Riders News: 2018 Tour De Pines / Itasca State Park
Welcome to our 10th annual Tour De Pines Bike Ride! We offer great routes in an iconic Minnesota State Park, helpful volunteer support, and, commonly, good weather. Whether this is your first or 10th year, you will find we are a very friendly event and feel honored by your participation.
Our rest stops will be stocked, water jugs filled and volunteers ready to make this your favorite summer day in 2018.
The Morning of the Ride
The bike ride starts and ends at the Mississippi Headwaters Hostel, located in the heart of Itasca State Park, across from the public boat landing on Lake Itasca. Itasca State Park is 23 miles north of Park Rapids on Hwy 71.
State Park Permit:
If you have an annual MN state park permit, you are good to enter the park. If not, a daily car permit is required. The $5 fee supports our great DNR state parks. Don’t worry if they are closed when you enter the Park; we will have permits AVAILABLE for purchase at Ride Registration.
Rider Check-in & Day-of Registration
Rider Check-in & Registration will take place on the Main Park Drive on the lawn across from the Lake Itasca Public Landing at the entrance to the hostel driveway. Our tent and tables will be clearly visible from the Main Park Drive. All riders must check in at registration. We will have you pick up your wristband and route maps and a t-shirt (if you purchased one in advance), pump up your tires and receive any last minute mechanical help, fill your water bottles, meet other riders and enjoy a breakfast of fruit and breads and coffee.
Just past our registration area is the Park Maintenance Garage where the DNR asks you to park for the day. It will be signed and staffed with volunteers to direct you if you drive to registration. You are welcome to bike if you are lodging or camping nearby.
Ride Day Schedule
- 6:30am–9:30am: Ride Registration open – All riders must register and begin riding their chosen route anytime between these hours.
- 6:30 am–5:00 pm: Bike Routes are officially open and supported during these hours. All riders must finish their routes by 5:00pm.
- Noon–5:00 pm: A Taco buffet will be served at the Mississippi Headwaters Hostel, just a hop, skip, and a jump from the Registration site. Come anytime between these hours for a delicious meal–included with your registration! Also, please take advantage of the opportunity to tour the hostel – celebrating its 26th Anniversary this year!
Please review your route options:
We have a wonderful 25-mile route in & around Itasca State Park for those looking for a shorter option. We offer 50, 60 & 70 – mile routes for those seeking longer options. None of the routes are exceptionally hilly, but they roll enough to get you familiar with various gears. All of the routes follow quiet, beautiful roads, however, cyclists will be sharing the road with automobiles. Please pay attention. Wind can be a challenge in the open areas of the longer routes.
- The 25, 60 & 70-mile options include Itasca’s Parks Wilderness Drive. The decision whether to ride 60 or 70 is made at the 30 mile mark (the Emmaville Store rest stop).
- The 50-mile option heads South directly from the start and skips the Wilderness Drive.
- All long routes include stops at the Emmaville Store and Summerhill Farm.
- Also, in Lake George, there is a convenience store and county park.
We have multiple rest stops on each route:
- 25 mile route: The 25-mile route has rest stops at 8 and 12 miles. Close together but they both offer bathrooms and the usual beverages and snacks.
- 50 mile route: 50-mile riders have stops at 4, 22 & 33 miles.
- 60 mile route: Rest stops located at 8, 12, 30 and 41 miles
- 70 mile route: Rest stops located at 8, 12, 30 and 53 miles
Cyclists should make sure they (and everyone in the group) are comfortable riding the entire distance of their chosen route. However, there will be sag wagons driving the routes and frequenting rest stops as well.
All rest stops will have restrooms and food/drink and mechanic support. We will provide water, Gatorade, fruit, granola bars and other selected treats. A tire pump, basic bike tools and a first aid kit will be at all the rest stops as well.
The Tour de Pines is not a bike race. It’s a bike tour. You can ride at your own pace. Itasca State Park is full of wonderful, scenic opportunities (that’s why we’re biking there!) Please take your time and enjoy your ride. The maps offer options for short hikes within the park. Make sure to pause at the beautiful Headwaters. Check out the Visitor Centers if you wish. Or note the things you would like to see and come back later in the afternoon once you have finished your bike ride.
Look for and follow the bright yellow Minnesota Ironman Bike Ride signs along your chosen route. We are recycling these signs from our April ride. Please ask the volunteers at the rest stops if you have any questions about the routes. Please refer to your route maps for mileage, more directions and other information. If you are lost or need help, call the hostel – which is the ride hotline: (218) 266-3415. NOTE: cell coverage is spotty – especially within the park.
Safety & Ride Support
Helmets are mandatory for all riders on the Tour De Pines. Please obey all traffic laws while biking. Practice safe cycling: stop at all Stop signs; ride no more than 2 abreast; watch for vehicles and pedestrians; call out “on your left” when passing riders. We want our ride to continue to have an excellent reputation for courteous cyclists. Most importantly, relax and enjoy the ride.
Ride Support: Sag Wagons / Bike Mechanics / Medical
We will have official sag wagons that can carry bikes and riders as needed back to the ride finish. Generally you will find these vehicles at rest stops, but you may see them on the routes as well. In addition, sag wagons will be able to cover first aid as well as bicycle mechanical problems.
We have official ride mechanics from Itasca Sports at the Ride Start and at the 12 mile rest stops. Please see a mechanic if you need any bike help. They are there to help you.
We will have Medical Personnel on the route as well as Ride Ambassadors (visible in the bright yellow vests) who can answer any questions, and help with any needs you may have.
Support Phone and Contacts
Cell phone coverage is poor within the Park. It improves on the routes outside the Park. The hostel land line will serve as our support phone: (218) 266-3415. If you need to contact us, try your cell phone, flag down the support van or notify someone at a rest stop. Contact us if you need route, mechanical or sag support. Due to the poor cell coverage, please also communicate to other riders who may relay your needs to us via a rest stop.
In case of any emergency, please call 911 immediately. Local emergency response has been notified of our ride.
What About The FOOD? Join us for a Post Ride Taco Buffet!
Please join us for a Taco Buffet at the hostel after you finish your route on the Tour de Pines. This is included in the price of your registration. The meal will be served from Noon until 5pm. There is no need to rush. Take your time on the route. There will be plenty of food.
Who Are These Awesome Volunteers?
The volunteers for the Tour de Pines (identified by their yellow “Ride Ambassador” vests or their name tags) are friends and family and loyal supporters of HI-USA bike ride events. They are hand picked for their gregarious, helpful natures and their particular knowledge of cycling events. We strive to have the best volunteers in the business. We believe that socializing, support and fun are what turn a good bike ride into a GREAT bike ride. They are here to help you – please don’t hesitate to ask any of our volunteers for help.
Thank You For Riding With Us!
We are honored that you are sharing your precious summer weekend with us by riding the Tour De Pines. Your registration supports the Mississippi Headwaters Hostel. We are a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, dedicated to promoting travel and cultural exchange. Ask for a tour of the hostel and consider staying with us at other times in the year. We are open year-round and the other seasons in Itasca Park are spectacular. Thank you for supporting our organization.
We look forward to welcoming you on Saturday August 19th!
Tour De Pines Staff
Jon Ridge – Ride Director, HI USA Regional Director
Sara Parthun – Hostel Manager and Asst Ride Director
+ 20 Terrific HI USA volunteers
Hostelling International USA: Inspiring a genuine understanding of people, places and cultures for a more tolerant world.