MANISTIQUE, Mich. (WZMQ) – Early Friday morning, cyclists set off on an annual bike tour of the Upper Peninsula for a good cause.
James Studinger launched Tour Da Yoop, Eh in 2018 as a way to promote bike safety.
“I’d see bikes along US-2, along with thousands of cars,” he said. “When I would ride my bike on all the back rural roads, I wouldn’t see any cars and I wouldn’t see any bikes. I figured people just don’t know where to go.”
The 1,200-mile ride along the perimeter of the U.P. showcases some of its most beautiful locations while providing safe routes for cyclists.
“We’re pulling people from Alaska and Hawaii and California and out on the East Coast and Texas,” said Studinger. “We’ve even had people come from Germany. It’s unbelievable how widespread the word has gotten out on it.”
Since then, it has become about more than just safe biking. Over the last two years, Tour Da Yoop, Eh has raised $150,000 for the Upper Peninsula Lions to help families touched by childhood cancer.
“Families here have to travel extensive periods of time and long journeys to get to a hospital because we don’t have pediatric healthcare as prevalent up here,” explained U.P. Lions Childhood Cancer chairperson Chris Smith.
The Lions provide grants to fund those trips and medical expenses.
“Our goal this year is 100 grand, and we’re on our way,” said event director Gary Perala. “We’re doing very well and we want to hit that goal so we can help kids.”
Riders who complete the entire Tour Da Yoop, Eh in ten days receive a plaid jersey. Returning plaid rider and tour planning committee member Shane Rixom says it is a long trip.
“Last year, first couple days went great,” he recalled. “About days three, four, five, you start questioning life’s choices. What in the world are you actually doing out here?”
However, he says it is well worth it.
“By days eight, nine, and ten, you’re feeling strong, you’ve built a family with the people out here,” Rixom said. “It’s just been an amazing group of people to be involved with.”
“It’ll be challenging physically, mentally, but the support that we’ve had in all the towns and the support that we have following the bikers, that’s what makes this so special,” said Studinger.
The Tour Da Yoop, Eh will return to its starting point, the Manistique Comfort Inn, on August 6. To see the full route, click here.