First, kudos to Re-Bicycle Lenawee for getting some press in this month’s edition of Bicycle Times magazine, in an article devoted to community bike shops. It was pretty wicked to see them listed among some unbelievable co-ops in places like Austin, Boston, and New York City. Way to go RBL! I’d highly recommend everyone pick up a copy at Country Market.
Second, for those of you who watched even a single stage of Le Tour, you’ve got to read this from Talking Treads: “Cubicle Classic.” (Thanks, Kirk, for sending it my way.)
OK, I owe you all a report on the MUP Tour. In short, it was fantastic. I highly recommend it. This year’s route began in St. Ignace. We traveled to De Tour Village, Sault Ste. Marie (where we had a layover day), Paradise, Newberry, and back to St. Ignace. Along the way, my dad and I also grabbed a few miles on Mackinac Island, Drummond Island, Sugar Island, and Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.
The ride into Canada was particularly cool. We rode right on I-75 across the international bridge. Once across, we asked the good folks in the customs house to stamp our passports, explored a local bike path, visited a bush plane museum, and scoped out a local bike shop (unfortunately, their website is pretty lame) where I picked up a sweet-looking jersey.
There were only 136 riders on the tour, so it was quiet, low-key, and offered plenty of opportunity to meet and actually get to know people a little bit. What I found surprising was that, despite so few participants (this is due to the organizers capping it at 150, not on account of a lack of interest), 20 states were represented, and only 30-percent of the riders were Michigan residents.
At breakfast on the first day of the tour, I met not one but two guys, Jim and Fred, who had crossed the United States by bicycle (separately, not together). You can see a heap of pictures and read Jim’s journal, “After Math” (he’s a high school math teacher), at Crazy Guy on a Bike.
It was great fun staying in small towns like De Tour, Paradise, and Newberry. More often than not, the locals were tremendously accommodating. The routes between were excellent (the sort of byways most of us dream of riding), the scenery along the way was spectacular, and the organizational support throughout was outstanding.
At the last overnight stop in Newberry, Rich Moeller, tour director and Grand Poobah of the League of Michigan Bicyclists, tapped into streaming video of Stage 19 of the Tour de France and projected it onto the big screen. Needless to say, watching Le Tour, while on tour, with a room full of fellow cyclist glued to the screen, was absolutely sublime.
There is so much I’d like to write about this tour, but I’m afraid that, for now, I’ll have to forego doing so. I took a lot of pictures over the course of the week, far too many to post individually, much less comment on. So below is a slideshow for your viewing pleasure, featuring about a third of the group.
There’s lots happening in the coming weeks, so stay tuned.