ELIZABETH, NJ - After months of cold weather, which left many to stay indoors, people are eagerly awaiting the opportunity to enjoy the sun and spend time outside. Combining recreation with physical fitness, each May, nearly one-thousand cyclists of every skill level gather for one of New Jersey’s largest recreational bicycle rides - the annual Tour de Elizabeth.
“Elizabeth is not only New Jersey’s 4th largest city and home to the County seat but it also offers dining, shopping and each year’s highly anticipated event, the Tour de Elizabeth,” said Mayor J. Christian Bollwage. “I would like to thank all who participate and welcome those who will be joining us for the first time. I hope you enjoy riding through our historic neighborhoods, new developments, and revitalized shopping districts, exploring everything Elizabeth has to offer.”
Preparations are now underway for the Sweet 16th Anniversary ride, which will be held on Sunday, May 19, and will begin and end at City Hall, located at 50 Winfield Scott Plaza. It is supported by Mayor Bollwage, Departments within the City of Elizabeth, the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders HEART grant and is managed by Groundwork Elizabeth.
All ages are welcome to join the Tour, if the participant can keep a moderate pace of 10 miles per hour and able to ride 15 miles - there is a bail-out at the halfway mark. Please note, helmets are required for all partaking in the Tour – bicycles, and helmets will also be made available to rent at the event. Members of the Elizabeth Police Department will also be on hand to escort cyclists on a route with rolling intersection closings and assist where needed.
Registration begins at 7:30 a.m. and the ride begins promptly at 9:00 a.m. The first 500 registrants will receive a signature 2019 cap, created by ABG Accessories and a Tour t-shirt. All riders will also be given a free raffle ticket for the post-event drawings.
In addition to the bike ride, a full array of tables for sponsors/services, including nonprofits and health-based organizations will be exhibited in Winfield Scott Park as well as water, fruit and live music. Bob Varady has led the Tour Bicycle Committee since 2004, and has commented, “I always get pulled aside during the Tour by people who are so impressed with the incredible waterfront, trail, shopping, and natural views, as well as the diversity and promise of Elizabeth as they ride their bicycles through our neighborhoods in the Annual Tour”.
Riders are encouraged to sign up early to take advantage of early bird and rider user-friendly pricing, which features reduced pricing for families or groups of 5 or more. Part of the proceeds will be donated to the non- profit organization Groundwork Elizabeth, whose mission it is to build more sustainable communities.
Hard copy applications can also be found in Elizabeth public buildings, stores, and Union County Bicycle shops. Sponsorship opportunities are also available and come with benefits for those who pledge support; some of the funds from the ride go to Groundwork Elizabeth as it helps green the City.