This summer presents an excellent opportunity for the uninitiated to take part in a group ride with like-minded and capable riders—and all for a worthy cause. At 2300km, riding around Lake Superior is no little feat. Here's a chance to make your first group ride an epic one. Just don't be surprised if you want to do it again next year!
With this in mind, we talked with Shaun Beaulieu, organizer of the Law Enforcement Torch Ride Around Lake Superior.
How did the LETRideSuperior event get started?
The concept was created 3 years ago as a way to interact with U.S. riders and bring more people to the Sault Ste. Marie area. I live and work here and wanted to bring the hobby of motorcycling into this aspect of fundraising for the Special Olympics. Most of the other Law Enforcement Torch rides are 1-day events but due to the isolated nature of the Soo we decided to make a 4-day trip. This will be the first Law Enforcement Torch ride around Lake Superior.
That's a lot of ground to cover. How long will it take?
We'll leave from Sault Ste. Marie on Wednesday, July 1st, circle around the lake and be back on Sunday the 4th. Tackling the longest day first, 7 hours of riding to Thunder Bay (10-11hrs with stops), will make it easier to enjoy the next 3 days.
Yes, we'll be following the Ride Lake Superior route and stopping at some of their supporters along the way. Everyone will get maps and info about where we'll be stopping in at. The first stop after departing Sault Ste. Marie will be Pancake Bay. Then again at Wawa, White River, Terrace Bay, and Nipigon before landing in Thunder Bay, where we'll spend the first night. The next day we'll cross the border and begin travelling through the U.S. side of the Lake with stops and stays along the way.
It's all been planned out for a while now. We'll have a chase vehicle riding along with us for the whole trip in case of any breakdowns or engine troubles. It will transport luggage for anyone who's bike isn't equipped for that. It's a good opportunity for anyone new to a group ride. Nobody gets left behind!
What do you love most about riding in the region?
Riding through Algoma Country and Ontario's Northwest you get a sense of the rustic nature of the north, from farm fields to rocky mountains. The route takes you through various terrains around this massive lake. I'm really looking forward to the Keewenaw Peninsula leg of the trip and visiting some of the attractions like the Split Rock Lighthouse and the Wawa Goose.
How many riders are you expecting?
We already have 10 registered but we're expecting it will be somewhere between 20-30 riders in total. We have 30 rooms booked at the Days Inn Hotels in Sault Ste. Marie, Thunder Bay, Hurley, Wisconsin and Marquette, Michigan. So we're ready!
How can people get involved?
Registration is open now. Discounted accommodation rates are available until June 5th so I recommend getting in touch before then. Canadian participants can register online here and U.S. participants can register online here. The fee is $100 per rider and $50 per passenger. Everybody who rides gets a Torch Ride shirt, a buffet lunch, great group hotel rates, and a LETRideSuperior challenge coin to commemorate our journey. There will be a prize draw, compliments of Walmart, for all those who raise $100 or more in pledges for any program.
You can keep up with our progress by following the LETRideSuperior Twitter feed. Look for the #RideForAReason hashtag. We'll also be doing updates on Facebook.