Fall Classic invites bicyclists, walkers to explore the Clinton River Trail

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published August 28, 2013

 Bicyclists and walkers stand in line to register during a past Clinton River Trail Fall Classic.

Bicyclists and walkers stand in line to register during a past Clinton River Trail Fall Classic.

Photo provided

ROCHESTER — Hundreds of community members will hop on their bicycles or lace up their walking shoes to support the Clinton River Trail during the ninth annual Clinton River Trail Fall Classic next month.

Ron Vogt, who serves on the Friends of the Clinton River Trail Steering Committee, said the event is designed to introduce participants to the natural beauty and amenities found along the 16-mile-long Clinton River Trail — which passes through Rochester, Rochester Hills, Auburn Hills, Pontiac and Sylvan Lake in Oakland County.

“We’ve found that it provides great camaraderie. It’s the only trail event that we have all year long, and it’s our major fundraiser,” he said.

The family-friendly Fall Classic, held Sept. 28 this year, begins at Riverside Park — located at the corner of Auburn and Squirrel roads in Auburn Hills. Bike riders can choose from several different route options, with distances of 5 to 40 miles, including a connection to the Macomb Orchard Trail on the east end of the trail. Walkers are also welcome at the Fall Classic and can embark on a 5k route. Lunch, which is provided to all participants and will be served between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. at Riverside Park.

Last year, more than 300 participants rode bikes or walked in the Fall Classic, Vogt said, adding that the group hopes even more people will participate this year. Day-of registration opens at 8:30 a.m. with complimentary bagels and coffee; however, participants must register online or by mail before Sept. 9 in order to obtain an event T-shirt. Registration costs $20 for individuals and $50 for families, with a maximum of four people per family.

Friends of the Clinton River Trail, a volunteer organization, coordinate the Fall Classic, and the group’s President Fred Phillips said all funds raised are used to develop and improve the trail.

“This is our annual fundraiser to raise monies that we use to try and improve the safety and enjoyment of the Clinton River Trail, so the community support is really a critical element in that,” he said. “Because we’re a 100 percent all-volunteer group, there’s really no overhead cost, so whatever we wind up making as profit on the event gets turned right back into improvements on the trail.”

The Clinton River Trail Fall Classic is one of many events celebrating Michigan’s vast and varied network of trails during Michigan Trails Week Sept. 21-28. Parking is available at the park or at several nearby locations.

“It’s a wonderful event to mingle with likeminded people that enjoy the outdoors, the trail and the activity, and it’s a fundraiser for the trail, so if you like the trail, and want to see it improved, come on out,” Vogt said.

For more information or to register, visit www.clintonrivertrail.org.