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Friday, June 6, 2008

From the MailBag - HOSTELLING INTERNATIONAL OPENS BIKE TOUR SEASON WITH PORTAGE RIVER BICYCLE TOUR

Elmore, Ohio (June 22, 2008) – The Toledo Area Council of Hostelling International launches its Bike Tour season with its 33rd annual Portage River Bicycle Tour on Sunday, June 22, 2008 in Elmore, Ohio. The organization, which aims to help all, especially the young, gain a greater understanding of the world and its people through hostelling, holds four major Bike Tours every year:
Portage River Bicycle Tour (June 22, 2008)
Metroparks Bicycle Tour (July 12, 2008)
Irish Hills Bicycle Tour (September 21, 2008)
Tombstone Bicycle Tour, (October 19, 2008)

The Portage River Bicycle Tour, which follows the beautiful meandering Portage River, offers a flat and scenic ride through mostly rural Northwest Ohio. This Bicycle Tour boasts about 250 riders every year and welcomes riders of every level, from novice to expert. Riders may choose from four routes of varying distances—10 miles, 31 miles, 62 miles and 100 miles—and may complete the route at their own pace.

All routes include rest stops where fruit, snacks and drinks are provided. Children, who are also welcome to participate, often enjoy spending time at the playground rest stop along the 10-mile route. Other rest stops for the longer routes include Camp Sabroske and the grounds of the Wood County Historical Center.

The anticipated finale of the Portage River Bicycle Tour is the Portage River Festival. This event, which is held in conjunction with the Bicycle Tour every year, is hosted by the Elmore Historical Society and takes place at Elmore's Ory Park. The festival brings live entertainment, craft markets, a talent show, and, of course, delicious food.

Every rider participating in the Bicycle Tour is served a lunch at the festival, including tasty dishes like bratwurst, sauerkraut, fruit salad, and strawberries with ice cream. Lunch is also provided for Portage River Bicycle Tour volunteers, who help to make the event successful. New volunteers are always welcome and may sign up for the entire day or in shifts.

The Portage River Bicycle Tour draws a mixture of riders from Northern Ohio, Southern Michigan, and even from across the country. It follows the Great Ohio Bicycle Adventure, which takes place June 14-21, 2008, making it a great extension of a bicycle vacation. It also precedes Bike to the Bay on June 28, 2008, so it is a great opportunity for riders to warm up their biking skills and prepare for the event.

All four routes of the Portage River Bicycle Tour begin at Woodmore High School at 633 Fremont St. in Elmore. Registration will take place the day of the ride at 7:00am-11:00am, or by pre-registration before June 17, 2008. Registration forms are available at www.hitoledo.org.

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