2018-07-19 / Outdoors

Ride along the Leelanau trails

by Grant McPherson
of the Enterprise staff


VOLUNTEERS for the Tour de Tart help the bikers find out where they are going before last years ride. VOLUNTEERS for the Tour de Tart help the bikers find out where they are going before last years ride. A family friendly bike tour along the TART and Leelanau Trails is returning tomorrow.

The 18th annual Tour de Tart will start at Darrow Park in Traverse City. All riders must check-in between 4 and 6:30 p.m. under the TART Trails tent at the park. The proceeds from this tour will help the Leelanau Trails.

The event has set the cap number of participants at 600 bikers.

“We are able to do this great event through the donations,” event coordinator Madison Meter said. “The participant cap keeps the trails from getting to congested and busy with bikes.”

The event features great waterfront views, the yellow caboose, farms and vineyards while on the ride. When riders make it to Marina Park in Suttons Bay, riders can try to stand up on paddle boards.

The Tour de Tart features as many local producers as possible, as the group wants to keep everything local and from Leelanau County.


VOLUNTEERS wait around the corner to help the bikers during last years running of the Tour de Tart. VOLUNTEERS wait around the corner to help the bikers during last years running of the Tour de Tart. Volunteers help make this race grow. Volunteer Emily Taphouse has been helping at the Tour de Tart for eight years, and has enjoyed each year.

“The best part of the Tour de Tart is getting to see all of the riders, young and old, have so much fun,” she said. “It gives us an opportunity to promote this wonderful community, and promote healthy living by serving delicious food.”

Many people attend this ride, and it has become the premiere funding in terms of collecting donations for the trails of Leelanau.

The course is 17 miles of paved trail, from Traverse City to Suttons Bay.

“It feels great to see everyone smiling and having a great time,” Taphouse said. “Especially when you talk to someone who didn’t think they could bike that far, and then they realize they did it.”


BIKERS give their bikes to the volunteers to put on the trucks after last years Tour de Tart. BIKERS give their bikes to the volunteers to put on the trucks after last years Tour de Tart. On average, it should take about two hours to complete the bike ride. If riders have younger children, it might take a little longer depending on how many breaks are taken.

VI Grill will cater the event, and offer a whole new menu this year for the dinner after the riders are done on the trails. In addition to root beer floats the Grand Traverse Pie Company will be serving up slices for the riders.

Riders will be transported back to Traverse City by bus after the ride. The buses will leave when they are full. The first bus will head back at 6 p.m. and the last bus leaves around 9 p.m. Tour de Tart officials want riders to load onto the buses no later then 8:50 p.m.

The bikes of the riders should be left in the loading zone near the trucks as they arrive in Suttons Bay. Bikes will be loaded onto trucks for the return trip to Traverse City.

Once the buses have returned to Traverse City, the bikes are held in a secure area in the Baird Wealth Management parking lot. Riders will need their wrist bands, given to them at the beginning of the ride, that matches the band on their bikes. Volunteers will lead you to your bike.

If anyone needs to rent a bike, McLain Cycle, Einstein Cycles and Brick Wheels in Traverse City will help anyone who needs one. Body Balance and Suttons Bay Bikes in Suttons Bay will do the same for the riders.

“I love volunteering at this event because it is so much fun for everyone,” Taphouse said. “I truly believe in the TART Trails mission, to get people out of their houses and out in nature to exercise while enjoying the beautiful scenery. I also enjoy visiting with old friends and making new ones at this ride.”

For the residents of the Suttons Bay area, a bus will leave Suttons Bay Marina promptly at 4 p.m. and drop off at the event check-in in Traverse City. It will then return to the Suttons Bay marina after the ride in Traverse City.

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