Where did Tour Dallas come from?
Tour Dallas was launched by Bikin' Mike Keel and a group of area cyclists in 2003 with the help of Larry Blair and Hillwood Development. We started at the American Airlines Center, but it became obvious that having our main parking area in the middle of our start staging area was a traffic challenge. When we reached 3800 cyclists in 2008, it was obvious that we needed to move.
When we moved to Dallas City Hall, we thought that everyone would be very happy with more room for the start staging and easier, lower cost parking. While it was much easier to stage the start and much more comfortable having a post ride party on the City Hall Plaza, the numbers of participants dropped off.
Pizza Patron and Antonio Swad had surprised us back in 2008 by providing free pizza for all our participants, volunteers and guests. Their support was a big hit with riders, so much so that when they had to drop out in 2013, our participants were not happy. Our numbers dropped quite a bit.
Since 2003, we had earned an average of $12,000 each year from Tour Dallas. In 2013, we lost $5,000 and paid an additional $2500 to our beneficiary.
We made a deal with Pizza Patron to get them back in 2014, but with the Final Four in town, our numbers really dropped. We lost another $5,000 (including the $2500 check that we wrote to our beneficiary)..
My wife had accepted the uncertainty of our financial outcome with Tour Dallas for many years. After 2 years of losses, she asked that I not go forward without more help. Along with several friends, we tried every connection we had to raise the $100,000 needed to produce the event. We failed. Then I tried to find a non-profit agency within the Dallas metro area who could "adopt" the event, but that effort failed as well.
I regret that we were unable to keep Tour Dallas going. I know that, for many of you, it was THE ride of the year. I want to thank you for all the encouragement and support that you provided for our efforts.
I especially wish to thank the amazing volunteers who helped us through the years and the sponsors who gave us their $$, staff and advice.
What's next? The NEW Tour Dallas. My goal of promoting cycling in our area did not go away. I still want to promote cycling in our area. It is simply time to say goodbye to Tour Dallas - and welcome the NEW Tour Dallas. We will announce the new format on February 2, 2015. Stay tuned. After that date, we will begin to change and update the site to reflect the new directions for Tour Dallas.
We'll have some wheel fun!!!