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Easy riders

By JESSIE STENSLAND

Staff reporter

Whidbey Island was a two-wheeler paradise over the weekend.

The sun shined on the shoulders of hundreds of bicyclists and motorcyclists as they toured the island during the unseasonably warm weather.

Hoards of motorcycles traveled across Whidbey on the way to and from Anacortes as part of the popular Oyster Run.

More than 150 bicycle riders pedaled for a good cause in the second annual Tour de Whidbey event. The two-day, 100-mile challenge was a fundraiser for three groups related to Whidbey General Hospital — Whidbey Island Hospital Foundation, Friends of Home Healthcare and Hospice and Auxiliary of Whidbey General Hospital.

The bike route crisscrossed the island, staying off the highway for most of the ride and affording participants great views as they worked their calves.

“It’s a good way to see the island for someone from the outside,” said Bert Mohs, who came from Minnesota to bicycle with his brother, Coupeville resident Don Mohs. The brothers, who are both experienced bike riders, took their time and completed the first half of the ride in about four hours.

“It was fantastic,” Don Mohs said. “It was on secondary roads with light traffic and good challenges.”

Trish Rose, community relations director at the hospital, explained that the tour was broken up into two parts. On Saturday, the bikers started from Cornet Bay on North Whidbey and ended at Greenbank Farm, roughly 50 miles. On the second day, the bikers started at Greenbank Farm, biked down to Clinton and looped back to the farm, another 50 miles.

Rose said about 50 riders chose to continue on the second day, which was a more difficult ride because of the hills.

Along the way, the bikers were greeted by a number of rest stops. Alex Louden, the organizer of the event, said that different groups ran the rest stops, which served drinks and a great deal of encouragement. The Soroptimists, for example, manned a stop in Oak Harbor.

“Everybody said the island was absolutely gorgeous,” Louden said. “A lot of people stayed overnight, which is good for the economy.”

People came from as far away as Canada, Kansas, Minnesota, Montana and Virginia to ride the tour. Rose said a five-person team from the USS Abraham Lincoln showed up.

There were also many Whidbey Island bikers. A seven-member team from Whidbey Island Naval Air Station rode the entire 100 miles, though a couple people didn’t appear the second day. Mark VanOort said the team, which was made up of both experienced and not-so-experienced riders, stayed together and took plenty of rests. The tour was about having fun in the sun, not racing.

According to VanOort, Whidbey is a great place for biking, with a combination of challenges and scenic beauty.

“Training for the ride,” he said, “I got to see a lot of the island.”

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