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El Tour de Tucson: Best Road Cycling Event in the USA!

El Tour de Tucson Bicycling Event | El Tour de Tucson: Best Road Cycling Event in the USA!

El Tour de Tucson is the largest bicycling event in Tucson and one of the largest biking events in the USA. In fact, people travel from coast-to-coast to Tucson every November to participate in this annual bicycling competition!

First held in 1983, El Tour de Tucson is truly a signature Tucson event. Put on by Perimeter Bicycles (a nonprofit that produces bicycling events for community, charity, and wellness), the event raises money for more than 100 nonprofits throughout the year.

GENERAL INFORMATION

What is the date for the 2021 El Tour de Tucson?

El Tour de Tucson will be held on Saturday, November 20, 2021.

Other similar bicycling events in Arizona include El Tour de Zona (March 25-27, 2002 through Sierra Vista, Bisbee, and Tombstone) and El Tour de Mesa (April 2, 2022 in Mesa, Arizona).

What is the route of El Tour de Tucson?

El Tour de Tucson is an event for riders of every category - from novice to professional. There are rides for the fiercely competitive and rides for the laidback, rides for kids and rides for older adults. Pick your route, pay your fee, and find your starting line.

  • Longest Ride: 102 Mile Rio Nuevo El Tour de Tucson
  • Medium Ride: 57 Mile Casino del Sol El Tour de Tucson
  • Short(er) Ride: Town of Marana/Gladden Farms 28 Mile El Tour

There are also routes specifically designed for kids and families, all of which are in the Downtown and A Mountain region.

  • 1 Mile El Tour Kids Fun Ride
  • 5 Mile El Tour Kids Fun Ride
  • 10 Mile El Tour Kids Fun Ride

How much does it cost to register for El Tour de Tucson?

The El Tour de Tucson registration fees are as follows:

  • $40 for youth, any event (ages 17 and under)
  • $195 per adult for any route (if registered prior to November 15, 2021)
  • $200 per adult for any route (same day registration)

Online registration closes on November 15, 2021 at 11:59pm. After this date, the last chance to register is in-person at the El Tour Expo & Fiesta on November 18th and 19th.

P.S. Save money next year by planning ahead! Fees are lower if you register in advance.

Where are the starting lines for each route?

El Tour’s START LINE for the 102 Mile Route, the 57 Mile Route, and all Fun Rides is at Armory Park (near Children's Museum Tucson). The 28 Mile Route, however, starts at Marana Heritage River Park.

The finish line for all routes is at Armory Park.

What is the start time for each route?

  • 102 mile: 7:00am
  • 57 mile: 10:00am
  • 28 mile: 12:00pm (noon)
  • FUN RIDES: 8:00 am

How many riders typically participate in El Tour de Tucson?

There are typically 6,000+ participants each year.

Why would I participate in El Tour de Tucson?

  • To challenge yourself in a new bicycling distance
  • To enjoy the camaraderie of completing a race alongside friends
  • To delight in the glorious November weather
  • To reach new fitness and exercise goals
  • To spend an active day with your kids
  • To support a local non-profit

What charities benefit from El Tour de Tucson?

Over 100 charities benefit from El Tour de Tucson, including:

  • ADHD America
  • ALS Association Arizona Chapter
  • Alzheimer's Association
  • American Liver Foundation
  • Angel Heart Pajama Project
  • Arizona Disabled Sports
  • Arts Express
  • Banner Children's
  • Beads of Courage
  • Ben's Bells
  • Beyond
  • BICAS
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southern Arizona
  • Bleeding & Clotting Disorders Institute
  • Children's Clinics
  • Cure Leukemia
  • Davis Phinney Foundation for Parkinson's
  • Easterseals Blake Foundation
  • El Grupo
  • Emerge Center Against Domestic Abuse
  • Friends of PACC
  • Friends of Pima County Animal Shelter & Rescues
  • Green Beret Foundation
  • Hermitage Cat Shelter
  • Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International
  • KXCI
  • Look Save A Life
  • Never Forgotten Tower Challenge
  • Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southern Arizona
  • Southern Arizona Adaptive Sports
  • Tucson Community Cares Foundation
  • Tucson Interfaith HIV/AIDS Network
  • Water for People Arizona Committee

What is the parking situation?

There are a number of different parking options in Downtown Tucson - including garages, private lots, and street parking. Some of the parking options are free; others are fee-based. More information about parking can be found here.

Use of public transportation is encouraged. Both the SunTran bus system and the SunLink street car provide convenient alternatives to bringing your car downtown for El Tour de Tucson.

What should I wear?

Temperatures in this region in mid-November range from 49°F to 71°F, often with blue skies and lots of sun. The temperature is rarely below 39 degrees or above 82 degrees. Athletic clothing, sunglasses, sunscreen, UV protectant clothing, light layers, hats, and comfortable shoes are recommended. Don't forget your bike helmet - wearing one is required to participate in any event!

What should I bring with me?

Plan for a day in the sun by wearing sunscreen, sunglasses, and light layers. You will also want to bring enough water, along with healthy snacks and electrolytes to give you energy along your route.

Many riders also like to come prepared for any possible biking "emergencies." If desired, you can bring the following along with you: 1-2 spare tubes, tire levers, and/or a tire patch kit.

Will there be aid stations along the route?

