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Friday, July 10, 2009

STP is a money-maker

When as many as 10,000 cyclists depart tomorrow around dawn, they will embark on a 202-mile ride, stopping along the way for food and fluids.

But the ride is more than a fun and challenging event. It's a financial windfall for the non-profit Cascade Bicycle Club, the main organizer of the Group Health Seattle to Portland Bicycle Classic. It's also an important fund-raiser for other non-profits, such as Altrusa International, Portland Wheelmen, Spanaway Junior High, St. Helens High School Band, Gold Wing Touring Association, and many smaller churches and high school clubs.

The financial model is so successful that Cascade says it's never lost money on the event.

Cascade Bicycle Club expects this year's STP will book more than $1.1 million in revenue -- half of the club's annual budget -- and produce net income of $637,000 after deducting the $491,000 cost of putting on the event, according to figures provided by club spokeswoman M.J. Kelly.

Registrations account for three quarters of the revenue, while the rest comes from sponsorships, processing fees and commissions on merchandise and photo sales. The title sponsor is Group Health and presenting sponsor is Carter Subaru. The other sponsors are Performance Bicycle, REI, Dave's Killer Bread, New Belgium Brewing Co., Ultima Replenisher, and Clif Bar & Co.

Those costs include paying about $30,000 to police agencies along the route for traffic control, Kelly said. The cyclists do have an impact: The Washington Department of Transportation put out a traffic alert labeled "high impact":
SR 507 Southbound Bicycle event on SR 507 southbound from the Roy Wye to the
Thurston and Lewis county line from 07:00 a.m. 07/11/09 to 07:00 p.m. 07/12/09.
Group Health Seattle to Portland Bicycle Classic. Drivers are asked to share the
road and prepare for traffic delays along the route. From milepost 43.57 to

Another expense is paying the Centralia-Chehalis Chamber of Commerce for organizing the welcome wagon for about 7,500 cyclists coming there to spend their cash! Centralia College is the official midpoint of the ride and hosts on its website a photo gallery of STP in previous years.

The surplus from STP supports Cascade Bicycle Club's advocacy for more bike-friendly communities, education programs and other services.

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