The Albany 2018 Northwest Tandem Rally occurred over several days this year due to the 4th of July falling on a Wednesday. The Mid Valley Bicycle Club of Corvallis and the Albany Visitors Association were the sponsors of the rally this year.
Riders began the check-in on Friday, June 29th, with the two major rides on Saturday, June 30th, and Sunday July1st. Optional extra days were included: Monday July 2nd, Tuesday, July 3rd, and Wednesday, July 4th. We had a total of 629 registered riders, including 15 minors. The majority of bikers rode the two weekend rides and the Monday ride, with a smaller number participating on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Our venue was the Timber Ridge School in north Albany with a large open area for tenting and RV camping. The Albany Best Western was the preferred motel of choice and it sold out with almost all of the guests being riders. Best Western proved to be very bike friendly with a special room dedicated for bike storage.
Friday many of the riders checked in and were able to ride the newly opened and totally refurbished vintage carousel which had been reserved for their attendance by special arrangement. Also a big hit was the farmer with his huge tractor driven ice-cream making machine that churned homemade ice-cream for all riders, paid for by the pay-it-forward gift from the Seattle NWTR, 2017. Dinner that evening was at the Senior Center in Albany adjacent to the Carousel. With our venue of a public school and no alcohol allowed to be served on campus, we chose to have Calapooia Brewing be offer no-host beer during the pizza meal at the Senior Center that evening. The vendors were able to set up on Friday in a large arcade type building on campus to be out of the sun. Many chose, however to move over to the area outside the school cafeteria location during the meals that were on campus on other days.
The first major ride was Saturday morning with the featured covered bridges of Linn County. Those bikers who chose the longest route of 89 miles were able to go through five covered bridges which became favorite photo locations. The shorter routes of 63 and 43 miles also were able to visit several covered bridges on their rides.
We received numerous positive comments about the scrumptious lunch during the ride at the lovely Linn County’s Roaring River Park. We also were given lots of good reports of the the scenic farm and forested countryside with very light traffic on all the routes. The evening meal was at the cafeteria at the school Saturday, and we sold raffle tickets for all the prizes donated by the sponsors and vendors.
Sunday was designated to be the mass-start ride day, and we were able to get a police escort to get the long line of riders out from the school and under Interstate 5 en route to the roads north and out of town.
What a sight to see almost 300 tandem teams, some single-bike riders, and a couple of triples and at least one quad heading away from the school! The route was through the Scenic Willamette Greenway including taking a ride on the ferry in Buena Vista across the Willamette River. There were two distances designated for the day of 68 and 36 miles.
Dinner at the Timber Ridge School Sunday evening was a spaghetti feed. We had a major issue with the largest pasta pot, and the cooking staff had to go smaller pots. The result was a long delay that made for a long wait for the meal. We did have some live music entertainment, and the results of the winners of the raffle items.
Both Saturday and Sunday we had major support help on the roads with a central amateur base station keeping track of each vehicle by radio in order to send out help as needed. Fortunately for the entire time we held the event, there were no accidents or health issues. We had only a few mechanical problems to address.
Monday was a semi-supported ride day with a brunch stop in Corvallis, and a rest stop in Philomath. Riders could choose among several suggested ride options to explore further in our Willamette Valley area. We had a make-your-own-taco dinner option for those who chose not to go out to any of the restaurants on their own.
By Tuesday a large majority of the riders had left with 188 registered for the day. Riders were given choices of where to ride to explore more of the area, including some suggested wineries to visit.
The optional meal for the evening was for pulled pork (with vegetation options, as needed).
By Wednesday, July 4th our registration showed 78 who had chosen to spend the Fourth in the area. The day’s events included a pancake breakfast in Brownsville, and a chicken barbecue in Harrisburg with a major small town parade as well. A few ,ay have remained for fireworks in various locations but we had no way of knowing how many remained for the nighttime July Fourth annual fireworks display.
Thursday was checkout day for those who elected to remain through the 4th.
Our goal was to acquaint the riders with our Willamette Valley with rides in a rural setting with light traffic. We feel we met that goal. Another reason for the rally was to raise funds for the ongoing Bike Education program now in place among all fifth grade students in Albany. The 15 year-old bicycle fleet needs replacing and refurbishment, and other costs of providing this program to the school district was amply met by the proceeds from the rally.
Special thanks for all who participated and all who volunteered to help make the Albany NWTR, 2018 a success.