Rockford’s original bike festival and neighborhood ride, The Tour de North End (TDNE), returns for its fourth year Saturday, Aug. 2. The TDNE is a collaborative bicycle festival featuring Rockford’s North End businesses.
The goals of the event include the following:
• 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.
Preregister online at tourdenorthend.com ($10) from now until the event day (or register at The Olympic Tavern, 2327 N. Main St., Rockford, on the event day for $12) — sign your safety waiver, receive an official TDNE Passport, and head off to the 13 participating locations to get your passport stamped (no purchase necessary). Go to as many or as few locations as you like. Official 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 — 1420 N. Main St.;
• Der Rathskeller — 1132 Auburn St.;
• Altamore’s — 1432 N. Main St.;
• Al Grace Appliance — 811 W. Riverside Blvd.;
• Nickel World — 3321 N. Main St.; and
• The Bicycle Connection — 2412 N. Main 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 5 p.m. and 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 range from a brand-new 2014 Fat Tire Cruiser Bike (given away at 5:30 p.m., sharp), to gift certificates, to bike safety gear like bells, LED headlights and tail lights.
More bike events will be included throughout the day — including a slow ride and trackstand competition — and more prizes from Kegel’s bicycle store, Mrs. Fisher’s, and other local businesses.
Families and children are encouraged to participate in the event, but per state law, children younger than 21 may not win prizes.
After the giveaway, the fun doesn’t stop! The bands from this year’s Rock & Roll Institute will put on a rockin’ show starting at 6 p.m. And following that, there’s a free movie! The Olympic has rented the same movie screen used at downtown Rockford’s Friday Night Flix, and the tavern is planning on viewing Pee Wee’s Big Adventure starting around 8 p.m. (dusk). Everyone is welcome to join in for the free movie — not just TDNE riders. Drinks and food will be available outside.
Last year was the third annual TDNE, and again, it was an overwhelming success. More than 500 people registered, rode around Rockford’s North End, patronized local businesses, and helped raise bicycle safety awareness. Given the community, neighborhood and business support the event has received, turnout is expected to almost double for this year’s event.
Twenty percent of the proceeds from the event will benefit a local bike charity. With last year’s TDNE donation, The Olympic Tavern purchased Rockford’s only bike repair station, which is currently being installed on the bike path (behind the YMCA, on the octagon bathroom building). If you ever pop a tire, need some air, or a tool to fix your derailleur, now you have the tools to fix it!
Rockford is already a bike-friendly place to live, and with gas prices hovering around $3.75 or more 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 that cyclists are allowed to use the roadway and that they must give at least 3 feet when passing.
The TDNE is made possible by the generous support of all the participating restaurants and bars in Rockford’s North End, New Belgium Brewing Company, the entire crew at Kegels’ Bicycle Shop, Rockford Ald. John Beck, the RMAP (Rockford Metropolitan Agency for Planning), the Rockford Police Department and all its sponsors.
For more about the event, visit tourdenorthend.com or contact The Olympic Tavern at (815) 962-8758.
From the July 9-15, 2014, issue