hours in Hart.
The tour is a fundraiser for Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance a non-profit organization supporting the building and connecting of trails in our state with a goal of a healthier and more prosperous Michigan.
When I got down to the river there were an absolute sea of tents erected along the banks and thereabouts with folks were...
gastronomical gemstone of our area provided the evening meal and breakfast as well to the nearly 400 who took on the tour.
“The food’s always great on these,” said Jan VanderLeest of Grand Rapids.
He and Andy Grant and Lisa and Ron Hull were waiting for the kayak bus and talked about the tour.
“It’s great exercise and we see a lot of pretty areas of the state,” said Ms. Hull who has been on 3 previous rides.
Mr. Grant of Florida remembers some of the first years of the ride.
“It was pretty rough in some places where they just took up the rails and left the area the way it was. It was bumpy and you were going over old railroad ties and all sorts of stuff,” he said.
“Now the trails are in such great shape.”
I spoke with Crystal Hogle whose husband Rick runs what amounts to an outfitting business called Michigan Cycling Charters. They set up the tents for those who rent them and will also provide chairs coolers shuttle service and more.
“My husband does several of these a year,” she said while her two young girls Penelope and Vivian took up much of her attention.
You see things from a different perspective,” said Dan Badgley who was prepping for the days ride along with fellow rider Linda Dove.
“You might have been to these areas before but when you ride a bicycle through you see things you never would have encountered in a car,” he added. “It’s a chance to see a whole different side of the towns we go through.”
From here the cyclists were headed to Comstock Park but not before a Gala Gourmet breakfast and several stops along the way. While the famous Wisner’s Full Moon Canoe/Kayak float down the river was on tap for the night’s entertainment the following evening would be spent watching the White Caps at Fifth Third Park.
Henning was a hive of activity with folks sharing stories and reacquainting with old friends. The camaraderie was evident and the cycling, while an important element in this tour seems to be only one of the elements that draw folks to these events.
“This tour, it’s really all about the people you meet,” said VanderLeest. “You meet some great people here.”