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|Old west wheeling through Tombstone|
|Written by Krystin Sorich|
|Friday, 30 March 2012 03:51|
As Arizona temperatures rise and the days become longer, cyclists cruise the trails and roads under desirable and ideal conditions. Tombstone fits the ideal.
Cyclist members of the Greater Arizona Bicycling Association pedaled through Tombstone last weekend for the annual tour from Sonoita to Bisbee. The 129.5-mile two-day ride financially contributes to the cowboy town of Tombstone, as cyclists took a much-needed break to dine and shop on notorious Allen Street.
“It’s a bicycle tour, so that’s why people stop and spend time to eat and shop. It’s not a race,” said Ike Smith, a GABA ride organizer. “Tombstone is about halfway, and it’s a great attraction.”
Chuck Martin, a GABA volunteer, said his favorite thing to do in Tombstone is watch the gun fighting shows and stop in at the Rose Tree Museum.
“We like Tombstone and Bisbee, and have done the tour about five times now,” said cyclist Nancy O’Leary. “This year we went to see the giant rosebush and it’s starting to bloom, so that was great.”
Most bike events are beneficial to the town, said Charlie Frazier, a Rose Tree Museum employee. He said he enjoys talking to the cyclists when they visit. “Those bikers are not afraid to spend money,” Frazier said.
GABA is a 600-member, non-profit organization that promotes interest and involvement in all aspects of cycling. The organization puts on bike rides all year, including day rides and overnight rides, in which cyclists can choose to ride in groups or alone.
The tour to Bisbee is a unique ride that’s not too strenuous, Smith said. Smith said this particular tour costs approximately $70 per person. This spring, there were 36 riders who participated in the tour.
Smith has previously ridden in the tour and he said GABA is always looking to get more bicyclists involved.
“Cyclists are always a friendly bunch, so we see cyclists on the road and ask them to come to our meetings and become involved,” he said.
Martin also emphasized that safety is extremely important to the organization, and during each tour, specific measures are taken to ensure all the participants are well taken care of and as safe as possible.
“We have support on the road. We have what we call a “sweep,” which is when someone drives behind the cyclist group. And if someone has a mechanical breakdown or is physically unable to continue, we will load the bike up and drive them to the next site,” Martin said.
In addition to the GABA cyclist tour, the Arizona Desert Training Camp Pacific Atlantic Cycling Tour incorporates Tombstone on its route, also generating revenue for the town. This popular annual ride emphasizes that it is for cyclists who are looking for a fun experience with less focus on training and fitness. The PAC tour is almost a week long, making it a bit different from the GABA two-day event.
The “Tour of the Historic Towns and Hotels” is the easiest of all of the PAC Tour Desert Camp formats. This specific tour begins in Tucson and lands itself in Tombstone on the second day, where cyclists have a free evening to explore the town before they continue on to Bisbee and Benson.