St. Joseph will host 300 bicyclists and support crew members this summer for the start and finish of the Bicycling Around Minnesota Tour.
The riders will arrive on Wednesday, Aug. 14, and camp overnight before heading out on the four-day ride on Thursday, Aug. 15. They will return on Sunday, Aug. 18. The riders will camp in the parking lot behind the Government Center.
The BAM 2019 loop includes Sauk Centre, Spicer and Hutchinson. Each day cyclists will ride between 60 to 70 miles on paved roads and trails. BAM began in 2006 and the ride is aimed at moderate to experienced cyclists. Registration for this year’s ride is full.
“Each year we move to a different part of the state,” said Mary Derks, tour director. “We look at the communities and see if they have the time and resources to support the tour. We need camping, hotels and great roads. It all came together for us in St. Joseph.”
BAM promotes Share the Road, bicycle safety, fitness, state tourism and the scenic bikeways System in Minnesota and bicycling as a transportation mode.
The riders stop at attractions each day.
“Part of our mission is to promote tourism and showcase what Minnesota has to offer,” Derks said. Riders come from about 20 states.
After leaving St. Joseph, riders will follow the Lake Wobegon Trail and low-traffic roads. They will visit the Hill Museum and Manuscript Library at St. John’s on their way to Sauk Centre.
On the next leg from Sauk Centre to Spicer, cyclists will stop at the Max Bat baseball factory in Brooten and Sibley State Park.
On Saturday, the tour heads to Hutchinson and then the riders return to St. Joseph on Sunday.
Derks complimented St. Joseph Chamber of Commerce Administrator Jude DuHoux for helping organize the event, citing her passion and energy.
In 2013, Cold Spring was the tour’s start and end point.