One of the organizers of Pine Bluff’s Tour de Bluff bicycle riding event was wondering if its 17th year was going to happen
“Yes, we were worried,” said Kenneth Fisher, who is with Novel T’s, one of the sponsors of the annual event. “We were worried that we were not going to be able to have it this year.”
The possibility of having to cancel because of the covid-19 pandemic was enough to send planners back to the drawing board to reconsider what a safe event would look like.
As Fisher put it, the event is not a race, but “a cycling event,” so immediately the decision was made to stagger the start. After someone signs in, they are free to get on their bike and head out. Even at that, organizers will put the equivalent of two blocks between riders, and riders will be limited to two people riding together, he said.
“We will have more than enough space for social distancing,” Fisher said.
Safety measures will also be put in place at the end of the event, he said.
“Each rider will get a free face covering to wear when they are in the plaza,” he said, referring to the Main Street Plaza at 601 Main St. “We had to rethink it to keep it safe.”
The particulars of the event, which is scheduled for Sept. 11 and 12. are:
Friday: Participants can pick up registration packets from 3-7 p.m. at the 601 Main St. plaza in downtown Pine Bluff.
Sept. 12: 7 a.m. Registration and packet pick-up continues at the 601 Main St. plaza. Rest stops and rider support will be available. Route starts are at the plaza.
Also that day’s events will include:
10 a.m. — Mayor’s Mile
Participants are invited to start their bicycle fitness journey by joining Pine Bluff Mayor Shirley Washington riding the Tour de Bluff Mayor’s Mile. The Tour de Bluff Mayor’s Mile is described as a “one mile short, fun adventure.”
“The Mayor’s Mile will be lined with excitement and gifts. It’s a great opportunity for those who have not been on a bike for years; never before; and families with small children,” a spokesman said.
11 a.m. — Kids Activities begin
Noon – “Best Looking Bike” contest
The Tour de Bluff “Best Looking Bike” contest is open to all participants. There is a 15 and below category and a 16 and above category. Bikes are judged by on-site Tour de Bluff officials. Participants can decorate their bikes if they wish. Winners of both categories will be announced at noon Saturday. Winners will receive certificates, and other gifts and prizes.
Three bicycles will also be given away, one for participants 8 and under, one for those 9-12, and one for those 13-16, Fisher said.
Tour de Bluff is sponsored by Novel T’s, Arora (the Arkansas Regional Organ Recovery Agency) and the city of Pine Bluff. For updates and details, visit www.TourDeBluff.com.