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Carlton County rolls out first annual bike ride

Millie and Ace Schmidt, from Negaunee, Michigan, visited Sunday’s countywide bike event on a vacation visit to their grandparents in Barnum. Contributed Photo

Carlton County residents rolled out for the first annual countywide bike event on the Munger trail on Sunday, June 10.

In all, about 150 people participated in the event at four locations: Carlton, Mahtowa, Barnum and Moose Lake. Each stop offered bikers of all ages a custom-made sticker, refreshments and activities, as well as a chance to visit with other community members enjoying the event. The event took place on the Willard Munger State Trail which crosses the entire county; the goal was to create an opportunity to engage all communities along the trail for a fun day out biking. People were encouraged to ride as little or as much as they wished.

The bike event came out of a desire to collaborate on a healthy community initiative from different groups including: the United Way, Cloquet Area Chamber of Commerce, Fond du Lac Planning Division, Carlton County U of M Extension Office, Carlton County Public Health, and the Carlton County Community and Families Initiatives Department. The United Way was the fiscal agent for the event and a huge supporter of the event, which would not have been possible without the hard work of their Executive Director Ali Bilden Camps.

The Carlton site had more than 65 people of all ages register. Some people indicated they were happy to use this event to get their bikes out for the season and keep riding, while other serious riders stumbled upon the event as they were doing a day ride from Duluth.

One rider from Holyoke, Clyde Anderson, is cycling this summer across the area to raise money to fight kids cancer as a part of the Great Cycle Challenge USA, he logged 52.2 miles that day in less than 3.5 hours riding the entire length of the event route from Carlton to Moose Lake and back. If you'd like to find out more about Clyde's fight against kids' cancer or to donate to this cause, visit greatcyclechallenge.com/Riders/ClydeAnderson

Mahtowa had over 60 people as well. Their site featured a bike rodeo, which some bikers took advantage of.

Barnum's site was frequented by quite a few bikers, some who were happily surprised by the event, like Millie and Ace Schmidt, of Negaunee, Michigan; they came out to bike with their grandparents who live in Barnum.

The Moose Lake site was visited by bikers, but was a bit out of the way compared to other sites, so the group hopes to change that next year to see a higher number at this site.

The group hopes to expand the event next year, and is looking for local volunteer organizations to help spread the word and volunteer at each stop. Also, the group would like to encourage other cities such as Wrenshall and Cloquet that have connecting trails to the Munger, or even communities that do not have connecting trails to the Munger to promote a day on their local trails and roads, for example Fond du Lac, Cromwell, and Kettle River.

Watch for the event again next year in early June and find the group on Facebook.

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