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Pedaling across Southwest Minnesota

June 26, 2014

   Tom Gray, Manitowc, Wisconsin, Alexis Arseneavy, Pine River, and Bob Lincoln, Chaska, MN, ride director were all a part of Tour of Minnesota ride traveling through Southwest Minnesota last week.<br><br> 
 Fulda Free Press/Sheila Crowley
Fulda Free Press/Sheila Crowley
Tom Gray, Manitowc, Wisconsin, Alexis Arseneavy, Pine River, and Bob Lincoln, Chaska, MN, ride director were all a part of Tour of Minnesota ride traveling through Southwest Minnesota last week.

by Sheila Crowley
Over 100 bicyclists rolled into town on Wednesday afternoon. The group was part of the Tour of Minnesota (formerly the Klobuchar ride). Jim Klobuchar, an adventure/travel writer for the Star Tribune, has led 39 bicycle tours around the beautiful state of Minnesota from 1974-2013 as the Klobuchar Ride. This year, Bob Lincoln took over the reins of the ride and titled it the Tour of Minnesota. His parents were actually a part of the very first ride Klobuchar did. He, himself, began riding at 14 years of age - the second or third year after it was started.

Each year a route in Minnesota is chosen for the bicycle group to ride for approximately seven days. This year, Southwest Minnesota was their route of choice. The 325 mile trek took them from Jackson, Worthington, Luverne, Pipestone, Slayton, Windom before concluding and returning to Jackson. “It wasn’t always smooth sailing,” commented Lincoln. “It’s been a very adventurous week.” His goal over the next 20 years is to travel through all the counties in Minnesota - 96 in all. “We’ve been to six this week,” said Lincoln.

One hundred and fourteen cyclists took off from Jackson on Friday, June 13th with stops at Brown County Park and lunch at the Round Lake Park Pavilion, they finished their first 50 miles at Worthington that evening. According to Tom Gray, many member of the group, although there are a few new to the annual event this year, return year-after-year. Doctors, lawyers, teachers, convenience store managers, retired people make up the group. “It doesn’t matter what you do in your everyday life,” says Gray. “We’re all sweating and working hard as we ride down the road and we all have a positive attitude.” Gray, himself, heralds from Manitowc, Wisconsin while there were five bikers from California on the trip, one from Maryland, and a few from Iowa. “The trip has a lot of history,” commented Gray. “Some have traveled all over the world, but we all look forward to getting back together for the ride.” He continued, “We’ve seen people grow up, have kids and grandkids.” Gray has been documenting the trip both on video and still photos.

Despite the weather challenges this year stated Gray, Bob Lincoln worked hard to create continuity and provide a nice experience. They are in constant contact with emergency management, department of transportation as well as the state patrol to help assure the safety of each rider as well as weather conditions.

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