Summer bike tour proceeds fund repair station

Courtesy Photo Shown marking the sixth annual Sunrise Adventure Bicycle Tour are Committee Chairperson Terri Riopelle; Mayor Matt Waligora; LMB Tour Director Scott Elliott and wife Meredith and family; committee members Stan Mischley and Kim Krajniak; and five-year tour participants Mariam and Bob Holmes of Westerville, Ohio.

Each year nearly 150 bicyclists from around Michigan and the United States ride around the Alpena area enjoying the local scenery and sites as part of the Sunrise Adventure Bicycle Tour. The ride is sponsored by the League of Michigan Bicyclists as a way of funding its mission of using education and legislation to ensure Michigan is a safe place for bicyclists.

Local committee members Terri Riopelle, Stan Mischley, Bob and Sue Krafft, and Kim Krajniak have planned and coordinated the tour since its inception. In the planning stage, former committee member Terri Rondeau suggested that there be a portion of the proceeds from the ride donated back to the committee to be used to promote bicycling and bicycle safety in Alpena.

Those proceeds were recently used to purchase a Fixit Bicycle Repair Station which the City of Alpena has installed at the NEST Trailhead. The Fixit Station is for use by the public and includes all the tools necessary to perform basic repairs and maintenance, from changing a flat to adjusting brakes and derailleur and filling tires with air.

Proceeds from future rides will help with the needed upkeep of the station and the City will perform any maintenance needed.

The committee encourages everyone to get out on their bikes and enjoy the local trails. The Fixit Station will help assure that the ride will be fun and safe.

The committee would like to thank local drivers for their patience and respect towards the participants in the tour throughout the years. The group has been very pleased with the care that drivers take as they “share the road” with bicyclists.

If you’d like to volunteer in the planning for next year’s tour, contact Riopelle at 595-6656. She will assure you for only a few hours donated, your commitment will be rewarded with lots of fun and new friends and as always, a t-shirt.

If you’re interested in learning more about the League of Michigan Bicyclists, visit their web site at www.LMB.org. Information on tours all around Michigan are detailed there and a lot of information is available on safe riding as well as the laws relating to bicycling in the State of Michigan.

The Sunrise Adventure Bicycle Tour was started in Rogers City when Ann Belanger approached Rich Moeller of the League of Michigan Bicyclists to bring a tour to the east side of the state. The ride was held in Rogers City for five years.

Riopelle has been with the tour since the first Sunrise Adventure serving as the daily point person. Known as the “Pavilion Princess,” she also has worked closely with Belanger, Moeller and a group of volunteers in Rogers City.

In order to provide more points of interest for the tour, it was moved to Alpena in 2011. Moeller served as director of the LMB until 2014. Since his retirement, the tour has been coordinated by a tour director.

Each year on the third weekend of June as many as 150 riders come to the area to have the chance to enjoy what is so amazing about Northeast Michigan. Their rides extend as far south as Harrisville and Hubbard Lake and as far north as the Presque Isle Lighthouses. Riders are supported along the route by stationary and mobile SAGs that provide water, tools, snacks and other assistance.

In each of the three days of the tour, riders can ride 30-70 miles on the route of their choice. These riders are well seasoned, experienced and enthusiastic about their bicycling. They ride come rain or shine.

Average age for the tour ranges from the high 50s to low 60s. They contribute to the local tourism economy and in return have found that they are greeted with hospitality and kindness and report being very impressed with Alpena.