Tour the Gem: Proposed pedaling event could generate millions

The Rotary Club of Dayton proposes creating a new cycling event to give the region an economic boost, raise money for charity and strengthen the Miami Valley’s reputation as a biking community..

The Tour the Gem would be modeled after El Tour de Tucson, which is one of the largest road cycling events in the nation.

The ride would likely start and end in downtown and would take cyclists through the southern sections of the Dayton region.

The route would not extend north very much to avoid interfering with the Tour de Donut, a decades-old bike ride and donut-eating event that attracts thousands of cyclists and has moved to Troy from Darke County, said Gerry Chadwick, a Rotary Club member.

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The Tour the Gem would offer rides of various distances, such as a 3- to 5-mile “fun ride” to a 100-mile trip, and a variety of distances in between, Chadwick said.

Cyclists could hop on the route at various points to take a 54-, 37- or 28-mile ride, Chadwick said.

“We have ambitious goals, and we think we can achieve them, because of the number of riders in the region,” Chadwick said.

El Tour de Tucson, in Arizona, is a 106-mile ride that attracts about 9,000 cyclists, who raised $13 million for charities in 2016, the group says.

Tour the Gem could feature a variety of associated events, such as walking or bus tours of the Dayton area, a treasure hunt-type activity, music and concerts and arts events.

In Tucson, the ride is a “perimeter ride,” that circles around the city. But Chadwick says he’s interested in a “cloverleaf” ride that extend out to local communities but then loops back downtown, to provide easier points for riders to hop on.

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