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Originally published Wednesday, February 24, 2010 at 7:05 PM

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Weekend highlight

Chilly Hilly and bike swap get cycling season rolling

Chilly Hilly ride, Feb. 28, Bainbridge Island, and Seattle Bike Swap, Feb. 27, Magnuson Park, Seattle.

Seattle Times staff

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This year's record-breaking early spring weather has organizers of Chilly Hilly expecting a big turnout at the annual unofficial "opening day" of the local cycling season Sunday. "We're open to an unlimited number of riders and expect a record crowd of around 5,000," says Cascade Bicycle Club Events Director David Douglas.

The scenic, 33-mile ride around Bainbridge Island includes 2,675 feet of hill climbing, up-and-down most of the route, on public roads that aren't closed to vehicles. If you're not sure you can make it, there's a shortcut to the ferry dock from the Hot Cider Food Stop at Mile 19 that cuts 10 miles off the ride. If you're new to Chilly Hilly, "avoid the crowds and take the last Seattle ferry after 10 a.m.," Douglas advises. "It's warmer by then, and the course is open until 3 p.m. so you don't have to rush."

Entry-fee proceeds from Chilly Hilly benefit Cascade Bicycle Club and 10 Bainbridge Island charities, and help pay for rider support, including bike mechanics around the course and on-call safety and medical crew.

Get ready to ride at Saturday's Seattle Bike Swap, with new and used bikes and accessories of all kinds from 100 vendors, most at bargain prices. Few vendors accept credit/debit cards so bring cash, and if you ride your bike to the event, bring a lock, since bike parking racks will be unattended. Come early for best selection or get in free the last hour to check out what's left.

Both events are sponsored by Cascade Bicycle Club, an 11,000-member nonprofit advocacy, education and riding organization that offers daily group rides around the Seattle area open to nonmembers (helmets required). If you like biking but aren't up to Chilly Hilly, CBC outings include regular, free, easier rides with groups such as Spokespeople (easy rides for all ages and skill levels, first Saturday of each month) and Easy Riders, with a schedule of shorter, social-pace rides. See the Web site for schedules:

Seattle Bike Swap

Time: 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday.

Cost: $5; ages 14 and younger free; free for everyone 1-2 p.m.

Location: Magnuson Park Hangar 30, 7400 Sand Point Way N.E., Seattle.

Chilly Hilly ride

Time/location: Course open 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday, from the Bainbridge Island Ferry Dock; registration, 7-10:30 a.m. across the street from Colman Dock, 801 Alaskan Way, Seattle; ferries leave 7:55, 8:45, 9:35 and 10:35 a.m.; because of crowds, allow plenty of time to register. Or, register 7:30-10:30 a.m. Sunday, B.I. Cycle Shop, 124 Bjune Drive S.E., Bainbridge Island.

Cost: $30 from Bainbridge, no ferry fare included; or $35 from Seattle, includes ferry fare.

More information: 206-522-3222 or

Madeline McKenzie: 206-464-8245 or

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