Now in its fourth year, Wayne State’s annual Baroudeur cycling event welcomed 800 riders and almost 300 volunteers to campus and the city on Aug. 18. In a post-ride survey, 95 percent of riders rated the overall event as “excellent” or “very good.”
Cyclists — who ranged in age from 19 to 84 years and hailed from 13 states plus Washington, D.C. and Ontario, Canada — participated in four urban routes, which included a new 37-mile option based on feedback from previous years, in addition to the existing 20, 62 and 100-mile routes.
While the majority of cyclists (253) participated in the 62-mile route, 193 took advantage of the new 37-mile route, leaving course participation evenly distributed.
President M. Roy Wilson joined 190 other cyclists who completed the 100-mile ride. Wilson rode his fastest century in 35 years.
Also new to this year’s Baroudeur was Huntington Bank, the event's lead sponsor. Sandy Pierce, Huntington’s senior executive vice president and a WSU alumna, returned to campus to give words of welcome and encouragement before the 62-mile/37-mile start.
More than half of the riders (76 percent) had participated in a previous Baroudeur, and 60 percent of all riders had no affiliation with the university.
“In addition to the excellent weather again this year, we’re very thankful that our riders rate the Baroudeur so highly,” said Matt Lockwood, Baroudeur ride director. “One example is a couple from Pittsburgh who travels the country doing cycling events. They told us the Baroudeur is the best organized ride they’ve ever done, and that they’ll be back every year.”
In addition to generating $10,900 for student scholarships and the HIGH Program, the Baroudeur also contributed $1 per rider to the League of Michigan Bicyclists to support bicycle education and advocacy.
Riders were encouraged to form teams and raise money for specific scholarship funds. A team of riders from the Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences raised almost $2,500 for the college’s Diversity Scholarship Fund. Individual fundraisers Rebecca Cooke, associate vice president for finance and administration for health affairs and the School of Medicine's vice dean for finance, and Mike Ilitch School of Business alumnus Peter Rynearson each raised nearly $2,000 to support students in need.
The event is heavily reliant on approximately 300 volunteers each year, who check in riders, pass out food and refreshments at rest stops, ensure riders stay on course, and cheer on riders, among other duties.
“I can’t say enough great things about our volunteers, many of whom were on campus by 5 a.m. on a Saturday to make sure our participants had a great experience,” said Julie Hasse, assistant ride director.
Tom Page, a local cycling advocate and dedicated volunteer, was given the second annual Spirit of the Baroudeur Award for his commitment to the event. Page, who has supported the event since its inaugural year, attended weekly planning meetings, helped coordinate route sweepers, secure local bike shop support and led weekly training rides.
Plans for the 2019 Baroudeur are in the works.