‘Tour’ rolling into town

Published 10:01 pm Saturday, April 14, 2012

As the 2012 Tour de Cure approaches, American Diabetes Association officials are gathering their resources, recruiting last-minute volunteers and making other final preparations for the fundraiser.

The bicycle ride will be held Saturday beginning at King’s Fork High School. Participants can choose 10-, 30-, 65- or 100-mile courses throughout the city.

The course will remain open to vehicular traffic, so motorists are asked to use extra caution, especially on the city’s back roads, said Amie Holman, associate director of Tour de Cure.

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“We do like for the motor vehicles to know not to pass too close,” Holman said. “It can drive a rider into a ditch and cause some serious damage to the rider.”

Holman said the bicyclists often will ride in what’s known as a “pace line,” a long line of bicycle riders. In a pace line, the aerodynamics work so that the riders in the back are using less energy than the riders in front.

If everyone takes a turn being in the back, they use less energy than riding solo, Holman said.

But some riders prefer to go it alone, so motorists could encounter large groups, smaller groups or solo riders, Holman said.

Roads will be marked with spray chalk to help determine the bike path and remind riders of the route, Holman said.

“That’s a big endeavor we have to complete the day before,” she said.

Police assistance also will be rendered along the route as necessary, she said.

For riders who have already registered, a packet pickup will be held Friday night at the Suffolk Visitor Center pavilion at the corner of Constance Road and North Main Street.

However, riders who raise the minimum of $175 and pay the registration fee still can register the morning of the event, Holman said.

“We want to give them that opportunity,” she said. “The more riders, the merrier.”

Other last-minute preparations include following up with supporters and volunteers, Holman said.

Local businesses supporting the event include Broken Egg Bistro, Shoney’s, A.J. Gators, Chick-fil-A and others.

During the post-race party, people will be able to take a shower at the school, play cornhole, learn more about diabetes, listen to entertainment and more.

“It goes by so quickly, because you’re having so much fun,” Holman said.

She added that a few more volunteers still are needed, especially for supply and gear vehicles, medical volunteers, bicycle mechanics and people who are familiar with the city’s back roads to help mark routes on Friday.

For more information, visit www.diabetes.org/hamptonroadsvatour.