History of the Tour de Parks
The Tour de Parks originated in the summer of 2008 during conversations between Blake Wellington and Carl & Nancy Nelson. We were brainstorming on ideas to bring people from Hillsboro together and promote downtown as a great place to live, work, and play. Carl is an avid cyclist and collector of bicycles. Blake is a casual rider, but interested in doing more with his bike. We came up with the idea of the Tour de Parks. The idea spread rapidly through the community and soon we had volunteers and interested people joining us. A weekly evening ride emerged as we fine-tuned our route.
In 2010 we introduced "Le Grande Tour", a metric century that passes through at least seven parks in seven Washington County cities, and incorporates some of the rural scenery that makes Washington County a destination for scenic tours and wine tastings. Despite pouring rain, we cheered nearly 100 riders over our finish line.
In 2011 we joined forces with Celebrate Hillsboro!, an annual street celebration featuring entertainment, food, crafts, and a farmer's market on the streets of downtown Hillsboro, and saw over 200 participants in all ride categories. We also welcomed New Seasons Market as our catering sponsor. While it didn't rain, our riders rode on one of the hottest days of the year and were grateful for the water and refreshments in the shade of Noble Woods park, provided by our team of volunteers from Wells Fargo Bank. We met Hugh Ferguson on this day, who went on to ride 80 miles in 8 hours on his 80th birthday.
In 2013, we introduced 2 new routes. Kaiser Permanente signed on as our Presenting Sponsor and to introduce the 12 Park Route, which will showed riders some gems of parks in eastern Hillsboro and a sneak preview of Kaiser Permanente's new Westside Medical Center. We also worked with the Washington County Visitor's Association to showcase the newly designated Tualatin Valley Scenic Bike Route with our redesigned, slightly shorter (53 mile) Le Grande Tour.
In 2014, we had the opportunity to go elsewhere in Washington County; Tigard invited us to bring Tour de Parks to them. We are excited to introduce a fresh route with six parks in the Tigard Tour de Parks. We also made the difficult choice to discontinue Le Grande Tour so that we could focus on our core value of safe riding for the whole family. To that end, we introduced a young riders' Bike Rodeo with the Tigard Tour de Parks.
This year we are happy to hold the event in Tigard again. We are excited to partner with the Tigard Downtown Association to have the ride just before the Tigard Street Fair, so riders and their families can participate in the Tour de Parks, then spend the afternoon at the Street Fair on Main Street.
We look forward to seeing you on September 12th, 2015 for the 8th annual Tour de Parks and the Tigard Street Fair!