Monday, October 26, 2020

Get Ready for Tour de Marco 8


At the 7th annual Tour de Marco, riders cruise down Collier Boulevard. Photos by Scott H. Shook

At the 7th annual Tour de Marco, riders cruise down Collier Boulevard. Photos by Scott H. Shook

From its modest beginnings as a vehicle for the City of Marco Island’s bike pathways committee to introduce riders to their new network of in-road bike lane and shared use paths in 2011, the Tour de Marco is now a regular part of the island’s event schedule. This year’s tour is Sunday, February 25.

“I never imagined the Tour de Marco would become a signature event for the Marco YMCA that has generated almost $25,000,” said tour director Steve Reynolds, who knows something about island events.

Riders enjoy a water break at the Goodland boat ramp during last year’s Tour de Marco.

Riders enjoy a water break at the Goodland boat ramp during last year’s Tour de Marco.

Reynolds, who balances his job as a community service officer for the Marco Island Police Department with his job in community relations with the Y, has an exhaustive list of island events he’s involved with.

Reynolds helps to organize the Kiwanis Car Show, Mutts ‘n Martinis, Taste of Marco, Marco Island Seafood Festival, Relay for Life, SW Florida Soapfest and the Chili Cook Off, to mention a few. He also has a disc jockey business, Island Paradise DJ Service. Oh yeah, he also has an afternoon radio program on 98.1/88.1.

In Tour de Marco 4, riders enjoy one of the many bridge crossings the tour offers.

In Tour de Marco 4, riders enjoy one of the many bridge crossings the tour offers.

Reynolds describes Tour de Marco as “a family-friendly event benefitting the Marco YMCA Scholarship Fund.”

A few years ago Reynolds took over as the director of the popular Tour de Marco event after bike path committee members took turns as director the first five years. Under Reynolds’ enthusiastic leadership, more island businesses have come on board as sponsors, including Sascha’s Salon, JR Wood Realtors/Needles Group, Island Bike Shop, Civitan Club of Marco Island, Condee Cooling and Heating, Affordable Landscaping & Design and The Charter Club of Marco Beach.

The Tour de Marco is perhaps the most beautiful bicycle tour in Southwest Florida. Riders follow a marked route that takes them through the gated community of Key Marco and its Indian mounds and unspoiled scenery that harkens back to the pre-development days of Marco Island.

The Tour also takes riders through picturesque Goodland, the quaint fishing village/ artist enclave on the island’s east side. Riders also enjoy the rare chance to pedal down a long stretch of Collier Boulevard without automobile traffic.

Every year riders are surprised to find out that Marco Island has hills. Key Marco is a bit hilly, and the estates area is quite hilly. The Tour de Marco also includes a number of bridge crossings, in Key Marco, the estates area, Collier Boulevard, Winterberry Drive (2) and Barfield Drive (2) and Sand Hill street.

Riders will also be happy to know that there is a pretty good chance they’ll go home with a prize from one of the many island merchants who provide giveaways.

The tours are 30, 15, and 5 miles long and feature water, food and restroom stops. Riders are required to wear helmets. Quick-dry Tour de Marco t-shirts are guaranteed to those who register early. You may sign up at the Y front desk or at active.com. Riders should show up early at the Y’s airnasium. Check-in starts at 7 AM. The 30-mile rides starts at 8 AM and the 5 and 15 mile rides start at 9 AM. Reynolds also reminds riders that the Tour de Marco is a tour and not a race.

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