Cyclists lured by tunes and treats

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Cyclists lured by tunes and treats

By JOSEPH DITS South Bend Tribune |

SOUTH BEND – I can honestly say there isn’t another bike ride in the area like Bike Michiana for Hospice — which is Sunday, Sept. 15 — where you ride your bike and eat gourmet local food at each rest stop as you jam to live musicians.

I’ve seen more cyclists from outside of Michiana find it each year as word-of-mouth and publicit grow. Numbers are hitting a new record, now in its fifth year. Just over 700 riders had registered by Wednesday. Roughly 1,200 cyclists in all are expected, say organizers with the Center for Hospice and Palliative Care and Bike Michiana Coalition.

Each year, the ride has enjoyed perfect weather.

It starts from St. Patrick’s County Park, where the entrance and parking were repaved this summer.

Cost is $50 if you register through Friday, then jumps to $60 at the event. Sign-in is from 7 to 10:30 a.m.

If you don’t do the ride, you can join the post-ride party at St. Pat’s by registering online for $20 by Friday, though that won’t entitle you to beer that riders will have.

Ride options are similar to last year with the 3.5- to11.5-mile family ride and routes of 25, 43, 67, 101 and 124 miles.

Here’s a sampling of the food and music on tap:

Pinhook Park’s rest stop on the family ride will offer breakfast pastries and croissant sandwiches and chicken tinga or portabella mushroom wraps, all from Indulgence Pastry Shop & Cafe. Entertainment will be a bounce house for children.

The rest stop at South Bend’s Elbel Golf Course, for all routes except the family ride, will offer omelets, smoked sausage, grilled chicken, turkey roll-ups in flat bread, stuffed avocados, peanut butter pie cups, fruit, trail mix and pickle juice (Yes, pucker up, this has become a popular rehydration drink). Yesterday’s and others are the chefs. Kevin McDaniel will perform.

At Spicer Lake County Park, the stop for all but the family and 25-mile ride, Moser’s Austrian Cafe will fix brats with potatoes and sauerkraut, Austrian goulash with potatoes and shrimp with pineapple and curry, plus fruits and veggies.

At Free Run Cellars near Berrien Springs, Fiddler’s Hearth will dish up something Irish for those on the three longest routes. The Irish group Soltre will perform.

Grand Mere Inn will prepare salmon sliders and summer pasta for the 101- and 124-mile riders at Weko Beach. Matt Struwin will perform.

The post-ride party from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at St. Pat’s Park will offer beer and eats from Corndance Tavern. The duo Amateur Hour will perform.

St. Joe closure

You won’t be able to fish, paddle or otherwise use two miles of the St. Joseph River in Berrien County on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources will close off the part between Carronde Park in St. Joseph and Shamrock Park near Berrien Springs. The Jasper Dairy boat access is about halfway between. The DNR’s Fisheries Division will be practicing its methods for collecting fish in case — just in case — Asian carp are ever discovered in the water. So far, the DNR says, no live bighead carp or silver carp have been found in Michigan’s waters.

ADA launch delay

It looks like we’ll have to wait until next year for a handicapped-accessible launch for canoes and kayaks on Trail Creek at Michigan City’s Hansen Park.

I reported June 9 that the Northwest Indiana Paddling Association was working with the city on the project and that it wouldn’t go in until after July. Well, NWIPA President Dan Plath tells me that the state, which would provide a grant to cover part of the cost, first requires a cultural resource study. So, he says, we might expect the launch by early next spring,

Meanwhile, you can still access Trail Creek at Washington Park’s boat launch on Lake Michigan, then paddle past huge pleasure boats as you enter the quiet river.

Rivers’ geology

The Paw Paw and the Black rivers in southwestern Michigan are great for paddling. And if you want to learn about their geological history, drop by a talk at 7 p.m. Wednesday by Tara Kneeshaw, an assistant geology professor at Grand Valley State University. Her talk, free to the public, will be at the Paw Paw District Library at 609 W. Michigan Ave., Paw Paw. She’ll relate the rivers’ geology to ways that it affects our daily lives, from drinking to irrigation.

Cyclocross begins

Heads up. The first of four local cyclocross races this fall will be Sept. 22 at McCoy Creek Park in Buchanan. Find the full schedule at I’ll write more on this fun, gut-busting sport later.

Reach Joseph Dits at 574-235-6158, or

By | 2013-09-09T11:53:24+00:00 September 9th, 2013|Categories: Uncategorized|Comments Off on Cyclists lured by tunes and treats