CHATHAM, Mich. (WZMQ) – Over 150 bikers toured the U.P. this past week not only putting in miles on the road but helping out communities as they went.
The League of Michigan Bicyclists hosts biking tours all throughout the state. For the last 20 years riders have been making a yearly visit to the U.P.
“You have to go somewhere else to fully appreciate what you have here in the U.P., it’s just an amazing part of America,” remarked Frank Nagorka, a volunteer and paramedic for the group.
The group began its journey in Manistique last friday, averaging around 60 miles a day riders looped around Marquette County making stops in Big Bay, Marquette, and Munising.
“We can average on our events from 240 miles all the way up to, we have done events where we do 700 miles over a week long span,” commented Neal Glazebrook the Events Director at the League of Michigan Bicyclists.
The riders come from all over the country, this week’s ride had bicyclists from 25 different states. Some who are very familiar with the trip in the Upper Peninsula.
“I’ve been on this ride both mountain biking and street biking for almost a quarter of a century,” said Nagorka.
But it’s not all about logging miles on the road. It’s also about helping communities along the route. The group uses local restaurants to cater dinner while they camp, and makes sure to support small businesses.
“The whole purpose of this is to not only give back once we’re done, but to give back to the communities we are touching along the way,” added Glazebrook.
This year the bikers purchased $400 worth of wildflower seeds that were distributed along their ride. The flowers will grow next season to support the bee population.
“So next year they’re will actually be some evidence we passed through the area,” Nagorka said about the flowers that will grow.
The bikers say the best memories from the trip come from sitting around after a long ride, telling jokes and just hanging out.
“The people that are here are my favorite part of it, I get to interact with people from all over the world, all different lifestyles and backgrounds, it’s pretty cool to get everyone in one place and get to hear everyones stories,” added Glazebrook.
If you are interested in joining the League of Michigan Bicyclists for a ride you can find more by visiting their website here.