The morning of Sunday, September 16, 2007 arrived with almost perfect weather for the Minneapolis Bike Tour. The tour was not a race, but a chance for people to enjoy a ride past the lakes and waterways of Minneapolis along the Grand Round Scenic Byway System, without worrying about cars.
During the event, the parkways and roadways were closed to motorized traffic. Riders started the tour between 7:30 to 9 a.m. at Parade Field, 400 Kenwood Parkway, near the Walker Sculpture Garden and chose either a 15- or a 41-mile course.
Participation far exceeded expectations. Just a week prior to the event, the were fewer than 200 registrations. Organizers decided to waive the late registration fee and by the Friday before the event the number of those planning to ride had swelled to well over 3000. Due in part to the beautiful weather, the final number of people who signed up for the tour was just over 4500. was at 1,700 riders only 10 days before the tour. Despite the stress placed on the volunteers at the registration booths, the strain on the water and food supplied along the route, and the shortage of promotional T-Shirts, the event was a great success.
A large, enthusiastic gathering of riders took advantage of the rest and provisions station near Lake Harriet Bandshell, and participants were welcomed at the finish line, or shortly thereafter, by a variety of vendors, informational booths and entertainment. The joy of the tour was tempered, yet strengthened by a number of people who rode in tribute to the memory of Mark Loesch, the man found dead after taking a late night ride near his home in south Minneapolis on September 13.
Scott Schiefelbein lives in Uptown.