The third time was the charm in creating a successful event that yields results – measured not only by the enthusiasm of the participants but charitable dollars. That one of the driving forces behind the Tour de Menlo – Almanac News publisher Tom Gibboney (pictured) – is a cyclist himself just may have provided the added spark.
“I’m a long time member of the Rotary Club, which is always on the lookout for special service projects and the Almanac was looking for something to sponsor,” said Gibboney. “My friend from Rotary, Dick Givens, agreed to help me plan a fundraising event.
“We first tried a walk and kid-oriented ride around Lindenwood in Atherton. It was a great success for those who took part but there wasn’t sufficient participation to raise money. Next we tried a rigorous hill climb ride – five hills all on this side of the Coastal Range. That attracted about 200 riders, still not quite enough.
“We then got the idea of three different rides, all starting at Menlo-Atherton High School. The first Tour de Menlo took place in 2004. Last year was the best ever. We had 500 riders and that translates into thousands of dollars for Rotary tutoring programs and needs-based college scholarships.”
This year’s Tour de Menlo is on Saturday, Aug. 21, offering 60, 70 and 100 kilometer routes around the Mid-Peninsula with a shared lunch stop at Picchetti Open Space Preserve.
“People don’t need to be expert riders to participate,” said Gibboney. “They can be beginners. But the Tour also has appeal to the more experienced rider. The longer ride gains 2,200 feet in elevation. That’s significant but doable.”
The two presenting sponsors – the Almanac News and the Rotary Club of Menlo Park – are joined this year by four other sponsors – Palo Alto Medical Foundation, Tyco Electronics, Union Bank and Harrell Remodeling – to help defray costs.
“Dick and I chair the event,” said Gibboney, “but we get tons of assistance from other Rotary Club members who man the rests stops, help serve lunch and do other ride-related tasks.”
Online registration and route information is available on the Tour de Menlo website.
Photo by Chris Gulker