Guess who pedals in with visiting Puget-area bicycle riders: Gov. Inslee
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Gov. Jay Inslee, left, and Peter Verberugge, ride organizer for the Puget Sound Bicycle Club, chat as the bicyclists set up overnight camp near Roosevelt School in Port Angeles on Monday. —Photo by Arwyn Rice/Peninsula Daily News

By Arwyn Rice
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — More than 250 Puget Sound Bicycle Club members rode into Port Angeles on Monday, and they brought along a surprise guest — Gov. Jay Inslee.

The riders began Monday’s ride in Port Townsend, the second leg of “Ride Around Washington,” a seven-day, 439-mile pedal tour from La Conner to Cape Disappointment.

Inslee said he had a day off and decided to take the place of state Transportation Secretary Lynn Peterson, who had registered for the ride but was unable to attend.

“It was a perfect ride — coming around the Olympic Discovery Trail, sea breeze in my face and the Strait of Juan de Fuca right there,” Inslee said, recounting the 65-mile route from Port Townsend to Port Angeles.

The riders pedaled into the checkpoint at the end of Monday’s ride — a sports field between old Monroe Elementary and Roosevelt Elementary schools, where ride organizers set up a large camp for a one-day rest today, during which the riders will eat, rehydrate and explore the Peninsula on a 50-mile circuit ride.

Inslee, an avid cyclist and athlete, was among the first 50 cyclists to complete the day’s ride.

While Inslee rode the trail, his State Patrol escort drove on nearby roads, prepared to intercept the governor if there was a state emergency to be dealt with, he said.

Ride organizer Peter Verberugge said he had no idea Inslee was coming until he received a call from the governor’s office Sunday night, asking if he could join the riders for the second-day leg.

Verberugge said he had a phone message from a “Jay” and returned the call to discover he had reached the governor’s office.

“It was a wonderful surprise,” Verberugge said.

Ride Around Washington is Puget Sound Bicycle Club’s annual member ride, tracing a route around the state over the years.

Inslee encouraged Verberugge to end the circuit of the state in Olympia in a future year so he could welcome the riders to the capital.

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Reporter Arwyn Rice can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5070, or at arwyn.rice@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: August 05. 2014 9:37AM
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