Riding for a cure

Published 8:10 pm Monday, March 19, 2012

It might not seem ideal, but Suffolk is actually becoming something of a haven for those looking for a safe place to ride their bicycles away from the dangerous traffic that abounds in the core cities of Hampton Roads. A search of a popular cycling website yields 280 different Suffolk routes that have been mapped for individuals or groups that are looking for a physical challenge and beautiful scenery along the way.

The American Diabetes Association was looking for just the qualities Suffolk offers when organizers set out to find a new location for their popular — and growing — Tour de Cure. Safety for the riders participating in the fundraiser, city officials willing to work with them to ease the planning process and improve the experience for everyone involved, and a landscape that would be interesting for riders to pass through were among the things that attracted Tour de Cure organizers to Suffolk, according to Diabetes Association officials.

About 1,100 riders and 300 volunteers will get a chance to see how well the planners chose locations during the 18th annual fundraising ride, set for April 21. A variety of courses will be available to accommodate riders of all skill and endurance levels. All of the rides will depart from and end at King’s Fork High School, where there will be live entertainment, a post-ride meal and a “Health and Wellness Village,” where participants can learn about diabetes and other health topics.

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The event is a fundraiser for the American Diabetes Association, whose mission is to prevent and cure diabetes and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes. Last year, more than 55,000 cyclists participated in 80 different Tour events around the nation. The one in Hampton Roads ranks in the top 10 for participation, according to organizers. Thus, among its other altruistic purposes, the ride will give Suffolk a huge amount of positive exposure.

To participate in the fundraiser, whether you want to ride the whole 100-mile circuit or the 10-mile short course — or even if you’d just like to participate as a volunteer supporting the riders — visit www.diabetes.org/hamptonroadsvatour.

Diabetes is a problem of near-epidemic proportions in Suffolk. Your participation in the Tour de Cure can help ease the suffering of the many people who experience this debilitating disease.