CLINTON — After some years of dormancy, bicycle rides around DeWitt County have returned. Yes, the Tour DeWitt that we all (bicyclers, anyway) loved and cherished is again in full swing. This new rebirth celebrated its fourth year recently, spearheaded by Clinton’s Steve Lobb and his wife Dana assisted by their crew of volunteers.
This is no easy feat since there is much set-up and preplanning. There are routes to be figured out (four this year - 9 miles, 22 miles, 40 miles, and the ultimate 62 miler) and rest stops to be planned (and manned). This year rest stops were at Syngenta, Farmer City, DeWitt, Wagon Wheel Pumpkin Farm, and Weldon Springs State Park.
There were also several SAG wagons (support and gear vehicles) traveling the routes to aid those in need of repairs or other assistance.
Although this years preregistration seemed low, due in part to a competing bicycle tour in the area, the final count at the close of the registration was approximately 165 riders. And, of course, there were several types of bikes including recumbent, bicycles built for two, touring bikes with who knows how many speeds, regular bikes, aerodynamic bikes and the list goes on. The one or two things stated mostly were the beautiful weather and the beautiful countryside views. There were minor complaints about the wind that picked-up later in the morning, but everyone seemed to be having a great time riding the byways of DeWitt County. The registration and tour began at 6:00 a.m. Saturday, June 24th, at the United Methodist Church in Clinton with registration closing at 9:00 a.m. All routes were well marked by different colored arrows for the various routes. There were a few single bicyclists, but most rode with family or cycling groups such as Decatur Bicycle Shoppe or the Spin City Cyclers from Bloomington. Several groups were using the Tour DeWitt to prepare for an upcoming tour called RAGBRAI (Register Area Great Ride Around Iowa) that covers the state of Iowa and takes 6-7 days. That’s cycling commitment. Whether for fun or fitness, cycling is making its way back into the mainstream of sports.