By Emily Bialkowski
On August 10 a bicycle tour sponsored by HaveFunBiking.com will swing through Caledonia, giving the community a chance to showcase its appeal as a tourist destination.
Russ Lowthian, editor of HaveFunBiking.com, is coordinating with the Caledonia Area Chamber of Commerce to find ways to “roll out the welcome mat.”
So far, the chamber has coordinated lodging and meal options for the cyclists, and now an invitation is extended to all businesses to participate.
“The bicyclists will be in Caledonia for the afternoon and early evening sightseeing, shopping and getting to know our comfortable little community,” chamber board member Dianne Schuldt said. “We are encouraging businesses to welcome them by putting out signs and offering specials or sales.”
Another option for businesses is to stay open a little later. The Historical Society, for example, has already agreed to extend its hours until 4 p.m. and will have a display of vintage bicycles.
Lothian said don’t count the cyclists out in terms of shopping because he has seen many large purchases shipped.
Adding to the festivities will be a 7:30 p.m. program at Caledonia Area High School where a slide show will be presented about the various sites the bikers have seen along their tour. Root beer floats will be sold at that time by a school organization, and all are welcome to mingle with Caledonia’s guests.
Those who are well versed on two wheels can even welcome the cyclists as they come in on County Road 10 up through Hwy. 76. Anywhere from Schech’s Mill into town would work, organizers say.
The cyclists will begin their journey Aug. 8 in Peterson. From there they head to Whitewater State Park and on to Lanesboro Thursday night. Then they ride to Preston and will end up in Harmony Friday night before rolling into Caledonia.
Each day the cyclists will push 60 miles, but Lowthian said they will still want to peruse the town, go into shops and visit with locals.
Potentially adding to the excitement is the fact that Caledonia Community Education has started a new bicycling club called the Caledonia Cycle Paths. Community Education Director Nancy Runningen, said she sees great potential with this project. She said there are several cycling enthusiasts in town.
The club first met in April and continues to welcome interested bikers. Call community education office at 507-725-5139 if interested.
Showcasing the town will be important if Caledonia wants return visits, Lowthian said.
“We want to make sure, when we come into town, we patronize your community so people say, ‘I want to come back here.’”
Schuldt echoed the sentiment and said, “We hope the cyclists enjoy Caledonia and want to come back with their families at another time.”
If you’d like your business to be included on a list in the welcome packet, forward your business name, address, phone number and hours – including extended hours and sale information if applicable – to the chamber office in the Pine Cone Place, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 507-725 5477.
For more information on the biking group, visit www.havefunbiking.com.