Wheels were spinning, tires were turning and time clocks were ticking as cyclists put the pedal to the metal.
A breeze wafting off of Fairmount Lake in Riverside seemed to propel participants of the second annual Tour de Riverside bicycle ride to gather near the starting line.
The first race went off with drums banging and horns blowing as the Riverside Poly Proud Heritage Band played them off on May 15.
Nearby wading ducks and resident song birds would not be outdone as they harmonized with the band during their performance of the upbeat tune, “Louie Louie” by The Kingsmen.
Twnety-two racers began the 45 mile Grand Prix course under a colorful arch of balloons on the south side of Fairmount Park shortly after 8 a.m.
The route through historic downtown Riverside to the scenic Victoria Ave. then back, was wrapped in a refreshing 60 degree climate.
Jose Jacobo, a math teacher at West Covina High School and a competitive cyclist for over 9 years, drove from Hacienda Heights to participate in the event.
“Most of the good rides in the summer are up north where the weather is cool,” Jacobo said.
“This is great weather for riding,” he said.
Half hour after the first race, more riders lined up behind the starting line for the 25 mile Historic Cruise.
The Hsitoric Cruise took riders on a route that traveled all round the city of Riverside.
Shortly after the second cruise began, families and small groups positioned themselves at the starting line on their beach cruisers and BMX’s.
Families and friends took their wheels out for a relaxing joy ride around the tranquil lake in the Leisure Cruise.
A Bike-A-Thon was also coordinated, allowing an opportunity for organizations to raise money for their cause by exchanging certified pledges for laps completed on a bicycle.
The Kid’s Bicycle Safety Road-e-o, was an entertaining and important part of the morning’s activities.
It was a course where children and their parents were taught by a safety instructor the rules of the road and safety tips for young and old cyclists alike.
All entrants to the races, with the exception of the Leisure Cruise and the Safety Road-e-o, paid a nominal fee to participate in the tour.
Attendants enjoyed fun games and yummy food at the various exhibit, vendor, and carnival booths lined up on the grass under the beautiful trees of Fairmount Park.
Children frolicked in the inflated jumper which seemed to be dancing to the rhythm of the music that was resonating through the DJ’s public address system.
The event was organized and operated by many volunteers from local groups.
Among those groups was the Riverside Rotary Club, the Riverside Poly High School Interact Club, and the Riverside City Share the Road and Safe Routes to School, a service provided by the County of Riverside Public Health Department and Injury Prevention.
Soon after 10 a.m, the first experienced racers from the Grand Prix spin intermittently approached the finished line to enthusiastic onlookers who were cheering them on to victory.
The last riders finished around noon with a sense of accomplishment.
The purpose of the Tour de Riverside was to promote and raise awareness of cycling as a healthy means of transportation for people and the environment.
It is also a fun way for families and the city of Riverside to interact with their community by offering an alternative to spending Saturday at home.
Not to mention it saves gas that many people use from their cars to get around on the weekends.
It was a successful mission accomplished at the historic Fairmount Park.
Next year they are hoping that the Tour de Riverside will be a tour de force to be reckoned with.