DETROIT — An event billed by organizers as Michigan's biggest cycling ride is expected to bring thousands of riders back to Detroit streets this year.
About 7,500 riders took part in last year's Tour de Troit. Organizers didn't say how many they expected Sept. 19 for the 14th year of the event, but said 2,100 people already have signed up. Only 30 people were involved at the first Tour de Troit.
The Motor City has seen an increased use of pedal power. As soon as winter's chill starts to fade, bicyclists take to favorite rider-friendly pathways like the RiverWalk and Dequindre Cut Greenway urban recreational path. And a 774-mile biking route will be part of a state trail that eventually will stretch from Detroit's Belle Isle to Ironwood in the western Upper Peninsula along the border with Wisconsin.
Tour de Troit has raised nearly $200,000 for greenways and other non-motorized projects in Detroit, helping develop more than 17 miles of bike lanes.
"We started the Tour de Troit ride to bring the community together and bike for a purpose," ride director Kelli Kavanaugh said. "It's incredible to see how the ride has evolved over the years and to see the improvements we've been able to make to our city's biking infrastructure."
The 30-mile ride will start in Detroit's Corktown and pass through several historic neighborhoods. A 62-mile ride for advanced riders also will be held.
"The Tour de Troit combines fun, healthy living, and fundraising in a single event that is pure Detroit," said Beth Correa, community affairs director for presenting sponsor Flagstar Bank.
Aaron Martin, 23, and his brother, Raymond, 18, biked Wednesday near the Detroit River along the RiverWalk pathway.
"You get to see the good of Detroit, not just the negative," said Aaron, who usually drives but wanted to take photos of city landmarks.
Raymond Martin said he prefers bike riding over driving because it allows him to see "the beauty of the city."
Tour de Troit website: http://www.tour-de-troit.org