El Tour invades Tucson
Photo courtesy Marilyn Hall
The 31st annual El Tour de Tucson, presented by Casino Del Sol Resort, returns on Saturday.
This year’s theme is “Better Together Through Bicycling.”
“When we heard the theme for this year’s El Tour de Tucson, we all agreed that there had not been a better theme chosen,” said Nathan Levy, a member from Diamond Ventures.
The total distances for El Tour will be 107, 81, 57 or 38 miles and the fun ride distances will be 10 miles, 5 miles and 1/4-mile.
This year’s goal is to raise enough money to distribute among 42 charitable agencies.
“There is no question about how valuable this event is to our community,” Levy said. “We are always pleased with how much money El Tour de Tucson is able to raise through the dedication of so many wonderful individuals and for such a wide range of charitable organizations throughout the city.”
Last year’s El Tour made enough money for 1 million doses of polio vaccine, enough to eradicate polio from the world.
For 31 years, cyclists from all over the world have gathered together for this event, filling Tucson roads with different cultures.
“The tour has enhanced Tucson’s reputation both nationally and internationally,” Levy said.
El Tour boosts the city of Tucson’s economy as well.
“This annual event significantly affects Tucson’s economic development and promotes the health and wellness of the Tucson community,” said Jim Burns, CEO of Casino Del Sol.
The University of Arizona Medical Center will be sponsoring this year’s fun ride for El Tour for the seventh straight year.
The University of Arizona Medical Center — Diamond Children’s is one of the beneficiaries for this ride.
“It’s a great honor to not only be a partner but also a beneficiary,” said Stephanie Boreale, director of marketing and network outreach at the UA.
Tu Nidito Children & Family Services is also one of the primary beneficiaries for El Tour.
“We are better because of cycling,” said Tu Nidito Executive Director Liz McCusker. “We were able to grow our services from 17 years ago helping about 12 families, to today to helping about 900 children in our community.”
Over the last 17 years, Tu Nidito has raised almost $3 million through El Tour.
This event not only raises money, but also gives cyclists of all ages and abilities the chance to participate in one of the largest cyclist events in the country.
Saturday is also “National Volunteer Day,” and there will be 2,200 volunteers in total at El Tour de Tucson.
Something important to keep in mind while El Tour is in action is that for the safety of the cyclists who are participating in the race, law enforcement will be strict, and Tucson drivers must be cautious, organizers said.
— Follow Rose Aly Valenzuela @RoseAlyVal