Less Cancer hosts annual “Split the Mitt” bicycle ride from Flint to Traverse City

Submitted to the Pioneer

DETROIT — Riders from all over Michigan and the country will team up for a two-day, 238-mile bike ride through the heart of the state beginning on Saturday, June 23.

Traveling from Flint to Traverse City, cyclists will camp overnight in Barryton, after cycling 134 miles on the first day. They will conclude the ride on Sunday, June 24, biking 104 miles to Traverse City. The Split the Mitt Ride officially concludes with a Cancer Prevention and Survivors’ Picnic at the Cowell Family Cancer Center in Traverse City.

The Split the Mitt Ride began in 2012 when founder Suzi Tobias wanted to honor her friend Aileen O’Brien, and chose to ride her bike from Port Huron to Mackinaw City. Since then, other cyclists have joined the ride, and Less Cancer has been hosting the ride for four years.

“When I founded this organization it was to minimize the suffering that can come with cancer by preventing this wicked disease,” said Less Cancer founder and president Bill Couzens, “After many years of educating the public, we understand that education and policy often can address more than 50 percent of preventable cancers.

“Today we facilitate continuing medical education in prevention for physicians, nurses and public health professionals.”

The ride is a team event, rather than a race, to foster collaboration and friendliness. Meals, rider support services and a campsite at Merrill Lake Park, north of Barryton, are provided. Riders also should bring their own tent and camping supplies and be prepared to pay for other meals. In addition to the two-day, 238-mile event, there are two shorter recreational rides planned for Sunday. The first, a 26-mile ride from Barryton to Reed City, covers 20 miles of the scenic Pere Marquette Trail. The second recreational ride traverses 14 miles from Evart to Reed City.

Registration for all riders, including recreational riders, is $100. Riders can sign up as individuals or join or create a team. For the two-day ride, cyclists should be comfortable riding more than 100 miles with occasional breaks at a pace of 16 to 18 miles per hour. The ride is capped at 100 riders to ensure safety for all. Those who wish to donate can sponsor riders or teams.

More information can be found at www.lesscancer.org/less-cancer-bike-ride-split-the-mitt-2018.

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