The Program presented by up.bike

Folks, it’s about that time. Bikes can change the world and we’re hoping you’ve got the gumption to play a part in making things better. Goodness knows we need it. 

We’ve been over-the-top cautious about races, events, and even group rides over the past year. It’s drawn a fair bit of criticism, if we’re honest, and more than a little snark. However, we’re still committed to doing our 1% to help our community stay safe, keep each other out of Munson, and show that the cycling family holds itself to a higher standard. 

With all of that said, we can’t let some of the important causes that rely on cycling to function to fall fallow. One of the nearest and dearest is the Less Cancer Bike Ride. Four years ago now, Tim Pulliam and the Keen guys convinced us to do the ride for the first time. The ride was unforgettable; nearly 250 miles in two days, with an overnight stop that included camping, paella and, thanks to Ted Shaw, the best pancakes I have ever had. 

The ride has taken different forms over the past couple of years, starting and finishing in conjunction with the Cowell Family Cancer Center’s Survivors’ Picnic. That one start, one finish format has helped double attendance of the ride in 2019. Of course, last year was 100% virtual, with small groups riding all over the state and all over the country to pedal the path of prevention. 

On June 5, 2021, we’re riding again. Like last year, all Less Cancer rides will be solo or in small groups, and like last year, we’re hoping to organize a number of small rides here in Traverse City to keep Traverse City as the epicenter of what has become a national event. Less Cancer Bike Ride America includes hubs of riders across the country, from Utah to Virginia. June 5 marks the launch of a full month of riding, awareness, and fundraising that’s vital to the work of Less Cancer. The organization offers programs for medical professionals, schools, and families to reduce their risk of the 60-70% of cancers that are preventable through diet, exercise, and avoiding environmental hazards like smoking, chemicals, and more. 

You can join the kolo t.c. team here. Can’t ride? Consider donating to the team’s fundraising efforts and help us keep the mission of Less Cancer rolling through these challenging times. And it is worrying; an historic drop in screenings and treatments has experts predicting tens of thousands of additional cancer deaths in the next five years, and millions of additional diagnoses over the next decade. 

If that gets your summer started, then we’re able to enjoy something closer to normal by August. With a little luck and a lot of vaccines (go get your shot), we’ll be able to safely enjoy an event that’s near and dear to our hearts. Normally in June, The UpNorth Bike Fest, also known as Bike Benzie, now offers three unique events to suit a wide array of riders all from the beautiful grounds of Crystal Mountain. 

Love gravel? Good. The Gonzo Gravel race offers 20 and 36 mile distances, a relatively new addition in the thirteen years of this event’s history. Also back is the Team Time Trial, an event kolo t.c. won a few years back; now, it’s 45 miles instead of 100! And for those with the right priorities, there’s the Tour de Pie. There are 30, 45, and 62 mile routes, but most importantly, there is pie. Thanks to the Cherry Hut, we guarantee you pie will end up in your hands and in your mouth (and maybe a little on your t-shirt) by day’s end, no matter what. 

The event raises money for the Benzie Sunrise Rotary, an organization that works with area youth in Benzie County. Their work is incredibly important in improving the lives of kids and families facing financial hardship and other issues that simply need the time, care, and attention of others to make bearable. 

We’ve all got a lot going on, and I think it’s safe to say many of us may be in different places when it comes to what we feel comfortable as we move through a second pandemic spring. But I do think that, when it comes to knowing what matters, we’re all still on the same page. Bikes rock; let’s make them the non-motorized vehicle with which we make the world a better place for everyone. 

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