by TaLeiza Calloway
Next weekend cyclists from statewide and beyond will take to the trails on their bicycles in the 32nd annual Tour of Saints. The event is slated for July 8.
The first thing event director Michael Doyle wants interested parties to know is that it is not a competitive event.
“It’s not a race,” Doyle said. “It’s a ride.”
The event will be produced by the Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota. This is the first year Doyle has partnered with that statewide nonprofit bicycle advocacy organization for the Tour of Saints.
In addition to the partnership, new to the event this year is the introduction of a new route. Cyclists will now have the option to tackle 18 miles. The new course starts one mile south of the Lake Wobegon Trail with participants traveling the trail between St. Joseph and Avon.
“It will be 16 miles on the trail,” Doyle said. “It’s a very scenic stretch of the trail past Collegeville (and) through the woods as you approach Avon.”
The decision to add that option was a way to offer something for people of all ages and abilities. It is not as hilly as the 35-mile or 50-mile options.
“We wanted something more for family and friends and open to the more casual riders,” he said.
About 550 riders were registered as of June 25. But Doyle said he would love to see 1,000 riders this year.
The event attracts people from many cities across Central Minnesota. Doyle remembers getting an email last year from a Minneapolis man –who grew up in St. Joseph –who rode in the Tour of Saints as child with his grandfather. Last year, the man brought some friends to the event. That is just one example of the goals of the tour: to get more people out on their bicycles.
The tour starts and ends at the College of St. Benedict. Registration starts between 6:30 and 8:30 a.m.
Adult registration is $35 from now through July 4. Day of registration is $40. The cost of registration is $10 for children ages 5-17. There is an additional $5 reduction for members of the Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota and those who join while registering for the event.
For more information, visit: www.tourofsaints.com.