By guest writer Eric Souza
Bike the Bluff will hold its 22nd annual fundraiser on September 8, celebrating the long history of bicycling in Magnolia. The bluff has been a popular destination for cyclists since the late 1800s, and this year’s event honors that history.
Bike the Bluff is a major fundraiser to support Catharine Blaine K-8′s 5th grade class trip to Islandwood, an environmental science camp on Bainbridge Island. Local businesses have already sponsored more than $5,000 to offset the costs of the four-day class trip. The goal of the event is to collect $11,000 to offset the cost of the trip for most families and provide scholarships where necessary.
This year, event organizers have teamed up with the Magnolia Historical Society and the Magnolia Community Club to help raise funds. The community groups are offering to share the profits on the sales of their beautiful Magnolia history books. The award-winning book “Magnolia: Memories and Milestones” and “Magnolia: Making More Memories” can be purchased through the registration area of the BikeTheBluff.org site for $25 apiece or $40 for both.
These coffee table books feature rich stories and pictures, with detailed and researched histories on such neighborhood landmarks as The West Point Lighthouse, Fort Lawton and Discovery Park. First person narratives of life on Magnolia 1900 through the 1940s give us a glimpse of the dairies, drugstores and “dumb stunts” of the early days on Magnolia. Neighborhoods like Lawton Wood, the Magnolia Boulevard and Pleasant Valley are shown as they were and as they have evolved. Each volume includes a large detailed aerial map of the Magnolia area in 1936 or 1945.
Participants can sign up for Bike the Bluff through their website. Riders 18 and older are $20, under 18 are $10, and a family registration costs $40. Individual registrations include one t-shirt, while family registrations include 2 tee-shirts.
Even if people don’t want to join the pedaling around Magnolia, they can buy event tee-shirts for $10 each.
These brown tee-shirts will be given out to registrants, featuring a penny-farthing (large-front-wheeled) bike. The shirts were designed to evoke the historical theme of the event.
Monica Wooton, president of the Magnolia Historical Society, researched the history of bicycling in the area. She found the weekly Seattle Times column “Sporting News and Other Gossip” regularly reported on the progress of the bike path in early 1900. One column, from March 30, 1900, stated: “The new Magnolia Bluff path … to ascertain its beauty and its many advantages one must travel over it from beginning to end, and even then half of the beauties of the road will be missed.”
There are a variety of routes for cyclists of all ages. The 4.5 or 6 mile course begins and ends on the Catharine Blaine K-8 School playground, located immediately adjacent to the Pop Mounger Pool parking lot at 2535 32nd Ave. W. There are four different scenic detours that can add distance for those looking for a challenge or a virtually flat 2-mile-roundtrip sidewalk route for the youngest of riders.
Sprocketts Recycled Bicycles is the presenting sponsor of the fundraiser. Mike Benson, the owner of Sprocketts, says he loves to ride a bike around Magnolia because of the beauty of the area.
“It’s a fantastic place to ride just to check out everything in the area,” he said. “It’s a great opportunity to look at the scenery and do some people-watching.”