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Annual Pedal to Plate bicycle tour postponed due to COVID-19

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LAKE COUNTY – For the past two years in late summer, a string of cyclists has ridden around the Mission Valley from farm to farm, sampling producers' goods and taking in the beauty of the region. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 Pedal to Plate tour has been postponed to 2021. 

“We just felt that for the safety of our reservation it was one more event that needed to be canceled,” event organizer Janet Sucha said. Those who signed up before the event was canceled will be given the option to get a refund or transfer their entrance fee to next year. 

Event organizers will use the internet to provide inspiration for bike tours in the region and to showcase locally-grown goods this year. 

Sucha said the group has decided to post the routes of the Pedal to Plate tours from the past two years, and the route planned for next year on their Facebook page. The page will provide information about local farmers markets. It will also highlight local farms and businesses that have partnered with the event in the past. 

“This is a way of fulfilling some of our mission and vision in light of COVID,” Sucha said. “Next year, we’ll get back together and have dinner and music and stops at farms.”

The third annual Mission Mountain Area Pedal to Plate bike ride will be held on Sept. 25, 2021. For the first two years, the event took place in the Ronan region. Next year, cyclists will explore the St. Ignatius area. 

Cyclists will ride about 30 miles. There will be four stops at farms along the way where riders can taste products grown on-site and get to know the farm. Sucha said next year’s event will showcase some locally-raised meat products. There will also be stops at local landmarks, like the historic St. Ignatius Catholic Church. 

The event will culminate at the refurbished historic barn in St. Ignatius. The celebration will feature live music, a locally-sourced dinner, craft beer and an artisan farmers market. 

The Pedal to Plate event started with conversations between a number of local cyclists and farmers. They had heard of a similar event that had been held in the Bitterroot Valley, and community members thought the model could be a good fit for the Mission Valley. When a planning committee came together, they decided their aim was to draw cyclists and local food enthusiasts to the area to show off the region and its producers. 

The event focuses on showcasing local farms in hopes that riders will become more engaged with the Mission Valley’s food system. According to Sucha, the food offered along the way is always a highlight. Folks have sampled local melons, lamb and honey in past years, among other locally grown and raised products. “The food is delicious, and it feels good to support local farms,” Sucha said. 

The ride also gives people from outside the Mission Valley a chance to explore an area they have passed through. “A lot of people didn’t know how beautiful the area is,” Sucha said. “They had always just driven through on the highway.”

Those of all fitness and experience levels who can bike the 30 miles of the event can sign up, Sucha said. Most of the ride will be on fairly flat terrain. The event is geared toward adult riders. Sucha said one of the best parts of the ride is the view of the mountains, creeks and rolling hills in the area. “This is such a lovely place to bicycle,” she said.

Excess proceeds from the event will be used to improve access to cycling for residents. Event organizers have given away refurbished bikes and sponsored free bike tune-ups. Sucha said the committee would like to keep moving the event around the Mission Valley. More information about the event, cycling routes and local food products can be found at the Mission Mountain Area Pedal to Plate Facebook page.  


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