By Sarah Wright
The Tour des Lakes bike ride returns July 17 after skipping 2020, and it’s about to get a little longer thanks to the inclusion of Conklin Bay Trail.
During the Syracuse-Wawasee Trail Committee’s meeting Monday, March 22, trail Executive Director Erlene Yentes shared the 25K ride would become 30K and the 50K would become 60K as the route shifted to include Conklin Bay. The 100K option should remain the same.
“As of last week we are moving forward with everything,” Yentes said. “We talked to the Kosciusko County Health Department, and they’re really comfortable with how things are going but asked that I reach back out in May because they think it’s going to be different with everyone getting vaccinated so that’s good.”
K21 Health Foundation will be the title sponsor for the event, and work is underway to secure additional sponsorships.
To reach a wider audience for the 2021 event, Tour des Lakes will reach out to bike shops in Indiana, western Ohio and southern Michigan about displaying QR codes that will direct riders to the ride’s sign-up page.
“In talking with Steve Slabaugh, he has said that he thought it would only be fitting that all money raised through Tour des Lakes go toward the maintenance fund. I was very appreciative that he liked that idea and suggested that idea.”
Registration is available at www.tourdeslakes.com.
Also this summer, Syracuse-Wawasee Trail is partnering with Appy Mikel, who is spearheading the Laker Bike Club. Mikel hopes to start this club for kids ages 9-12 in April and is currently seeking parent volunteers. The club would meet from April through early October once a week during the school year and every other week during the summer — dependent on weather.
Interested volunteers can connect with Mikel at (320) 424-3094. There will be background checks on all volunteers for the safety of the children.
During the meeting, Sherm Goldenberg shared, “I continue seeing a lot of publicity on trails right now. It’s everywhere. I still think there is some marketing hook — I don’t know what it is yet — for us (and) North Webster … I feel like it’s a very timely topic.”
Yentes noted K21 Health Foundation is currently working on the importance of greenways and trails, gathering data for future publication. A county plan is also underway to further connectivity between communities’ trail systems.
“I really think the people who sat on this committee five years ago and longer were very forward-thinking because they were the ones who started this whole thing going with trails,” committee President Kay Young said of these developments. “We’re lucky that we had people like that got us where we are today.”
In other trail committee news:
- • Conklin Bay Boardwalk will be the cover for the 2021 Northern Indiana’s Kosciusko County Experience Guide.
- • Syracuse-Wawasee Trail will be participating in the Shop Local Network video voucher program the Syracuse-Wawasee Chamber of Commerce is managing. The video will shot by May 26.
- • Syracuse-Wawasee Historical Museum is displaying an antique bicycle this summer, and Syracuse-Wawasee Trail will provide a history of the trail system and its future plans to accompany the display.
- • A kick-off meeting for the USI feasibility study will be held March 29 virtually.
- Next meeting is Monday, April 19.