Lake Stevens is missing out on revenue from world-class sporting eventsCyclists fuel up before riding into the sunset BY CHUCK TUCK | JOURNAL REPORTER Over the past 26 years, many people from all over the country have come to Washington to take part in the Ride from Seattle to Vancouver and Party (RSVP) bike ride.
Every year in August, a group of riders come through Lake Stevens in route to their final destination in Canada, making more stops along the way.
This past Friday, over 1,300 cyclists converged into Lake Stevens as they have for years, going virtually unnoticed by the community.
RSVP committee member Mitch Roberts says that riders come from all over the county and Canada, and sometimes Italy to ride this event.
Though it is not as well known or as big as the Seattle to Portland (STP) ride, this year the RSVP sold-out rather quickly.
“This year ages ranged from 10 to 76 years and all in-between,” Roberts said.
Spanning 183 miles, the ride is split into two days, with the cyclists staying overnight in Bellingham the first night.
“On the first day we start off in Seattle at the Sandpoint Naval Station and go up through Snohomish, Lake Stevens, Arlington, Mount Vernon, then up and over Chuckanut Drive into Bellingham,” Roberts said.
Scott Stuart owner of the Bike Works in Lake Stevens has been aware of the ride, and is always prepared with extra help at his shop in case any repairs or parts are needed for the riders.
“If I were to go on a bike ride, this would be the ride I’d go on,” Stuart said.
He also says this is a good example of why the community needs a better trail system for riders, a skateboard park and BMX bike park for the kids.
Stuart believes that events such as the RSVP and a skate park venue could bring in some additional revenue to the city, restaurants, and local store owners.
Lake Stevens City Counsel member Karen Alessi has been instrumental in organizing the RSVP stop in Lake Stevens with some of their provisions.
“So many people tell us this is their favorite stop. I mean we hear that from a significant number of riders every year,” Alessi said.
Everyone living in the community of Lake Stevens knows the beauty of the place.
“People call me and ask me where can they stay; do we have a hotel, we would like to stay over,” she said.
Alessi spoke of one gentleman who was upset because there was no place to stay if he wanted to bring his family for a vacation to Lake Stevens.
“One year I had a gentleman from Indiana call me, and he was actually angry because they didn’t have a hotel here. He wanted to bring his family here and vacation; yup, we need a hotel here, we need a lot of things,” Alessi said.
With the half dozen or so large events that take place in Lake Stevens, much of that money is not seen here even though the community hosts these events.
“It drives me crazy,” she added. “I can’t tell you how many dollars I send to Arlington and Seattle with our events; I’d like have those dollars here.”
Another event that keeps growing every year making its stop in Lake Stevens is the Ironman 70.3 triathlon.
“They love the course because the course is really challenging, and they love Lake Stevens because they like the town,” Alessi commented.
She went on to say that the promoters of these types of world-class events and community members alike continue to ask her when Lake Stevens is going to have a hotel or more restaurants.