Tour de Tonka expecting 3,500 riders in 11th year

More than 3,200 riders participated in last year’s Tour de Tonka ride. This year’s Tour de Tonka will be Saturday, Aug. 6. (Sun Sailor photo by Paige Kieffer)
More than 3,200 riders participated in last year’s Tour de Tonka ride. This year’s Tour de Tonka will be Saturday, Aug. 6. (Sun Sailor photo by Paige Kieffer)

Tour to cycle through Watertown, Mayer and Waconia

Tour de Tonka is right around the corner as the area gears up for the massive bike-ride fundraiser that is occurring on Saturday, Aug. 6.

“Bicycle riders participate because Tour de Tonka is pure fun,” said Tour de Tonka Director Tim Litfin. “All ages and all abilities, from families and recreational bicyclists to cycling teams and serious athletes, enjoy what Tour de Tonka offers them.”

In just a decade’s time, the annual Tour de Tonka bike ride has become a staple of the west metro community, growing from 819 riders in 2006 to over 3,500 riders in 2015.

Riders from more than 200 different Minnesota communities and 20 states participated in the event last year.

Riders can choose from seven distances including 16, 28, 40, 48, 57, 67 or 100 miles. The 67 and 100-mile rides begin at 7 a.m. at Clear Springs Elementary. The 16, 28, 40, 48 and 57-mile rides begin as before from Minnetonka High School at 7:30 a.m.

Pre-race day registration and packet pick-up are available at Minnetonka High School from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, Aug. 5. On race day, parking at each location opens at 5:30 a.m., as does registration and packet pick up.

Tour de Tonka’s mass start, with each ride leaving within minutes of each other, adds to the high level of excitement for this major event. There are 12 rest stops along the way, where riders enjoy food, music, rest and conversation.

“It is all about the rider,” Litfin said. “Tour de Tonka is unlike other bike rides in the state and in the Upper Midwest. One major reason is our excellent volunteers that engage and assist the riders. Every year our riders tell us through a post-event survey that the level of commitment, the volunteers, the routes, the music, the rest stops, the mass start, the door prizes, the energy, the vendor fair, the food, the free wicking shirt and more make Tour de Tonka a one-of-a-kind event.”

Tour de Tonka’s routes move through 23 different west metro communities including Chanhassen, Chaska, Deephaven, Delano, Eden Prairie, Excelsior, Greenwood, Independence, Mayer, Minnetonka, Minnetrista, Mound, Navarre, Norwood Young America, Orono, Plymouth, Shorewood, Spring Park, Tonka Bay, Victoria, Waconia, Watertown and Wayzata. All of these communities showcase beautiful roads, trails and scenic views of Lake Minnetonka, Lake Waconia, Riley Lake, the Crow River and many other area lakes.

Tour de Tonka also partners with the ICA Food Shelf to give participants an opportunity to make an impact with their ride.

A portion of each rider’s registration fee is donated to the ICA. Riders may also donate money or non-perishable food items on or before the day of the ride. Remaining proceeds support Minnetonka Community Youth Education and Early Childhood Programs.

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Compiled by Paige Kieffer. Contact Paige Kieffer at [email protected]