This week try leaving your Schwinn cruiser at home and break out your freshly tuned up Gary Fisher mountain bike. Or borrow one. Trust me, you'll need it, especially when you join me during the Tour of the Bitterroot, a 46-mile, non-competitive biking jaunt that starts at 7 AM Sat., July 17, and shoots you through the Skalkaho Drainage, just east of Hamilton on Montana Hwy. 38, and up through winding Forest Service roads. The tour is part dirt road and part paved road, and includes a hill climb that's described as physically intense yet visually stunning. If that sounds like a prime way to pedal, get to Red Barn Bicycles, 399 McCarthy Loop in Hamilton, by 7 AM. Just be sure you've paid the $35 fee for this outing, which also doubles as a benefit for the Bitter Root Land Trust, a conservation org. Registration is due by 5 PM, Fri., July 16, so click fast to tourofthebitterroot.org or ring Robin at 375-0956. Also, take note that the tour includes a donation-based family ride at 9 AM, along with a kids' derby at 2 PM and post-ride party later in the day.
With that event programmed into your crackberry (I mean, Blackberry), let's move back in time.
On Thu., July 15, bicyclists who want to join CASA of Montana's Park2Park Montana ride, have one final chance to register for the race, which occurs in September. Visit park2parkmontana.org and call 1-866-863-2272.
Later on Thu., July 15, figure out how to expertly lube your hubs and keep your bike chain happy during REI Missoula's Bike Maintenance Basics class, which is free and begins at 7 PM at REI, 3275 N. Reserve St. Ste. K-2. Call 541-1938.
Giving back is as easy as mapping and monitoring non-smokeable weeds, as well as taking inventory of campsites and creatures, during another volunteer trip to the Ten Lakes Wilderness Study Area with UM's Wilderness Institute. This week's outing runs Fri., July 16–Mon., July 19, and takes you to Gibralter Ridge. Expect a weekend of benevolent work and beautiful views to follow. RSVP by visiting www.cfc.umt.edu/wi or by calling 243-5361.
Or be a slacker and skip that trip so you can enjoy an outing with the Montana Chapter of the Sierra Club, which hosts a St. Mary Peak Day Hike in the Bitterroot Mountains at a TBA time on Sat., July 17. The hike, which is considered moderately strenuous, gets you high on altitude as you travel 7.5 miles roundtrip to the top of the peak, which is 9,300 feet in elevation. Once you get there, anticipate eye candy in the form of incredible views and tons of wildflowers. Free, but space is limited to 15 people. RSVP and find out the meet up time by contacting Mary at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You'll probably need plenty of munchies, water and sports drinks to participate in the Helena Bicycle Club's One Helena Hundred, 100-kilometer or 100-mile bike rides that begin with check-in at 7 AM Sat., July 17, at Cascade City Park in Cascade, north of Helena. Thankfully, all those refreshments are yours if you join the ride, which costs $55. Visit helenabicycleclub.org to register, but do it fast, since online registration closes Thu., July 15.
You just love to give, don't you? So why not keep up that streak of stewardship by meeting with the Montana Wilderness Association's Ridgerunners, who head up a trailwork project on Sat., July 17, that takes you to the Blodgett Overlook Trail. Meet at 8:30 AM at the Eastgate parking lot at Albertson's (on East Broadway Street) to carpool, and call Kassia at 413-265-0798 to RSVP. Free, with reimbursements for gas if you're driving carpoolers.
Getting moistened is never a bad thing, especially if it involves learning wet exits, hip snaps, eddy turns and peel outs with the help of some dudes in the know when the Zoo Town Surfer's host another Kayak Clinic, which runs from 9 AM–5 PM Sat., July 17, and Sun., July 18, and begins at the mighty waves of the Frenchtown Pond. The clinics cover everything from kayaking basics to river running concepts, and include afternoon jaunts on the Blackfoot or Clark Fork Rivers. $175. Call Jason at 546-0370 to register and visit zootownsurfers.com.
Hit up some aqua and pull on something weedy at 9 AM Sat., July 17, during the fifth annual Bitterroot Floating Weed Pull, which begins with a river float at a TBA location. Once you're on your tube, expect a sweet float peppered with info on noxious weeds, as well as a weed pulling session. Lunch and prize giveaways follow the float. Free. Call Melissa at 777-5842 to register and for location info.
On Sun., July 18, bike with some people to eat a certain something during the Missoulians on Bicycles Geezer Ride to Some Restaurant Somewhere, which begins with departure at 10 AM from the Greenough Park parking lot, on the corner of Monroe and Locust streets. Free. Call Gayle at 240-9279.
Pull it like you mean it on Tue., July 20, when you join the Northern Rockies Chapter of Wildlands Restoration Volunteers for a Great Burn Knapweed Pull, which begins at 8 AM with a meet up at a TBA location in Missoula to carpool. Free. Visit wlrv.net/nrockies to sign up and e-mail Graham at email@example.com for meet up location.
And finally, fly fishing with experts, watershed stewardship, stream restoration and water ecology converge into a crystal clear ball of awesomeness for your kid during the Watershed Education Network's fourth annual Liam Wood Fly Fishers and River Guardians School, a weeklong workshop for high schoolers that runs all day, each day, in Missoula from July 26–30. $300, with some scholarships available. Registration is required by Wed., July 21. Call 541-9287 to RSVP and visit motnanawatershed.org for details.
Now let's go pedal to the max and then relax, shall we?