OTTUMWA — Wapello County residents have a big bike tour to look forward to this summer. No, we’re not talking about the Tour De France. We’re talking about the second annual Tour de Fire.
The Tour de Fire will be held on August 10, 2019. Derek Fye, the main organizer, said the ride will begin at 9 a.m. at Bridge View Center.
There will be two routes stopping at different fire departments. The first one will be 32 miles, stopping at the Agency Fire Department, then Wapello County, Ottumwa and end at Bridge View. The longer route will be 67 miles, stopping at Agency, then Wapello County Rural and finally stop at Blakesburg.
Cyclists pursuing the 67 mile route will be provided with snacks and water.
After the bike tour, participants can look forward to an afterparty filled with food, entertainment and games such as beer pong and water fights, taking place at Morgan’s Corner Bar & Grill at 1 p.m.
Last year there were 55 riders. According to Fye, there are twice as many riders registered. Compared to last year, Fye believed this year’s Tour De Fire will attract more attention.
The tour started as an idea in 2017. Fye and other cyclists stopped at various fire departments. After that ride, he pondered having a bike tour where residents could cycle and donate funds to fire departments.
Now, fire departments have the option of using funds from the Tour de Fire for their own causes. Last year, the tour raised $1,150 total. This year, each fire department plan to use funds for different purposes. Fye said Blakesburg wants to upgrade their radio system, Wapello County will purchase a new tanker for a truck and the Ottumwa will buy new fitness equipment.
Aside from promoting the Tour de Fire for worthy causes, Fye also encouraged cyclists of all abilities to participate in the event, even if they don’t feel confident in their cycling abilities.
“If you wanna get into cycling, but feel you aren’t capable, just go out and try to get miles in and eventually you get better and better,” he said. “You have plenty of time to relax. It’s not a race.”
Above all, Fye would like to have a strong turn out. “I hope to see everyone there, even if it is hot,” he said. “There will be lots of food, so get registered.”