The first thing you’ll notice about Mike McQuaide’s new guidebook, “75 Classic Rides Washington,” is it’s bigger and packed with more pictures and color than previous cycling guidebooks published by The Mountaineers Books.
Look a little closer and you’ll notice that’s not the only thing that’s more substantial.
“75 Classic Rides Washington” ($24.95) features a few “easy” 50-mile rides, but this book is mostly loaded with moderate to very strenuous rides for those who want to experience Washington’s most iconic routes.
McQuaide, a 50-year-old cycling enthusiast from Bellingham, spent two years riding about 4,800 miles to research this book. His guidebook is loaded with maps, turn-by-turn cue sheets, elevation profiles and detailed descriptions for each ride.
“Washington is an amazing place to ride,” said McQuaide, who also took the pictures for the book.
McQuaide also mountain bikes, has spent time riding in France and occasionally drops into a race. Early this month, he hopped out of the saddle long enough to field five questions.
1Cross-state rides aside, what’s the most challenging ride you recommend in your book?
That’s hard to say. There are some pretty good ones. The climb up to McNeil Pass (east of Chelan) is really tough. Hurricane Ridge is amazing. And the climb from Tonasket to the Sitzmark Ski Area is fairly relentless. There are only two steep pitches on the 80-mile ride, but it is strenuous.
2What is your favorite place to ride in the South Sound?
You have to ride Mount Rainier. It’s challenging, but I like to climb. ... One good ride is BOMROD (Best of Mount Rainier in One Day). You climb up to Sunrise, then Cayuse Pass and Stevens Canyon up to Paradise. That’s amazing. ... I also enjoy riding a little farther south near Rochester. There are some nice big loops there.
3There are so many good rides in the state. How did you settle on the 75 you featured?
I went with the ones I know about, and I talked to bike shops and bike clubs and it’s so easy to go online and talk with millions of people about where they are riding. ... I wanted to feature the signature rides. If you are going to be in this area, what is the ride you have to do?
4Any injuries along the way?
It wasn’t on one of the rides in this book, but right after I signed (to write the book) I fell and broke my collarbone. ... It was a tame trail and toward the end of my ride, and I was taking it easy. Not long after that one of the guys I ride with all the time fell and broke his collarbone. I think he did it out of sympathy.
5Did you meet any interesting people while logging these rides?
I met (actor) Jack Black’s mom in Tonasket. ... I was riding in Wenatchee and doing Badger Mountain and I got to the top and was taking pictures when some other riders started coming up and stopped to talk. It was (gubernatorial candidate) Jay Inslee. That’s not an easy climb. I was firstname.lastname@example.org 253-597-8497 blog.thenewstribune.com/adventure