Tour De North End bike festival returns July 14
• Free event promotes bicycle safety, North End Rockford businesses
Rockford’s original bike festival and neighborhood ride, The Tour de North End (TDNE), returns for its second year beginning at 1 p.m., Saturday, July 14.
The TDNE is a collaborative bicycle event created by Rockford’s North End businesses. The goals of the event include raising awareness about bicycle safety and the rules of the road; encouraging cyclists and motorists to share the road; promoting the North End as a bike-friendly neighborhood and a great place to live, work and play; getting people outside, active and learning about the bike path system and proper riding; and having a lot of fun.
Registration for the event is free. Begin at The Olympic Tavern, 2327 N. Main St., at 1 p.m., sign your safety waiver, receive an official TDNE Passport, and head off to the nine participating bars and restaurants to get your passport stamped (no purchase necessary).
Go to as many or as few locations as you like. Passport stops include the following:
• The Olympic Tavern, 2327 N. Main St.;
• Cliffbreakers, 700 W. Riverside Blvd.;
• Whiskey’s Roadhouse, 3207 N. Main St.;
• Latham Tap, 2402 Latham St.;
• Mulligan’s, 2212 N. Main St.;
• North Main Tap, 1419 N. Main St.;
• Rockford Billiards Café, 1436 N. Main St.;
• The Barn, 1428 N. Main St.; and
• Der Rathskeller, 1132 Auburn St.
There is no pre-planned route — riders are encouraged to make a few friends, and head to as many places as they like on two wheels.
After collecting passport stamps, riders should return to The Olympic Tavern by 6 p.m. to redeem their stamps for entry forms — the more stamps they gather, the more entry forms they can put into the box, and the better their chances of winning prizes.
Prizes include a brand-new 2012 Fat Tire Cruiser Bike (given away at 6:30 p.m.), gift certificates, and bike safety gear such as bells, LED headlights and tail lights.
More bike events will be held throughout the day (slow ride, trackstand competition) and more prizes from Kegel’s, Planet Bike, Spoke Monkey Cyclery, Mrs. Fisher’s potato chips and others.
Last year was the first TDNE, and for a first-time event, it was an overwhelming success. More than 250 people registered, rode around Rockford’s North End, patronized local businesses, and helped raise bicycle safety awareness. Given the community, neighborhood and business support received, this year’s turnout is expected to nearly double.
Rockford is already a bike-friendly place to live, and with gas prices hovering around $3.75 per gallon and more bike lanes being installed in Rockford every year, the number of cyclists on the road will only increase, as it has in many other cities.
Too often, Rockford cyclists use the wrong lane, drive the wrong way on the road, or fail to use helmets and bike lights. Conversely, many motorists aren’t aware cyclists are allowed to use the roadway and that they must give at least 3 feet when passing.
The TDNE would not be possible without the assistance of all the participating restaurants and bars in Rockford’s North End, New Belgium Brewing Company, the entire crew at Kegels’ Bicycle Shop, Planet Bike bicycle accessories, Rockford Ald. John Beck, R-12, the RMAP (Rockford Metropolitan Agency for Planning), the Rockford Police Department and all sponsors.
More information, photos from last year’s event, and sponsorship info is available online at http://www.tourdenorthend.com.
From the July 11-17, 2012, issue
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