Sunday’s Tour de Newton was an all-out, hands-down, full-stop great time for all involved. Setting new records, about 725 riders took to the streets and went on a leisurely tour of all the villages of Newton Sunday morning.
The weather was wonderful, moods were high and a great time was had by all. This year the route was tweaked to send riders down the new Upper Falls Greenway and also through Farlow Park in Newton Corner. Both were very popular with many riders seeing these for the first time.
Also this year there were a number of great attractions at different village stops. The Green Engineering Team from Newton North was at the Highlands stop with some of their creations – a bamboo bike, a bicycle powered blender making smoothies, and a bicycle powered sound system. In Newton Center the high school Ligerbot team were wowing the riders with some of their creations. The pianos in Upper Falls and Newton Center got lots of use throughout the day. Even at the sleepy Thompsonville stop there was an obscure bicycle related special attraction. At all the stops there were teams of enthusiastic Village Greeters making noise, handing out snacks, and the all important village badges, and telling the visitors a bit about their village.
Another extremely well received development this year is that the Bike Newton crew drove around mid-morning and dropped off big trays of watermelon slices and oranges at every stop. Given the heat, the riders devoured them like a cloud of locusts.
Three of our local bike shops pitched in at village stops. Harris Cylery in West Newton, Landry’s in Newton Center and Farina at Newtonville. Two of our local bicycle patriarchs were on hand reveling in the day. 80+ year old Aaron Harris was out on the street at the West Newton stop greeting riders all morning. Says Aaron “I don’t work on Sundays but I would never miss this. It’s my favorite event of the year.”. Down in Newtonville retired legend Giacomo “Jack” Farina came by to see the Farina tent in action.
This entire event is an immensely large volunteer effort. There were over 75 volunteers in all sorts of roles – leaders, sweeps, village greeters, sag wagon drivers, watermelon slicers, piano players … A million thanks to the wonderful and enthusiastic crew of volunteers that put this extravaganza on every year. As always, extra shoutouts for the superhuman efforts of Tom Gloria (training all the leaders and sweeps, marking 45 miles of roadway) and Alicia Bowman (organizing the entire event and fund raising) – and they both always stay so incredibly pleasant and cheerful throughout.
See y’all next year.
One of groups of Newtonville riders just before they started