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Record STOKR to hit highways this weekend

| May 10, 2006 12:00 AM

A record number of riders are expected this weekend for the 12th annual STOKR — Scenic Tour of the Kootenia River bicycle ride.

STOKR's registration limit of 370 riders, based on available lodging, was met in just 10 days when signups opened in February.

"That's a record," said event organizer Susie Rice.

Riders are expected from across the Pacific Northwest - Montana, Idaho, Washington, Oregon - and the western Canadian provinces.

STOKR is a fundraiser for Kootenai Valley Partners Habitat for Humanity and last year raised $25,000 to help the organization build simple, affordable housing for low-income families. In addition to the money brought in by registration fees, $10,000 in matching funds will be provided by Thrivent Financial for Lutherans.

The area's sixth Habitat house, located at 216 W. 10th St. in Libby, was dedicated in January.

Saturday's ride offers two options, a 98-mile long route that takes riders west on U.S. Highway 2 along the Kootenai River and on to a loop through the Yaak via the Yaak River Road and back down Pipe Creek Road into Libby. A shorter, 45-mile route that makes a loop through the Lake Creek area provides an option for riders, too. Both rides start and finish at the Chamber of Commerce in Libby. STOKR headquarters will be across the street at the Venture Motor Inn.

On Sunday, riders can take a 37-mile trip up the Kootenai River to Libby Dam and back.

Volunteers will provide nourishment — including 70 pies and 34 gallons of pasta salad — for STOKR riders at stops along the way.

"That's a lot of pasta salad," Rice said.

And that's a lot of bicycles traveling on county highways. Motorists are reminded to be aware of the presence of so many bicycles, expecially within the city limits of Libby on both Saturday and Sunday. In the past, Rice said bicyclists have been complimentary of the courtesy they are shown.