One of the best ways to see the area that is the Rendezvous Region is by bike, which is why four years ago Nathan Smith organized the first Tour de Rendezvous bike ride. This year, the route that Smith has designed will start and end in Walhalla on Saturday, July 11.
“We have a 21 and 55 mile route. The ride rotates each year within the Rendezvous Region so we involve different cities. We want this to truly be a tour of the Rendezvous Region,” Smith said.
Smith, himself an avid cyclist, came up with the idea for the Tour de Rendezvous because he enjoyed riding through the area so much. He knew that others would love the area with its natural beauty, green fields, and the safety of having very little traffic as much as he did. Smith felt that cycling was one of the many outdoor activities that could bring visitors to the Rendezvous Region. Hopefully, in time, the area could become a destination for cyclists across the country and around the world.
“The event has grown each year with over 65 registrations for the last ride. This year may be a challenge with COVID-19, but we are hoping people are looking to get out in a safe outdoor event,” Smith shared.
COVID-19 has had a major impact on events of all kinds with most being canceled. While cycling is, for the most part, a socially distant sport, Smith has implemented precautions for the safety of the riders and volunteers.
“We will spread out riders as much as possible at the start, and volunteers will wear masks when it is needed,” Smith stated.
During a normal year, Smith explained that there are pit stops available along the two routes where water and assistance to the riders can be offered if needed. Because equipment failures happen, the Tour de Rendezvous also has a few vehicles driving the routes to assist cyclists if they experience trouble. A plan for inclement weather is also ready.
“If there is inclement weather, we will first try and delay the ride a few hours if it looks like the weather will clear up. If we cannot get the ride in, riders will be refunded their registration fee,” Smith said.
The two routes that Smith designed allow the riders to choose the best option for themselves and their level of riding. The 21 mile route is more for the casual rider while the 55 mile route provides enough challenge for a serious rider. Smith notes that cycling is an activity for all ages, as riders range from ages 12 to 60 years old. Riders can sign up online at https://www.bikereg.com/tour-rr. The cost to register is $10 for those 15 and under, and adults are $20.
One aspect of the Tour de Rendezvous that is new is a get-together being held the day before on Friday, July 10. The event will take place at Frost Fire Park.
“We will have a jazz band from Minneapolis playing and will have food and drinks available. This event is open to the public so we encourage everyone to come and enjoy the music,” Smith shared.
The Tour de Rendezvous 2020 is sponsored by On Prairie Software, Nodak Insurance Company - Kyle Gagner Agency, Farmers & Merchants State Bank, and Bill's Bikes & Stuff. Thank you to these sponsors for making this year's ride possible.