June marks the beginning of summer, and there's no shortage of outdoor recreational opportunities this month in the Quad-Cities.
In Iowa, the Department of Natural Resources recognizes June as "Great Outdoors Month" to remind Iowans and others to step outside.
"Getting outdoors promotes good health for both the mind and body and helps create memorable experiences with family and friends," said Chuck Gipp, director of the DNR.
From mountain biking and fishing, to outdoor yoga and sunset cruises on the Mississippi River, here's your guide to ring in the official start to the season.
1. Ride the River
Families looking for an active way to celebrate Father's Day can pedal along the shores of the Mississippi River during Ride the River, a longtime Quad-City tradition in its 33rd year. The route is open from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Sunday, June 18, and begins at the Quad-City Times parking lot, 500 E. 3rd St., Davenport.
Participants can cross the river via the Government Bridge, open until 3 p.m., the Centennial Bridge, open until 3:30 p.m., or via the riverboat at Leach Park, Bettendorf. (Bicycles will be carried by a separate barge at this crossing at 8:30 a.m., 10 a.m. or 11:30 a.m.) Because of construction, cyclists will not be able to access Arsenal Island during this year's ride.
Register one of several ways: Go online to riveraction.org/ridetheriver, stop by the River Action office at 822 E. River Drive, Davenport, or sign up at packet pickup from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, June 17, at the Times parking lot. The ride costs $20 for adults and $5 for children 16 and under. Registered riders can purchase helmets at the event at a reduced cost: $5 for youth and $10 for adults. Support for this comes from the Quad-Cities Bicycle Club.
2. Yoga in the Park
Practice your crow, warrior II and downward dog poses at one of the most laid-back and popular workouts in town. Instructors from the Davenport-based studio, One Tree Hot Yoga, are leading free classes at 10 a.m. on Saturdays, June 10, 17 and 24, at Vander Veer Botanical Park, 215 W. Central Park Ave., Davenport. Sessions are open to all ages and abilities. Bring a mat or a beach towel. Donations are welcome.
There’s still time to register for this weekend’s Tour of the Mississippi Valley, or TOMRV, a bicycle trek from the Quad-Cities to Dubuque and back. Cyclists will take off on Saturday morning and return Sunday.
They can start and finish at Scott Community College in Bettendorf, a 196-mile round trip, or they can pedal from Goose Lake in Clinton County for a 115-mile round trip.
Sign up from 5:30-8 p.m. tonight/6-8 a.m. Saturday at Scott Community College or from 7:30-9 a.m. Saturday at Northeast School in Goose Lake.
On-site registration costs $95. Organizers expect 1,000 cyclists to participate. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the event. For more information, go to qcbc.org/tomrv.
4. Big Fish Contest
Calling all anglers to the shores of the Mississippi River at Illiniwek Forest Preserve in Hampton. The Rock Island County park, about 15 miles upriver from the metro Quad-Cities, will award prizes at the end of this month to those who catch the biggest fish, no matter the species. The contest began May 1 and continues through June 30. Fish must be weighed and measured by Illiniwek staff. Bank fishing only. For more information, including prize details, go to bit.ly/2sIHaRp.
5. Sunset cruises
Throughout the summer, the Clinton County Conservation crew hosts free events almost every day for the public at its facilities. To catch sunsets on the Mississippi River, board the Blue Heron Eco Cruiser, a 26-passenger boat, at 7 p.m. on Thursdays, June 15, 22 and 29, at Rock Creek Marina & Campground near Camanche. Call 563-259-1876 to sign up for a tour. Then, beginning at noon Saturday, June 17, hop in one of Rock Creek's 29-foot voyageur-style canoes for a 30-minute outing.
6. Quad-Cities Triathlon
Volunteer or compete in the 18th annual Quad-Cities Triathlon. The event kicks off at 7 a.m. Saturday, June 17, at West Lake Park, 14910 110th Ave., Davenport. Competitors will swim 600 yards, bike 15 miles and run 3.1 miles. For more information, go to qctriathlon.com.
7. Man vs. nature
Curious how interactions between humans and nature over the past two centuries have affected animal and plant life in the Quad-City region? Veteran conservationist Bob Bryant will present his research, “The Lost, Almost Lost and the Newly Discovered,” at noon Tuesday, June 20, at the Eastern Avenue Library, 6000 Eastern Ave., Davenport. This is the first discussion of a two-part series. Lunch is provided for a $5 donation. To RSVP, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
8. Bix at Six
Ready for the Quad-City Times Bix 7? If not, here's your chance to begin practicing for the July 29 race. The popular weekly training runs begin at 6 p.m. Thursday, June 22. The first two runs (June 22 and June 29) will be rerouted because of roadwork being done on Brady Street. They will begin and end on the north side of the Quad-City Times building, but the runs will go up Pershing Avenue instead of Brady. For more information, go to qctimes.com/bix.
9. Tree nursery upkeep
Time to get your hands dirty with the Living Lands & Waters crew. From 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, June 24, the nonprofit organization needs assistance from volunteers at its tree nursery, 6000 Eastern Ave., Davenport. Helpers will receive a reusable bag and free lunch. If you want to bring a large group, call 309-496-9848.
10. FORC Side Thrill Ride
Mountain bikers plan to take over the off-road trails on Sunday, June 25, at one of Davenport's best-kept secrets, Sunderbruch Park, 4675 Telegraph Road. Friends of Off-Road Cycling, or FORC, is hosting the race, which will feature events for juniors, beginners and experts. Prepare for "leg-burning climbs and bone-shaking downhills." For more information, including registration and volunteer details, go to qcforc.org.