Statewide bike ride coming to Austin

Published 10:04 am Monday, March 24, 2014

By Jason Schoonover, Austin Daily Herald

AUSTIN — About 275 bicyclists will converge on Mower County this summer.

Bicycling Around Minnesota announced it’s route for its Aug. 14-17, and the tour will stop in Le Roy on the Aug. 15 and Austin on Aug. 16.

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Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau Executive Director Nancy Schnable said the bikers will arrive in Austin between 1 and 3 p.m. on Aug. 16. Many will stay overnight at the Mower County Fairgrounds, while others will stay at local hotels.

In Austin, the riders will visit the Mower County Historical Society, the Spam Museum, the Austin Municipal Pool, Rydjor Bike Shop and other local spots.

“It’s very exciting to the opportunity to kind of showcase Austin to a wide variety of people,” Schnable said, adding that last year’s riders weren’t limited to Minnesota; they hailed from 19 states and Canada.

The ride kicks off in Preston Aug. 14 with the cyclists taking a 69-mile route from Preston to Peterson. On Aug. 15, they’ll take a 73-mile route to Le Roy, where they’re slated to spend the night and visit Lake Louise State Park, the Artesian Well bottled water company and other spots. On Aug. 16, the riders will travel a 65-mile route from Le Roy to Austin. The group will leave early the morning of Aug. 17 to take a 65-mile route back to Preston.

Entertainment will be provided at the fairgrounds for the riders, and area service groups will serve dinner and breakfast, according to Schnable

BAM registration is already full with 275 riders. Along with the BAM crew, about 300 people will be making the trek.

Schnable said the ride will be similar to when The Ride Across Minnesota stopped in Austin in 2011, but at a smaller scale. While TRAM brought about 850 bikers to Austin, Schnable said BAM is still a great way to introduce people to the community.

“We’re going to be showcasing the community to these bikes, so that when the ride’s over they can bring their families back to Austin,” she said.

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