/2231793/businessman-humanitarian-dies.html

NPS management may find it expedient to explain their inconsistent cycling policy by distinguishing between pro and amateur events. However, ec, I don't think money, or even impact on the visitor or the park, is really at the root of it. Precedent and CYA are larger factors, IMO. It would be unpopular to end RAMROD after thirty years; it might be a career risk to allow pro races at COLO, so the path of least resistance is usually chosen. Looks like the NPS would like to think it's not their call concerning the Tour de Utah through Bryce and Cedar Breaks.

To be fair, and as exemplified by this website, regardless of what decision they take, somebody is going to be angry. So, the NPS likes to take no decision.


precedent and CYA are larger factors, IMO.


That well may be when it comes to the NPS decision making process. But what about PEER or some of the members of this board? What is their excuse for the hypocrisy of decrying a pro event while remaining silent on an amateur event with far more impact? They aren't ruled by precedent and certainly don't care about CYA.