Editor’s note: This is final post of several about the 2011 El Tour de Tucson. Check out stories about how the celebrity cyclists fared, a map of where all 6,000 cyclist call home, a post about the Cargo Bike El Tour de Tucson, and a searchable database of results.

It’s no secret I love bicycles. It’s also no secret that I’m passionate about using bikes to reduce the use of automobiles.

While I got my start riding bikes recreationally — which helped me lose a lot of weight and get healthy — it quickly became clear to me that using a bike for transportation had the power to change the world.

Because of that belief I tend to focus more on those types of stories over recreation and racing.

It is at times frustrating to hear of people who will ride 100 miles in a weekend, but don’t even consider riding the mile or two to the grocery store or the five miles to work.

This year I didn’t do a lot of recreational training rides and decided since I wasn’t prepared to ride the 111 miles this year. I wouldn’t participate in this year’s El Tour de Tucson.

I tired hard to convince myself that El Tour de Tucson doesn’t mean much to me personally and is too focused on recreational riding.

As the tour got closer however, a nagging sense of sadness began bubbling up. I realized that El Tour de Tucson means a lot to me and it means a lot all the people who ride in it and the community as a whole.

Not only does the Tour de Tucson bring people from all over the world to stay here, dine here and leave their money here, it provides people with a sense of accomplishment and pride.

Many of the 6,000 riders have a goal they are working toward, whether it be finishing in platinum or finishing at all. When they meet their goal or punish themselves trying to meet it, it means something. It is monumental.

I asked some of Tucson Velo’s Facebook fans what their most lasting memory of this year’s El Tour de Tucson was. For some of them it was their first century ride and for others their favorite memory was seeing so many other people who share their passion in one place together.

One commenter wrote: “I was released from the hospital the day of last years event after having a total knee replacement. I remember seeing riders struggling in the headwinds. I worked all year to prepare for this years El Tour. My best memory will be crossing the finish after 111 miles in 5:37 and seeing my family there to cheer me on.”

Another reader’s favorite memory was, “Seeing the Jr. El Tour kids!!! They were having a blast. Also on St Mary’s 2 kids from the neighborhood watching the bikes go by and asking how they can join the other kids. They were 10 years old. I told them to Google El Grupo, Bicas and PBAA. Hope they do!!”

Lastly, the day reminds drivers that the roads aren’t theirs alone. It tells them that for at least one day a year they don’t rule the road.

Now if only we can figure out how to get the motorists and purely recreational riders to use bikes for transportation, we’ll be all set.

Viva El Tour de Tucson.


One thought on “Editorial: El Tour de Tucson monumental to many”
  1. Amen to all that….like the Illinois rider said early in the ride looking at the sun on the Tucson Mts.,” This is worth getting up for!”  Whatever all that entails.

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