Cool, cloudy conditions didn’t keep almost 1,100 bicycle riders from riding to raise money to support the Pumpkinvine Nature Trail on Saturday, June 21. The 15th annual ride, which had distance options of 21, 32, 57, 65 or 102 miles, featured a new section of the trail in Middlebury with a tunnel under U.S. 20, and included an eight-person brass band at a new rest stop in Memorial Park in Middlebury.
Bicyclists, from casual riders to serious athletes, rode routes that took them along the Pumpkinvine Trail and out onto county roads. Riders could start in either Goshen or Shipshewana with the 102-mile route covering roads between Goshen, Middlebury, Bonneyille Mill and Shipshewana. While most of the riders come from local counties, the Chicago and Detroit areas provide significant numbers of riders for the event.
Food at the rest stops, including vegetables, meats and cheeses, is locally sourced as much as possible, according to ride chairman Evan Bontrager. Roughly 100 volunteers help feed the riders, help direct riders at intersections, mark the courses and set up and take down the rest stops. The Elkhart County Parks Department and Goshen Parks Department also help out providing support from cleaning the trail to providing tables and personal support for the ride. Information about the Trail or next year’s ride is on its website.