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Sunshine and perfect weather greeted participants in the
11th Annual Tour de Elizabeth, Sunday May 18th


Elizabeth — After the downpours that soaked riders last year, the organizers of the annual Tour de Elizabeth bike ride through the city were understandably nervous. But last Sunday, they couldn’t have asked for a more glorious day for the 11th annual, 15-mile jaunt through what was once known as Elizabethtown, the first capital of New Jersey. Under dazzling blue skies, more than 700 riders, many who braved last year’s rain, took to the streets.

David Salguera, who has ridden every Tour since it was started in 2004, was on hand again with his wife and granddaughter at his side said “this is a family tradition for us,we wouldn’t miss this great day”. Hassan Abdur- Rahman agrees with Salguera, stating, “the Tour de Elizabeth is a great event! It gives residents and visitors a chance to see our wonderful city, including all of the historical sites, all while encouraging healthy living.”

This year’s Tour, a 15 mile bicycle ride, scheduled each year the Sunday before Memorial Day Weekend, celebrated the theme, “Elizabethtown’s 350th Anniversary” in recognition of the Charter being granted to establish Elizabethtown in 1664. Re-enactors dressed in Colonial garb greeted riders at the event site, and fired a volley with the Elizabeth Color guard at the starting line to start the ride and to signify the past and celebrate the present and future of the City. After the ride a free raffle was held at City Hall, featuring prizes such as a bicycle donated by the Elizabeth’s Mayor, a 32 inch TV donated by the Tour and more exciting treats.

Tour de Elizabeth 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. Elizabethtown Gas’ partnership with Groundwork, the Tour organizer, was recognized throughout the day. The City’s Departments of Public Works, Recreation, Sign Shop, Police and Fire Departments assisted gallantly, and the Tour’s sponsors offered onsite support and helped defray some of the event’s costs and were recognized for their commitments. 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, student, and adult volunteers on the day of the Tour.

Part of the proceeds go towards helping non-profit Groundwork Elizabeth fulfill its mission of “changing places, changing lives”. Readers are invited to the Groundwork website by Greg Waga, new Groundwork Board President, at www.groundworkelizabeth.com to view the nonprofits mission, goals and programs, and are also asked to look at the Groundwork Elizabeth Facebook page. A listing of committee members and sponsors is scheduled to be published on the Groundwork website.

This year’s sponsors included: T-rific T’s, Elegant Headwear, the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders HEART grant, Elberon Development Company, Assemblywoman Annette Quijano and Joe Cryan (NJ-20th), T & M Environmental Services, The Portugal Day Parade of Elizabeth, Michelino’s Pizza, The Gateway YMCA, Phillips 66 Bayway Refinery, the Elmora Pharmacy, the Elizabeth Avenue Partnership, the Atalanta Corporation, WAWA of Elizabeth, the Historic Midtown Special Improvement District, State Farm Insurance Angel Rodriguez office, Harbor Consultants, the Outlet at Jersey Gardens Mall, Infineum USA LP, the Suburban News, the Star Ledger, the Elizabeth Rotary Club, BJ&M Auto, the Elizabeth PBA #4, Trinitas Regional Medical Center, Investors Savings Bank, Gargiulo Produce, Navy Veteran Printing, the Tropicana Diner, Dario Scholis Art, Brounell and Kramer Management Company, the NJ Bike and Walk Coalition, and American Water. RLS media helped with videography before and during the Tour, and NJ 101.5 was on hand during early morning registration, and Rob Velez and company from Colorblind Productions acted as “MC” of the program, helping with announcements and the raffle.

Photos of the event are available for viewing on the City’s Facebook page, “City of Elizabeth”, and riders and interested parties are requested to “like” the Tour de Elizabeth Facebook page to stay informed about past and future Tours. And the 350th Anniversary of Elizabethtown continues on June 29th with a Block party celebrating the History and Diversity of the City, preceded on June 28th with a Sports Reunion Cocktail Party. Details can be found on the Elizabethtown 350 Facebook page and on the City of Elizabeth’s website at www.elizabethnj.org.

The Bicycle Committee is already planning the next Tour, which is planned for Sunday, May 17th, 2015. Those interested in sponsoring the 12th 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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