Pedaling for a good cause is what the Tour de TART is all about, with at least 500 cyclists expected to turn out this week to ride the trail between Traverse City and Suttons Bay.
Were celebrating the 10th year of the Tour this year and were really hoping that well have 600 riders turn out, says Pam Darling, outreach coordinator for TART Trails, Inc.
The Tour will be held this Friday, Aug. 13, with cyclists starting between 4-6:30 p.m. in the parking lot at Brick Wheels and McLain Cycle on 8th Street in TC. Riders will proceed along the West Bay bike path, hooking up with the Leelanau Trail to pedal a total of 19 miles to Suttons Bay.
Darling notes that the tour was launched 10 years ago by McLain Cycle as a way to promote the Leelanau Trail, which was then in development. When the Leelanau Trail was incorporated into TART, the fundraiser passed on as well.
As in the past, the ride culminates in a party at Suttons Bay Marina Park with a meal being catered this year by EuroStop Café and music provided by Blind Dog Hank.
How do you get back to town? A shuttle bus service runs from 7-9:30. Darling notes that approximately 150 riders find ways to get back to TC on their own, with some opting to ride the return course.
Riders who already live in Suttons Bay or Leelanau County can catch a shuttle bus to TC from Marina Park promptly at 4 p.m. to begin their ride.
RAISE A TOAST
Weve got lots of new things happening this year, Darling says. Besides having the event catered by EuroStop Café, well also be serving rootbeer floats with Coldstone Creamery ice cream and root beer from Northwoods Soda. And this year, riders will also be able to purchase local beverages, including beer from Right Brain Brewery, hard cider from Tandem Ciders and wine from Chateau de Leelanau.
She adds that this years picnic will be a zero-waste event, with composting and recycling provided by Bay Area Recycling for Charities.
The flat course includes 12 miles of pavement and seven miles of hard-packed limestone. Its not unusual to see young children riding the Tour with their parents. There are also snacks and rest stops along the way for those who need a breather.
The entry fee is a donation of $35 for adults and $5 for kids. Day-of-the-ride registration is available from 4-6:30 p.m. at Brick Wheels, although pre-registration is required for the return shuttle.
The Tour gets in gear rain or shine with all proceeds benefiting TART Trails. For more info, contact TART at 941-4300 or see http://www.traversetrails.org/events/tourdetart .
-- by Robert Downes