Cyclists who participate in the 9th Annual Tour de North Port, set for Oct. 28 at Imagine School (2757 Sycamore St., North Port), will see a unique side of North Port that is often overlooked. This year's event — “It’s the Green Pumpkin!” — will be once again hosted by People for Trees, Inc., a non-profit native tree advocacy group that began in 1997
Planned routes of 15, 35 or 65 miles will wind through some of the most scenic roads and natural settings that can be found in the city, as well as the parks that border the Myakkahatchee Creek — the hidden jewel of North Port. The Tour de North Port is not a race. Cyclists are encouraged to enjoy the view of the native pine and oak tree canopies they will pass on every road.
Event organizer and People for Trees chair Alice White says, “We take riders down the roads less traveled in North Port . They can discover what is still referred to as unspoiled Florida so they will come back to do rides on their own.
“Many of the cyclists will comment that they never knew North Port looked like that. I now see riders all the time in areas near my home and I know it’s because they discovered the pedestrian bridges that go over the canals that connect neighborhoods during the course of our rides.”
Two of the rest stops include parks that border the Myakkahatchee Creek: Oaks Park and the Environmental Park, which now has a bridge over to the Carlton Reserve.
“I’ve had people tell me that they have come back to check out that bridge and do some off-road biking or hiking in the Carlton Reserve, because they never knew about that bridge before our ride,” says White.
The $40 advance registration (online by Oct. 26) includes a breakfast donated by FirstWatch, a catered lunch, delicious desserts by Pielicious Bake Shoppe, rest stops with homemade snacks, and full mobile support and gear (SAG) provided by Louie’s Bicycle and The Bicycle Center.
On-site registration will be $45. Doors open at 7 a.m., with group starts beginning at 8 a.m. from Imagine School. Advance registration packet pickups will be available Oct. 27 from Real Bikes in Venice, Louie’s Bicycles in North Port, or The Bicycle Center in Port Charlotte. For more details, visit PeopleForTrees.com.