By Scott H. Shook
Riders in Tour de Marco 4 were treated to Chamber of Commerce weather as they traversed the island on 30-, 15- and 5-mile routes.
Tour director Jeanette O’donnell reported that 180 riders participated in this year’s tour that benefits the Greater Marco Family YMCA’s child care program. Riders also were encouraged to donate used bikes to Bikes for Tykes, which takes the donated bikes, rebuilds them and gives them to underprivileged children in Collier County. O’donnell donated six bikes to the cause.
Bob Phelan, an event volunteer, said another goal of the ride is to show off the two types of bike lanes offered on Marco Island: In-road Bike Lanes and Shared Use Pathways. Each year, new bike lanes are built on the island, and this year is no exception with four new lanes, said Phelan. The Tour de Marco was started by the Marco Island Bike Pathways Committee
The payoff for all of O’donnell’s hard work came at the end. “The most fun part for me was seeing everyone return back to the Y saying how much fun they had and how they’d seen parts of the island they’d never seen before,” O’donnell said.
With temperatures rising in the the low 80s, riders were perspiring by the time they returned the Y’s airtorium.
The 30-mile ride was challenging, leading riders down Collier Boulevard through Key Marco and into Goodland before skirting through the hills in the estates area of the island. Participants in the 15-mile ride got their taste of the island’s hills in Key Marco.
O’donnell is already looking forward to next year’s tour. “We don’t know who next year’s director will be,” she said, “but we want to design the flyer right away and pick a date for next year’s tour.”
With such enthusiasm there is no doubt that Tour de Marco will roll on.