There are aid stations every 7-12 miles, which are staffed by volunteers who will offer you bananas, oranges, and water. Each aid station will also have porta-potties. Some stations may also serve raisins, cookies, or pretzels.

All aid stations will close at 4:00pm.

What happens at the Finish Line? Is there a party?

Yes! The finish of El Tour de Tucson takes place at historic Armory Park. As soon as you cross the finish line, valet park your bike (a complimentary perk of registering!), enjoy food & drinks, and walk around to see all of the vendors at the El Tour Expo and Fiesta. Live music begins at 11:30am and the fun continues until 7:00 pm.

P.S. The El Tour Expo and Fiesta is actually a three-day event - Thursday, November 18 from noon to 9:00pm; Friday, November 19 from noon to 9:00pm; Saturday, November 20 (race day!) from 6:00am to 7:00pm. The Expo is free and open to the public.

102-MILE RIDE

Congrats on taking the challenge of the 102-mile ride!

The 102-mile ride begins at Armory Park at 7:00am.

Line up according to your expected finish time in one of the four medallion categories. Posted signs will identify each area.

If you need to stay warm prior to to the race, wear an old sweatshirt and/or pants. A few minutes before the start, toss them over the railing. A crew will pick up all of the tossed clothes, which will be given to a local thrift store.

DINING

What dining venues are available along the El Tour de Tucson route?

There are lots of wonderful restaurants in the Downtown Area!

Some favorites include:

  • 47 Scott, 47 N. Scott Ave – neighborhood bistro, dinner daily (4-10pm), happy hour (4-6pm), weekend brunch
  • Cafe a La C’Art (inside Tucson Museum of Art), 150 N. Main Ave – Monet-inspired garden patio, pastries, breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Culinary Dropout, 2543 E. Grant Rd - classic meals, cocktails, bar, live music, weekend brunch
  • LaCo Tucson, 201 N. Court Ave – brunch, lunch, dinner, sandwiches, salads, southwestern fare, indoor + outdoor seating, live music
  • Maynards Market & Kitchen, 400 N. Toole Ave – indoor + outdoor seating, sandwiches, salads, beer + wine
  • Time Market, 444 E. University Blvd - produce, bakery, coffee, sandwiches, soup, pizza
  • Reilly Craft Pizza & Drink, 101 E. Pennington St – lunch, dinner, spirits, wine, beer garden

BABIES & KIDS

Can kids participate in El Tour de Tucson?

Yes! In fact, there are three routes created specifically for kids. Choose 1-mile, 5-miles, or 10-miles - depending on your child's interest and stamina.

WHERE TO STAY

What hotels do you recommend for visitors to Tucson for El Tour de Tucson?

Check out our resort guide for a number of excellent options! Arizona Inn would be an especially good pick since it is less than 4 miles from Armory Park.

MISCELLANY

Where can I see the results of El Tour de Tucson?

Congrats on finishing this epic ride! Your time will be recorded when your chip on your bib number crosses the finish line and unofficial results will be posted within an hour of your finish. Look for the results board near the beer garden at the finish line.

If you are cheering on a friend, family member, or coworker, you can view El Tour de Tucson results here.

I can't ride. Is there still a way for me to participate in El Tour de Tucson?

Absolutely! There are several ways you can be part of the fun of El Tour de Tucson:

  1. Cheer on friends, family members, and coworkers who are participating.
  2. Attend the El Tour Expo & Fiesta on November 18, 19, or 20.
  3. Volunteer at the event. Help with registration, distribute t-shirts, serve as a crossing guard, be part of the bike valet crew, or assist with awards.

Can I follow El Tour de Tucson on social media?

Yes! You can follow El Tour de Tucson on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

What else do I need to know before I participate in El Tour de Tucson?

This is a popular event! Crowds can be thick and traffic can be crazy. We've listed our top ten tips below to help you maximize your experience.

1. Dress in layers. Weather in November can range from sunny and warm to chilly and breezy, but usually it's just plain beautiful. Expect temperatures in the 70's, but layer just in case.

2. Hydrate. "Water is always a good idea." That's pretty much a Tucson motto. You'll have more fun and more energy if you hydrate well throughout the day (and the day before!).

3. Bring snacks. Food will be available for purchase at the after-ride expo, but you may want to bring some fuel for during your ride as well. Trail mix, protein bars, dried fruit, and beef jerky are good options.

4. Arrive early. Give yourself plenty of time to drive downtown and find a parking spot. Being rushed never feels good. Plus, the earlier you arrive, the better chance you have of scoring a great parking spot!

5. Be prepared to go with the flow. There are typically over 6,000 riders in El Tour de Tucson. Bring your best attitude and a ready smile, along with an ample supply of patience, joy, and gratitude.

6. Sunscreen is a good idea. Same with visors/caps and UPF clothing. The Tucson sun can be intense, especially toward mid-day. Plan ahead with sun-protectant gear and wear (including sunglasses!).

7. Register the kids. El Tour de Tucson is a family affair with three routes designed just for kids.

8. Stay for the EXPO! Visit vendors, enjoy live music, and stay to celebrate your success!

9. Stash some cash. It's likely you'll want to buy something at the Expo after the race - a cold drink, a souvenir, perhaps a new jersey? Bring some cash or another method of payment.

10. Say thank you. Be sure to express your gratitude for volunteers and law enforcement officials alongside the route!

That just about covers it. Have a great time at El Tour de Tucson!

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