Tour De Elizabeth Pedals Off This Sunday

ELIZABETH — Arlene Meny enjoys bike riding—as long as the route is fairly flat.

So when the 62-year-old Summit resident is in the mood for some exercise, she will take her bike up to the Great Swamp or down the Shore.


But this Sunday she is heading to Elizabeth for the 7th Annual Tour de Elizabeth. And she should have plenty of company as well over 300 cyclists have already registered and more are expected, according to organizers.

“I’m looking forward to it,” said Meny. “I thoroughly enjoyed last year’s. I grew up in Elizabeth, so it was a way to see the city again.”

Meny likes to bike in areas where there are no hills, so while the Tour de Elizabeth is 15 miles, she likes the fact that there are no hills and that it is a relatively easy ride.

In fact, this year the route has been tweaked a bit to eliminate some of the mild climbs that were in previous year’s routes, said Jonathan Phillips, the executive director  of Groundwork Elizabeth, one of the organizers of the annual spring ride.

“We actually found that if we took riders up into Elmora Hills from another direction, the ride was a little easier,” Phillips said.

“But what we also found was that just by shifting the route, in some cases, by only a single block, the ride was a little easier.”

Because the Tour is also designed to be for families, there is an optional cut-off half-way through that brings the ride in at a little over seven miles.

The theme for this year’s Tour—and yes, Elizabeth Police will once again provide escorts to limit all cross traffic—is, “It Happened Here First!”

As the state’s oldest city, its first capital and home to many of New Jersey’s signers of the Declaration of Independents and Constitution, Elizabeth has a long list of firsts, not the least of which, say tour organizers, is the first ice cream soda.

The Tour starts off at 9 a.m. Sunday, with registration tables opening by 8 a.m. to accommodate those who did not sign up in advance.  The starting point, and ending point, is Union Square, at the corner of Elizabeth Avenue and 1st Avenue.

Immediately following the tour, there will be a re-creation of an important Revolutionary War battle that was held at Union Square.              There is a  $15 entry fee includes a free T-=shirt, baseball style cap for the first 350 riders, a goody bag and entry into a raffle.  (More information is available at  )

As for Meny, she is again looking forward to the ride, especially the section along the Arthur Kill that includes a long promenade along the busy waterway.

““The waterfront is really nice,” she said. “And I was surprised by all the development that’s gone in, all the condos.  I can still remember the ferry that was once there from Elizabeth to Staten Island.”

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