‘Ride the Keweenaw’ event gives bicyclists time on the trails

COPPER HARBOR – Between guided rides, races, demonstrations and social gatherings, bicyclists had every reason to come to Ride the Keweenaw this weekend.

The fourth annual event, put on by the Keweenaw Trails Alliance, went on from Friday to Sunday.

Sunday morning, Down Wind Sports had new bikes available for test rides in Grant Township Park in Copper Harbor. It typically draws 20 to 30 people, said Todd King of Down Wind.

“It’s a pretty cool opportunity to try out a bike in a trail setting instead of a parking lot,” he said. “They can find out how well it climbs, how well it descends and the overall fit.”

The bikes had the new 27.5-inch bike wheels, which King said combine the ability to roll over obstacles of a 29-inch with the maneuverability of a 26-inch.

David Golon of Milwaukee tried out a 37.5-inch carbon bike on a trail adjacent to the park. His verdict coming off the bike: “That was awesome.”

“It’s lightweight, it’s got some of the latest technology for mountain biking,” he said.

“What’s not to like about it?”

Golon came up for his first Ride the Keweenaw this year, starting with Friday night’s underground ride through the Adventure Mine in Greenland.

He’d also ridden on the Michigan Tech Trails and watched some of Sunday morning’s endurance race in Copper Harbor. He planned to set off on another guided group ride in Copper Harbor Sunday afternoon.

Though he’d been meaning to come up for years, Golon finally became convinced during a trip to a bike expo in Milwaukee, where Lori Hauswirth, executive director of the Copper Harbor Trails Club, spent half an hour selling him on the trails of the Keweenaw.

“Lori’s a great spokesperson for the trails, and the whole area,” he said. The event also drew people who just happened to be visiting. Alex Xiang of Minneapolis was checking out the bicycling trails while camping nearby.

It was a different experience for Xiang, who’s used to flatter cross-country trails in Minnesota.

“Here, if you want to do some climbing, they’ve got some great climbing trails, and the descent’s even better for me,” he said.