- Paris Flash
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Now in its 27th year, the Tour de Paris is established as one the best bicycle rallies in the state, but odds are you haven’t ridden in it. How do I know? Well over 1,000 riders participate in the Tour de Paris, but typically less 10% are from here! That means people from all over the country are coming here to do what you can do without even getting in a car.
Unless you live under a rock, you’ve heard about the Tour de Paris, but you don’t really know what the big deal it. Here’s the scoop. First, it’s tremendously fun to ride around with a huge group of people with all of the roads block off. You can ride right down the middle of the street and don’t have to worry about cars! Everyone starts off in a huge pack and you head downtown and around the plaza where people are packed to cheer you on. From there, the routes divide up. If you are looking for a shorter ride, the 20k route turns and goes down the Trail de Paris. For those looking for longer routes, rides up to 100K (yes that is almost 65 miles!) wind throughout the beautiful Lamar County countryside.
How do you know where to go? The Tour de Paris has an excellent reputation for being a well organized ride. Markers and signage are super easy to follow so you will never get lost and you will never end up on a route that is longer than you expected.
Yeah, but I am lazy and out of shape…That’s ok, remember, this is a rally not a race. I promise you there will be people behind you no matter how slow you go. And this rally has great pit stops. Actually, that’s part of the fun. Stopping every so often at a pit stop to get a free banana, water, pickle juice, etc. is a great chance to say hi to the folks who have come from all over to ride with you. Occasionally you will even get some live music along the way. Then on to the finish.
Whether you just ride down to the Plaza and back to the Civic Center or do the grueling 100k, crossing the finish line is big fun. Cheerleaders and fans line the way to bring you in and riding under the water sprayer feels incredible. After that, wobble into the Civic Center on shaky legs and wolf down a free hamburger, then relax and watch the Tour de France on the big screen, because you will officially be a cycle enthusiast.
Tips: Bring a water bottle. Make sure your tires are fully inflated. If you have a flat, don’t worry. The entire route is manned to help people with bike problems (or people who overestimate how far they can ride!) – the Tour de Paris will not leave you stranded. Wear comfy, light-weight clothing, sunglasses and tons of sun screen.
Still don’t think you can handle it? Who cares! Come join the fun anyway. Downtown is a great place to watch the cyclists zoom by. Or come out to the Civic Center and cheer them as they cross the finish line. But no matter what, come be a part of what thousands of people have come to Paris for 27 years to do.
For more go to www.tourdeparis.com. The Tour de Paris starts promptly at 8am. You can register Friday from 5-8pm at the Civic Center or Saturday from 6am-8am. The race starts between the Civic Center and Paris Junior High.