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President's column

Winter Road Riding

For my first article as president, I thought I would ramble about riding. Then end with a seasonal culinary note, sharing some of my food ideas as relating to riding and health.

    Riding on the road during the wintertime poses unique challenges and wonderful rewards. Some of the challenges are of course, staying warm during the ride, both fingers, toes and nose. My difficulty comes from wearing too many clothes. Somehow I have a fairly active metabolism and cooling system which leads to overheating. I find myself going through a little more water than I do in the spring/summer. Cold-weather can also result in frosty pavement, as we experienced a few weeks ago over the bridge from March point. Visibility has been decent for the most part. The morning fog clears away by our 11 o’clock start times.

   Some of the fun of riding during the wintertime can be the cool, crisp, clear days when we can see from Mount Baker clearly, the Canadian Rockies, and all the way out to the Olympics. The views are wonderful in the Valley and lately I’ve seen alot of eagles high in the trees as we ride by. This year we have a large amount of tundra swans that have been around for a while. I just saw an enormous group of snow geese, east of Best road and South of Chillberg! Another benefit to riding during the winter are low traffic patterns. Especially compared to tulip/tourist season. Usually during the winter, I ride shorter routes just to get loosened up by spinning. Sometimes however, a few zealous riders can push the mileage and rate up a little. During those times I think it’s important that we keep groups of riders together for safety’s sake. One new safety practice I would like to start is the ride leader handing out cards with their cell phone # on it. That way contact can be maintained and info exchanged in case of an incident, crash/injury.


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This month's recipe


Moisture is the enemy. The more moisture, the more flour required. The more flour, the tougher the gnocchi. Our goal is Tender potato tasting gnocchi.


Tools:  Potato ricer, dough scraper, flour sifter

Potato-  I use Yukon Gold potatoes, baked for consistency. About 1-2 potatoes per person. If made right, they go fast!

Flour-  I like Fairhaven Organic Fine milled Bread flour because it’s local grown, unbleached, milled in Burlington and high quality.



Before baking potatoes, pierce them with a fork on both sides.

Bake whole potatoes @ 350F for 1 hour, then let cool.


Peel potatoes and cut into smaller pieces that will fit into your ricer.

Rice all potato


Begin adding sifted flour, folding and kneading into dough. I find that about 1 Cup flour per 1 Cup riced potato is about what it comes out at so have flour on hand.


When dough is firm, but still tackie, roll out into snakes about finger thickness on floured counter.


Lightly dust with flour then

Cut into 1”, bit size pieces


Put thumb or finger tip into gnocchis  to form a dimple, (cup to hold sauce).


I flour a cookie sheet and place each gnocchi onto pan. Pan then goes into freezer and, when frozen, gnocchi go into zip lock bag.


Or, gnocchi can be set out and covered with a light dish cloth and cooked soon.



Cook like pasta in salted, oiled boiling water. Slow rolling boil, not hard boil

Frozen gnocchi go directly into slow boiling water from freezer.

Gnocchi are cooked when they float to surface. Remove with a slotted spoon and enjoy!

Traditional Gnocchi sauce is Bolognese. My favorite is Pesto. Experiment!


The Skagit Spring Classic is the premier one day ride in the north Puget Sound region. We offer the best in scenery, routes that range from easy to challenging and rest stop food that beats all the rest. We are justifiably proud of the homemade cookies that are available in an almost inexhaustible supply at all of our rest stops. Enjoy a hearty spaghetti dinner after your ride and a warm shower to make that ride home more enjoyable for you and your passengers. Find out more about this great ride Click Here.

Hilltopper Bikes is back again this year to support the 2019 Skagit Spring Classic. This year Hilltopper is donating a Folder MT Bike for our raffle. Click here for more details.

Norman Kirby, 2018 winner City Ultra Electric Bike!


The Beautiful Skagit Valley

Skagit County Washington is a wonderful place located halfway between Seattle and Vancouver, BC. The first view of Skagit County, as one heads north on I-5, is the valley of the Skagit River as it flows off the Cascade Mountains in the east and heads for the Salish Sea to the west. The valley floor that spreads out before you is a lush agricultural landscape with flat, lightly traveled roads. In the spring, the valley is famous for the tulips raised here, As the seasons progress, berries and potatoes bloom across the valley. This all provides a beautiful backdrop for a bicycle ride. Read more... ..

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