More than 200 bicyclists take on Big Bear Butt Cruise

A bicyclist makes a stop in Onekama during the 2019 Big Bear Butt Cruise. (Ashlyn Korienek/News Advocate)

KALEVA — The northwest Michigan Big Bear Butt Cruise took bicyclists on a journey through breathtaking sites this weekend as part of the 2019 annual event.

The cruise has been held for seven years and is headed by the Big Bear Sportsman Club located at 8927 Puustinen Road in Kaleva.

The four-pronged bike ride through Manistee and Benzie counties was a hit this year, with over 200 people who participated on Saturday. Participants had their choice of four different routes — 60K, 130K, 170K and the 210K — with stops in places like Tippy Dam, Douglas Valley Winery and the Arcadia Overlook.

Event organizer Bob Schuelke said the cruise featured a “rack and ride” option; a peddle and paddle route, which incorporated bicycles and kayaks; and an optional mountain bike portion of the ride. Last year’s event saw nearly 300 participating bicyclists from around the state and country.

Roy Lambert, with the Big Bear Sportsman Club, was stationed at a stop in Onekama. This year marked Lambert’s fifth time volunteering for the event.

“We saw over 100 (bicyclists) at this stop as of right now, of course we won’t see all of the riders,” Lambert said around noon on Saturday. “Some of them will turn back early. We had 239 people signed up as of 8 a.m. this morning.”

Lambert said most riders took off later than usual on Saturday morning, due to the beautiful summer weather. Last year’s ride saw a cold drizzle, but this weekend’s weather took a turn for the best with sunny skies.

“The riders left the clubhouse a little later today, we usually get riders in here somewhere around a quarter after 8 (a.m.) but it was a quarter after 9 (a.m.) when the first rider showed up — it’s a beautiful day so why rush it. It was a cool morning, so they probably took that into consideration.”

This year’s event featured camping at the sportsman club property, and music and spirits provided by local breweries and wineries. All food stops on the Big Bear Butt Cruise were staffed and stocked by the sportsman’s club.

Lambert said he even smoked his own catch of lake trout and salmon for some of the riders who stopped in Onekama.

“We accommodate them by letting them camp at campground, and we feed them good before and during the ride,” he said. “We give them a fish dinner with all of the fixings. Most rides do not include those types of things. Their entry fee covers everything, so they do not have to worry.”

The ride has grown in popularity over the years, and Lambert said the huge draw for most people is the scenic route along the way.

“They get the views of Lake Michigan, especially on a day like this,” he said. “The westshore of Lake Michigan is a very popular attraction and I think that’s a reason why people like this ride so much.”

For more information on the Big Bear Butt Cruise, visit www.bigbearbuttcruise.com.

 

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Posted by Ashlyn Korienek

Ashlyn is the cops & courts and city reporter for the Manistee News Advocate. You can reach her at (231) 398-3109 or akorienek@pioneergroup.com

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