MARCO ISLAND — Al Musico wants cyclists to know the 2012 Tour de Marco is meant to be fun and educational.
“By definition, that’s what a tour is,” he said, “a trip through a place for the purpose of seeing it.”
On Friday, members of Marco Island’s Bike Path Ad-Hoc Volunteer Advisory Committee with Musico, chairman, met in a workshop to discuss the 2012 bicycle event. In its inaugural year, the tour was hosted by the City of Marco Island. This year, the Greater Marco Family YMCA will sponsor it.
The ride has been tentatively scheduled for Sunday, April 1, to start at the Y’s campus, 101 Sandhill Street. Registration will begin at 7 a.m. The committee anticipates 200 to 225 participants.
“The purpose of this ride is to show off our beautiful island and Goodland,” said Jim Seegers, liaison to the committee from the Y and chairman of the tour this year.
Seegers and the committee discussed two routes, 15 and 30 miles long, that provide safety while exploring the area’s natural beauty and coastal neighborhoods. Participants can choose the length of route that best fits their abilities.
Cyclists will ride along the Gulf of Mexico, through Veterans’ Community Park, into the Estates and Key Marco communities and down to the riverfront in Goodland. The picnic area in Goodland’s newly constructed boat-ramp access area will be a resting point for cyclists wishing to take a break and enjoy refreshments.
Courses are roundabout, meandering through districts for maximum enjoyment and minimum traffic.
“It’s a Sunday morning ride, but we’ve timed it to pass churches while services are being conducted,” Seegers said. He also planned the route to pass along Collier Boulevard in the early morning to avoid traffic buildups.
Throughout their designs, routes avoid left-hand turns that could cause unnecessary traffic delays. Volunteers and off-duty paid police officers will be assigned to areas where left-hand turns are necessary to complete the tour’s circuit and to areas where other assistance may be needed.
Additionally, arrows designed specifically for the two routes will be placed at intersections, and cyclists will have maps providing greater detail and street names. Seegers said no road closures or police escorts will be necessary for this year’s event.
Organizers also plan to assign six volunteers, three for each route, to ride with participants to aid smooth travel and assist if problems arise. Volunteers will be identified with brightly colored shirts displaying the event’s name.
“We will be asking riders to travel single file,” Seegers said. Riders will not be allowed to use headphones while cycling, and helmets will be required for all riders.
Those riding the 30 mile course will depart from the Y at 8 a.m. Those riding 15 miles will leave at 9 a.m. Organizers anticipate travel time for each group to take approximately two hours.
The cost to join Tour de Marco is $20 in advance and $25 on the day of the event. Proceeds will benefit programs at the Y. Registration forms will be available in the near future and at www.active.com, search for Tour de Marco. All participants will be required to sign waivers on the day of the event. Participants under the age of 18 will need parental waivers.