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— Two years ago, Tanya Rodgers' younger daughter rode the Tour de Troit in a bike trailer. This year, the 8-year-old rode her own bike in the 30-mile ride and the trailer got good use as a seat for Charlie, the family's miniature golden doodle dog.

"I didn't want to be away from him the whole day," said Rodgers.

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The entire family participated in the annual celebration of biking Saturday along with nearly 7,000 riders. The Tour de Troit brings together everyone from novices and semi-pro bicyclists to explore the streets around Detroit while getting some exercise.

"This is unlike anything we've ever experienced before," said Rodgers, of Ann Arbor. "It's nice to feel part of the community."

The 30-mile ride began at 9 a.m. at Roosevelt Park, in front of the Michigan Central Train Depot in Corktown. A metric century ride of 62 miles began earlier in the day. The route would take riders all around downtown Detroit and to Belle Isle.

When the Tour de Troit began 13 years ago, only 30 people were involved. As recent as 7 years ago, having 1,000 people was a pipe dream, said Bil Lusa, chairman of the board. The interest has grown each year.

"It's easy, everyone remembers how," said Lusa. "And in a place like Detroit where we have the infrastructure with lots of extra lanes and not a lot of road traffic, it's perfect."

The thousands of bikers lined up in sections for the start of the ride Saturday. Some had specialty bikes and even tandem bikes. Many had helmet mounted cameras. Kelly Potter had a sign.

Yesterday, her friend Matt Stoll died suddenly, and because he loved biking, she decided to turn the Tour into a memorial for him.

"Last night, I didn't want to come," said the Dearborn resident. "But then I decided, we gotta go. We gotta do it for him."

Ana Navarette and Jenna Kreiger of Detroit brought old-school Schwinn bikes on the ride. Kreiger is a relative newcomer to the city, so she was excited to be able to get a tour.

"I got a bike to bike around Detroit, so hopefully this will be like learning my routes," she said.

Navarette been here for much of her life, and she's glad for the Tour de Troit.

"I've lived in Detroit for 15 years so for me to see this, it's great," she said. "Finally people are noticing Detroit."

lrazzaq@detroitnews.com

(313) 222-2127

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