A very heartfelt thanks to all those who had a hand in making the 2016 Sunrise Bicycle Tour an outstanding success.
140 riders, including many returning guests and a number of folks riding their first tour, gathered in Alpena for what turned out to be three positively gorgeous days of cycling. We were treated to spectacular views of Lake Huron, scenic farmland, and crystal clear inland lakes. Some hearty souls tackled the climb up Mt. Mariah on Friday and were rewarded with watermelon and a panoramic vista of Hubbard Lake. Saturday featured the Wooden Boat Show and two historic light houses at Presque Isle, one of which is the tallest on any of the Great Lakes. The tour wrapped up Sunday with a picturesque ramble alongside Long Lake. Throughout the weekend, riders had opportunities to savor the many wonderful things Alpena has to offer: the Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center, glass bottom boat tours, the Besser Museum for Northwest Michigan, Thunder Bay Theatre, ice cream shops, bakeries, brew pubs and wineries. There was barely enough time to sample it all.
The Sunrise tour offers riders a unique experience. Participants enjoy the convenience of staying in one location all three nights, and each day offers a choice of three routes of varying distances, so riders can opt for the one that best suites how they're feeling that day. These aspects make the Sunrise tour an especially good choice for families, folks new to touring, and cyclists with partners who do not ride.
We are especially grateful for the team of stellar volunteers who invest an incomparable amount of time, energy, and enthusiasm into ensuring our riders have a safe pleasant adventure. This crew cares deeply about their community, and clearly see the benefits that cycling and bicycle tourism bring to their city. The LMB is tremendously pleased to support their efforts. As always, the LMB will grant a portion of this year's tour proceeds to Alpena. They, in turn, will use those funds to install a bicycle repair station at the new trailhead at the southern terminus of the Northeast State Trail.
It was particularly fun to have with us on this year's tour Justus Rohlfs and Ryan Frederick from Mitten State Productions. Justus and Ryan shot and produced our award-winning Shoreline West video last year, and are making videos for our Sunrise and MUP tours this year. Their cameras provided unquestionable validation of what so many of us already secretly imagine: bicyclists are movie stars!
With the continuing success of the Sunrise Tour, plans are underway to expand the number of riders next year. We'll also be exploring some new routes. We hope you will consider joining us!