ELIZABETH—On Sunday, May 19, the annual 15-mile bicycle ride known as the “Tour de Elizabeth” celebrated its 10th Anniversary with riders of all skill levels and ages. Showcasing the city’s historic, cultural, and business districts, grey skies and light rain did not dampen the enthusiasm of the more than 500 cyclists who rode the springtime event.
This year’s quest for the theme “The Top Ten Sites in Elizabeth” was partially decided through funding from the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders HEART grant. Riders interactively shared their favorite landmarks through emails and calls to the Tour organizer Groundwork Elizabeth and through the Tour de Elizabeth Facebook page. Elizabeth’s Waterfront Park on the Arthur Kill, the new Elizabeth River Trail, City Hall, the Union County Courthouse, the Elizabeth Avenue Minuteman Statue, the Elizabeth Public Library and the new Steeple on the First Presbyterian Church on Broad Street ranked highest in community interest.
Ride hosts were Mayor J. Christian Bollwage, the City of Elizabeth, Groundwork Elizabeth, the Elizabeth Avenue Partnership, the Historic Midtown Special Improvement District, the Elizabeth Development Company and the Greater Elizabeth Chamber of Commerce. Special guest rider Daniel Pinzon joined the Tour in a hand ridden trike.
In addition to the support by Bollwage, the City’s Departments of Public Works, Recreation, Sign Shop, Police and Fire Departments, the Tour’s sponsors should be recognized for their commitments in offering onsite support and helping to defray some of the event’s costs.
This year’s sponsors included: the Elberon Development Company, Assemblywoman Annette Quijano (D-Elizabeth), the Elmora Pharmacy, Applebee’s Jersey Gardens Restaurant, Harbor Consultants, Liberty Payroll Solutions, Elizabethtown Gas, Metro USA Fitness, Sonic, Phillips 66 Bayway Refinery, the Elizabeth YMCA, Wawa, Michelinos, BJ&M Auto, Jersey Gardens Mall, Brounell and Kramer Realtors, the Elizabeth Avenue Partnership, the Atalanta Corporation, the Tropicana Diner, the Historic Midtown Special Improvement District, State Farm Insurance, Angel Rodriguez office, Infineum USA LP, the Suburban News, the Star Ledger, the Elizabeth Rotary Club, the Elizabeth PBA #4, Trinitas Regional Medical Center, Investors Savings Bank, Stanley Jay Appraisers, Benedictine Academy, and American Water.
For the first time, Santillo’s Brick Oven Pizza prepared and served pizza to the riders at the finish of the Tour. The Tour de Elizabeth is organized by a dedicated group of Committee members from all walks of life, and is assisted by a gamut of youth and adult volunteers on the day of the Tour. Funds that were raised at the event assist in paying for its amenities and additionally helps Groundwork Elizabeth accomplish its mission of environmental sustainability in the City by “improving places, improving lives”.
The Bicycle Committee is already planning the next Tour, which is planned for Sunday, May 18, 2014. Special note was made at the 10th Tour regarding the upcoming 350th Anniversary of Elizabethtown, which in 1664 encompassed a good portion of Union County and beyond, and it is planned to be the theme for 2014. Those interested in sponsoring the 11th Tour, or in assisting with the preparation for the community supported event should visit the Groundwork Elizabeth website at www.groundworkelizabeth.com, or call Jonathan Phillips, Groundwork’s executive director at 908-289-0262.
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