We finished up another successful El Tour de Tucson this weekend. As with every large event in our city, from the Gem Show to the All Souls Procession, we get a couple of complaints about traffic congestion and general disruption around town. It’s understandable. We got a note from Richard DeBernardis, the founder and director of El Tour de Tucson, that addressed some of the complaints as well as some of the benefits of this event.
Here’s what most people don’t know about the Tour:
(1) Perimeter Bicycling Association pays between $200,000 - $230,000 for the barricades &safety equipment and another $130,000 - $150,000 for traffic/police control for El Tour through cyclists’ fees, sponsorships & grant funds and donations. The City contributes $10,000 & Pima County $30,000 toward these costs of $330,000 - $380,000.
(2) El Tour’s economic impact to the City & County: between $12 Million & $20 Million annually just on El Tour weekend; and another greater value throughout the year (Maybe $50 Million or more) for those who return to our community because of the tour.
(3) El Tour gains recognition for our community as a very healthy community by being named at times the #1 bicycle friendly city in America and has literally given Tucson a name throughout the world bringing people here from all over the world.
(4) Raises anywhere between $4 Million to $12 Million annually for 40-50 different non-profits, including Easter Seals, Rotary International’s Ride to End Polio, Tu Nidito Children & Family Services, The Epilepsy Foundation, Boys & Girls Club, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, Alzheimer’s Association, Team Semper Fi, St. Elizabeth’s Health Center, plus another 25-30 other non-profits.
(5) Is an event for bicyclists of all ages & abilities ranging from the age of literally 1 through 94 with people who are extremely fit (like the Olympians & World Champions who attend El Tour) to those who are dealing with special challenges, like cancer, diabetes, paralysis, recovery diseases (drugs & alcohol), overweight issues, polio, lack of clean water, and just the average person, like myself, who wants to stay healthy through bicycling.
(6) El Tour has been going on for 36 years and has almost raised $100 Million for over 100 different non-profits through the United States and other countries.
(7) El Tour is approved (and coordinated) by The City, County, Town of Marana, ADOT and Oro Valley with monthly meetings to develop the safest route for cyclists and motorists, a team of 20-30 different people representing transportation &police departments for each of those municipalities working year-round.
(8) Most Cities in America are now trying to reduce use of motorized vehicles and encouraging bicycling as a means of reducing air pollution and traffic congestion; and are resorting to bicycling events to promote the awareness of the health benefits of bicycling, as well as the economic impact it brings. States, Cities and Counties across America are literally spending millions to become more bicycle friendly and would pay millions to have an event like El Tour. We are fortunate that our community sees this value and that we caught the wave and started 36 years ago way ahead of most other areas of our country, otherwise, El Tour could never exit. Our community has grown around the El Tour with the acceptance of El Tour.
Two athletic congratulations are due.
First, Ward 2’s own Sahuaro High School ended their football season this last weekend with a loss to Salpointe in the 4A semi-final. They had a good run with only two losses all season long. Congratulations to coach Scott McKee and to all the boys. You did the east side proud.
Also, a big shout out to Pima College’s Aztec soccer team, who won the national championship this weekend. Their performance will show the country that Southern Arizona has some of the best soccer players in this county. Congratulations to coach Dave Cosgrove and all the players.
By the way, did you know that Cosgrove played for Pima when they competed for the national title back in 1988?
Remember that this Saturday is Small Business Saturday. Stay away from the chains and start your holiday shopping by helping the local economy. According to the American Independent Business Alliance, almost half of a dollar spent at a local business will stay in the area economy, while less than fifteen cents of that dollar will stay if spent at a chain.
If you choose to shop Downtown and on Fourth Avenue, the streetcar will be free and there will be numerous special offers available. You can find out more about these at:
What will I be thankful for this Thanksgiving weekend? The fact that I live in one of the most beautiful places on the planet. I hope you all enjoy a great holiday with your family.