Next Sunday marks No. 4 for Le Tour

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Participants take off at the start of Le Tour de Downbeach
VENTNOR – Exploring Absecon Island on two wheels is an enjoyable experience; one that will be shared by hundreds joining Le Tour de Downbeach Sunday, Sept. 9.

Margate Business Association President Ed Berger expects 700 riders to participate in the annual event, which takes bicyclists through four communities here.

“It reaches out across the borders of our towns here and is a great way to bring our entire Downbeach community together,” Berger said Monday, Aug. 27. “It’s a great, fun, family event. You don’t have to be a serious biker.”

At 9 a.m. Sunday registration will begin at Newport Avenue and the Boardwalk in Ventnor with a light breakfast of oranges and bananas and music to pump up the crowd.

The extended ride begins at 10 a.m. and routes cyclists 14 miles along the Boardwalk to the Showboat Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, where riders will head back to Longport Point for the last turnaround before the end point at Tomatoe’s Restaurant at Washington and Amherst avenues in Margate.

The family bike ride will take an 8-mile journey on the Ventnor Boardwalk beginning northbound to Suffolk Avenue where riders will turn around and travel through Margate to the Longport Point before finishing at Tomatoe’s.

There will also be a fun walk which begins at 11 a.m. and proceeds on the boardwalk to Margate, continuing along Atlantic Avenue to Tomatoe’s.

Registration is $20 per rider or $15 each for four or more family riders. Helmets for adults and children are required to ride.

The fee includes a T-shirt, breakfast at Newport Avenue in Ventnor and a barbecue celebration with music and kid-friendly fun following the ride at noon at Tomatoe’s in Margate.

Berger said Tomatoe’s has been incredible in supporting the event, now going on its fourth year. The event began in 2008 as Le Tour de Ventnor and expanded for the following year in 2009. The 2010 event was unfortunately rained out.

“Each year they become more and more involved,” Berger said.

He said the communities come together to make the ride memorable; for example the Downbeach Deli in Margate provides the rolls for hamburgers and hot dogs.

“It’s a great combination of the three adjacent municipalities working together,” said Berger.
Organizer Mike Wiesen of Ventnor and owner of AAAA Bike Shop in his hometown, said the event is anticipated by locals, summer residents and people from other communities alike.

“My favorite part is the start,” Wiesen said Tuesday, Aug. 28. “The anticipation of everybody waiting to get going, to see that sea of yellow and see everybody, from locals to out-of-towners and part-timers enjoy a day of a slow family fun bike ride.”

Wiesen said he gets too much credit for the ride’s inception; saying fellow Ventnor resident Diane Birbeck spearheaded Le Tour de Ventnor in 2008 and he merely received the torch in 2009 to incorporate all of Downbeach.

“We’re happy it’s growing slowly. It’s a small organization, Ventnor and Margate putting it together. We had opportunities to hook up with big organizations, but Ventnor and Margate have chosen to keep it a small local event,” Wiesen said. “All of the moneys on the Ventnor side are spent on Ventnor recreation.”

Wiesen as well as representatives from Margate Bike Shop will be on hand doing safety checks prior to the event start.

He added that the yellow shirts, akin to Le Tour de France, give the participants a sense of unity riding together.
“Makes them feel like in an actual race. It’s not really, but it looks like a race with all the yellow shirts,” Wiesen said.

The event is sponsored by Tomatoe’s Restaurant and presented by the Ventnor Merchants Association, Margate Business Association, the Borough of Longport and the City of Atlantic City.

Applications can be found at www.ventnormerchants.com or www.marvelousmargate.com and by clicking here: Le Tour de Downbeach 2012 Application


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