Tour de Tonka celebrated its 12th anniversary in 2017
"Minnesota's Ride" has grown to 3,500 riders in just over a decade's time
In just over a decade’s time, the annual Tour de Tonka bike ride has become a staple of the west metro community, growing from 819 riders in 2006 to nearly 3,500 riders in 2017. Riders from more than 166 different Minnesota communities and 19 states participated in the event last year.
“Bicycle riders participate because Tour de Tonka is pure fun,” Tim Litfin, Tour de Tonka Director, said. “All ages and all abilities– from families and recreational bicyclists to cycling teams and serious athletes– enjoy what Tour de Tonka offers them.”
Riders chose from seven distances: 16, 30, 48, 57, 65, 75 or 100 miles. Tour de Tonka’s mass start, with each ride leaving within minutes of each other, adds to the high level of excitement for this major event. There were 11 rest stops along the way, where riders enjoyed food, music, rest and conversation.
“It is all about the ride,” Litfin said. “Tour de Tonka is unlike other bike rides in the state and in the Upper Midwest. One major reason is our excellent volunteers that engage and assist the riders. Every year our riders tell us through a post-event survey that the level of commitment, the volunteers, the routes, the music, the rest stops, the mass start, the door prizes, the energy, the vendor fair, the food, the free wicking shirt and more make Tour de Tonka a one-of-a-kind event.”
Tour de Tonka’s routes moved through 23 different west metro communities including Chanhassen, Chaska, Deephaven, Delano, Eden Prairie, Excelsior, Greenwood, Independence, Mayer, Minnetonka, Minnetrista, Mound, Navarre, Norwood Young America, Orono, Plymouth, Shorewood, Spring Park, Tonka Bay, Victoria, Waconia, Watertown and Wayzata– all of which showcase beautiful roads, trails, and scenic views of Lake Minnetonka, Lake Waconia, Riley Lake, the Crow River, and many other area lakes.
Tour de Tonka also partnered with the ICA Food Shelf to give participants an opportunity to make an impact with their ride. A portion of each rider’s registration fee is donated to the ICA. Riders also donated money or non-perishable food items on or before the day of the ride. Remaining proceeds supported Minnetonka Community Youth Education and Early Childhood Programs.
Mark your calendar for the next Tour de Tonka, Saturday, August 4, 2018.