STP organizers forgo tradition and dump Tyvek jackets as swag

Staff writerFebruary 16, 2014 

The Tyvek jacket were awarded to participants of the 2013 Seattle to Portland Bicycle Classic. After more than 30 years, STP organizers are discontinuing the unpopular race swag.


Answers to important questions nobody has asked me yet:

Question: Name a long-standing cycling tradition that’s about to end (to the dismay of almost nobody)?

Answer: By the time you read this, the 2014 Seattle to Portland Bicycle Classic will probably be sold out.

If you’re one of the 10,000 cyclists who get to do the 200-mile ride this summer, there is some great news. (Actually, it’s bad news if you were planning to do a little asbestos removal during the ride.)

The traditional STP Tyvek jackets are no more.

Arguably the most unwanted swag ever offered at a major recreational sporting event, the gaudy jackets will be replaced after more than 30 years by something a little more practical.

Riders paying the $120 entry fee get a multi-tool and a tote bag this year.

Cascade Bicycle Club spokeswoman Anne-Marije Rook said one of the reasons the club finally decided to ditch the jackets was because so many ended up in the trash. The club wasn’t throwing them away. It gave it’s leftovers to volunteers at the end of each season.

“We were pretty smart about not overestimating how many and what sizes we needed over the years,” Rook said.

Many cyclists, however, either declined the jacket or tossed it in the trash at one of the ride’s first rest stops.

When I did this ride, I gave the jackets to friends as a joke. I made a big production about how the friend inspired me, then told them how much it would mean if they wore the jacket for an entire day. Once, a buddy (clearly a better friend than I am) wore it on an international flight.

On another occasion my jacket became a daily booby prize for members of a humanitarian trip to Guatemala. Each day the person with the funniest blunder (usually horribly butchered Spanish) had to make a polyethylene fashion statement. And, yes, even in a Third World country, the jacket drew curious looks.

By the end of the trip everybody on the team had signed the jacket and wore it proudly.

On second thought, maybe I’m going to miss those ugly jackets.

Q. What’s the easiest way to do a triathlon?

A. Even as I write this I’m in the middle of running an Ironman, 2.4 miles of swimming, 112 miles of cycling and a 26.2-mile run. I just finished up 8 miles of running and I’m about to hop in the pool.

If you’re thinking that I’m doing events out of order or that stopping to write a column is really going to hurt my time, don’t worry.

This is not your typical triathlon. I recently signed up for the YMCA’s Lazyman Ironman and, true to its name, I didn’t actually get going until 13 days after the event started.

Unlike a real Ironman-distance triathlon, which has a 17-hour time limit, Lazyman participants get 35 days.

The YMCA has staged Lazyman races for years, but this year they’re doing things a little differently.

Participants can plunk down their $15 (they’ll get a shirt when they finish) and can choose a number of nontraditional triathlon activities to earn miles toward their goal of 140.6.

In fact, you don’t even have to get wet to participate.

Walking your dog for 30 minutes, taking a yoga class or biking to work counts as 3 miles. Earn 2 miles for playing tennis, squash, soccer, basketball or other sports. Get 6 miles for an interval training class or 14 for a group cycling class.

Tossing out junk food gets you 10 miles. Getting your annual physical or quitting smoking is also worth 10. Get a bonus 5 miles for convincing somebody else to quit smoking.

Not easy enough? How about 5 miles for eight hours of sleep.

The idea behind the event, according to organizers, is to encourage people to try new activities and challenge themselves. And, who knows, if it gets you motivated, maybe a real triathlon is in your future.

Q. When does cycling season begin?

A. That’s a trick question. Cycling season never ends.

But if you’re like me and wimp out when it comes to riding in cold weather, then you probably don’t log many winter miles.

The traditional start of the organized riding season is the state’s oldest bike ride, the Chilly Hilly.

The name says it all. The ride is probably going to be cold and it’s definitely going to be hilly. Pedaling up those hills, however, is sure to keep you warm.

The route on Bainbridge Island is just 33 miles and starts with a ferry ride from Seattle for the majority of riders. The course is packed with 2,700 feet of climbing.

The 42nd Chilly Hilly is Feb. 23 with day-of-ride registration taking place at Winslow’s Bainbridge Island Cycle, 124 Bjune Drive, or in Seattle on Alaskan Way opposite the Coleman Ferry Terminal.

Day-of-ride registration is $40 including the ferry crossing, or $30 to start in Winslow.

Depending on the weather, rider turnout ranges from 3,000 to more than 6,000, Rook said. For more information visit

Craig Hill: 253-597-8497

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