Every summer a common sight on the highways of North Dakota is cyclists. From the locals taking a leisurely ride to the out of stater here to trek across the landscape, cycling has become a big deal.
By Melissa Anderson
Formerly known as the Cycling Around North Dakota and Sakakawea Country or CANDISC for short, Cycling Around North Dakota which goes by the acronym “CaNDak” continues the tradition of showcasing North Dakota with a nearly 500-mile tour of the northeast corner of the state and the northwestern edge of Minnesota. CaNDak is in its second year of creation as three communities came together- Velva, Bishop Ryan and Minot High. These three communities came together and took over for the original CANDISC out of Garrison.
“CaNDak is special because it allows a chance for these riders to experience everything that ND has to offer. Not only do the riders get their miles in, they get some entertainment and a chance to meet old friend and create new friendships all based around that common interest,” Alex Schmaltz, President of CaNDak, said.
The ride takes place annually during the first week of August, and this year’s ride will start and end in Bottineau. This year’s route is called “Rockin’ the Red Tour” as the cyclists will cross the Red River twice.
“The route is decided by a group of bicyclists and the board in order to maximize both the level of the tour as well as finding the best attractions in the state that our riders would love. This is more of a tourist attraction ride more than anything else,” Schmaltz explained. “It gives our riders from all over the nation and Canada a chance to see what ND really has to offer. We keep this in the back of our minds while planning the route. If you will notice a pattern, we are trying to go clockwise around the state so that every year our riders get a chance to experience all aspects of ND.”
Along the planned route, the cyclists will travel through Cavalier County from the west end passing through Rock Lake, Clyde, and Langdon along Highway 5. The return trip will have them pedaling through Milton along Highway 66 back through Langdon before swinging down to visit Munich and exit Cavalier County through Calio. When the cyclists travel through the area, those who frequent the roads will need to be aware of them.
“The biggest thing we find is people are not sure what to do when coming up on a bike tour. We have bike tour signs posted each day on that leg of the tour as well as two vehicles equipped with safety lights to ensure our riders are safe,” Schmaltz said. “When you see our group of riders, simply go to the opposite side of the road and pass. ND is awesome in this aspect as our residents are used to farm machinery and everything else going down the road. Cyclists are no different in simply just going around them but leaving plenty of room.”
As they travel through the region, the cyclists are scheduled to overnight in Langdon on the return trip on the evening of August 8. The weary travelers will either be spending their evening in a tent, camper/RV, or in one of Langdon’s accommodations. The decision on where the riders will rest for the night is described by Schmaltz as a puzzle. Organizers ulimately decide on the host cities based on what that town can offer and the distance from the last host city and to the next.
“The host cities are extremely important. The riders are here to see what the scenery and towns are like. Having a great host community that has plenty of attractions and even some events are a great way to get our riders out and about in the town after the day’s ride,” Schmaltz shared.
The over 70 cyclists for this year’s CaNDak will definitly make memories as they travel through and stay in the Rendevous Region on their “Rockin’ the Red” tour.