One of the area’s premiere bicycle events, the Tour de Tonka, will be held on Saturday, Aug. 3. The annual event attracted more than 2,700 riders in 2012 and even more participants are expected in 2013.
The ride begins and ends at Minnetonka High School. It starts at 7:30 a.m. and participants have several distance options, including 16, 26, 43, 51, 77 or 100-mile routes. The event is a tour, not a race, so participants are encouraged to enjoy the scenic views throughout the Lake Minnetonka area and surrounding communities.
Depending on the route, the tour will take riders through Chanhassen, Chaska, Deephaven, Delano, Eden Prairie, Excelsior, Greenwood, Independence, Long Lake, Mayer, Minnetonka, Minnetrista, Mound, Navarre, Norwood Young America, Orono, Shorewood, Spring Park, Tonka Bay, Waconia, Watertown and Wayzata.
There are 10 rest stop locations, including Wolner Field in Mound, Church of St. George in Long Lake, Legion Park in NYA, and the Waconia Ice Arena in Waconia. All routes are fully supported thanks to efforts of the almost 500 volunteers that help run the event, including 330 volunteers stationed on the road or at rest stops.
The Tour de Tonka, which is coordinated by Minnetonka Community Education, got its start in 2006 with 861 riders. 2013 marks the eighth year for the ride. As noted, more than 2,700 riders participated last year, which equates to an increase of 314 percent in just seven years. Participants have ranged in age from 4 to 83 years old.
In 2012, riders hailed from 212 communities (49 more than 2011) representing 53 Minnesota counties (out of 87), 24 states, and four countries (USA, Canada, Germany and Denmark). The communities of Minnetonka, Minneapolis, Chanhassen, Plymouth, Excelsior and Eden Prairie had the most riders but local cities such as Chaska, Victoria and Waconia are among the top 20 in terms of participation. The most popular distance in the Tour de Tonka in 2012 was the 43-mile route followed by the 100-mile and 26-mile routes.
In addition to providing a great ride, the Tour de Tonka benefits the ICA Food Shelf.
Participants may donate money or non-perishable food items on or before the day of the ride and a portion of each rider’s registration fee is also donated to the ICA. Over the past seven years, the Tour de Tonka has raised more than $25,000 to support the ICA.
One must wear a helmet to participate. To register for the Tour de Tonka, see www.tourdetonka.org. Until July 26, the cost to register is $46 for adults (17+), $27 for children (16 and under), and $41/rider in groups of 10+. From July 27 through Aug. 3, registration is $49 for adults, $29 for children, and $44/rider for groups. Volunteers are also needed — one can visit www.tourdetonka.org or contact (952) 401-6800 to learn more.
• For younger riders, the 5th annual Miles of Smiles will be held on Monday, July 29. This special event is for riders ages 4 to 8 and features 2, 4 and 7-mile routes. In 2012, 92 participants biked the Miles of Smiles event. For fee information or to register, visit www.tourdetonka.org.
Contact Todd Moen at [email protected]