Riders practice jumping during Ride the Keweenaw

HOUGHTON – When Steve Vizanko surveyed his bike jumping clinic about its experience, the responses ran the gamut from beginners looking for basic to advanced riders looking to have fun. One rider had last tried jumping 20 years ago.

“The physics are still the same,” said Vizanko, owner of The Bike Shop in Houghton. “What goes up, must come down.”

Vizanko led about a group of about 20 through the ups and the downs of bike jumping at the Michigan Technological University Trails Saturday morning. The clinic was one of a number of activities going on around the Keweenaw Friday through Sunday as part of Ride the Keweenaw 2013.

Vizanko started his talk by a series of tabletop jumps located off the Pine Loop. Before people try jumps, they should first run through the course to get a handle on the layout.

Riders should also make sure their bike seat is sitting as low as possible.

“It’s kind of intrusive, and it can even become dangerous if it gets in the way,” he said.

Vizanko also told riders to check their bikes beforehand to make sure their tires were properly inflated and their spokes were tightened.

As riders circled by, practicing landing with both wheels simultaneously, Vizanko said it was rewarding working with less experienced jumpers.

“This is fun, because they’re the ones that learn the most,” he said. “It’s so easy to see people progress even in a half-hour or an hour, with some general fundamental tips.”

Other activities included guided group rides in Houghton, Hancock, Calumet and Copper Harbor, a Demo Day in the Copper Harbor Park, end-of-the-day celebrations with food and live music, and the groundbreaking of the Keweenaw Point Trail.

Jeffrey McClintock of Owosso, Mich., came up for Ride the Keweenaw with his family.

“I’ve always wanted to come up and ride the Copper Country trails,” he said. “The single-track photos you see with the bridge are pretty exciting.”

Most of the people in his group hadn’t traveled on the Superior side of the U.P., McClintock said, they were also enjoying the scenery.

“With it being so far away, it’s nice to have it multi-day, multi-event,” he said.