Whoever is done with this winter weather, please raise your hand.
I trust I’d see many lifted high in agreement this year. For lifelong region residents like myself, it’s been a real character-builder of a season, and like you, I’m longing desperately for warmer days ahead.
Thankfully they will arrive, and to help us all focus on better weather, I’d like to turn our attention to the Le Tour de Shore bicycle ride in June, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year.
Le Tour de Shore is a two-day recreational charity bike ride from Millennium Park in Chicago to the Indiana Dunes. On Day 2 the ride continues to City Beach in New Buffalo, Mich. In all, the event covers about 100 miles from start to finish.
Proceeds from the ride benefit Maywood Fine Arts in Maywood, Ill., a nonprofit organization providing programs in art, dance, drama, music, tumbling and voice to children in the Chicago area.
The route itself takes advantage of both road and trail. Major off-road facilities include the Chicago Lakefront Trail, Burnham Greenway, Erie-Lackawanna Trail, Oak-Savannah Trail and Prairie-Duneland Trail.
This year, the ride will divert into Indiana at 112th Street and use the new trail around Wolf Lake and the recently completed 1,000-foot bridge over the lake. Hammond will be working with ride organizers on a rest stop at the Wolf Lake Pavilion.
Roadways chosen for the route are bicycle-friendly, which means they're low in traffic volume for the most part. They also represent routes that are high in scenic quality, including lakeshore access along roadways in Beverly Shores and Long Beach just east of Michigan City.
There are also plenty of overnight accommodations provided, both indoors and out. A select number of campsites are reserved at the Indiana Dunes State Park, and a number of hotels are used between Chesterton and Michigan City.
At the end of the ride, in New Buffalo, a barbecue cookout is provided. For an extra fee, a chartered bus ride back to Chicago is available for you and your bike.
The Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission is proud to partner with the Le Tour de Shore in 2014 as it celebrates its 10th annual ride, helping folks enjoy the beauty of our region.
For more information about tour or online registration, which is now open, visit www.letourdeshore.org.
For more information about our trails, including details on obtaining a free map, visit www.nirpc.org.
In the meantime, stay warm — and think spring!