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Route changes for annual Tour de Hastings

For the second year, Thrivent Financial for Lutherans is sponsoring the Tour de Hastings bike ride during Rivertown Days. The rides will begin at 8 a.m. Sunday, July 18, at the Hastings YMCA.

The route is similar to last year's, but runs backwards this time to prevent congestion around the parade route, event organizer Bruce Petersen said.

Another change from last year is that riders must pay to join the ride. All the money from the event goes to Hastings Family Service, and paid registration guarantees money for the organization, even if the weather discourages people from riding, Petersen said.

An avid biker himself, Petersen wanted to bring the Tour de Hastings back to Rivertown Days because he enjoys biking and finds group rides such as this one to be good ways to gather with a good group of friends. Besides that, he gets to help support a charitable organization.

"It's just a fun thing to do to see what we can do for Hastings Family Service," he said.

There are two different routes. The 50-mile ride goes through Miesville, Cannon Falls, Randolph, Hampton and back to Hastings. The 10-mile ride travels on the Hastings bike trail system. Only about a third of the 10-mile ride will be on the roads, Petersen said.

Riders don't have to worry about keeping up with each other. The Tour de Hastings is a ride-at-your-own-pace event.

"It's not a race, and there's somebody at each stop," Petersen said.

Volunteers from Hastings Family Service will be at rest stops along the routes to provide water and snacks for riders. Crank Worx in River Falls, Wis., is providing a sag wagon.

Registration for the 10-mile ride costs $10 before July 14 and $12 after. The family rate is $15 before July 14 and $18 after.

Registration for the 50-mile ride is $25 before July 14, and then $30. Riders in the 50-mile will receive a T-shirt. Registration forms are available at the Thrivent Financial office and online at towndays.html and at www.hastingsfamilyservice. org under the Forms link. Riders can also call Petersen at 651-437-9307 to have a form e-mailed to them.