PALM Tour riders enjoy a trip to Huron County

People traveling on Huron County roads on Thursday or Friday may have encountered quite a few cyclists sharing the road.

Several hundred bicycle travelers were making their final stretch for a trip across the Lower Peninsula here in Huron County as part of this year’s PALM Bike Tour.

PALM, an acronym for Pedal Across Lower Michigan, has taken cyclists on trips across the states for the past 39 years, with this year between 500 and 600 cyclists of all ages. They covered between 50 and 60 miles a day for a total of 265.8 miles over six days this year.

This year’s route took runners from Whitehall in Muskegon County to Harbor Beach, with stops in Hesperia, Big Rapids, Clare, Bay City and Bad Ax along the way. Bikers pitched their own tents outside local schools while trucks carried their luggage along the way.

“It’s been a great trip,” Coleen Sutton, PALM site coordinator for Bad Axe, said last week. “We had good weather, so things are working out well.”

For runners who wanted to explore the area during their stay, information was provided on local restaurants and movies showing at the Bad Ax Theater. Food and showers were available inside Bad Ax High School.

Jim Toten, from Birch Run, has been riding PALM bike rides for 30 years, riding this year with his daughter Jamie Darrow from Northville just days before her 69th birthday. The first time he was part of a tour through Bad Ax was in 1996, and he’s since done three or four tours in the area.

“It’s just a nice bike ride,” Toten said. “It’s not too strenuous. I love cycling so this is a chance to cycle.

This year has been a bit difficult for Toten, as the last two PALM tours have been canceled due to COVID and he has aged a bit. The heat for the past few days and the wind on Thursday were rough, so his plans for Thursday were just to have dinner and stay home.

Michelle Tuckerman, from Pittsburgh in Shiawassee County, was riding the PALM for the first time this year, having done other bike tours, including the Michigander along Lake Michigan and the Shoreline West tour in the northwest section. of the mitten.

“I was at Bad Ax for work a while ago, so I think it gave me the opportunity to see it in a little different light,” Tuckerman said.

Although it was also a difficult day for her due to headwinds, she said she enjoyed the ride and was looking forward to doing it again next year.

Beth and Chet Brett, a couple from Worthington, Massachusetts, were on the ride because a friend of theirs took part in 2019 and jumped on board with them the next time he arrived. They’ve previously cycled in Death Valley, California, and the Natchez Trace bike path from Mississippi to Nashville, Tennessee. Chet rode through Michigan while biking cross-country last summer, but didn’t cross the Upper Thumb.

“It’s a fantastic pitch,” Chet said. “We’re used to a lot more climbing, so that was really nice.”

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