Community Events: 2012 El Tour De Tucson

It’s 5AM in Tucson, AZ and 9000 cyclists are squeezing into every available space around the start line of the 2012 El Tour De Tucson. A contingent from our Arizona store support team set up a last-minute tune-up station, as most of our people and tools were already on their way out to our 3 aid stations out on the course. Sipping on free coffee and trying to stay warm, the buzz of the day fills the air.

El Tour Start 5amAttracting a crowd of 9,000 cyclists from throughout the United States and worldwide, “El Tour” is one of the premier organized rides in United States and also one of the top 3 fundraising rides (Perimeter Bicycling distributes funds to an array of local charities every year). The main event routes show off Tucson’s beautiful vistas of its local mountain ranges and Saguaro cactus, along a flat to rolling or moderately hilly course – although 2 dry but sandy river crossings greet the full 111-mile riders! All routes offer aid stations with water and snacks spaced about 7-10 miles apart, full police support at intersections and plenty of morale-boosting volunteers and spectators.

But this great event doesn’t begin on the cold streets of Tuscon, so let’s take a quick look back at the Expo and the leadup to this year’s “El Tour”.

Three days before the start of the event, we set up our booth alongside many other local and national vendors. We were lucky in that we were right across the aisle from the free t-shirts. The first two days of the expo slipped by and before we knew it, we were one day away from the race. The expo was packed and our booth was the place to be!

Maybe it was the free bike gear we were giving away. Or maybe it was the “Blind Folded Spin Doctor Challenge”! If you managed to change a flat tire faster than one of our blind-folded Spin Doctor mechanics, you were in for some great prizes.

But let’s get back to the real action. No, not the awesome Southwestern Cuisine in Tucson, although that was excellent . . .

No, we mean the real highlight of the weekend, the 30th El Tour de Tucson. In the blink of an eye, nearly 9,000 cyclists of all ages and abilities had lined up and were ready to head out onto the 111 mile course (although 85, 60 or 42 mile routes were also available).

It took more than 7 minutes after the starting gun fired just to get everyone rolling – but finally they were off! We quickly split up and headed to our respective aid stations.

Jeff Dalina (Chandler), Tom Flores (San Diego), Rusty Sattler (Scottsdale), Bryan Zittolosen (Tucson) at tech support stop #2.

As riders came up to the Performance Bicycle aid stations, they were treated to the finest in mechanical care. Just like every event we participate in, our services on race-day are completely free.

We lubed chains, fixed flats, and changed tires to make sure that no one had to quit the ride because of their bikes.

We fixed bikes no matter what they were – including this custom Ti recumbent with HED wheels and a stars and stripes cloth fairing! One of the best things about the ride for us, as with any ride, is seeing all of the Scattantes out on course (check out our album on the Performance Facebook page). All in all, we had a great El Tour and very much look forward to returning next year!

Community Events: November Recap

Every month we like to recognize the efforts of some of our over 100 stores doing what they do so well, participating in their local communities. In addition to their regularly scheduled Spin Doctor clinics & group rides, our retail associates support or host many great cycling events, including events like these highlights from November.

For this first event, we really have you to thank out there! Our Holiday Food Drive was a great success again this year, as we were able to collect 8690 food items, equaling 9115 pounds, across all of our stores!

We love being able to give back to our local communities, and our store teams were very proud to be able to bring these food donations to their local food banks across the country. Thank you to everyone who donated – your efforts were very much appreciated during this holiday season!

Of course we also love to get out on the road to support local rides. And rides don’t come much bigger than the annual El Tour de Tucson in Arizona, a fantastic fundraising ride that draws a crowd of over 9,000 riders!

Our Tucson Broadway and Speedway locations teamed up to man a much appreciated aid station out on the course (quite a few folks said we were the highlight of the course)!

Many riders really needed our expert services, and we worked on over 300 bikes at our tech station. Our team aired up tires, adjusted brakes and derailleurs, and even tensioned a wheel to offset a broken spoke – whatever was needed to keep riders on the road.

As you can see, we had quite the crowd all day long – our Performance tent was a welcome sight in the desert!

The Tucson Broadway team was back in action at the Tour de Safford, another great fundraising ride in the Arizona desert.

