WASECA — Cyclists from across the region will converge on Waseca for a regional bike tour in August.
The Bicycling Around Minnesota Tour, which rotates regions in Minnesota to visit, will return to the area. The tour takes cyclists 60 to 80 miles each day, with stops at events and attractions. Tour organizers caps the number of riders at about 275 people.
“It’s just a really beautiful area with lots of history,” said Elise Schadauer, spokeswoman for the tour, organized by a nonprofit of the same name.
The tour will take advantage of some local attractions and events along the way, including Schell’s Brewery in New Ulm, the Buttered Corn Days Festival in Sleepy Eye, Jeffers Petroglyphs in Comfrey, the Butterfield Threshing Bee and Farmamerica.
Cyclists ride on trunk highways, local streets and bicycle paths. Most riders camp, she said, to allow them to take in local festivals and attractions.
The tour is fully supported with daily maps, volunteer support and gear cars and mechanics. Meals are included. There are still spots available for this year’s tour.
Cycling is a great method for exploring, Schadauer said.
“When you’re biking, you see the area with a different eye,” she said. “We promote cycling and Minnesota is a great place to bicycle.”
Bicycling Around Minnesota started an annual tour in 2006, which promotes Share the Road, fitness, tourism, bicycling as transportation, and the scenic bikeways system of Minnesota. Mankato was the starting and ending spot in the tour’s previous stop in south-central Minnesota. Schadauer said that trip showed the region is “absolutely fabulous” for biking.
“There was so much to see and do and the communities are so welcoming,” she said.
Tour organizers look for a town large enough to have hotels for the tour’s beginning and end and variety in that location. For Waseca, it’s a boon to tourism.
“It gives people a chance to spend more time in Waseca,” said Gary Sandholm, Waseca’s economic development coordinator. “It’s going to give us a chance to show Waseca off and give some very good hospitality.”
He said he hopes it helps people consider Waseca for relocation or future visits.
“It’s a way to help the brand of Waseca,” he said. “We need to have some things that get us in the light of day a little more with a positive, fun event. It’s a nice addition to the summer calendar.”