For the ninth time, the Bitter Root Land Trust is gathering bicycle riders together for the annual "Tour of the Bitterroot" south of Hamilton Sunday, July 16.

The start-finish line is at Red Barn Bicycles on Sleeping Child Road, where food and music will be featured.

According to organizers, the main ride is the loop Skalkaho Mountain tour, which takes riders up Skalkaho Highway to the Bitterroot National Forest Rye Creek Road (Forest Roads #75 and #720) and back down Sleeping Child Road - total of 48 miles on paved and dirt roads. You'll want to have a nice reserve of energy for this one. It starts at 7 a.m.

The Sleeping Child Ride lets riders take their time heading up the gentle grade of Sleeping Child Road - all on pavement. You ride as far as you want and then turn around and return - with a lot less pedaling as you go downhill. The rolling start is between 9 and 11 a.m.

Both rides provide great views of the Bitterroot Mountains, the Como Peaks and the surrounding forest and fields.

The Kidz Dirt road Derby is a one-mile loop on McCarthy Loop. It's for ages 7 and under and starts at 12:30 p.m. right next to Red Barn Bicycles, and, yes, it's all on unpaved surface.

A barbeque lunch is planned and music by Pinegrass from 12 noon to 3 p.m.

Register at the Tour of the Bitterroot website or at the event.

Money raised at the tour helps to protect working farms and ranches of the Bitterroot Valley, to keep the Bitterroot River running cold and clear and to have open space for wildlife.

Find out more about the Bitter Root Land Trust.