As the exclusive bike shop for the event, our team did free safety inspections and a lot of airing up tires before the ride began.

Our tent was also a popular spot for tasty nutrition samples – a last minute gel before hitting the road.

There were over 300 riders in this year’s Tour de Safford, and we spotted more than a few Scattante bikes amongst the crowd.

In the San Diego area, our  Sorrento Valley, CA store was right in the middle of the popular Bike the Coast event, so our store team stepped up to serve as the ultimate aid station (our store was the only support station that the 100 mile riders would see twice). Since the ride was maxed out at 2500 participants, our aid station was a popular spot all day long (even the port-o-potties had a line around the building for those who hydrated a bit too much)!

We fixed many flat tires and broken spokes throughout the day – apparently there was a mean pot hole a few miles from the store! We did the best with what we had to get folks back on the road – a few of the wheels left with non-bladed or mis-colored spokes, but everyone was determined to finish the event!

Our support station was also popular for the 2 tables stockpiled with bananas, oranges, Granola, Brownies, Pretzels and freshly made PB&J’s. We had a 3 person assembly line for the sandwiches, and they would not sit on the plates for more than a few seconds! Plus we had plenty of sports drinks and fresh water to quench the thirsty riders – our team was busy all day long.

But probably the best story of the day was the rider who rolled in to our aid station with 2 broken spokes, a broken derailleur and derailleur hanger. Since we didn’t have a hanger that fit, we decided to go back to the basics – we  took off his cable, derailleur and hanger, cut down his chain and turned his ride into a single speed! The look on the guy’s face when he realized he was going to be able to finish the event was priceless!

A few of our stores have organized in-store cycling classes, like this group at our Novi, MI store, since it’s so much easier to stay motivated when you are training with friends. The Sales Manager, Roger, lead the class in an hour of aerobic spinning, including sets of sprints with recovery and climbs of various lengths and then some stretching for cyclists. Roger even talked about proper form on the bike and mentioned a few drills people could do at home to improve their pedal stroke.

Here’s a shot from our Bloomfield Hills, MI store, who partnered with a local Team in Training group to hold a training day. It was inspirational to see all these people coming together to motivate each other even though they were all in different parts of their training, from beginners to experts. After their session we provided them with bagels and bottled water, plus a special discount for working out in our store. Our store team is already looking forward to their next training session!

Our Dayton, OH store also held their first indoor cycling event in November. Here’s a shot of the group who braved some nasty weather to maker it into the store. Everyone said they would be back and maybe bring some friends.

Our store teams also like to support local schools, like our Pittsburgh, PA store shown here at the annual Carnegie Mellon fair. We talked to over 800 people at the fair, and worked on quite a few bikes. We also gave advice on trainers and training, and assisted folks with proper fitment questions/issues they had with their current bikes.

Our Speedway Tucson store was back in action at the Basis Middle School Community Fun Day. This annual event has grown every year, with more than 500 people at this year’s event. There were many activities and events going on all over the venue for the participants – our team was there talking with people about bikes and doing repairs, plus running a tire pump contest, with the younger kids trying to set the best time for 60psi and the older kids and adults aiming for the best 110psi time. Our team had a great time and are already planning next year’s event…. maybe with a bicycle obstacle course thrown in the mix!

Here’s a shot of Store Manager James Harrell and our Tour De France cyclist and employee Bernard Croyet , from our Kearney Mesa, CA store, leading a bike rodeo with a local Cub Scout group. Working with smaller groups like this can be some of the most rewarding experiences for our teams, since it really does get these kids excited about cycling.

Our Greenwood, IN store hosted 2 small groups of Cub Scouts for clinics one weekend, and it was great to see how interested these young riders were in learning about the sport.

And it’s always great to get a little recognition for your efforts, so our Ann Arbor, MI store was very proud to receive this poster from the Rotary Club of Michigan. Store associates Chris Sams and Patrick Larkin worked with the local Rotary Club to fix and restore 24 bicycles for kids and teens without bicycles. The poster was presented to the store as a token of their appreciation to Performance Bicycle and its support to the local community.

As you can see, it was another busy month for Performance Bicycle stores in November! We only had time for the highlights here, but visit your local store to find out what’s happening next month.

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